Undergraduate study
Computer and Digital Forensics (Extended)

BSc (Hons) Computer and Digital Forensics (Extended)

UCAS code: FG47 BSc/CDFEx

The BSc (Hons) Computer and Digital Forensics at Teesside University is ideal for you if you are interested in forging a career in computer security and forensics. It is a relatively new and growing career field - and technology is changing every day. Mobile phones, iPads and the internet are being used to perpetrate crimes and terrorist activities, creating billion-pound losses, and threatening national and international security.

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 4 years (including a foundation year) or 5 years with additional work placement year

More full-time details

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information

This course is an ideal entry route if you do not have the qualifications and grades to be admitted to Year 1 of BSc (Hons) Computer and Digital Forensics.

Experts in computer and digital forensics have a key role to play in investigating and preventing crime, and countering terrorist threats.You learn about file formats, software drivers, networking, routing, communication protocols and security, cryptology, reverse software engineering and investigative techniques. You use computer forensic tools such as password crackers and email converters. You learn the techniques and processes that allow you to recover, trace and capture digital data, and you are trained to prepare and present data as evidence in court.

Professional accreditation

Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences This course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences

In your first year you develop your knowledge in maths and the fundamentals of biological, chemical and physical sciences, together with material to help you develop numerical, communication, practical and learning skills. Successfully completing your first year enables you to proceed confidently on to the rest of your degree course. The remaining years of this course are the same as the BSc (Hons) Computer and Digital Forensics degree.

Course structure

Year 0 (foundation year) core modules

Crime Scene and Forensic Practice

This module introduces you to the theory and practice of crime scene and forensic sciences by referencing case studies, especially those in which procedural issues have compromised investigations. You have practical sessions in our crime scene house, vehicle laboratory and replica courtroom. These bring issues to life in an immersive setting. You work in groups to study and debate details of evidence-based miscarriages of justice. You see how practice has changed as a result of these cases as well as technological developments.

Current Issues in Computer and Digital Forensics

Electrical and Electronic Engineering Science

This module gives you a grounding in electrical and electronic engineering principles and is designed to underpin modules in the first year of the electrical and electronic engineering courses.

Fundamentals of Mathematics for Science

This module refreshes and enhances your maths skills as you prepare to study science at undergraduate level. It introduces the mathematical notation and techniques relevant to studying science, developing the skills you need to analyse and solve science problems. You study numerical and algebraic manipulation, solving equations, solving triangles, and introducing probability and descriptive statistics.

You are assessed by an in-course assignment (40%) focusing on the practical application of statistics to scientific data. You also sit an end examination (60%).

Fundamentals of Physics

You develop an understanding of the fundamentals of physics, and their application in science. Concepts from physics and physical measurement underpin nearly all other areas of scientific endeavour. You develop an understanding of the fundamental ideas, particularly common units of measurement.

The Role of Enforcement Agencies

This module gives you an insight into how various enforcement agencies work and the investigative process, including the use of intelligence. The world of investigation is much wider than the police. This module introduces you to the range of agencies, highlighting the need for these agencies to co-operate for effective investigation.

You study the role of support services such as crime scene examiners within investigation. You are introduced to prosecution policies used by enforcement agencies and the alternatives to prosecution.

 

Year 1 core modules

Computer Technologies

You are introduced to the basic subsystems, components and operating systems that form common personal computer systems. Sessions begin with a lecture covering relevant aspects of the subject material, which is supported, in the second part of the session, by relevant hands-on exercises

Core Skills in Forensic and Scene Science

Knowledge of the degree subject is not the only thing you learn whilst at university and it’s not the only thing that potential employers are looking for after graduation. You develop a range of skills applicable in all walks of life. These include your ability to communicate clearly and effectively to different audiences, verbally and in writing, to make an effective contribution as a member of a team, to work independently or on your own initiative when required, to tackle problems where you don’t have all the necessary knowledge. You learn to locate information and datasets, and assess its usefulness making efficient and effective use of the latest information technologies to communicate your findings. You also learn to assess your own performance – this gives you the chance to recognise and build on your strengths, and identify and improve your weaknesses.

