MSc in Forensic Computing and Cybercrime Investigation

Why study the MSc in Forensic Computing and Cybercrime Investigation in UCD?

The MSc in Forensic Computing and Cybercrime Investigation programme is an international part-time MSc level programme, open to staff and officers of any organisation that has responsibility for the enforcement of national or local legislation. This programme is taken online by distance learning either part time or full time. It is designed to allow you to continue in full time employment and fit your study around work and family commitments. Exams are taken in Dublin, USA or the Netherlands. Additional future exam centre locations are being considered.

This programme is designed for Law Enforcement. Entry is restricted to employees of an organisation that has responsibility for the enforcement of national or local legislation.

The Forensic Computing and Cybercrime Investigation programme currently has around 260 participants. As a student you join a community of over 800 current and past students in 61 countries.

It is a part-time distance-learning programme. Attendance is required only for annual exams in Dublin, Netherlands or USA.

The programme is unique in that it:

  1. Is designed for - and restricted to - law enforcement

  2. Has a wide range of modules to choose from

  3. Uses a proven distance learning format that suits investigators with irregular hours

  4. Has flexible entry requirements that recognise experience and training

  5. Offers a flexible structure with Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate options, as well as the Master of Science (MSc) award. Single modules may be taken as Continuing Professional Development courses (CPD).

The purpose of the programme is to develop skills for the investigation of cyber crime or any crime where there is digital evidence. For those new to the subject, it introduces the concepts, principles and professional practice in forensic computing and cybercrime investigation. The advanced modules cater for the needs of more experienced digital forensic investigators. Students learn how to identify, preserve, handle, investigate and present digital evidence in court. Many graduates go on to train colleagues in their own forces or to develop tools to assist in digital forensic investigations.

Students can embark on a course of study leading to the qualifications:

· Graduate Certificate in Forensic Computing & Cybercrime Investigation

· Graduate Diploma in Forensic Computing & Cybercrime Investigation

· Masters degree in Forensic Computing & Cybercrime Investigation (MSc)

It is also possible to take single modules as Continuing Professional Development.


The programme offers a wide range of taught modules and (for MSc students) an optional Case Study and/or Research Project.

Semester 1

(September - December)

Module Code

Module Title


 COMP 40100

Computer Forensics*


COMP 40110

Network Investigations*


COMP 41650

Malware Investigations


COMP 47430

Mobile Devices Investigations


COMP 41430

Linux for Investigators


COMP 41660

Live Data Forensics


COMP 47370

Data and Database Forensics


Semester 2

(January - May)

Module Code

Module Title



COMP 40120

Programming for Investigators


COMP 41590

Advanced Computer Forensics


COMP 41570

Advanced Scripting


COMP 41580

VoIP and Wireless Investigations


COMP 47630

OSINT Collection & Analysis


COMP 47510

Financial Investigation Techniques - Following the Money



Online Child Abuse Investigations


COMP 47380

Advanced Malware Investigation



(September - August)

Module Code

Module Title


COMP 40150

Case Study


COMP 40160

Research Project


* indicates a core module that all students take

Programme outcomes

Depending on which modules students take, they will be able to conduct forensic analysis of a computer and use common network investigation techniques, investigate malware-based intrusions, perform mobile phone forensics, preserve and analyse volatile evidence contained in the main memory (RAM), use Linux forensics analysis tools and techniques, write custom tools for data analysis and build forensic applications, overcome investigative challenges of VoIP and locating mobile users, investigate money laundering and trace illicit funds and investigate cases of child sexual exploitation on the Internet.

How will I study?

Lectures are pre-recorded and provided online via a virtual online learning environment, allowing you to participate from your home or office and attend UCD only for examinations each year in Dublin, the Netherlands or the USA. Most people study part time over 2 years, and you have some flexibility about when and where you do this. There are regular (e.g. weekly) reading and project assignments and deadlines, so it is not completely self-paced. You also use closed online discussion forums for your chosen modules.

