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Top 12 Online Master’s in Digital Forensics Degrees (2023)

Are you looking to advance your career in the field of digital forensics? With an online Master’s degree in Digital Forensics, you can gain the knowledge and skills needed for a successful career. Whether you are just starting out or have been working in this field for years, completing a Master’s degree program is a great way to stay ahead of the competition.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 12 online Master’s Degrees in Digital Forensics available in 2023. Each program has been evaluated based on its curriculum, faculty members, student services, and more to make sure it meets our high standards.

Whether you’re interested in investigating cybercrimes or protecting organizations against data breaches, these programs will provide you with everything you need to succeed as a professional digital forensic investigator.

What Is Digital Forensics?

Digital forensics is a fascinating field that involves investigating incidents involving digital devices and extracting any relevant data or information from them.

It’s like being a detective, but in the digital world! Think about it, every time we use our computers, smartphones, or other digital devices, we leave behind a trail of data that can be used to uncover what happened.

Digital forensics experts use special tools and techniques to recover this data and preserve its integrity, making sure it can be used as evidence in court if necessary.

They might be called upon to help solve cybercrimes, intellectual property theft, or any other matter where electronic evidence could be relevant. It’s a crucial discipline in today’s world where so much of our lives is lived online!

In addition to finding evidence, digital forensics professionals can also prevent future cybercrime by examining the methods used to attack networks and devices. As a Master’s in Digital Forensics graduate, you will gain the skills needed to identify vulnerabilities and protect organizations from data breaches.

Difference between Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics

Cybersecurity and digital forensics may sound similar, but they are actually two distinct fields with different focuses.

Cybersecurity is all about protecting digital systems and networks from cyber threats like hacking, viruses, and malware. Think of cybersecurity professionals as the guards of the digital world – they’re always on the lookout for potential threats and taking steps to prevent them from doing harm.

On the other hand, digital forensics is more about investigating incidents that have already occurred and finding out what happened. It’s like being a detective after a crime has been committed.

Digital forensics experts use their skills and tools to recover data and other electronic evidence, piecing together the events leading up to an incident. They help organizations understand what went wrong and how they can prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

So, to put it simply, cybersecurity is about prevention, while digital forensics is about response and investigation. Both are important in the digital world, and they often work together to protect our digital systems and information.

Digital forensics
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How to Become a Digital Forensics Specialist?

In order to become a digital forensics expert, you need to obtain relevant education in this field. Most of the jobs in digital forensics require at least a Bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity, computer science, or a related field.

Your curriculum should involve courses in computer forensics, digital evidence analysis and recovery, network security, ethical hacking, and more. You should also have hands-on experience with the latest tools and techniques used in this field.

If you want to take your career even further, consider getting a Master’s degree in Digital Forensics. Master’s programs provide an advanced level of education, allowing you to take more specialized courses and gain a deeper understanding of the field.

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You’ll also get in-depth training on the latest tools and techniques used in digital forensics, giving you the skills needed to work in a professional environment.

Master’s programs also often include internships, giving you the chance to gain real-world experience and make important industry contacts.

Top 12 Online Master’s in Digital Forensics Degrees (2023)

The Master’s in Digital Forensics degree is an increasingly valuable and sought-after credential in the modern job market. It provides advanced training on the latest tools and techniques used in digital forensics, allowing you to become an expert in this field.

If you’re interested in pursuing a Master’s in Digital Forensics, here are 12 of the best online Master’s programs available.

1. Champlain University

Tuition: $28,620 in total

Champlain University’s Digital Forensic Science Online Master’s Degree Program is one of the highest-rated digital forensics programs in the US. You will learn many aspects of forensics such as digital investigations, operating system analysis, scripting, incident response and network forensics. The program also involves a capstone research thesis in which students will develop a new methodology or an otherwise novel approach within the field.

2. Illinois Institute of Technology

Tuition: $52,672 in total

The Applied Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics MS program at Illinois Institute of Technology prepares students for leadership roles in business, law enforcement, military, government, and other organizations. There are two options for completing the Master’s program, which include Thesis option and Master’s project option. The program also provides students the opportunity to gain experience in the field through the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Volunteer Student Internship Program (N&NC VSIP).

3. Stevenson University

Tuition: $25,020 in total

Stevenson University’s Online Master’s in Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics program is a 36-credit graduate program with no GRE requirements and no application fees. The program teaches its students to utilize state-of-the-art forensic technologies to gain hands-on advanced forensic experience and run real-life events like thefts of electronic information, cyber-attacks, and other scenarios.

