Online Masters In Computer Forensics
The master’s degree in computer forensics might be a good fit for you if you love cutting-edge technology, or if you’re interested in criminal investigation or cybercrime. The Labor Statistics Bureau forecasts 27% growth in positions related to forensic science by 2024, more than the national average. Regarding highly specialized careers, computer forensics is one of the most competitive fields to enter. With a computer forensic degree from an accredited school, students can become powerful cyber investigators and protect sensitive information from cyberattacks.
Masters In Computer Forensics
For a cyber-prepared future, look no further than online master’s programs in Computer Forensics. Learn to investigate hacking and other cybercrimes, and bring tech whizzes who break laws to justice. A degree in Computer Forensics is designed to teach students how to protect information from hackers and other dangers on the internet. If you like using computers for investigative purposes or are just interested in the jobs that good computer forensic investigators make six figure salaries from, you want a Masters in Computer Forensics.
10 Best Online Masters In Computer Forensics Programs
1. University of San Diego
USD’s online master’s in cybersecurity engineering program features 20 months of coursework in applied cryptography, security test engineering, and cybersecurity domains. During their final semester, learners complete a two-part cyber engineering research project.
USD’s Career Toolkit — a free service that includes a resume guide and career fair preparation tips — can be accessed online. These resources have helped many recent graduates find jobs at Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, among other top employers in the public and private sectors.
A minimum 3.0 GPA is required for prospective students to hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Additionally, a recommendation letter and a 500-word statement of purpose are required. USD provides institutional scholarships to cybersecurity engineering students.
Location: San Diego, CA
Graduation Rate: 80%
2. University of Central Florida
UCF’s online master’s program in digital forensics includes a 30-credit curriculum covering topics such as forensic science, digital forensics, and wireless security. Students personalize the degree by choosing three electives out of over a dozen options. A degree seeker can choose between a thesis or non-thesis track.
Students can explore career paths on UCF’s career services website, attend a virtual workshop, and schedule a virtual advising session. Students can also practice using the Big Interview software.
Admission to this program does not require standardized test scores or recommendation letters. Residents of Florida pay significantly lower tuition. The university’s Access to Opportunities website lists scholarships available.
Location: Orlando, FL
Graduation Rate: 73%
3. Mississippi College
MC’s master’s program in cybersecurity and information assurance gives students a solid background in computer systems, operating systems, and computer networking. In addition, the participants choose two electives with the help of an advisor, and they may graduate in five semesters.
Through MC’s career services office, degree-seekers can research jobs and doctoral programs. The college also provides learner guides on best practices for interviews and writing resumes.
An undergraduate degree in computer science and a minimum 2.75 GPA in computer science are required for admission. There is no need to submit standardized test scores or recommendation letters. Institutional financial aid opportunities must be applied for separately.
Location: Clinton, MS
Graduation Rate: 53%
4. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
The Cybersecurity and Assurance Master’s degree at ERAU is popular for aspiring cybercrime experts. The program provides learners with skills related to assured enterprise systems, cyberlaw, and information assurance quality management. Three specializations are available to students: protecting business intelligence, information systems security, and information assurance in a global context.
Recently graduated students report a placement rate of 100%. The university offers career development best practices, access to Handshake software, and resume tips. A guide that teaches students how to create their digital academic portfolio is available as a resource as well.
Undergraduate transcripts must be submitted by prospective students. Active-duty military personnel and their dependents are entitled to significant tuition discounts. After submitting FAFSA results, prospective students can apply for institutional aid.
Location: Daytona Beach, FL
Graduation Rate: 19%
5. DeSales University
DeSales University offers an online master’s degree program in criminal justice with a specialization in digital forensics. Among the topics covered in required coursework are issues in criminal law, policing in America, and network and cloud forensics. Students take 10 classes totaling 30 credits. The program offers both a full-time and part-time option.
This university’s career development website includes a job and internship board, as well as a career development plan. Online learners can also get resume critiques and interest assessments.
Minimum admission requirements include a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and three recommendation letters. Students who already work in the criminal justice field receive an automatic 20% tuition discount.
Location: Center Valley, PA
Graduation Rate: 71%
6. University of Arizona
An accelerated master’s program in cybersecurity offered by Arizona is delivered through eight-week courses, making it a good fit for students seeking such a program. The 33-credit curriculum includes courses in information security, business intelligence data mining, and business data communications. Students can choose between specializing in information systems or physical systems.
Arizona’s career counselors use Virtual LifeLab to give online students resume help and mock interviews. The university also provides access to Handshake, counseling through Zoom, and videos covering networking tips.
