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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.You can complete an optional work placement year as part of this degree course at no extra cost.

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.

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 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.

 

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.

 

Year 3 optional placement year

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

This 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.

The course provides a number of contact teaching and assessment hours, but you are also expected to 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). So, 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 UCAS tariff points
You must have GCSE English and Mathematics at grade 4 (grade C) or equivalent and have studied at least one relevant subject at Level 3. Eligible subjects include:

IT/ICT
Computing
Mathematics
Physics
Engineering
Applied Science

Typical Level 3 qualifications include:

A levels (within a minimum of grade C from one relevant subject)
BTEC Extended Diploma
Access to HE Diploma

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.

Applicant Days
If you receive an offer to study with us you will be invited to attend one of our Applicant Days. This is a great opportunity to learn more about studying at Teesside by exploring our campus, seeing our excellent facilities, meeting staff and students, and finding out more about your course.

The Applicant Day provides you with information, guidance and advice to help you make the right choice. Even if you have attended an Open Day we encourage you to attend the Applicant Day - we are confident you will find your visit a useful experience.

Non-EU international students
Non-EU international students who need a student visa to study in the UK should check our web pages on UKVI-compliant English language requirements. The University also provides pre-sessional English language courses if you do not meet the minimum English language requirement.

For additional information please see our 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

Work placement

A work placement officer and our careers service 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 you gain experience favoured by graduate recruiters and develop your technical skillset. You also gain 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.

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.




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 2020/21 academic year

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£13,000 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
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 96-112 tariff points

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS

 

Part-time

2020/21 entry

Fee for UK/EU 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
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)

 
 
 

Choose Teesside

iPad

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Live in affordable accommodation right on-campus

 

Campus

Study in our town-centre campus with over £270m of recent investment

 

Industry ready

Benefit from work placements, live projects, accredited courses

 

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