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10 Best Grad Schools with Online Master’s in Computer Forensics

Written by Grad School Center Team We are a passionate team of experienced educators and advisors at GradSchoolCenter.com, dedicated to guiding students through their graduate education journey. Our experts, with advanced degrees across various disciplines, offer personalized advice, up-to-date program information, and practical insights into application processes.

Reviewed by David Krug David Krug is a seasoned expert with 20 years in educational technology (EdTech). His career spans the pivotal years of technology integration in education, where he has played a key role in advancing student-centric learning solutions. David's expertise lies in marrying technological innovation with pedagogical effectiveness, making him a valuable asset in transforming educational experiences. As an advisor for enrollment startups, David provides strategic guidance, helping these companies navigate the complexities of the education sector. His insights are crucial in developing impactful and sustainable enrollment strategies.

Updated: May 30, 2024, Reading time: 18 minutes

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A computer forensics degree is one of the hottest fields in technology today. It can lead to several high-paying jobs, such as Cybersecurity, Incident Response Analyst, Digital Forensic Investigator, and Forensic Analyst. These professionals are known for earning significantly above the national average. 

However, the technology industry is a rapidly growing field. Earning a Master’s in Computer Forensics provides students with a solid foundation as they pursue computer forensics careers, whether it is at a technical or managerial level.

If you are passionate about digital evidence investigations, then pursuing this master’s degree is an ideal choice. This master’s degree often involves the mastery of computer forensic investigation techniques that seek to address numerous activities, including fraud, information theft, digital espionage, and counter-terrorism.


Additional Information:


Overview

There are many online programs in computer forensics offered by universities and colleges in the country. This master’s program in computer forensics prepares graduates for a rewarding and lucrative career in the exciting field of digital forensics examination. They will also get to explore forensic tool development, validation and forensic administration, and tool verification.


Methodology

The field of digital forensics is continually evolving and becoming ever more crucial in today’s highly digitalized world. Exciting career paths are open to those wanting to enter the field, and they must get the best and most advanced training and preparation that they can.

We can help with that! We have put together a list of graduate schools that offer the best online master’s in Computer forensics programs. Each program was selected based on the following characteristics:

Read our Methodology page for details.

Best Online Master’s in Computer Forensics Programs

Michigan State University

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

Master of Science in Cybercrime and Digital Investigation

Michigan State University is a leader in research and innovation, with an R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity” designation. Technology and computer students at MSU can expect to have plenty of opportunities for research and hands-on learning experiences. 

Michigan State offers the MS in Cybercrime and Digital Investigation program, which equips students with digital forensics skills that are crucial to identifying and curbing cybercrime.

Standout Features:

Michigan State University designed its MS in Cybercrime and Digital Investigation program to accommodate students who come from both technical and non-technical backgrounds. The program is also taught by faculty who have extensive expertise working with major government agencies, including the FBI, DHS, and the DOD.

Did You Know?

Michigan State University also offers two other Criminal Justice graduate degree programs online: the Master of Science in Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis, and the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice.


University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL

Master of Science in Digital Forensics

The University of Central Florida is a great contender in producing tech-proficient professionals. Technology is a big part of this university, helping it create more initiatives for research, innovation, and student success. 

UCF offers an online Master of Science in Digital Forensics program that allows students to explore today’s cutting-edge topics, including digital threats, crimes, and security. Students are expected to solve important problems and take on leadership roles in the field of digital evidence investigations.

Standout Features:

The program is designed through the efforts and collaboration of different online departments in the University of Central Florida, including the departments of Forensic Science of Chemistry Criminal Justice & Legal Studies, Computer Science, and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Plus, it’s also one of the most affordable programs of its kind, with an in-state per credit hour rate of $327.32. 

Did You Know?

Initially, the University of Central Florida was established to provide talent for the growing US space program. It has since developed a reputation for academic excellence, having built partnerships in numerous fields. It is a research leader in the fields of optics and lasers, hospitality management, video game design, modeling and simulation, engineering and computer science, and so much more.


