MSc Computer Forensics

Computer forensics is a rapidly expanding area, leading to an increasing demand from industry for qualified forensic examiners. Our MSc Computer Forensics degree will prepare you for a career in computer forensics and IT security, either at a technical or managerial level.

The University of South Wales is the only university in Wales to gain the prestigious provisional certification from GCHQ, the UK Government’s Communications HQ, for its Masters course in Computer Forensics. You will be taught by an internationally recognised team from the University’s Information Security Research Group and external speakers contribute to delivering the latest expertise and developments. The University is also recognised as a Centre of Excellence for information security and computer forensics by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC).

Study Mode 2017 Duration Start Date Location
Full-time 1 Years February Pontypridd
Full-time 1 Years September Pontypridd
Study Mode 2018 Duration Start Date Location
Full-time 1 Years February Pontypridd
Full-time 1 Years September Pontypridd

Forensic computer analysts may be involved in a range of investigations, such as online fraud, digital espionage, counter-terrorism, possession of illegal imagery and information theft. A typical investigation would involve identifying and securing computer equipment, followed by the application of forensic methods and specialist computer programmes in pursuit of evidence. Tasks include recovering data from digital media, analysis of records to establish the location of a device, uncovering data trails, careful documentation of the investigation, presenting findings and acting as an expert witness in court.

You will study the following modules:

  • Computer Forensics and Crime Investigation
  • Forensics Techniques and Data Recovery
  • Computer Law
  • Professional Skills Development
  • Advanced Research Methods
  • Project Management
  • Security Management
  • Research Project: an investigation of your choice, related to the course
  • MSc Project: the development and evaluation of a significant application or task of your choice, related to the course

Teaching

The course is delivered in four major blocks to offer an intensive but focused learning pattern, with two start points every year – February and September. Full-time students will typically spend 12 hours in classes each week. If you choose to study part-time, this is reduced to around six hours each week. You will study through lectures, tutorials, practical sessions, seminars and projects.

Assessment

You will need to spend a significant amount of time working independently, reading and preparing for assessments. While the style of coursework may vary, research-style papers or essays of around 4,000 words in length are typical. You will also work on a significant research project and a major project of your choice, where strong independent thinking, critical analysis and project management skills will be important.

Facilities

We have a full range of high-specification computer labs and an ongoing investment programme to ensure that our facilities stay at the forefront of computing developments.

This course is designed for graduates with a minimum 2:2 Honours degree or equivalent. Entrants should normally be graduates in a computing or related area and have very good IT skills. The course welcomes international applicants and requires an English level of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

All fees are per year. Once you have started your course, your fee will remain the same for each year of study.

August 2016 - July 2017 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: £5150
  • Full-time International: £12600

August 2017 - July 2018 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC
  • Full-time International: TBC

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC
  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are significant additional costs either obligatory or optional these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

Apply directly to the University if you are applying for a part-time, professional or postgraduate course, an Erasmus/Exchange programme, the Legal Practice (part-time) course, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution.    

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Admissions statement 

You will have had the opportunity to develop skills that strongly relate to the role of a forensic computer analyst or an information security analyst. These include problem solving, a systematic approach to work and an awareness of security standards and legislation.

Graduates will be well equipped for employment, including working for the police, security services, commercial sector, or organisations that specialise in computer security.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.