Undergraduate transcripts must be submitted by prospective students. However, recommendation letters are not required by the program. Online learners from out-of-state pay in-state tuition. Incoming students can research the university’s financial aid options on the Scholarship Universe website.
Location: Tucson, AZ
Graduation Rate: 64%
7. Robert Morris University
At RMU, students can earn a master’s degree in cybersecurity and information assurance. There are 30 credits available in this online program, including courses on information technology governance, microcomputing technology, and network technology and management. The graduates of the program have gone on to work for such companies as Alcoa, Bayer, and PPG Industries among others.
Almost 95% of RMU alumni find a job or get an education within 12 months of graduation. Several resources are available on the Career and Professional Develop Center’s website, including career resource guides and tip sheets.
A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for undergraduate students who have to meet prerequisites. Other requirements include passing a criminal background check.
Location: Moon Township, PA
Graduation Rate: 64%
8. University of the Cumberlands
Computer science and non-computer science students can apply to UC’s online master’s program in digital forensics. Students can choose a cybersecurity or criminal justice specialization, and core courses include topics like investigation and triage, wireless security, and web browser forensics. An applied learning practicum culminates the program.
UC distance learners have access to four software suites: Handshake, Big Interview, USA Careers, and GoinGlobal. GoinGlobal features job opportunities abroad. Students can also find articles that cover career transitions, transferable skills, and salary negotiation.
Students must have a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA to be considered for admission. International applicants must complete additional steps, such as a foreign transcript evaluation. Students at UC can expect competitive tuition and learner financial aid, as well as federal grants and loans.
Location: Williamsburg, KY
Graduation Rate: 33%
9. Eastern Illinois University
A master’s degree in cybersecurity at EIU features a 32-credit curriculum that includes courses in systems security, biometric security, and the management of IT. Each student takes a capstone course in which they gain knowledge about IT risk assessment and security policies. There are two short residency requirements for the program.
More than 90% of EIU graduates start a new career or academic program within 180 days of earning their degree. EIU provides free workshops, career exploration guides, and interviewing tips to help individuals find success.
All applicants must hold an undergraduate degree in a technology-related field and submit two recommendation letters, a statement of purpose, and a resume. There are many institutional scholarships awarded at the university, including some targeted to international students.
Location: Charleston, IL
Graduation Rate: 58%
10. Champlain College
All coursework for Champlain’s master’s degree in digital forensic science is completed asynchronously. Mobile device analysis, digital investigation for civil investigations, and operating systems analysis are core courses. A master’s thesis culminates the program.
Alumni of Champlain’s digital forensics program have gone on to work at major companies such as AT&T, Chevron, and General Electric. Career Collaborative, an organization at the university, helps students find attractive jobs by providing experiential learning opportunities and networking events.
Students without IT skills can apply if they take foundation courses before starting the digital forensics curriculum. Active-duty service members are entitled to an automatic 50% tuition discount. Vermont residents are eligible to apply for state grants.
Location: Burlington, VT
Graduation Rate: 64%
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master’s in Computer Forensics Program?
The curriculum for online master’s degrees in computer forensics varies by program. Examine the course offerings and faculty of each prospective school in order to choose the most appropriate program for your educational and professional objectives.
Locating the right computer forensics master’s degree program for your level of understanding and career goals is an important step in pursuing a graduate degree. The curriculum of an online program can vary widely from one school or institution to another, and you should examine each school’s course offerings, faculty and other characteristics to prepare for your final selection.
Curriculum For an Online Master’s Degree in Computer Forensics
There are various courses available depending on the school’s faculty, departmental history, specialties, strengths, and geographic location. The factors mentioned above are important to consider, as some programs prepare graduates for certain types of work in the field. Listed below are the core courses that are offered across most forensics master’s programs.
Digital Crime, Evidence, and Procedure
These courses teach students basic legal principles that help them to navigate investigations and crime research. Students also learn how to apply laws relating to digital criminal activity.
Foundations of Computing and Security
This introductory course covers online network analysis, routing protocols, software and hardware risks, and the complex nature of online data and security protocols.
Electrical and Computer Engineering
This course covers the principles of electric circuits’ use in digital forensics. Students learn about basic electronic components of field equipment and conduct lab experiments.
How Long Does it Take to Get an Online Master’s in Computer Forensics?
Full-time students often complete their computer forensics master’s degree in two years, although some students may take longer to complete the 35-40 credits required. Many programs require students to compile a research portfolio throughout their studies and to present a final project. Alternatively, a master’s thesis or capstone project may be needed. Part-time students can enroll in some programs, but additional time is typically required to complete all degree requirements.
