Introduction to Cyber Security and Digital Forensics

As the world grows increasingly technology-reliant, cyber security and digital forensics have become recognised as two incredibly important areas for organisations to manage.

Cyber security differs significantly from cybercrime – with the latter being used to describe the illegal and/or harmful behaviours carried out online.

While students of our MSc Cybercrime will strive to understand the driving forces behind online criminal activity, cyber security deals with the process of predicting, avoiding, and reacting to these acts. With this Master’s course, you’ll also learn key techniques to investigate digital crimes and security breaches, and help safeguard your organisation’s success.

Course details

MSc Cyber Security and Digital Forensics

3 start dates per year: January, May and September

Next welcome week: 22 January 2024

Next course start date: 29 January 2024

Application deadline: 15 January 2024. Apply as soon as possible to secure your place.

Duration: 2 years (part time). 

Format: Online, with optional face-to-face events. You can also study an MSc in Cyber Security and Forensic Information Technology on campus. 

Total course fees: £10,500 (including a £250 acceptance fee)

Tailored support: Contact our course adviser team today for application advice 

Application form: Start your application for January 2024 now.
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Why this MSc Cyber Security and Digital Forensics?

By taking this course, you’ll develop a systematic understanding of cyber security and forensics concepts, including how to securely protect and investigate an organisation’s digital assets and systems.

In addition to learning from our experienced academics, you’ll also be given remote access to our dedicated Forensic IT and Cyber Security laboratories. With this, you can gain firsthand experience with specialist software and forensic tools.

You’ll also have the opportunity to attend an online court hearing with a judge presiding as part of your assessments.

Our Master’s emphasis on providing students with real-world insights and practical skills will allow you to effectively and immediately apply your learnings to your career.

What you’ll study

On this course, you’ll:

  • Gain familiarity with a range of cyber security disciplines to help you develop, implement, and audit security systems and foster a proactive security management culture
  • Study the design and conduct of forensic IT investigations – including crime scene management, forensic tools, and their application
  • Build a theoretical understanding of the principles involved with searching for and collecting digital evidence from data storage devices and large datasets
  • Discover how to research and navigate the evolving legal, social, and ethical challenges relating to the presentation of digital evidence
  • Hone the interpersonal skills needed to work effectively in your field, and learn how to regularly appraise and improve your own performance
All course materials are available in our easy-to-use Digital Learning Environment and can be accessed from wherever you're based. Find out more about learning online with us.

Hear from a student

Watch the Q&A to gain an insight on the impact the course is having on a current students' career:

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On this module, you’ll learn how to develop a holistic approach to the investigative process and experience being a part of a virtual court. You’ll explore the practical aspects of conducting a forensic investigation of digital evidence, and familiarise yourself with cryptography and steganalysis.

Your studies for this module will provide a strong grounding in mobile systems architecture, mobile applications, and mobile forensic analysis. The coursework will encourage you to consider the wider business and social contexts in which mobile devices are used and abused.

As part of this module, you will learn about MSAB XRY software. This is a verified mobile forensics tool accepted in a court of law to perform logical and physical data acquisition from mobile devices.

This module offers an essential introduction to computer security concepts and their application within interconnected systems. You’ll be challenged to critically analyse different approaches to securing such systems, and learn how to apply risk evaluation techniques to quantify your solutions.
Gain a comprehensive overview of the art and architecture of computing systems, and study different models of computer and data security. The module will also cover the topic of data hacking, which will equip you with the knowledge and skills relevant to ethical hacking.

Your Master’s Study Project will give you the chance to apply your learnings to research and address a real-world problem. For example, you can choose to take on a specific cyber security challenge faced at your current organisation.

Previous dissertation topics by our on-campus students include:

  • Analysing forensic techniques for game consoles
  • Detection and prevention of DDoS attacks for online businesses
  • Development of forensics methods for drones
  • Steganography threats in the process of evidence collection

How you're assessed

All assessments for this course are based on coursework submitted online. Your performance is assessed through:

  • Written assignments
  • Research reports
  • Online court hearing
  • Your final project

You'll also receive formal and informal tutor feedback to help you improve future work.

Female Cyber Security student on laptop

Teaching team

Mo Adda

Dr Mo Adda

Course Leader

I’m a Principal Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth. My research interests include network security, multithreaded architectures, mobile networks and business process modelling, mobile intelligent agent technology, IoT forensics, and general aspects of digital forensics and cyber security.

"Students will maximise their career potential through developing knowledge and skills in digital forensics and cybersecurity. They'll also build research skills and techniques that will help them undertake a PhD or research- and teaching-related jobs.”

MSc Cyber Security and Digital Forensics glossary

Discover the key terms professionals in the field need to know:

Read the glossary

Looking for a full-time course?

You can study an MSc in Cyber Security and Forensic Information Technology on campus:

Find out more

Entry requirements

To join this course, you must have:

  • A first or a second-class honours degree in a relevant subject or equivalent qualifications and/or professional experience 
  • English language proficiency at IELTS level 6.0 with no component score below 6.0 (or other acceptable proof), if English is not your first language

When applying, you’ll also be required to submit:

  • Two references
  • Personal statement

Not sure if you’re eligible to apply? We know everyone’s path to postgrad study is different, so please phone our Course Adviser team on +44 (0)23 9400 3692, or email if you think you'd be a good fit.

Career prospects and opportunities

Our MSc Cyber Security and Digital Forensics is designed to equip you with the research capabilities and subject expertise needed to help safeguard businesses from online crime.

The soft skills that you can also expect to develop, from open communication to collaboration, will allow you to integrate into a variety of different teams and work environments.

Combined with the support you can receive from our exceptional Careers and Employability Service, these qualities will help position you as a valuable hire to employers across the world.

Additionally, following graduation you can look forward to joining our international Alumni Association. You’ll be able to network with other cyber security professionals and form valuable professional connections – sharing and gaining useful insights and potential career opportunities.

Get more detail on career opportunities an MSc in Cyber Security and Digital Forensics could unlock:

Read more on career options

Want to start in January 2024?

Apply now
Female cyber security and digital forensics student