Understanding digital security
Why take this course?
From minor indiscretions to major embezzlements and serious sexual offences, the need to seize, secure and examine digital evidence necessary to secure a conviction is central to many criminal investigations involving digital media.
This course provides a core background in computing whilst building a solid foundation to the principles, techniques and processes essential for you to become a computer forensics investigator.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Apply your skills to real-life practical problems as part of the department’s partnership scheme with charities, local and global organisations
- Design and develop software, hardware and networks for a variety of fields such as digital forensics and artificial intelligence
- Interact with our visiting speakers, all of who are experts in the forensic and security field
What opportunities might it lead to?
Accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT Professional (CITP). This course also partially meets the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Scientist (CSci).
Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:
- IT management
- digital forensics
- software engineering
- computer programming
- web development
I chose the University of Portsmouth because of the feel of it and how friendly the staff were. I also love how hands-on it is and how much I actually get to do!
Alex Jarvis, BSc (Hons) Forensic Computing student 2013
Apply for September 2016
If you're still considering your options, we’re here to help you make the right decision.
- UCAS Course Code:
- 3 years full time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
- 260-300 points to include 160 points from A levels or equivalent. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5. Other qualifications
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: full time: £9,000 p/a*
2016/17 entry: full time: £13,700 p/a**
*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.
**Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 2555
- School of Computing
- Programme specification
- Accreditations & Endorsements
Structure & Teaching
A number of general topics are covered in the first year to give you a base for development in the following years.
Core units in this year include:
- Computer Forensics Principles and Legal Aspects
- Introductory Programming
- Computer Architecture
- Foundations of the Web
- Network Fundamentals
- Database Design and Development
Alongside the core units studied in this year, you’ll also have the opportunity to study particular areas of interest, such as data structures and algorithms and developing web-based scripting.
Core units in this year include:
- Computer Forensics and Digital Evidence
- Computer Forensics and Investigations
- Operating Systems and Networks
- Windows and Linux Configuration and Management
- Information Systems Security
In your final year, you will carry out a final-year project utilising the skills learned during your course and your areas of interest within the forensics field. There’s also the chance to further tailor your course in the areas of network security, network management and data mining.
Core units in this year include:
- Digital Forensics and Incident Response
- Security and Cryptography
- Cyber Crime
*This course is also available as a 4-year sandwich (work placement)
Teaching and Assessment
Here at the University, we aim to provide a lively and modern learning environment. During this course you will experience a mixture of lectures, tutorials, laboratory and project work.
How are you assessed?
We assess you in ways that encourage a deeper understanding and allow you to develop your skills including through:
- critical evaluation essays
- written exams
- research projects
- mini projects
Dr Gareth Owen
You will learn hands-on techniques for forensic examination of electronic devices in our specialist Forensics Lab. Our expert lecturers will guide you through the forensic process teaching you best practice to prepare you for a career in the field of Forensic Computing.
Facilities & Features
Specialist Software and Equipment
A full range of industry software will be available for you to use in the computer labs, supported by multi-platform network suites offering a variety of operating systems. You’ll have a range of excellent resources at your fingertips including:
- mobile computing lab to develop Android and iOS apps
- pervasive computing lab for high performance computing
- usability lab including state of the art eye tracking equipment
- Linux and Windows systems
- forensics lab with industry standard forensic tools
A one-stop academic help and support resource for all School of Computing students. Need help understanding your assessments? Want to talk to someone about your project or about that programming problem? This is the place to go.
Drop in any time and get one-to-one help with that tricky maths or stats problem. With handouts on key topics to take away and computer-aided learning packages, we can get the problem solved and help you improve your numeracy skills.
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
Budgeting for your studies
There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.
Careers & Opportunities
On graduating from this course, you’ll be fully equipped to take your first steps towards a career in the computer forensics field. Possible employers include law enforcement agencies, government agencies, security and/or computer forensic consultants, specialised solution companies or in a business environment, particularly where the illegal use of digital equipment or the use of digital equipment to store illegal content is suspected.
Graduates from this course have been successful in finding work with these international organisations:
- Kroll Ontrack
Roles our graduates have taken on include:
- business continuity analyst
- software engineer
- web developer
- systems analyst
- computer programmer
- online course developer
On this course you have the option to do a year UK or overseas placement with companies such as IBM or smaller organisations. This is a great opportunity to gain real-world perspective and exciting opportunities.
Our team at the Student Placement and Employability Centre (SPEC) ensures you have access to a range of volunteering and work experience opportunities. We also offer support during your year-long industrial placements, and provide support for the different types of application processes.
Here are some examples of the roles our students have secured for their placements:
- Quality Assurance at Symantec
- Information Security at Mars
- IT Support Technician at Intel
To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.
Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.
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