Campus of Master's in digital forensics program
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4. Michigan State University

Tuition: $24,240 in total

Built for students from both technical and non-technical backgrounds, this Master’s of Science program in Cyber Crime and Digital Investigation could launch or advance your career investigating or responding to cybercrime in law enforcement, government, and private industry. This 30-credit hour, 10-course online master’s degree will furnish you with a comprehensive overview of the digital dangers posed by cyberterrorism and cyberwarfare, as well as how to prosecute such crimes on a federal or state level in both the U.S. and all around the world.

5. University of Central Florida

Tuition: $9,819 (in-state); $34,551 (out-of-state)

To receive the Master of Science in Digital Forensics, you must complete 12 credit hours of necessary digital forensic courses and an additional 12 credits from our selection of restricted electives. In addition to these, students are free to choose between thesis and non-thesis options. Non-thesis options will either need to choose two additional electives or one elective and an internship.

6. Capella University

Tuition: $33,600 in total

Gain the expertise you need to tackle cybercrime with Capella University’s MS in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity, which has an emphasis on Digital Forensics.This specialization equips information security professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform successful computer forensics and face any legal challenges pertinent to digital forensics investigations. The program consists of 6 core courses, 5 digital forensics classes, plus an end-of-program capstone project that will help prepare you for success as a cybersecurity professional.

7. University of Maryland Global Campus

Tuition: $24,984 in total

The Master’s of Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation from University of Maryland Global Campus offers a way to stay ahead in the ever-growing need for leadership, executive, and investigation skills related to combating cybercrime. The 36-credit curriculum includes a foundation course, 4 core courses, and a capstone project in cybersecurity.

8. University of New Haven

Tuition: $30,600 in total

This online Master of Science in Digital Forensics Investigations program offers you a robust education, with 10 courses designed to be completed within just one year. With this degree, you’ll gain essential expertise and an advanced understanding of the latest trends in digital forensics investigation – from field-based evidence gathering techniques to laboratory investigative methods.

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9. Sam Houston State University

Tuition: $17,077 in total

The Master of Science in Digital Forensics degree program at SHSU is a one-of-a-kind opportunity. Established in 2004, this is the first digital forensics MS program in the nation, with an inspiring and groundbreaking curriculum that focuses on cutting-edge techniques to discover, secure, and explore digital evidence. Moreover, the Center of Excellence in Digital Forensics supplies the most advanced technological tools available for students to maximize their learning potential.

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10. University of Wisconsin

Tuition: $28,900 in total

The University of Wisconsin’s 100% online Master of Science in Cybersecurity will equip you with the skills and knowledge necessary to match today’s high-demanded market. Its core curriculum focuses on cybersecurity fundamentals, including courses in security planning, risk assessment, and communication. After completing your core classes, take advantage of one of the four career tracks: Digital Forensics, Cyber Response, Governance & Leadership, or Security Architecture.

11. Norwich University

Tuition: $30,600 in total

Norwich University is proud to offer a Master of Science in Cybersecurity with six concentrations, one of which is Computer Forensic Investigation and Incident Response Team Management, through which you can learn to create, train, and manage a computer security incident response team and examine the protocols for conducting computer forensic investigations. This program can be completed entirely online in just 18 months. There are also several scholarship opportunities available for students.

12. University of Cumberlands

Tuition: $9,765 in total

If you are determined to possess the technical skills and knowledge necessary to start or improve your career in cybercrime combat, University of the Cumberlands’ Online Master of Science in Digital Forensics degree program is perfect for you! This 31-credit curriculum will help learn about topics such as communication leadership, triaging criminal cyber events, gathering evidence, and investigating or mitigating malware attacks. Moreover, you will be able to choose one of the two specializations: cybersecurity or criminal justice.

Master’s in Digital Forensics Curriculum

We now know what excellent Master’s programs in digital forensics exist online in the US, but what do they teach? What courses are involved in the curriculum?

