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Undergraduate study
 

Course overview

The BSc (Hons) Computer and Digital Forensics at Teesside University is ideal if you are interested in forging a career in computer security and forensics. Experts in computer and digital forensics have a key role to play in investigating, preventing and detecting crime, and countering terrorist threats.

Digital forensics is a field undergoing significant growth - the real challenge for law enforcement is keeping up with the rapid pace of technological development. 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.

This course prepares you for the challenges law enforcement agencies face in keeping up with the rapid pace of technological development. It really is the future of crime.

Experts in computer and digital forensics have a key role to play in investigating and preventing and detecting crime, and countering terrorist threats. You learn about file formats, data recovery techniques, networking and routing, communication protocols and security, cryptography, reverse engineering and investigative techniques. You use industry computer forensic tools such as X-Ways, Magnet AXIOM, UFED Cellebrite, and Passware. You learn the techniques and processes that allow you to recover, trace and capture digital data, and gain experience in preparing and presenting data as evidence in court. You study in our state-of-the-art digital forensic laboratory, which is equipped with the same high performance forensic workstations and industry-standard forensic software typically found in a police digital forensic unit.

Top reasons to study this course at Teesside:

  • Industry links: work on live industry briefs, competitions and hackathons with companies including Cisco, Cubic Transportation Systems, Sage, TUI, Atombank, HMRC and Waterstons.
  • British Computer Society (BCS) academic membership: get free BCS membership to accelerate your career path with CV builder tools, e-learning courses, mentorships programmes, jobs boards and volunteering opportunities.
  • Career-ready: our ExpoSeries of events allow you to showcase your skills to industry professionals who are seeking to recruit new and rising talent.

An optional work placement year is included, at no extra cost. Alongside this, you can gain valuable experience and engagement with the sector through our shorter work placements, internships and work experience opportunities.
Find out more

Professional accreditation

The Forensic Science Society This course has been accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, and was the first computer and digital forensics course in the UK to receive this accreditation.

 
 

Course details

Course structure

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

Crime Scene Examination

This module provides you with the professional skills required to work as a member of an investigative team dealing with a range of challenging situations. The focus is on developing your psychomotor skills to maximise forensic evidence recovery at a variety of incidents by applying sequential processes. We do this using simulated incidents and practical exercises. You attend a series of lectures and practical sessions. The module is assessed through your portfolio of work including work from practical sessions. At the end of the module you sit a multiple choice examination through the virtual learning environment. The module is designed to meet a number of National Occupational Standards for Crime Scene Investigators.

Forensic Case Studies and the Law

This module provides you with the essential legal knowledge to support you in developing the skills required of a forensic investigator. Through research and case studies, you will develop an understanding of the role of the courts and relevant investigatory legislation in the UK and how forensic examinations contribute to the criminal justice process.

Forensic Computing

You gain foundational knowledge of key threshold concepts in digital forensics. This module will contextualise prior knowledge and enable you to apply this learning to realistic, simulated forensic computing situations.

Forensic Scripting

This module introduces the skills required to develop a computer program/script that can solve a simple, but investigation relevant, forensic problem. The module taught ‘hands on’, using blended learning to demonstrate key concepts and constructs and practicals for students to reinforce the learnt knowledge. All teaching will be IT laboratory based. The assessment is a written examination.

Intelligence and Digital Investigation

This module provides students with the opportunity to identify and examine potential sources of intelligence as part of wider digital investigations. Students will examine where such sources might be located, their structure, contents and value to an investigation as well as surrounding legal and ethical implications involved with such information and the use of it. Relevant approaches to examining and interpreting intelligence sources will be identified and discussed, supplemented by reference to real-world scenarios and application

 

Year 2 core modules

Alternative Operating System Forensics

You gain a detailed knowledge of the principles of examining alternative operating systems and their associated file-systems, and modern alternative operating and file-system specific artefacts which provide sources of evidence and/or intelligence in a digital forensic investigation.

Digital Forensic Research and Development

This module uses group work as its major delivery tool and enables you to tackle problem-based learning to craft a realistic (but fictional) scenario involving digital evidence and simulated suspects and victims. You will create the digital evidence that would be associated with such a case.

Mainstream Operating System Forensics

You gain detailed knowledge of the principles of examining mainstream operating systems and their associated file-systems, and modern mainstream operating and file-system specific artefacts which 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 the forensic tools that are used in real cases to solve these scenarios. This module will utilise a blended approach to delivery, in order to consolidate and reinforce learning.

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.

Principles of Forensic Scripting

You focus on the principles of shell scripting and database interaction and will develop skills in the use of Bash and associated UNIX scripting utilities. Structured Query Language (SQL) will be the basis of database interaction. Initially you will be learn how to use SQL as the internal query language for databases, after which you will embed SQL within in an external program/script.

Professional Practice and the Expert Witness

This module is an introduction to the role of the expert witness in legal proceedings in the UK, from handling of evidence and writing scientific statements to being an effective expert witness in the courtroom. A professional practice theme throughout includes codes of conduct, quality standards and accreditation, to equip you with key information and skills required in a career in forensic practice. The legal framework will also be explored including aspects of UK and international law.

 

Optional work placement year

Work placement

You have the option to spend one year in industry learning and developing your skills. We encourage and support you with applying for a placement, job hunting and networking.