Sam Houston State University

Sam Houston State University - Online

Huntsville, TX

Master of Science in Digital Forensics

With more than 135 years of experience in providing quality and accessible education, Sam Houston State University features a blend of instructional technologies and state-of-the-art distance education advancements. The university was recognized nationally for some of the best online master’s programs in the US.

Sam Houston State University has offered an MS in Digital Forensics since 2004, making it the first of its kind in the country. This program prepares students to develop new approaches when it comes to detecting, preserving, and analyzing digital evidence.

Standout Features:

The MS in Digital Forensics degree allows students to take advantage of state-of-the-art facilities, including the Center of Excellence in Digital Forensics. The latter houses a Network Security Lab, accommodating training in data, prevention and tracing, and network and cyber security intrusion detection.

Did You Know?

Quality and convenience are at the heart of Sam Houston State University. It does not differentiate between online degrees and traditional degrees, offering students the same high-quality academic programs regardless of the delivery. It offers more than 40 degree programs that are fully available online.


University of New Haven

University of New Haven

West Haven, CT

Master of Science in Digital Forensic Investigation

The University of New Haven is a private university with a long history of excellence in technology and innovation. Its commitment to providing students with a cutting-edge education in fields such as engineering, computer science, and cybersecurity has earned it a reputation as a leader in technology-focused higher education. 

The University of New Haven’s digital forensics MS degree is billed as the first program of its kind in the country, and aside from being 100% online, it features a curriculum that reflects actual professional practice by professional investigators, whether in the field or the laboratory.

Students who are sworn officers or correctional officers from law enforcement agencies in the country and worldwide may be eligible for tuition discounts, as are members of professional organizations, including the IAFCI, ACAMS, ACFCS, NHCAA, etc.

Standout Features:

The University of New Haven also offers several 100% online Graduate Certificates in Investigations, which include Financial Crime, Wildlife & Environmental Crimes, Criminal Investigations, Elder & Child Protective Services, Compliance, Sports Integrity, and more.

These certificate programs let students gain an in-depth understanding of certain facets of Investigations, which they can later count toward a full master’s degree should they choose to.

Did You Know?

Sworn officers or correctional officers may qualify for a 50% discount on our degree programs. Additionally, members of professional organizations like IAFCI, ACAMS, ACFCS, NHCAA, and similar groups are eligible for a 20% tuition reduction.


University of the Cumberlands

University-of-the-Cumberlands

Williamsburg, KY

Master’s in Digital Forensics

Not only is the University of the Cumberlands among the oldest private liberal arts universities in the South, but it’s also one of the most competitive schools for tech students worldwide. They’re one of the few colleges and universities that offers online doctorates in information technology. 

Another of their online tech degrees is the Master’s in Digital Forensics. This program equips students with the knowledge and critical skills integral to dealing with the growing cybersecurity issues in the Information Technology industry.

Students will be able to prepare for advanced training and roles in the public and private sectors, often assisting law enforcement agencies in the recovery and investigation of lost data due to computer crime, abuse, fraud, and a host of other illegal activities in cyberspace.

Standout Features:

This online master’s degree offers two specialization options to students who want to stand out in the computer forensics field and tailor their learning to their career goals and needs. This includes Cybersecurity and Criminal Justice.

Did You Know?

The University of the Cumberlands launched the Cumberlands Commitment in 2018. This program reduced tuition by 57%, making higher education more affordable for any student. The policy also expanded to include complimentary books, free textbooks, and low private tuition and fees.


Strayer University

Strayer University

Alexandria, VA

Master of Science in Information Systems in Computer Forensic Management

Strayer University, originally a business school, had successfully expanded its academic offerings to encompass a wide array of disciplines. Today, Strayer has around over 52,000 students enrolled.

Strayer University offers an MS in Information Systems (MSIS) in Computer Forensic Management. This program prepares students for careers at the forefront of data security, privacy, and protection.

