Master of Science

Digital Forensics

Program Description
In general, digital forensics as a sector of forensic science focuses on identifying, acquiring, processing, analyzing, and reporting on data that is stored electronically. The Master of Science in Digital Forensics program gives graduates the knowledge and skills necessary to participate or lead a team in digital evidence investigations. The program prepares learners for professional careers in digital forensics examination, forensics data gathering, verification and validation, and security and forensics administration. This intensive professional degree program provides students with the knowledge and skills to work as forensic expert in any industry, pursue advanced research opportunities, or practice in computer crime-related disciplines. Graduates are equipped with the communication skills, both oral and written, to become an effective communicator and problem solver in the field of forensic examination and analysis. Students in this program are required to take the following 11 course for a total of 36 credit hours:

Course Outline

Course No.    Course Title    Credit Hours
Common Core
MSIS 500 Introduction to Information Security and Privacy - 3
MSIS 507 Governance and Controls for Information Security - 3
MSIS 509 Information and Network Security Policy - 3
MSIS 521 Introduction to Business Intelligence - 3
Total 12

MSDF 620 Digital Forensic Science - 3
MSDF 635 Digital Forensic Scripting - 3
MSDF 637 Operating System Analysis - 3
MSDF 641 Mobile Device Analysis - 3
MSDF 650 Malware Analysis - 3
MSDF 657 Legal Issues in Digital Investigations - 3
Total 18

Exam or Thesis Choose One
MSDF 698 Non-Thesis: Digital Forensics Comprehensive Exam - 6
MSDF 699 Thesis: Digital Forensics Master Thesis - 6
Total 6


MSIS 500: Introduction to Information Security and Privacy
This course covers the three basic security concepts that are important for information in print or on the internet, including confidentiality, integrity, and availability. The course explores these concepts, presents and discusses them in relation to the people who use information, and the authentication, authorization, and non-disclaimer of such information.

MSIS 507: Fundamentals of Information Security
The foundational concepts of information security and privacy are explored in this course. The course also covers information value, classifications and threats. It discusses how to identify identity and access controls, trust frameworks, encryption, digital signatures and network, web, software and cloud security, and it reviews privacy laws, regulations and public policy.

MSIS 509: anthropological study of information
This course examines how information is socially and culturally variable and fluid, and has changed throughout history, and differs from place to place. Topics include the anthropological study of information; societal norms, individual, device, communal, and organizational information strategies.

MSIS 521: Governance and Controls for Information
This course is an overview of how information and public policy relate to each other. The course examines key information policy areas including privacy, surveillance, theft, health information, business-to-business relationships, and the co-evolution of personal data and information technologies. The course covers governance and controls from an information security organizational perspective and the management of information. The course also examines business practices and governance mechanisms for minimizing risks and how to maximize the return on information.

MSDF 620: Digital Forensic Science
In this course, students will acquire explicit legal knowledge, particular computer and other digital device skills, and good oral and written forensic investigation and reporting abilities that are needed to successfully compete in the industry of digital forensics. Learners in this course will be introduced to various uses of digital forensics, including computer forensics, network forensics, memory forensics, electronic discovery, and cloud forensics.

MSDF 635: Digital Forensic Scripting
This course will prepare students with the knowledge to understand and use scripting languages such as Python forensic analysis of data. Prior programming experience is not required for this course; however, having previous programming skills will be helpful. Learners will develop the ability to write basic python scripts such as WIngIDE to help in digital investigations; and learn how to interpret scripts written in other languages. Discussion will center around digital forensics, systems development, cyber-investigation, collection operations, and testing and evaluation.

MSDF 637: Operating System Analysis
This course introduces students to tools such as The Sleuth Kit and Volatility to conduct forensic analysis of PC & server operating systems and software running on those systems. The learner will gain the knowledge set of forensic relevant information about operating systems, including those used in mobile devices. The course discusses some of the challenges of virtualization, including those that are introduced as the result of Cloud systems.

MSDF 641: Mobile Device Analysis
In this course, students are introduced to the concepts and techniques of preserving and analyzing data on a range of mobile electronic devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, eBook readers, and GPS systems. Students will learn how to conduct mobile device security assessment to analyze the security of a mobile device, its resident applications and security software and determine if the device can withstand attack from unauthorized users. Students will learn how to conduct assessments to evaluate the security of the mobile device using best practice to validate security mechanisms and identify types of vulnerabilities.

MSDF 650: Malware Analysis
Malware as a harmful software to your system must not only be removed, organizations are interested in knowing whether it is a worm, viruses, trojans, adware, spyware, backdoors or some types of spyware. This course introduces students to malware behavior, including infection vectors, propagation and persistence mechanisms, and artifacts. The course discusses the process of understanding the behavior and purpose of a suspicious file or URL, and teaches students how to develop a fast and accurate approach to detect malware, mitigate the cyber risk and reduce the total cost.

MSDF 657: Legal Issues in Digital Investigation
In this course, the learner will assess and discuss legal issues that are currently affecting the practice of digital forensics. Student will review and discuss some of the efforts by a few courts to meet the challenges of “digital evidence”, encryption vs privacy, and general data protection regulations and issues surrounding the “right to be forgotten.” The course introduces students to the principles of digital investigation that are specific to civil litigation. Students will examine case studies of public sector digital investigations to compare with private sector methodologies.

MSDF 698/699: Digital Forensics Comprehensive Exam or Thesis
Learners are required to enroll in this course in preparation for meeting final academic requirements of the program. Candidates will choose to take a comprehensive exam (MSDF 698) in lieu of thesis or conduct research (MSDF 699) on information security focusing on the study of a discipline-specific problem, phenomenon or professional issue in an institutional setting.  

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