This module is part of a series running throughout your studies – you develop key skills which are assessed through a series of activities where you also learn about key aspects of your chosen subject. This module introduces you, as a science student, to basic principles and good practice in collecting, recording and evaluating data, and using information resources and referencing. You consider the assessment and handling of scientific errors. The module covers a range of basic mathematical skills and introduces you to statistical methods that are essential in a range of scientific endeavour. We emphasise the use of spreadsheets for data recording, presentation and statistical analysis.

Intelligence and Digital Investigation

This module is about group work, investigating a simulated digital intelligence-based case that develops and unfolds. As a group you must work together to discover elements of the case and drive the investigation forward. You are given an intelligence package to work through.

This module is delivered through lectures supported by tutorial and IT laboratory sessions. You need to carry out guided independent study before the intensive week. During that week your group gets the final piece of intelligence and you are required to produce an intelligence briefing. You also carry out self and peer assessment.

Introduction to Forensic Science

You are introduced to the fundamental concepts of forensic science in both a theoretical and practical manner. You are introduced to a range of forensic chemical and biological evidence types including, footwear marks, glass, paint, fibres, fire investigation, drugs, DNA, body fluids and blood pattern analysis and carry out a range of associated practical and tutorial sessions. Additionally you incorporate the requirement to analyse and interpret forensic scientific data.

Introduction to Forensic Scripting

You are introduced to the key constructs of scripting and programming, and their relevance in a forensic environment. You develop your theoretical knowledge through lectures which is reinforced through seminars and practical sessions. Recognising the value of peer learning, you tackle practical exercises in small groups.

Legal Foundations for Investigative Sciences

You examine the nature of the law and of the Constitution of the United Kingdom, and explore how the law is formed. You acquire a detailed understanding of the concept of law and the main legal institutions and procedures within which English law operates.

We consider the influence of European Human Rights and the European Union on the legal process, along with the main sources and categories of law. Lectures explain the main principles, but tutorials and seminars form a basis for learning, using examples from the press and other media to show how the topic affects all of society

 

Year 2 core modules

Digital Forensics Practical Investigations

The major focus of this module is on group work. You tackle problem-based learning, introduced by an employer in the field of digital electronics, ensuring you investigate relevant case studies. Your teamworking skills are developed as you apply your theoretical knowledge to practical investigations

Expert Witness and The Law

This is an introduction to the role of the expert witness in legal proceedings, from handling of evidence and writing scientific statements to being an effective expert witness in the courtroom. The legal framework is explored including aspects of UK, International and Human Rights law. There is a quality theme throughout, to include quality standards and accreditation. It is delivered by a series of lectures and seminars with practice sessions for you to develop your courtroom skills.

Mobile Forensic Investigations

You learn about data storage on mobile devices. You develop detailed knowledge of the principles of examining mobile devices, attached storage media and other portable devices. You are immersed in practical scenarios that reflect real-life cases and use the forensic tools that are used in practice to solve these scenarios.

Operating System and File System Forensics

You study the physical storage of data on devices, operating systems, partitioning and logical file systems. You develop detailed knowledge of the principles of examining operating systems and file systems present on storage media, and gain knowledge of modern operating and file system-specific artefacts that provide sources of evidence and/or intelligence in a digital forensic investigation. You are immersed in practical scenarios that reflect real-life cases and use industry-standard forensic tools to solve these scenarios.

Science Research Methods and Proposal

You will take this module if you are studying a science degree and complete a hypothesis-driven research project at Level 6 of your degree studies. It is delivered though lectures, tutorials and workshops.

You develop a proposal for your research project, which includes an explanation of the project targeted at both a specialist audience and the general public, and details of experimental design and statistical analysis to be employed. The proposal considers academic beneficiaries and economic, environmental and societal impacts. Project costs are estimated on the basis of a full economic costing model. In addition, the proposal is supported by a targeted CV.

A short lecture series at the start of the academic year provides you with an introduction to the module and advice on completing the research proposal documentation, followed by a series of assessment centre-style workshops and tasks which help assign you to a specific research project area and supervisor. These tasks familiarise you with the type of activities you might face during the application, interview and selection procedures.

