MSc Forensic Computing and Cybercrime Investigation

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

This is a distance-learning education programme for law enforcement. It aims to provide high quality forensic computing and cybercrime investigation training and formal education. It is also designed to deliver cutting-edge, up-to-date cybercrime investigation techniques, strategies and tactics that allow students to understand and tackle emerging trends in cybercrime. Over the past 14 years we brought in specialists from around the world to review and advise on the content considering the needs of digital forensic investigators and computer crime specialists. The UCD School of Computer Science (CS) and UCD Centre for Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Investigation (CCI) are working closely with law enforcement agencies and industry practitioners in seeking solutions to technologies-related crime. CS and CCI staff also collaborate with the scientists from European Cybercrime Training and Educational Group at Europol (ECTEG) to work on applied research and developing forensic tools and then to transfer high impact research achievements and efficient, free forensic tools to the law enforcement community. This programme is delivered by experienced academics from CS and CCI and also by experts who are leaders, managers and heads of forensic departments in law enforcement agencies and in industry..

Download the course brochure (pdf)

A wide range of modules is available at beginner and advanced levels. On successful completion of the programme, depending on the module taken, students will be able to:

  • Understand methods used to conduct forensic analysis of digital devices including computer systems and mobile devices
  • Identify, collect, process, analyse and present digital forensics evidence
  • Use common network investigation techniques
  • Develop critical thinking in analysing and performing cybercrime investigation
  • Research and develop custom tools for evidence analysis
  • Work in groups to resolve computer forensic challenges
  • Understand the cybercrime business model and how to perform the financial fraud investigations
  • Conduct research into novel forensic and cybercrime investigation problems
  • Investigate cases of child sexual exploitation on the Internet
  • Tackle the forensic analysis of future technologies (both hardware and software) through the development of new applications.

Careers & Employability

In the past 14 years, over 1200 law enforcement officers from 70 countries and have studied on this programme.  For law enforcement officers, having this qualification has the advantage of adding credibility to their testimony as expert witnesses. Career development possibilities are excellent. Graduates include senior staff at Europol and INTERPOL, members of national and regional police forces and police training colleges, government ministries and agencies with LE powers, defence forces, specialist cybercrime agencies, revenue, customs and border protection. Our graduate community is one of the benefits of the course. Contact us if you'd like to speak to a graduate about their experience on the course.

Curricular information is subject to change


Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

This programme is open to members of LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES ONLY. This includes employees of any organisation that has responsibility for the enforcement of national or local legislation including but not limited to: Police Forces, International law enforcement organisations (Europol, Interpol, etc), Fisheries, Border control, Immigration, Tax/Revenue & Customs, Regulatory enforcement, Military (Army, Navy, Air Force etc). The programme is flexible enough to accomodate both experts and beginners in the field of digital forensics and cybercrime investigation..

This is a programme for law enforcement. This programme aims to provide high quality forensic computing and cybercrime investigation training and formal education. It is also designed to deliver cutting-edge, up-to-date cybercrime investigation techniques, strategies and tactics that allow students to understand and tackle emerging trends in cybercrime. (Purposes). Over the past 12 years we have brought in specialists from around the world to review and advise on the content considering the needs of digital forensic investigators and computer crime specialists. The UCD School of Computer Science (CS) and UCD Centre for Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Investigation (CCI) have been working closely with law enforcement agencies and industry practitioners in seeking solutions to technologies-related crime. CS and CCI staff also collaborate with the scientists from European Cybercrime Training and Educational Group at Europol (ECTEG) to work on applied research and developing forensic tools and then transfer both high impact research achievement and efficient, free forensic tools to the students. This programme is delivered by not only the experienced academia staff from CS and CCI but also the experts who are leaders, managers, heads of forensic department in law enforcement agencies and industries. Besides, with a modular structure and part-time options, students can combine study with full-time work and family commitments. (Values). The programme structure fosters and encourages close liaison between students, so graduates leave not only having required skills for all cybercrime investigating services but also an excellent international network of contacts for the future. (Learning outcomes). All lectures are pre-recorded and provided online via a virtual online learning environment, allowing students to participate from their house or office. All modules consist of continuous formative assessment components assessing core practical skills and culminate in a written summative assessment final exam. Students attend UCD exam centres only for examinations each year. Students will graduate with a UCD MSc when (s)he has achieved 90 credits. (Approaches to teaching learning and assessment)..

    • Conduct research into novel forensic and cybercrime investigation problems
    • Develop critical thinking in anaylsing and performing cybercrime investigation
    • Identify, collect, process, analyse and present digital forensics evidence
    • Investigate cases of child sexual exploitation on the Internet
    • Perform the financial fraud investigation
    • Research and develop custom tools for evidence analysis
    • Tackle the forensic analysis of future technologies (both hardware and software) through the development of new applications
    • Understand cybercrime business model and how to perform the financial fraud investigation
    • Understand methods used to conduct forensic analysis of digital devices including computer systems and mobile devices
    • Use common network investigation techniques
    • Work in groups to resolve computer forensic challenges

    View All Modules Here

    Course content and the flexible mode of delivery are designed to suit busy working professionals located all over the world.