The Case and Research Project are optional - credits can be accumulated simply from taught modules if you prefer. For the Case Study students perform an individual investigation and produce a report describing the method of investigation, its results, and a discussion of lessons learned. The Research Project comprises an individual research project on a real-world topic in forensic computing and/or cybercrime investigation. Each student will write a dissertation on the chosen research topic.

World leader in cybercrime education

This course is taught by leading academics from the UCD School of Computer Science with international experts from industry. UCD has been working closely with law enforcement agencies and industry practitioners in seeking solutions to technology-related crimes for over 15 years. UCD researchers and scientists continue to work on applied research and have developed a number of forensic tools.

The programme prepares graduates for an exciting career in a range of roles. Digital evidence is a feature of more and more criminal investigations and so career possibilities are good.

Our students and graduates work in Computer Crime Investigation Units, High Tech Crime Units, Fraud Investigations, Anti-Money Laundering Divisions, Criminal Intelligence, Cyber Crime Investigation, Computer / Digital Forensic Evidence Labs, Counter Terrorism Units and the investigation of Missing & Exploited Children and Human Trafficking.

As a student, you will join a community of people in international law enforcement who are committed to the fight against cyber crime and convicting criminals through the use of digital evidence. Many graduates and their forces are working with us to develop forensic tools, pilot training courses and other projects so the learning continues for years afterwards. On these projects and courses they meet and reconnect with fellow graduates and continue to develop their personal professional network.

Our law enforcement-only MSc programme has attracted participants all over the world. For investigators, this gives you an international perspective on approaches to solving crimes and useful contacts in other countries.

This programme is restricted to members of LAW ENFORCEMENT organisations. Applicants must be working in an investigative role. This includes employees and officers of any organisation that has responsibility for the enforcement of national or local legislation including but not limited to:

  • Local, National, or Federal Police Forces

  • International Police organisations (Europol, Interpol, etc)

  • Government ministries and departments

  • Immigration, Revenue & Customs

  • Defence Forces

  • Regulatory enforcement agencies

Applicants to the M.Sc. / Grad. Diploma / Grad. Certificate programme should have 5 years experience in Law Enforcement. If they have less than 5 years experience in LE, applicants should have a degree in computing / policing studies / related discipline;


2 years LE experience in Digital Forensics / Cybercrime Investigation role;


Have completed 3 CPD modules with average grade, B- or above.

Each applicant will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Students are required to fulfill UCD's English Language Requirements.

All students must also satisfactorily complete Garda Vetting Procedures before they can complete registration to this programme. Garda vetting forms are provided at registration.

If you are not an employee of a law enforcement agency, you could consider our MSc in Digital Investigation & Forensic Computing.

Information on Fees is available here and is summarised at this location

The cost of travel and accommodation for examination/workshop trips is not included in the tuition fee.

UCD offers some postgraduate scholarships for full time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on masters programmes. Please visit Scholarships and Funding for further information.

Students arrange their own accommodation either on or off campus for their exam sessions. For those preferring to stay on campus, UCD has accommodation for over 2,500 students across five locations. More information is available at UCD residences.

Applications must be submitted via the UCD Online Applications system. This link will bring you to the UCD Online Applications website. You complete the application form by providing your personal information and then selecting which course you wish to apply to. If you are unsure about which options to select, instructions on how to complete the form can be found by clicking here

One of the unique features of this MSc is the global participation from law enforcement worldwide. For investigators, this gives you an international perspective on approaches to solving crimes and useful contacts in other countries. The networking continues long after graduation with friendships and meet-ups and opportunities to collaborate in research and training projects. Read some the stories of some of the graduates on this MSc here

If you are thinking about doing the MSc and would like to contact a current student or graduate, please ask us to put you in touch.

Queries about the course can be addressed directly to Programme Director Dr. Nhien An Le Khac on +351 1 716 2929 or or

Administrative queries about the programme can be addressed to +353 1 716 2947 or email

Please note that the following modules listed in the brochure are restricted to Irish law enforcement:

COMP 47420    Online Fraud Investigations
COMP 47440    Legislation
COMP 47450    Financial Fraud Investigation

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