Some online master’s programs in digital forensics feature a cohort learning model, while others are structured on an individual basis. Students in cohort-based programs follow the same schedule and adhere to the same deadlines. A cohort style course fosters a strong sense of community and often includes interaction and collaboration. Individually paced students complete coursework according to their own timelines, as it fits into their personal schedules.
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Computer Forensics Degrees
Determining accredited online master’s in computer forensics programs can be similar to a college search when seeking a traditional on-campus program. Some institutions might be nationally accredited while others are regionally accredited. National accreditation is awarded to career-focused vocational or technical institutions. Universities with regional accreditation are usually four-year institutions offering an associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral degree. Both accreditations are significant, though regional accreditation is the more prestigious of the two.
Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an outside agency that ensures the institution meets or exceeds applicable standards. Accreditation is vital for obtaining employment as well as admission into other colleges and universities. Most schools will not accept transfer credits from institutions that are not accredited by a recognized agency, including transfer credit from degree programs that are not accredited by the American Council on Education (ACE).
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) develops and enforces policies and laws that benefit the quality of education in the country. Although the ED tracks accreditation records and collects data on educational institutions, the department does not accredit institutions. Accrediting agencies are held to high standards by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). For more information, visit the ED and CHEA websites.
Employment Outlook for Master’s in Computer Forensics Graduates
Master’s in computer forensic programs prepare graduates for a variety of fulfilling careers in a number of fields. Computer forensics is an interdisciplinary field, growing along with advances in technology and data networking. Graduates pursue successful careers by supporting specialists who aid law enforcement agencies, or work in laboratories and assist crime specialists in the analysis of evidence.
Few fields are as exciting and expansive as that of computer forensics. This exciting field allows professionals to utilize their keen analytical skills to assist crime specialists in the development of evidence for use in criminal investigations.
Forensic Science Technicians
These technicians aid in criminal investigations by collecting and analyzing evidence in laboratory settings.
Computer and Information Research Scientists
These professionals innovate and explore new ways of using technology. Among the fields they work in are forensics, business, and medicine. For some positions that require advanced training, a PhD is required, but graduates with master’s degrees often help secure positions in the federal government.
Computer Systems Analyst
Forensic analysts examine digital information connected to cybercrimes. They protect compromised data, recover files, and handle important evidence. A master’s degree and programming expertise are required for advanced positions.
Information Security Analysts
Professionals in this field create and deliver security measures that help protect computer systems and networks. They test networks for weaknesses and monitor security breaches.
Computer and information Systems Managers
Known as IT managers, these experts plan and direct computer-related activities in institutions, labs, and businesses. In addition, they ensure that all tasks relying on computer systems are carried out effectively. A master’s degree and experience are important for advancement.
Master’s in Computer Forensics Salary
Below is a comparison of salaries for four media jobs related to forensics. Except for the one career path, all of the career paths display consistent salary growth over a 20-year career; experience consistently increases the earning potential for forensics professionals.
|Forensic Computer Analyst||$58,000||$89,000||$110,000|
|Information Security Analyst||$63,000||$82,000||$91,000|
|Crime Scene Investigator||$40,000||$55,000||$53,000|
Financing Your Online Master’s in Computer Forensics Program
Financing an online Master’s in Computer Forensics degree can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are several different types of government-based financial aid available to students completing a computer forensics degree. These include programs such as the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Stafford Loans and Perkins Loans. Masters online recipients of these types of loans must have excellent credit scores, and should submit yearly Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms.
The Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners and the American Society of Crime Lab Directors are two organizations that provide external funding for forensics students. To find the best ways to fund your education, contact your school’s financial aid office or forensics department.
An Overview of Financial Aid
Almost two-thirds of today’s college students take out loans for their education, but there are a lot of overlooked financing options you can use to drastically reduce your overall student debt. Also, check our guide on scholarships for computer science majors.
UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA
It is crucial for financial-needy students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This FAFSA guide gives step-by-step instructions as well as answers to frequently asked questions.
FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS
Financial aid for online learning is comparable to that available for on-campus learning, but this has not always been the case. Learn about the changes that have occurred, as well as the various funding options available to online students.
SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS
Getting a degree online can be an affordable and flexible way for single parents to earn a degree and secure their family’s financial future. We have compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options for single parents.
FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY
United States military personnel have access to millions of dollars in free money, but much of it goes unused.
Learn more about the scholarships, grants, and other financial aid available to veterans, active-duty military, and reservists.