You must produce a research proposal for your individual project. You are supported by a series of meetings with your supervisor to provide feedback on your progress.

For the proposal to be considered you must acquire ethical clearance from the School Research Ethics Committee. Once you are allocated a project you join discipline-based tutorials with other students. Each discipline operates tutorial sessions, which are used to provide academic guidance and support for completing ethical clearance documentation and the proposal. A series of research methodology-based workshops introduce you to various experimental designs and statistical techniques relevant to your discipline. These sessions also demonstrate how you can use software such as Minitab, SPSS and Excel to present and analyse datasets. These workshops help you decide on the design and analysis of the data associated with your project.

The module is assessed by you successfully acquiring ethical clearance (pass/fail) and submitting a completed research project proposal and supporting CV (100%).

Scripting and Problem Solving

This module allows you to combine common problem-solving and software development techniques to script solutions on a range of problems. Particular attention is placed on learning the constructs that underpin scripting and programming languages. The delivery pattern for this module uses integrated lectures and seminars, followed up by practical sessions.

 

Final-year core modules

Complex and Organised Crime

This module engages you in the full investigative process from gathering evidence to submitting prosecution reports and appearing in court as a witness. Enforcement agencies increasingly work in a co-operative multidisciplinary manner in real-world situations. This is a group project module, with all students contributing a vital part to the investigative team to produce a final report that would successfully gain a conviction under the relevant legislation. As part of a multidisciplinary group, you use the skills you have learned within your programme to contribute to investigating a crime. This includes using appropriate professional techniques and core competencies to gather and retain physical or electronic evidence, obtain samples, inspect premises, take statements and interview suspects under caution.

Internet, Network and Server Investigations

This module provides you with a detailed underpinning knowledge of internet and server communications, which allows you to expand your knowledge to the examining advanced topics in the investigation of online activity, including that of cybercrime and electronic social engineering.

You use the same methodologies and techniques that are applied within real world situations to complete a task that is designed to reflect real world cybercrime and other online events

Science Research Project

You bring together a range of practical and academic skills, developed in previous years of study, to interrogate a particular aspect of your field of study. You specialise in a particular area of science, supported by an appointed research supervisor who will act as a mentor and guide you through the development and completion of your research project.

You are required to present a poster and abstract at the School’s annual Poster Day event, which is attended by academics of the School, external examiners, and professionals from the region. The poster contributes to your final project mark. Throughout the project you are expected to maintain systematic and reliable records of your research which are reviewed on a regular basis by your supervisor and assessed at the end of the project. You submit your research in the style of a paper which could be submitted to an appropriate scientific journal related to your discipline.

The module is assessed by a poster presentation (20%) and the submission of a journal paper supported by a research diary and/or laboratory notebook (80%).

 

and two optional modules

Analysis and Interpretation of Intelligence

This module enhances your understanding of the functions of an intelligence unit, and the systems and processes used to analyse intelligence. You explore the theoretical models that apply to analysis and develop the cognitive and psychomotor skills required of problem solvers using IT laboratory sessions. You use software packages and datasets, and look at how crime science theory supports problem-orientated policing to define the analyst as the crime expert.

Cryptography and Steganography

This module provides you with an examination of cryptographic and steganographic methods. It includes consideration of how encrypted or steganographically encoded data can be detected and recovered.
You explore the history of Cryptography and Steganography to understand why these techniques have been developed. You then study these topics from the forensic investigation point of view. This is carried out using tutorials and the virtual learning environment, and a range of formative and summative assessments that reflect real life events

Scripting and Searching

The module allows you to develop solutions across the platforms of UNIX, internet and databases to acquire and filter relevant information that is useful to support an investigation. The delivery pattern for this module uses integrated lectures and seminars, followed up by practical sessions.

 

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

You are expected to attend a range of lectures, small-group tutorials and hands-on laboratory sessions. Part of your course also involves a substantial research-based project.

