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MSc Digital Investigation and Forensic Computing

MSc Digital Investigation and Forensic Computing

Who is this degree for?

The MSc in Digital Investigation & Forensic Computing is aimed at information technology specialists who need to acquire skills for investigation of computer-related incidents. It introduces concepts, principles, and professional practice in digital investigation and gives you information, knowledge and skills that you can apply straight away.

How will I study

Lectures are held at UCD two evenings a week during term. A part time student doing the course over two years will attend approx 4 hours of lectures on Tuesday evenings in Year 1, switching to Wednesday evenings in year 2. A full time student taking the course in one year will attend lectures on both Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

 As some students may choose to follow the course mainly online, lectures are simultaneously broadcast live via the classroom website and, following the lecture, the live recording is also made available.

While personal attendance at weekly lectures is not mandatory, students are required to come to Dublin twice during the course:

1. Year One: once in mid-term of Semester 2 (end of February) for practical training (for a week), then for another week at the end of April for the practical & written exams.

2. Year Two: Students do not need to come to Dublin in year 2, but they may expect to do one-on-one interviews online with lecturers as part of their assessment.

In addition to lectures, students are expected to perform self-study assignments during the year, using their personal computers and UCD's online computer lab. Hands-on practical assignments, which require laboratory equipment, take place at the end of the year in the form of intensive full-day workshops during the examination period. In addition, students may book time in UCD's digital forensic lab and use the equipment for self-study during the year.

The programme is delivered in cooperation with the leading Irish experts in the field with an engaging mix of learning sessions, hands-on labs, case studies, tool demonstrations and in-depth discussions. A unique aspect to the course is the international student and alumni network that gives you an international perspective and global contacts that will be valuable in your future career.

What will I study?

The programme is highly practical and uses tutors from industry and law enforcement as well UCD academics. This course is open to both law enforcement and civilian experts.


■ Computer Forensic Foundations

■ Law for IT Investigators

■ Application Forensics

■ Investigative Techniques

■ Corporate Investigations

■ Information Security

■ Digital Investigation Project

This is a research project on a real-world topic in digital investigation.

Programme outcomes

On successful completion of the programme students will be able to:

■ Perform forensic analysis of a personal computer running Windows operating system

■ Understand legal issues in keeping information secure and in the conduct of investigations

■ Understand the role and the use of digital evidence in litigation

■ Prepare investigation reports and court testimony

■ Analyse user activity in Windows OS

■ Use crime scene search techniques, handle evidence and interview witnesses

■ Prepare investigative reports and court testimony

■ Perform investigations into misuse of IT in a corporate environment

■ Investigate crime against computer systems including malware

■ Deploy information security mechanisms

■ Conduct independent research and convey the knowledge discovered to colleagues

What are the career opportunities?

Cybercrime and identify theft are among the fastest growing crimes, yet employers cannot find people who have the right mix of skills to work in the area.  Graduates of the MSc in Digital Investigation & Forensic Computing are employed as:

Project and program managers

Systems / network managers


Information security specialists

Computer forensics and security analysts

Test, audit and engineering and technical specialists

Experts in risk management and fraud prevention.

We currently have graduates working in

Law enforcement

IT companies such as Dell, Detica Group, Jinny Software, Symantec, Oracle, IBM Global Services, HP, Cisco

Banks and financial institutions such as Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan, Bank of Ireland, Central Bank of Ireland, Pioneer Investments, Anima Asset Management, BNY Mellon, Mediolanum Asset Management

Management consultancies such as Ernst & Young

Specialist digital forensics and eDiscovery consulting firms

Companies such as Facebook, Google

Industrial companies such as Elan Pharmaceuticals

For further information, entry requirements, programme delivery options and application procedure

More information and details of the application procedure may be obtained from:
Applicants must ask referees to complete the Postgraduate Referee Report  which must be returned to UCD by the referees, as instructed on the form 

Recording of a recent information session

MSc Digital Investigation and Forensic Computing HangoutThis video was recorded during a talk at our Graduate Studies Open Evening on 24th November 2014.  This is 52 minutes long, but will be very useful for anyone seriously considering this MSc.  The Course Director speaks about the course for the first 37 minutes, then a current student speaks about his experience on the the course (37-40mins), a lecturer on the course from industry talks (40-42 mins) then our Programme Administrator and the Course Director address frequently asked questions from prospective students.

Enquiries about the course may be addressed to 01 716 2948

Contact Details

Queries about the course can be addressed directly to Course Director Dr. Pavel Gladyshev on +353 1 716 2917 or email

Administrative queries can be addressed to Ian Bonar on +353 1 716 2947 or email

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