Computer Forensics Degree

Explore Degree & Course Options in Computer Forensic Science

computer forensics specialist

With a computer forensics degree, you will be armed and ready to fight cybercrime, cyberterrorism, identity theft rings, internet child predators, and more. Computer Forensic specialists work with law enforcement agencies as well as government and private organizations conducting investigations and gathering evidence.

A computer forensics degree will provide you with training in computer sciences to include: networking, computer surveillance systems, hacking techniques, and how data is stored and can be retrieved. Learning the many ways to recover information from electronic devices is vital to the job of a computer forensics investigator. In addition to computers, you will learn how to retrieve information from a variety of electronic devices including cell phones, PDA’s, and more. Take some time to understand the courses, curriculum, and specializations within this evolving field.

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Computer Forensics Online Degree Options

With increased demand, computer forensics online degrees are now more readily available than in the past. Many schools are now offering a bachelors in information technology with a concentration in computer forensics. The programs combine technical skills with a focus on detection and retrieval of data in computer crimes. These programs allow the student to use their skills in other roles as well such as IT investigation, corporate security, security networking, and more. Earning a degree online allows you optimum flexibility so you don’t have to stop your life and your earnings to further your education.

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Degree Types

Degree Categories & Levels

There are many different computer forensics degrees to choose from. Some students choose to start off by getting their Associates in Computer Forensics. This degree prepares students for entry level positions often times working under a more experienced professional. Once students have completed their associates degree they my choose to work in the industry for a few years to gain experience; others choose to jump right into the next level of education by earning their Bachelor’s degree in a wide number of CJ specialties. Those wanting to work for the FBI or other intelligence positions may get a Bachelor’s degree in Cyber Crime. Take a look at some of the many degree choices that offer exposure and training toward a career in computer forensics. Students may also choose, or could be required to earn certifications such as, CISSP, CISM, CISA, or CCSP.

  • Associates of Arts – Computer Forensics
  • Bachelor’s (BIT) Computer Forensics
  • Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice – Cyber Crime
  • Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice – Computer Security and Forensics
  • Bachelor’s – Information Systems Security
  • Bachelor’s in Cyber Security – Cybercrime Investigations and Security
  • Bachelor’s in Cyber Security – Information Assurance
  • BSCJ – Computer Information Systems & Security
  • Bachelor’s CIS – Information Systems Security
  • Bachelor’s CIS – Human Computer Interaction
  • Bachelor’s CIS – Self Designed
  • M.I.S.M – Enterprise Information Security
  • Master’s of Forensic Sciences – Security Management
  • Master’s of Forensic Sciences – High Technology Crime Investigation

Since computer forensics is still a career in its infancy, many schools are still in the process of adding programs specifically for computer forensics. A common way to get formal education is to pursue information technology degrees with a focus on computer forensics. Computer forensics positions are available with law enforcement and government agencies, as well as private corporations. The demand and compensation for skilled computer security and forensics specialists is growing as the cyber attacks and security threats become more sophisticated and frequent.

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Computer Forensics Courses

Computer forensics courses will provide you with a solid understanding of computer systems, programming language, networks, hardware, and databases. Having the foundational knowledge will then prepare you for the courses in electronic evidence retrieval and how to collect the data without damaging or altering the original data.

A computer forensics degree will provide you with an understanding of the legal aspects of handling digital evidence and how to store and analyze that data as well as to communicate written and verbally the findings.

General outline of what to expect from computer forensics courses is as follows:

  • How to examine digital data
  • How to Identify where data is stored or to track attempted deleted data
  • How to recover and interpret the data found
  • How to analyze and make conclusions about the data
  • How to present those conclusions for use as forensic evidence

During your training, you will also use case studies to develop an approach to your investigations. For example, a child pornography scenario will present a very different approach than an embezzlement scenario. You will learn about the common ways in which criminals attempt to hide or destroy data that could be potentially useful in a court of law and the legal procedures associated with computer forensics, such as the evidence’s chain of custody and search warrants.

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What Courses Will I Take?

Computer forensics schools offer degrees at the Associates, Bachelors and Masters levels. The degree majors may also go by other related names besides “Computer Forensics”, such as Cyber Crime, Information Systems Security, Computer Security, High Technology Crime Investigation, Information Security, Cybersecurity, Information Security Management and Digital Forensics. As follows are some examples of courses that are taken at each degree level.

Associates Degree Courses: Associate Degrees are generally two years long. Courses delve into computer technology basics, the fundamentals of computer forensics, information security, digital forensics tools, technical writing and communications, criminal justice or law (i.e. white collar crime) and incident response. Specialized courses may cover firewalls, Linux, networking with TCP/IP and forensics of mobile devices.

Bachelors Degree Level Courses: Bachelors degrees are generally four years long and thus allow students to complete more computer forensics courses and also perhaps specialize in a particular area of the field. Like with an Associates degree, students generally complete courses related to operating systems, digital forensics and criminal justice, but also courses pertaining to the analysis of computer forensics, investigative techniques, financial accounting, criminal procedures, ethics, economy, politics and more. Often an experiential internship is required for a Bachelors degree. Possible specializations with this four year computer forensics program include digital evidence procedures, computer ethics and information security planning & auditing.

Masters Degree & Graduate Level Courses: A Masters Degree in Computer or Digital Forensics generally offers more advanced computer forensics courses including those that cover investigating intercepted data or multisource log information and retrieving data from a variety of electronic and digital devices. Usually as part of a two or more year Masters Degree, students complete their own thesis project on a computer forensics topic of their choice.