The course provides a number of contact teaching and assessment hours (lectures, tutorials, laboratory work, projects, examinations) but you are also expected to spend time on your own, called self-study time, to review lecture notes, prepare coursework assignments, work on projects and revise for assessments. Each year of full-time study consists of modules totalling 120 credits and each unit of credit corresponds to ten hours of learning and assessment (contact hours plus self-study hours). So, during one year of full-time study you can expect to have 1,200 hours of learning and assessment.

One module in each year of your study, excluding your first year (Level 3), involves a compulsory one-week block delivery period. This intensive problem-solving week, provides you with an opportunity to focus your attention on particular problems and enhance your team-working and employability skills.

100% of BSc (Hons) Computer and Digital Forensics students said that 'the course is intellectually stimulating' (National Student Survey 2014).

How you are assessed

Your course involves a range of assessment types including coursework assignments, projects and examinations.


Our Disability Services team helps students with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
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Career opportunities

Graduates can gain employment in a wide range of companies, government organisations, security services and the financial sector to name just a few. There are opportunities with forensic science agencies, the police and HM Revenue & Customs, as well as in computer security and forensic accounting.

We pride ourselves in developing graduates who stand out from the crowd. Here's what one employer had to say:
'... we interviewed nearly 30 people for this position and the two Teesside University graduates stood out head and shoulders above everyone else.'
Simon Janes, Operations Director, Computer Forensic Alliance

Work placement

We produce graduates with the problem-solving and leadership skills necessary to forge successful careers.

This programme allows you to spend an optional year - in-between your second year and final year - learning and developing your skills through work experience. You have a dedicated work placement officer and the University's award-winning careers service to help you with applying for a placement. Advice is also available on job hunting and networking. Employers are often invited to our School to meet you and present you with opportunities for work placements.

By taking a work placement year you gain experience favoured by graduate recruiters and develop your technical skillset. You also obtain the transferable skills required in any professional environment. Transferable skills include communication, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, organisation, confidence, self-reliance, problem-solving, being able to work under pressure, and commercial awareness.

Throughout this programme, you get to know prospective employers and extend your professional network. An increasing number of employers view a placement as a year-long interview and, as a result, placements are increasingly becoming an essential part of an organisation's pre-selection strategy in their graduate recruitment process.

Potential benefits from completing a work placement year include:

  • improved job prospects
  • enhanced employment skills and improved career progression opportunities
  • a higher starting salary than your full-time counterparts
  • a better degree classification
  • a richer CV
  • a year's salary before completing your degree
  • experience of workplace culture
  • the opportunity to design and base your final-year project within a working environment.

Entry requirements

The tariff point requirement depends on the Level 3 subjects you have previously studied. Typical offers normally range from 32-88 tariff points. The points can be accumulated from any combination of Level 3 qualifications.

We also consider a range of alternative qualifications and relevant work experience.

Acceptable entry qualifications can include any of the following:
1. any combination of Level 3 qualifications (for example, A/AS levels, BTEC Certificates/Diplomas, Access for HE courses)
or
2. a High School Certificate/Diploma with good grades completed after at least 12 years of primary and secondary education
or
3. demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of relevant post-school work experience.

There are no mandatory Level 3 subjects required for entry to this course, but normally we will expect students to provide evidence of English language and mathematical skills equivalent to GCSE grade 4 or higher. We consider a wide range of English and maths qualifications alternative to GCSEs. Please contact our admissions staff for advice.

If you are in the UK you may be required to attend an interview before we make you an individual offer tailored to your background, experience and qualifications. During your visit you also have the opportunity to see our campus, get more information on your course, tour our facilities and meet our staff.

Secure a guaranteed course place now*
Guaranteed Place Scheme (TUSSE-GPS)

If you have completed Level 3 qualifications (for example AS Levels, BTEC Nationals) and have at least five GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including English and Mathematics, you may be eligible for a guaranteed place on an Extended degree course in your chosen subject whilst still working towards meeting the conditions required for a course with higher entry requirements.
Find out more and check your eligibility

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country


You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL

What is KIS?

How to understand the Key Information Set

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 4 years (including a foundation year) or 5 years with additional work placement year

More full-time details

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information