MSc in Digital Investigation and Forensic Computing

Please note that there will be no new intake to this programme for 2019/20. The School is currently looking at re-structuring the programme. Two of the modules will be available for those signed up for the MSc Computer Science NL programme and only in 2019/2020.
COMP40750  Corporate Investigations
COMP40770  Information Security

 

Why study the MSc in Digital Investigation and Forensic Computing in UCD?

This programme is for students with a background in computer science, information technology, or a related discipline. It covers all aspects of digital investigations from legislation and crime scene processing to digital forensics, reverse engineering, and forensic reporting.

Would you like to be able to analyse a cyber attack, or reverse engineer malware? Would you like to know how to process a crime scene, interrogate suspects and witnesses, and prepare a statement for court? Would you like to be able to perform electronic discovery of documents, investigate spear phishing, intellectual property theft, blackmail, defamation, fraud and various other forms of corporate misconduct where crucial evidence exists in digital form? If your answer is "yes", then this MSc program will give you the knowledge, skills, and practice.

The programme is for students with a background in computer science, information technology, or a related discipline. It covers all aspects of digital investigations from legislation and crime scene processing to digital forensics, reverse engineering, and forensic reporting. Students also learn how to prevent re-occurrence of incidents by applying appropriate information security countermeasures. The information security component covers key technical elements of modern network security technology, information security management, and penetration testing. The programme can be used to up-skill or to reorient a technical career.

This programme is available on either a ful-time (1 year) or part time (2 years) basis using distance learning techniques.

 

Modules

This MSc programme is comprised of six taught modules and a research project:

● Computer Forensic Foundations

● Law for IT Investigators

● Application Forensics

● Investigative Techniques

● Corporate Investigations

● Information Security

● Digital Investigation Project (This is a research project on a real-world topic in digital investigation.)

More Info here

Two Years Distance Learning Part Time option (F021)

Every aspect of the part-time programme is designed to facilitate distance-learning education by working professionals. All lectures and practical sessions are broadcast and recorded for later study. There are 4 hours of lectures on Tuesday evenings (GMT) during term time in Year 1, switching to Wednesday evenings in Year 2. There are 4 hours of practical sessions on Thursday evenings. All learning materials are accessible online via UCD's course management system that includes discussion forums and means to submit coursework for assessment. The programme includes an engaging mix of learning sessions, hands-on labs, case studies, tool demonstrations and in-depth discussions.

Assessment

Distance-learning students are required to come to Ireland only twice during the programme - one week at end of April in Year 1 (for exams) and one weekend in February in Year 1 (for hands-on crime scene workshop). In addition your coursework will be assessed using a variety of methods including group and individual assignments, written exams and graded online presentations via teleconferencing.

Facilities and Resources

Students perform self-study assignments during the year, using their personal computers and UCD's online computer lab. They have access to a Virtual Crime Scene Simulator and the loan of forensic equipment as needed.

One Year Full-Time option (F020)

The programme starts in September and finishes in August the following year. Students attend lectures and practical sessions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays during the Autumn and Spring semesters. Some hands-on workshops are delivered on weekends. A Digital investigation Project occupies the entire summer semester from the middle of May to the middle of August. Besides coursework, students benefit from a monthly Digital Forensics Seminar Series and optional visits to the Irish law courts to better understand the litigation process, and the role and responsibilities of expert witnesses. A limited number of industrial internships are available each year to suitable candidates upon successful completion of the programme.

Assessment

Your coursework will be assessed using a variety of methods including group and individual assignments, written exams and graded presentations.

Facilities and Resources

Students perform self-study assignments during the year, using their personal computers and UCD's online computer lab. They have access to a Virtual Crime Scene Simulator and the loan of forensic equipment as needed.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the programme students will be able to:

  • Perform forensic analysis of a personal computer running Windows operating system
  • Understand legal issues in keeping information secure when conducting investigations
  • Understand the role and the use of digital evidence in litigation
  • Prepare investigation reports and court testimony
  • Analyse user activity in Windows OS
  • Use crime scene search techniques, handle evidence and interview witnesses
  • Prepare investigative reports and court testimony
  • Perform investigations into misuse of IT in a corporate environment including cloud forensics, e-discovery and server forensics
  • Investigate crime against computer systems including malware
  • Deploy information security mechanisms
  • Conduct independent research, develop novel ideas (e.g. in the form of novel techniques, tools, policies, etc. as appropriate to the chosen topic) and convey the knowledge discovered to colleagues
  • Perform reverse engineering of simple applications through disassembly and experimentation and use model-based reasoning to draw conclusions from the available evidence.

Cybercrime, online financial crime, fraud, identify theft and IP theft are among the fastest growing crimes. Organisations need skilled experts to monitor and secure networks, investigate attacks, gather evidence from smart mobile and connected devices, online communications and cloud storage and to present it in court. This is why our graduates are in-demand.