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

Many employers view a placement as a year-long interview, therefore placements are increasingly becoming an essential part of an organisation's pre-selection strategy in their graduate recruitment process. Benefits 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.

If you are unable to secure a work placement with an employer, then you simply continue on a course without the work placement.

 

Final-year core modules

Applied Cryptography

Modern cryptography provides the security component for most digital interactions, for example messaging on WhatsApp. The building blocks of modern cryptography are based on classical ciphers, binary computations and mathematical concepts. You will be taught the building blocks of cryptography in order to understand how cryptography is applied to the digital field in terms of both applications and programs. You will learn how encoded data can be detected and recovered, as well as studying real-world forensic case scenarios, which will demonstrate modern encryption in action. You focus on the underlying technologies behind modern, current encryption; as well as learning how to bypass, crack, exploit, or otherwise defeat such encryption. You will also learn both paper-based and computer-based cracking techniques that would be required in the investigation of cybercrime.

Digital Offender and Victim Identification

You will learn about policies, procedures, tools, and techniques for analysing and investigating cases involving digital imagery; as well as open source intelligence techniques for researching and identifying electronic suspects and victims. As part of this module, you will also have the opportunity to achieve a certification for Griffeye Analyze DI Pro; an industry-standard software tool and the leading digital media intelligence platform. Assessment will be in the form of coursework.

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 complete an in-depth, independent investigation into a specialist aspect of your field of study. In your project you will bring together a range of practical and academic skills developed in previous years of study. Regardless of the nature of the project, this process acts as a capstone experience requiring analysis and critical evaluation of data as well as critical reflection on the potential risks, moral and ethical issues. This piece of work will involve a significant individual contribution on your part. You will be supported by the appointment of an academic staff member as your research supervisor. They will act as a mentor and guide you through the development and completion of your research project.

Finally, you will communicate your independent research by producing a research poster and journal article to allow you to develop essential skills which mirror professional practice when research is presented at scientific conferences and for publication.

Serious Crime Investigation

You carry out group work and encompass the examination of evidence typically found within a crime scene and working forensic science laboratory, evaluation of data and delivery of evidence in a mock court. You work in self-managed inter-disciplinary teams using each other’s strengths to build up a portfolio of knowledge and evidence relating to casework material. The module incorporates industry standards such as Streamlined Forensic Reporting (SFR).

 

Modules offered may vary.

 

How you learn

You gain the knowledge, understanding, experience and practical skills appropriate to computer and digital forensics through a range of independent and self-directed teaching methods including lectures, tutorials, seminars and workshops (including oral presentations and poster sessions), laboratory work, computer laboratory-based sessions, group projects and research projects.

You experience a number of contact teaching and assessment hours, you spend time on your own in 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). During one year of full-time study you can expect to have 1,200 hours of learning and assessment

Each programme and module is supported by a specific virtual learning environment (VLE) site.

How you are assessed

You may be assessed through:

  • formal exams including 'unseen' exams
  • court/case reports
  • evidence portfolios
  • technical reports
  • computer-based assessments
  • problem-solving exercises
  • oral presentations and technical interviews
  • collaborative project work
  • preparation and display of posters
  • planning, conduct and reporting of project work<.li>


You also have the opportunity to present evidence in our on-campus court room.




Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs

 
 

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Year 1 entry
96-112 points including either IT/ICT, computing, maths, physics, engineering or applied science. Typical Level 3 qualifications include A levels, BTEC Extended Diploma or Access to HE Diploma. You must also have GCSE English and maths at grade 4. We may be able to help you meet the entry requirements through our Summer and Winter University short courses.

Alternative equivalent UK and international qualifications and subjects are also considered. If you are not eligible for Year 1 entry, we also offer this course with an integrated foundation year.

Direct entry to later years
If you have previously studied a relevant subject at a higher level (for example HNC, HND or one or more years of a degree at another institution) we can consider you for direct entry to Year 2 or Final Year of this course. Please provide us with a complete detailed transcript of your previous studies with your application to help us determine your eligibility for advanced entry.


For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

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

 

Employability

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 intelligence. Some of our recent graduates have gone on to work with Cleveland Police, North Yorkshire Police, Greater Manchester Police, and Sapphire.

 

Information for international applicants

Qualifications

International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

Select your country:

  
 

Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

Talk to us

Talk to an international student enrolment adviser

 
 

Full-time

Entry to 2022/23 academic year

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£14,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants


What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: FG45 BSc/CDF
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 96-112 tariff points

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS

 

Part-time

2022/23 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£4,500 (120 credits)

More details about our fees

  • Length: 6 years if entering in Year 1, 4 years if entering in Year 2
  • Attendance: Timetable governed - please contact our admissions office
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)

 

Choose Teesside

  • Facilities
     
  • On video

    Forensic biology work placement

    Forensic biology student Mark Malate talks about his work placement at Eurofins Forensic Services

     
  • Student and graduate profiles
     
  • Employer quote

    Simon Janes, Operations Director, Computer Forensic Alliance1

    ... we interviewed nearly 30 people for this position and the two Teesside University graduates stood out head and shoulders above everyone else.

     
 
 
 

ExpoTalent 2019

ExpoTalent is a unique opportunity to meet businesses to secure placements, internships and future employment opportunities.

 

Get in touch

UK students

Email: scedtadmissions@tees.ac.uk

Telephone: 01642 738801


Online chat

International students

Email: internationalenquiries@tees.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 1642 738900


More international contacts

 

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