BSc (Hons) Cyber Security and Forensic Computing - University of Portsmouth
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BSc (Hons)

Cyber Security and Forensic Computing

UCAS codeI901

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

Understanding forensic investigations and cyber security

Course Overview

Why take this course?

Whether you want to investigate major cyber crimes for the Police or penetrate corporate networks as an ethical hacker, this course will give you a comprehensive grounding in these two closely related fields.

The course is practical and hands-on with plenty of time in the labs practising with the latest tools and techniques. The staff are true geeks with an unrivalled passion for computer security and will challenge you on every level to achieve your best.

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:

  • digital forensics
  • cyber security specialist
  • penetration tester
  • IT management


Alex Jarvis, BSc (Hons) Forensic Computing student 2013

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


Computing and Creative Technologies

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Hands-on, practical work and real-life learning, which is transferable to future careers
  • Approachable lecturers who have experience and contacts in the industry

Browse all courses in Computing and Creative Technologies

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

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:

  • Digital Forensics: Art of Science?
  • Computer Architecture
  • Introduction to Programming
  • Network Fundamentals
  • Web Foundations

Year two

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:

  • Forensic Fundamentals
  • Forensic Investigations
  • Business Information Security
  • Computer Operating Systems and Intermediate Networks
  • Network Services Administration and Virtualisation

Year three*

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:

  • Malware Forensics
  • Security and Cryptography
  • System Security
  • Final year project

*This course is also available as a 4-year sandwich (work placement)

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.


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.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 25% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 75% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 23% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 77% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 14% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 86% studying independently and 0% on work placement


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
  • presentations

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 27% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 73% by coursework
  • Year two students: 52% by written exams, 3% by practical exams and 45% by coursework
  • Year three students: 30% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 70% by coursework

Tutor's view


Dr Gareth Owenson

The staff here live and breathe computer security and digital forensics meaning we're passionate about giving you the best opportunity to become the best you can be in these fields. Employers frequently choose our graduates because of the depth of knowledge and skill they leave the course with.

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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

Tutor Centre

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.

Maths Café

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.

University Library

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.

Recommended texts:
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.

General costs:
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.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

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:

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Deloitte
  • Kroll Ontrack

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • security architect
  • penetration tester
  • cyber security analyst
  • forensic invesigator
  • eDiscovery examiner
  • software developer

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

On this course you'll have the opportunity to undertake an internship with Hampshire Police's High-tech crime unit on our campus (subject to successful application) as well as undertake an overseas placement with organisations such as IBM, Deloitte and GCHQ.

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:

  • GCHQ cyber specialist
  • forensic investigator at Deloitte
  • cyber cecurity analyst

Career planning

Career planning

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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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

University of Portsmouth
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Portsmouth PO1 2UP

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