    Modules available

    There are two core modules and a further thirteen elective taught modules. Masters students are recommended to take the core modules and then select further modules, according to their interests and experience. Please look at the detailed module descriptions for pre-requisites, learning outcomes, assessment scheme and workload.  It is not mandatory to do a dissertation - the MSc may be completed with taught modules only. Most students follow the part-time MSc (T025) over 2 years. Graduate Diploma (T007) and Graduate Certificate (F007) options are also available. It is possible to take single modules as CPD (F001)

    Computer Forensics COMP40100 (core)
    Network Investigations COMP40110 (core)
    Programming for Investigators COMP40120
    Case Studies COMP40150
    Research Project in Forensic Computing and Cyber Crime Investigation COMP40160
    Linux for Investigators COMP41430
    Advanced Scripting COMP41570
    VoIP and Wireless Investigations COMP41580
    Advanced Computer Forensics COMP41590
    Malware Investigations COMP41650
    Live Data Forensics COMP41660
    Data & Database Forensics COMP47370
    Advanced Malware Analysis COMP47380
    Mobile Devices Investigation COMP47430
    Financial Investigation Techniques - Following the Money COMP47510
    OSINT Collection & Analysis COMP47630
    Online Child Abuse Investigations COMP47640

    Course delivery

    Lectures are pre-recorded and provided online via a virtual online learning environment. Exercises, reading and assignments and projects are conducted online and in our virtual labs. Students are required to come to Dublin, or another UCD exam centre for approx. 5 days each year to complete examinations and workshops. All modules are examined in May each year in Dublin, Netherlands and the USA/Canada.  We also hold exams in Dublin in December for our semester one modules, however if you cannot make it to Dublin in December, those modules are also examined the following May.

    MSc Forensic Computing and Cybercrime Investigation (T025) Part Time
    EU/NONEU    fee per year - € 4835

    MSc Forensic Computing and Cybercrime Investigation (T146) Full Time
    EU          fee per year - € 9670
    nonEU    fee per year - € 9670

    ***Fees are subject to change

    Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website.  The cost of examination trips is not included in the tuition fee and students are expected to support themselves while attending examinations and other events. Tuition fees are the same for EU and non-EU students..

    All applicants must be current employees of a law enforcement organisation (LE) working in an investigative role. You do not have to be a sworn officer. LE includes any organisation that has responsibility for the enforcement of national or local legislation such as:

    • Local, National, or Federal Police Forces
    • Government law enforcement agencies
    • Immigration & Border Control, Revenue & Customs
    • Defence forces including military police
    • International Police organisations (Europol, Interpol, etc)
    • Regulatory Enforcement agencies etc
    • Public prosecutors / Attorney General's office

    We prefer applicants with a primary degree in computer science. However if you do not have this, but you have been working in the field of digital forensic investigations in law enforcement for more than 2 years and you have successfully completed advanced training, then we will consider this in compensation, at the discretion of the course directors. In such cases we may ask you to take 3 single modules as CPD (Continual Professional Development) and if you achieve grades of B- or higher you may be allowed to transfer to the MSc programme.

    Please note that in some countries, a Masters degree is not recognised unless you also have an undergraduate degree and do a major piece of research as part of your Masters.

    Each applicant will be assessed on a case by case basis.

    Students are also required to fulfil UCD’s English Language Requirements (see http://www.ucd.ie/international/study-at-ucd-global/ucdenglishlanguagerequirements/)

    Michael Moran (2010) - Garda Liaison officer to France and Monaco
    “I graduated while serving as a Criminal Intelligence officer in the Crimes against Children team at INTERPOL. I subsequently went on to become the Assistant Director with responsibility for the Vulnerable communities group which included the Crimes against Children, Human Trafficking and People Smuggling teams. I have no doubt that my masters from UCD assisted in making me a successful candidate for that executive team role and built on other qualifications I already had including a BA (IT) and a diploma in project management. I have also been privileged to be associated with the development of the Masters programme from the very start and building the Online Child Abuse module which I still teach today.  It's a great masters and I highly recommend it to my fellow LEO all around the world.  The team at UCD are very professional and hard working to ensure you have a successful time there and you meet other students from all around the world, forming friendships and bonds that are very helpful in your professional and personal life.”

    Jason Hunsaker (2018) -  Chandler Police Arizona
    “I originally selected the program as the modules provided very practical application to my current job functions so it made it possible to learn new things that have a direct application to my field. I like the distance learning format as well as the fact that I was able to use several of the things I learned in my current job. I was able to learn different areas of cyber crime investigations that I had not otherwise been exposed to which will certainly help in my current assignment as well as opening up new possibilities in the future.  The exposure to those disciplines has sparked an interest and given me a great foundation on which to build to be more effective in my current position as well as the potential for future opportunities.”

    Simon Crawley (2017) - Global Project Manager, MSAB (Micro Systemation AB)
    “As a direct result of completing the MSc - I was head hunted by 2 Digital Forensics Companies - Cellebrite and MSAB. I decided MSAB was the more exciting opportunity, and I became their Global Project Manager, so not only was it great completing the MSc, it directly led to a new, exciting - and well paid job - a huge thanks to you all.”

    Jacques Boucher (2017) United Nations
    Jacques was National Manager for Canada Revenue Agency’s computer forensics program before his new job with UNICEF as a computer forensic examiner supporting a team of internal investigators. Jacques says the MSc was a factor in getting this new job. "Having both the Master's and almost 30 years investigations pushed me ahead of other candidates."

    As well as UCD faculty, lecturers for this programme include subject experts from industry and law enforcement.

    The following entry routes are available:

    MSc Forensic Computing and Cybercrime Investigation Sept FT (T146)
    Duration
    1 Years
    Attendance
    Full Time
    Deadline
    Rolling *
    MSc Forensic Computing and Cybercrime Investigation Sept PT (T025)
    Duration
    2 Years
    Attendance
    Part Time
    Deadline
    Rolling *

    * Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised