Online Master’s In Computer Forensics

A master's degree in computer forensics can lead to new and exciting career opportunities. Here, we list the best programs available.

Updated September 23, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Master’s In Computer Forensics

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According to a University of Maryland study, a hacking attempt occurs every 39 seconds. Cybercrime threatens the digital security of individuals, businesses, and governments worldwide. Examples include identity theft, system-crashing malware, email fraud, and cryptojacking. Systems security experts and computer forensics professionals identify, address, and mitigate cybercrimes' occurrence and impact.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 14% growth for jobs in this sector, much faster than the projected 4% growth for all occupations. More and more U.S. institutions offer a computer forensics degree online to attract more enrollees and meet the demand for experts in this field.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Computer Forensics


What can I do with a degree in computer forensics?

Computer forensics degree-holders become information systems security professionals, forensic computer analysts, IT auditors, and cryptographers.

What do you study in computer forensics?

Students learn how to conduct digital investigations and to detect and prevent cybercrimes. Topics often include intellectual property laws, evidence preservation, and enterprise security.

Is computer forensics in demand?

Yes. The BLS projects a 14% growth rate for jobs in this sector.

Why Get a Degree in Computer Forensics?

Computer forensics degree-holders can expect to enter a robust professional arena with ample opportunities for career growth and advancement. Forensics practitioners also earn higher median salaries, across the board. The median annual salary for all occupations is $41,950, while forensic science technicians earn $60,590 and information security analysts earn $103,590.

Virtually every type and size of a company or organization can benefit from a digital forensics expert's services. An accredited computer forensics degree opens career paths in diverse industries including aerospace, healthcare, manufacturing, and telecommunications.

How Much Does a Computer Forensics Degree Cost?

National Center for Education Statistics data shows postgraduate students at in-state schools paid an average of $12,170 in 2018-2019. Postgraduate enrollees at private nonprofit institutions paid an average of $27,780 for one year of enrollment. The yearly cost of a master's computer forensics degree will likely approximate these amounts.

Colleges and universities support postgraduate enrollees through various fellowships and grant programs. Some of these opportunities require recipients to take on undergraduate teaching or advanced research duties. Financial assistance for STEM students, including computer forensics degree-seekers, often covers full tuition, fees, and books. Some programs also offer a living stipend.

Financial aid can significantly lower the costs of earning a computer forensics degree online. Students should always inquire about such opportunities from every prospective school.

Additional Online Student Fees for Computer Forensics

Some schools require online enrollees to pay a technology fee that on-campus students do not pay. The fee varies among schools, with some charging a flat fee per semester and others calculating it per credit. The technology fee may result in a higher attendance cost. Students should find out this information before deciding on a school or program.

Some online computer forensics programs require on-campus components, including orientation sessions, lab work, or in-person thesis or capstone project presentations. Online enrollees far from schools with these requirements should consider these expenses when they calculate attendance costs.

How Much Do Computer Forensics Majors Make?


Top Salaries

The top-paying sectors for computer forensics experts include the federal executive branch; general medical and surgical hospitals; and companies offering architectural, engineering, and related services. Computer forensics experts earn salaries of $120,790, $75,720, and $66,040, respectively, in these arenas.

Master's Degree

BLS data shows master's degree-holders typically earn higher salaries than workers with a bachelor's or associate degree. Computer forensics experts with a master's can expect to earn even higher salaries than those above, which reference bachelor's degree-holder salaries.

States hiring the most professionals in specific arenas often offer better career options in those fields. The following states employ the most computer forensics experts: California with 2,270 positions, Florida with 1,730, and Texas with 1,580.

Courses in Computer Forensics

Colleges and universities usually offer similar foundation coursework for computer forensics degrees. A typical curriculum includes classes in incident response and network forensics, operating systems analysis, legal principles of digital investigations, and the three courses described below.

Students often follow the same curriculum whether they pursue a computer forensics degree online or on campus. Most programs require 30-36 credits and a culminating experience of a thesis, capstone research project, or comprehensive exam. Some computer forensics programs allow specialization in fields including cyber operations, electronic crime, and data analytics.

Certifications and Licensure for Computer Forensics

Some states require digital or computer forensics professionals to possess licensure as a private security services provider. Requirements vary by state, so practitioners should research specific licensure criteria before beginning their practice. An industry-recognized certification presents the holder as a trained and knowledgeable professional with expertise in a specific area.




GIAC Certification

The Global Information Assurance Certification administers several programs for computer forensics practitioners. GIAC offers certifications for network security analysts, malware specialists, cyberware intelligence experts, and forensic analysts. The educational and professional experience requirements for each certification differ. Candidates must pass an exam on their specific area of expertise.

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Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator Certification

The certification requires a five-day course on analytical strategies, forensic instruments, procedures, and several other topics relevant to computer forensics or cybercrime investigation. At the end of the course, candidates must pass a four-hour, 150-item multiple choice exam to earn the CHFI credential.

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Certified Forensic Computer Examiner

The program consists of two stages, a peer review and an examination. The International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists administers the credential, which enjoys worldwide recognition. During the peer review, candidates complete four problems for which they must submit reports and supporting documentation. The final exam includes a practical exercise and a written test.

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Online Master's Programs in Computer Forensics

#1

University of Maryland Global Campus

School Information
Location Adelphi, Maryland
Graduation Rate 15%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 90% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Maryland Global Campus delivers respected, accessible online graduate programs for distance learners. With 84 online programs, including 17 online master's programs, the public institution educates students throughout the country. At the school, graduate degree-seekers can enroll in a master's in digital forensics program. The online computer forensics program's flexible scheduling options can make it easier for busy students to complete degree requirements.

Learners gain foundational knowledge during core classes and complete advanced computer forensics coursework to develop specialized skills. Experiential learning opportunities help graduate students gain practical skills and prepare to impress employers after graduation. Graduate degree-seekers typically require 1-2 years to earn their computer forensics master's degree if enrolled full time. The program website provides specific application details, including requirements and deadlines.

Students pursuing online graduate programs benefit from the school's affordable tuition rates. Graduate tuition rates at the institution average $8,640 for in-state students and $11,862 for graduate students residing outside of Maryland. Enrollees with financial need can fund their education through federal grants and loans. The school reports that 46% of students receive financial aid.

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#2

Champlain College

School Information
Location Burlington, Vermont
Admission Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 65%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 52% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Champlain College offers a variety of top-ranked graduate programs, including an online computer forensics program. In addition to on-campus students, 2,301 students enroll in the private institution's online programs. Busy learners balancing academics with personal obligations often benefit from online programs' flexible scheduling options.

The master's degree in digital forensics science requires foundational classes fostering transferable skills, along with advanced computer forensics courses. Faculty mentors help graduate students select courses that will support their career aspirations. While pursuing the master's degree, online learners develop industry-specific knowledge during flexible coursework. After earning the master's degree, graduates often secure advanced computer forensics roles. Master's students can use the institution's career services to plan their professional futures.

Graduate-level learners can access support services including career advising, online tutoring, and financial aid counseling. Online learners at the school pay affordable tuition rates and can apply for institutional funding to further reduce the financial burden of earning a master's degree. Learners who need additional funding can secure private scholarships and institutional fellowships. The school charges an average per-credit tuition rate of $329 for online graduate programs.

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#3

Stevenson University

School Information
Location Stevenson, Maryland
Admission Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 60%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Stevenson University educates online graduate degree-seekers from its campus in Maryland. The private institution's master's programs include an online cybersecurity and digital forensics master's program for distance learners. Professionals currently employed in the computer forensics field can pursue promotions or raises after earning their master's degree.

Faculty advisors help master's students examine complex computer forensics issues and develop a strong overall understanding of the field. While completing the master's program, enrollees take core and specialized coursework to gain a solid foundation in the field. Master's courses cover industry-relevant topics to strengthen analytical and leadership skills.

The school charges online learners affordable tuition rates. The institution's financial aid counselors support graduate degree-seekers as they search for funding options.

Stevenson University Facts:

Online Master's Programs: 10

Total Online Programs: 15

Number of Online Students: 1,982

Graduate Tuition In-State: $8,040

Graduate Tuition Out-of-State: $8,040

Accepts Transfer Credits: No

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