Would you like to be able to analyze a cyber attack, or reverse engineer malware? Would you like to know how to process a crime scene, interrogate suspects and witnesses, and prepare a statement for court? Would you like to be able to perform electronic discovery of documents, investigate spear phishing, intellectual property theft, blackmail, defamation, fraud and various other forms of corporate misconduct where crucial evidence exists in digital form? If your answer is "yes", then this MSc program will give you the knowledge, skills, and practice.
We recognise that in this field, technology moves so fast it is not enough to teach how things work. So our graduates learn to do more than just use off-the-shelf tools. They learn how to perform their own research and develop their own technology. We train students to be independent problem solvers and investigators.
It is a very practical course, where you will learn from leading academics from UCD and international experts from industry. UCD works closely with law enforcement agencies and industry practitioners in seeking solutions to technology-related crimes.
This is a structured programme which prepares computer science graduates or IT specialists for a career in digital forensics or cyber security in industry, consulting or law enforcement.
The programme is for students with a background in computer science, information technology, or a related discipline. It covers all aspects of digital investigations from legislation and crime scene processing to digital forensics, reverse engineering, and forensic reporting. Students also learn how to prevent re-occurrence of incidents by applying appropriate information security countermeasures. The information security component covers key technical elements of modern network security technology, information security management, and penetration testing. The programme can be used to up-skill or to reorient a technical career.
One Year Full Time option (F020)
The one-year full-time program is a heavy workload on top of a full-time job so you might consider the part-time two-year distance learning option (F021) if you are working. Full-time students live and study in Dublin from September-August and come to UCD to attend lectures. The programme starts in September and finishes in August the following year.
A Digital investigation Project occupies the entire summer semester from the middle of May to the middle of August. Besides coursework, students benefit from regular research seminars and optional visits to the Irish law courts to better understand the litigation process and the role and responsibilities of expert witnesses. A limited number of industrial internships are available each year to suitable candidates upon successful completion of the programme.
Advantages of 1 year full-time programme include:
being in Dublin is a more hands-on studying environment with face-to-face contact with lecturers and tutor demonstrators
optional visits to Irish law courts
priority for internships if required
access to campus facilities, library, sports centre etc.
opportunities to take advantage of clubs and societies, have a cultural experience etc.
opportunity for non-EU students to remain in Ireland and work full-time after graduation for 12 months.
75% of full-time students come from outside Europe and their average age is slightly younger (30 years).
Facilities and Resources
Students perform self-study assignments during the year, using their personal computers and UCD's online computer lab. They have access to a Virtual Crime Scene Simulator and the loan of forensic equipment as needed.
Two Years Distance Learning Part Time option (F021)
Every aspect of the part-time programme is designed to facilitate distance-learning education by working professionals.
Facilities and Resources
All learning materials are accessible online via UCDs course management system that includes discussion forums and means to submit coursework for assessment. The programme includes an engaging mix of learning sessions, hands-on labs in UCD and using your own computer, plus case studies, tool demonstrations and in-depth discussions.
Welcome and Graduation
You are invited to attend the Welcome Session in person in September at the start, but this is also broadcast live and recorded, in case you cannot come to UCD. You may also attend the graduation ceremony in person at the end of the course if you wish.
The cost of attendance for these Dublin sessions is only your flights, transport from the airport, hotel and subsistence. There is no additional exam or workshop fee - just the course fee.
Complete your MSc while working
Compared to the full-time campus-based programme, the 2-year distance-learning format has the advantages that you can keep your full-time job while you study, there is a lighter study workload and the study times are more flexible. Do bear in mind that some modules have weekly assignments.
In demographic terms the student profile of the part-time course is 75% European and a significant number of these live outside Ireland while studying. These students are a little older (average age 36 years), typically working in IT or systems admin roles.