Here is a brief overview of some common Master’s in Digital Forensics courses:

  • Principles of Information Security and Network Defense: This course focuses on the fundamental principles of network security, including topics such as cryptography, access control, authentication, and risk management.
  • Cyberlaw and Ethics: Students will explore ethics related to digital security, computer crime, and cyberforensics.
  • Forensic Analysis: Learn how to perform analysis of digital evidence, such as data recovery, reconstruction of deleted files, and examination of application artifacts.
  • Incident Response and Evidence Collection – Understand how to respond to and investigate a computer security incident, as well as how to properly collect digital evidence.
  • Digital Investigations: Learn how to investigate digital data and evidence from online sources.
  • Malware Analysis: Master the techniques used to analyze malware, such as static and dynamic analysis, reverse engineering, and threat intelligence.
  • Investigative Techniques: Master the methods used in gathering and validating digital evidence from computers and mobile devices.
  • Network Forensics: Acquire the knowledge of how to collect, analyze and report on network traffic for investigative purposes.
  • Cryptology: Understand the principles and techniques used to secure data in transit and at rest.
  • Digital Forensics Laboratory: Master the operational procedures of a digital forensics laboratory and understand the roles of computer forensic investigators.

Master’s in Digital Forensics curriculum varies from program to program and will include some courses outside of the ones listed above. However, the courses listed are the most common ones included in Master’s programs.

With these topics covered, graduates of Master’s in Digital Forensics Programs should be well-equipped to provide evidence and testimony related to digital forensics investigations in court proceedings, assist law enforcement with cybercrime investigations, and work as experts in digital forensics labs.

Lecture of Master's in Digital Forensics program
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Admission Requirements for Master’s in Digital Forensics

To be eligible for a master’s program in computer forensics, most schools require applicants to possess an undergraduate degree related to cybersecurity or computer science. Additionally, some universities may demand that students must have taken certain prerequisites and maintained a minimum GPA.

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Besides these, Master’s in Digital Forensics program will often require:

Digital Forensics Salary

Cybercrime prevention and detection is a lucrative field that’s only getting bigger. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security analysts typically make an average annual salary of $102,600 or hourly wages of $49.33 – making it one of the most desirable professions out there.

Master’s in Digital Forensics graduates are well-positioned to take on some of the most lucrative positions in this field, such as cyber security analysts, digital forensics investigators, and security architects. These professionals are in high demand, with salaries often exceeding six figures.

Master’s in Digital Forensics graduates are also well-equipped for other roles in the field, such as cybercrime prosecutor, digital forensics consultant, and security engineer. With these positions, Master’s in Digital Forensics graduates can expect to make a comfortable living while making a positive difference in the world.

Digital Forensics Job Outlook

Fortune Business Insights anticipates the cybersecurity industry to expand from around $156 billion in 2022 up to an astounding $376 billion by 2029.

Computer forensics graduates are well-positioned to take advantage of some the fastest-growing opportunities in the rapidly expanding information technology industry, thanks to their specialized cybersecurity expertise and rigorous training.

Additionally, the number of jobs in this field was projected to grow by an astounding 35% between 2021 and 2031 – over seven times higher than the average growth rate of all U.S. professions during that period (5%).

person using macbook air on brown wooden table
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Is Digital Forensics a Good Career?

Master’s in Digital Forensics graduates have the opportunity to make an impactful and meaningful difference in the world, as well as enjoy a comfortable and lucrative salary.

In addition, just like other programming-related jobs, digital forensics is usually a low-stress job with few physical demands and its own set of intellectual rewards.

Digital forensics is also an interesting and entertaining field to work in, as it’s constantly evolving and brings something new to the table every day. With technology becoming more and more important in our lives, the demand for competent digital forensics experts is only going to grow.

Moreover, Master’s in Digital Forensics graduates are prepared for some of the most in-demand roles in the rapidly expanding information technology industry. With the increasing demand for cybersecurity professionals, Master’s in Digital Forensics graduates are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this opportunity and make a positive difference in the world.

So, if you’re looking for an exciting and rewarding career in a rapidly growing field, Master’s in Digital Forensics may be the perfect fit for you. With its rigorous training and specialized expertise, Master’s in Digital Forensics graduates are more than prepared to take on the exciting and rewarding challenges that await them.

Conclusion

In this article, we have outlined the 12 best Master’s in Digital Forensics degrees available online. Each school offers a unique program curriculum, cost of attendance, and online learning experience.

Whether you are looking to advance in your current career or break into the field of digital forensics, these top 12 online Master’s programs offer an excellent way to gain the knowledge and skills you need to succeed.

We invite you to take your time to research each program in detail and decide which one suits your goals and budget the most. With that, we wish you all the best as you start on your journey toward a successful and rewarding digital forensics career!