A digital forensics degree program could teach the critical skills you need to address growing cyber security concerns in IT. With the computer and information technology industry projected to add over half a million jobs between 2021 and 2030, many of them in information security, experts in digital forensics should play a vital role in the future of IT.
- What is Digital Forensics?
- What Careers Can I Do with a Degree in Digital Forensics?
- What Degree Do You Need to Be a Digital Forensic Technician?
- Curriculum and Degree Requirements
- Admission Requirements
- Transfer Credit Policy
- Credit for Prior Learning
Digital forensics is a branch of forensic science that handles cybercrimes. Whereas traditional forensic science focuses on physical evidence, digital forensics involves recovering and investigating evidence left behind on digital devices. In order for evidence to be used in a court of law, investigators must follow a strict process. After an incident takes place, digital forensics experts must:
- Identify evidence of a cybercrime and where it is stored
- Preserve the digital data and ensure no one tampers with it
- Analyze the evidence and draw conclusions about the crime
- Document the data and recreate the cybercrime scene
- Summarize the data and present it along with a conclusion
The field of digital forensics brings together IT expertise as well as knowledge of the criminal justice field. It helps shed light on myriad crimes that involve a digital element—like electronic fraud, online scams, and identity theft. On a much larger scale, digital forensics experts investigate business data breaches that may impact millions of people. As more and more crimes take place in the digital world, this field should continue growing in importance.
Earning a degree in digital forensics could prepare you to uncover evidence of cyber threats and criminal activity across many settings and career paths. Consider the role of information security analyst, which stands to grow 33 percent between 2021 and 2030. Security analysts conduct testing and document security breaches after an incident occurs. Just as importantly, they try to keep businesses’ IT systems safe in the first place. Earning a digital forensics degree at the master’s level could be one way to take your previous IT knowledge and experience in a new direction.
Also consider a forensic science technician career path. Technicians who work on computer crimes are known as forensic computer examiners or digital forensics analysts. Like their counterparts who analyze physical evidence such as DNA, digital forensics analysts uncover evidence at crime scenes—in the digital landscape, of course. As a whole, this profession should grow 16 percent between 2021 and 2030. That’s much faster than average for all occupations.
To learn about more careers, click here to view a career infographic.
Many who pursue a forensic science technician career path earn a master’s degree. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that candidates who earn a master’s should have the best job opportunities. In a master’s in Digital Forensics degree program such as ours at University of the Cumberlands, you could build the skills you need to make an impact in the world of digital crime solving—or other fields that require expertise in this domain.
If you’re looking for the technical skills to begin—or advance—your career in fighting cybercrime, University of the Cumberlands’ Online Master of Science in Digital Forensics degree program is for you. You’ll learn the skills you need for an advanced role in recovering and investigating data lost to computer crime, fraud, abuse, and other illegal activities and bad actors.
Intended for those who have earned a baccalaureate degree and are working in the field, the online master’s in Digital Forensics degree program will help you enhance your credentials and accomplish your professional goals. You will use forensics technology best practices to:
- Investigate data lost to illegal activities
- Take an active role in recovering lost data
- Build the skills necessary for cyber forensics
- Explore leadership roles in IT across many fields and industries
The 31-credit curriculum will engage you in the theories, strategies and tactics involved in the field, including communication leadership, triaging criminal cyber-events, gathering evidence, and investigating and mitigating malware. Every student completes 18 credit hours of core courses, including:
- Investigation and Triage
- Windows Digital Forensics
- Wireless Security and Forensics
- Digital Forensics Evidence
- Laws, Regulations, Investigations, and Compliance
- Web Browser Forensics
In addition, you will choose one of two specializations:
- Cybersecurity. In this track, you’ll focus on the skills to keep business IT systems safe. You’ll choose at least nine credit hours of relevant courses, including Cryptography, Application Security, and Blockchain Implementation. If you hope to pursue a career path such as Information Security Analyst, this specialization may help you prepare to take a proactive role in keeping cyberattacks from threatening businesses.
- Criminal Justice. In this track, you’ll seek to understand the broader implications of cybercrime. You’ll take 12 credits of courses to complete the specialization, choosing two out of three themed blocks. Areas to explore include criminological theory, homeland security, and the psychology of crime. This track may be ideal if you’re most interested in the angle of why cybercrimes happen, why they matter, and how the law charges cybercriminals.
No matter which specialization you choose, you’ll wrap up the program with a Digital Forensics Capstone. In this project, you’ll have the chance to design a cybersecurity incident, create a response plan, and analyze data relevant to investigating the incident. Finally, you’ll report the results in a mock attorney meeting. As an alternative to the capstone, you could potentially pursue an applied learning practicum, like an internship.
Costs for programs of study at University of the Cumberlands are competitive and affordable. Click here to view tuition rates and fees.
Admission to our University is very competitive as well as selective and we review each application by the same standards.
- Application and Application fee
- A completed Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
- Submit official transcripts from all applicable colleges/universities attended; must be received directly from the issuing college or university.
- A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of a 2.5 or above on a 4.0 scale
- Any international course work completed must have official transcript evaluations completed and submitted to the University by the evaluation firm. Evaluations MUST include GPA for admission.
Approved Evaluation Firms are:
- Documentation of language fluency for non-native speakers of English, such as a score report from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the 8 International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or a report from Duolingo. This requirement is waived for students who have completed bachelor’s or master’s level coursework in the U.S. at an accredited institution. The minimum acceptable TOEFL or IELTS scores for admission are:
- Paper-based TOEFL (PBT) - 550
- Internet-based TOEFL (IBT) - 79
- IELTS - 6
- Duolingo - 100
All admissions materials should be submitted to:
University of the Cumberlands
Graduate & Online Admissions
649 S. 10th Street
Williamsburg, KY 40769
A maximum of nine semester hours of credit may be transferred from an accredited graduate institution. Transfer credits must be in courses equivalent to courses in the program. All transfer credits must be approved by the Program Director and the Registrar and have been earned within the last five years. Grades for any transfer credits accepted into the program do not count in the program GPA.
TRANSFER OF CREDIT BASED ON EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES IN THE ARMED FORCES
The School of Computer Information and Technology will accept transfer credit based up on the American Council on Education’s Military Guide credit recommendations for formal courses and occupations offered by all branches of the military. Credits must be approved by the University Registrar and the Program Director. Here is the official University policy regarding transfer credit related to military service.
University of the Cumberlands recognizes that students entering or returning to college bring with them a wide variety of prior learning experiences Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) allows qualified students to earn credit for college-level learning outside of the classroom. Click here to view acceptable certifications as replacements for corresponding courses.
Click here to view University of the Cumberlands' accreditation information.
In addition to the overall institutional accreditation statement above, UC has been named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) by the National Security (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). There are just over 200 universities nationwide with CAE-CD designation, and only two other universities in Kentucky included in this elite group.
Click here to view a list of the information technology faculty.