Graduates of the MSc in Digital Investigation & Forensic Computing are employed as:

  • Project and programme managers, operations managers
  • IT, Systems, Network managers
  • Security software developers and systems architects
  • Information security specialists, malware analysts
  • Computer forensic investigators and security specialists
  • Test, audit and engineering and technical specialists
  • Experts in risk management and fraud prevention

We currently have graduates working in:

  • Management consultancies such as Ernst & Young, Grant Thornton, Accenture, KPMG & Deloitte
  • Specialist digital forensics and eDiscovery consulting firms such as Ward Solutions, FireEye, Strotz Friedberg & Espion
  • Law enforcement and government agencies
  • ICT companies such as Avaya, Dell, Detica, Ericsson, Jinny Software, Microsoft, Symantec, Oracle, Version1, IBM, HP, Cisco, Wipro & SAP
  • Banks and financial institutions such as Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan, Bank of Ireland, Central Bank of Ireland, Pioneer Investments, Anima Asset Management, BNY Mellon, Mediolanum Asset Management & Zurich
  • Companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, Salesforce, Elan Pharmaceuticals, CRH & Shell

Non-EU students who have graduated from Irish Higher Education Institutions with a bachelor's, master's or PhD degree may remain in Ireland for up to 12 months to seek employment.

Applicants to the UCD MSc Digital Investigation and Forensic Computing will normally be expected to have a minimum 2.1 (Second Class Honours, Grade One) level bachelor's degree in Computer Science or a related area. However, all applicants will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Understanding of programming concepts and familiarity with C or C++ programming will be required. This is dictated by the changing landscape of digital forensics, which necessitates deeper understanding of computing technology on the part of digital forensic specialists.

Students are required to fulfill UCD's English Language Requirements.

All students must also satisfactorily complete Garda Vetting procedures before they can complete registration to this programme. Garda vetting forms are provided at registration.

All non-EU/EEA students must comply with Irish immigration requirements. More information here.

Information on Fees is available at UCD Fees. The cost of travel and accommodation for examination/workshop trips is not included in the tuition fee.

UCD offers some postgraduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on masters programmes. Please visit Scholarships and Funding for further information.

UCD has accommodation for over 2,500 students across five locations. Places are limited and priority is given to international students - more information is available at UCD Residences. For information and advice on living off-campus, please contact the UCD Residences Off-Campus Office or the UCD Student Union Accommodation Services. Please visit ucdaccommodationpad.ie and UCD Student Union for further details.

Please note that there will be no new intake to this programme for 2019/20. The School is currently looking at re-structuring the programme. Two of the modules will be available for those signed up for the MSc Computer Science NL programme and only in 2019/2020.
COMP40750  Corporate Investigations
COMP40770  Information Security

 

Applications must be submitted via the UCD Online Applications system, which will bring you to the UCD Online Applications website. You complete the application form by providing your personal information and then selecting which course you wish to apply to. If you are unsure about which options to select, instructions on how to complete the form can be found by clicking here.

Referees: One Academic and one Professional referee are normally required for application review purposes. In the case of recent graduates, two Academic referees are acceptable. The Postgraduate Reference Form can be downloaded here

Over 200 people have started this programme. If you are looking for a job in digital forensics, our student and alumni network will keep you connected with opportunities for internships and work after or during your MSc. Read the stories of some of the graduates on this MSc here.

If you are thinking about doing the MSc and would like to contact a current student or graduate, please ask us to put you in touch.

Graduate Profile

Preet Payal, IT Security Analyst at Deloitte Ireland

"I liked the way the assignments were designed. This course isn't something you can be spoon fed. Apart from lectures you have to do your own research and learn, which proves to be beneficial in the long term."

Graduate Profile

Vishvander Singh, Threat Analysis Engineer, Symantec Ireland

"Definitely I would recommend UCD to international student because of the study culture and renowned professors and research opportunities and many more. To be honest I have got enormous experience here."

Graduate Profile

Mitchell Impey, Head of Information Security Audit, Danfoss A/S, Denmark

"I picked UCD for two reasons, the national police force here in Denmark spoke highly of the programme and when I realized that it was led by Dr. Gladyshev, the decision was clear. The chance to do this online, the topics covered and the price were other factors of importance as well. One very interesting component of the course was the legal class."

Please note that there will be no new intake to this programme for 2019/20. The School is currently looking at re-structuring the programme. Two of the modules will be available for those signed up for the MSc Computer Science NL programme and only in 2019/2020.
COMP40750  Corporate Investigations
COMP40770  Information Security

 

Queries about the course can be addressed directly to Programme Director Dr. Pavel Gladyshev on +353 1 716 2610 or email at pavel.gladyshev@ucd.ie

Application and administrative queries can be sent by email to cs-difc@ucd.ie or at +353 1 716 2486.

 

Download the Full-time brochure here (pdf) (Updated September 2017)

Download the Part-time brochure here (pdf) (Updated September 2017)