Standout Features:

Key components of the program curriculum are based on the Information Technology Infrastructure Library best practices, and the curriculum itself contains comprehensive coverage of key concepts in cyber forensics.  

Strayer University also offers another digital forensics-related online master’s degree program: the Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance. This program also covers advanced training on technologies and strategies for investigating cybercrimes, as well as their prevention and mitigation.

Did You Know?

Strayer University is a women-dominated institution; more than half of its student population is female. The university offers resources and support networks specifically tailored to address the unique needs and challenges that female students may face, ensuring that they have every opportunity to thrive during their time at Strayer.


University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland - Global Campus

Adelphi, MD

Master’s in Digital Forensics & Cyber Investigation

The University of Maryland is renowned for its excellence in technology-focused degree programs. Since its founding, UMD has been at the forefront of technological advancements and has substantially contributed to technology and computer science. This reputation extends to its online programs offered through UMD Global Campus, which maintain the same high standards and quality education as its on-campus counterparts.

The University of Maryland Global Campus offers a Master’s in Digital Forensics & Cyber Investigation focused on developing students’ advanced skills for digital forensics. Students are expected to hone their expertise in analyzing and mitigating cybercrime with the aid of investigative and leadership skills.

Standout Features:

The program is designed to help students prepare for various industry certification exams. This includes the 

Did You Know?

Apart from the online courses offered anywhere in the globe, UMGC also features more than 175 classrooms and locations all over the world. This includes military installations. True to its commitment to serving the military, the university offers tuition assistance and veterans benefits.

They also understand the challenges faced by servicemen as they pursue their academic degrees, allowing them to ensure that veterans and military members are well supported.


Utica University

Utica University

Utica, NY

Master of Science in Cybersecurity – Digital Forensics

Utica University is a small private university currently composed of 3 colleges and has a current population of around 3,000 students. However, its size did not deter it from establishing reputable degree programs in various fields, from business and healthcare to cybersecurity and engineering. 

Utica University’s Master of Science in Cybersecurity with a specialization in Digital Forensics. The program prepares students with skills that count toward fighting fraud, ransomware, and other forms of cybercrime.

Standout Features:

Utica University is a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CD). Aside from the comprehensive curriculum, students also get the chance to earn valuable hands-on experience.

Utica University also offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity with two other specialization areas: Cybersecurity Operations or Cybercrime and Fraud.

Did You Know?

Beyond academics, Utica University prioritizes community engagement, instilling in students a profound sense of social responsibility and civic duty. Through an array of outreach programs and initiatives, Utica University actively contributes to enhancing the local community.


University at Albany, SUNY

University at Albany, SUNY

Albany, NY

Master of Science in Digital Forensics & Cybersecurity

The University at Albany has a population of around over 16,000 students and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity.” SUNY Albany is committed to providing programs that blend technology courses, ensuring graduates meet industry standards. 

The University at Albany offers a Master of Science in Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity, a program that develops students’ skills in forensics. It particularly focuses on digital evidence gathering and analysis, and in rapidly detecting and deterring malicious network attacks.

Standout Features:

This STEM-designated degree program is ideal for recent graduates with degrees in emergency preparedness, cybersecurity, informatics, homeland security, applied engineering, mathematics, or computer science.

The University at Albany is also a National Security Agency-designated Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity.

Did You Know?

Students who may not feel ready for the full coursework of a master’s degree can also choose the University at Albany’s Graduate Certificate in Information Security.


Champlain College

Champlain College - Online

Burlington, VT

Master’s in Digital Forensics Science

Champlain College is a career-focused business and accounting school. Part of its mission is to extend more degrees to nontraditional students. At present, the college has more than 60 online degrees and certificates on offer, with 24/7 access to coursework. 

Champlain College offers a nationally recognized digital forensics education with its Master’s in Digital Forensics Science program. The online program’s cutting-edge digital forensics curriculum harnesses the power of emerging technology and new industry trends taught by expert practitioner instructors.

Standout Features:

Home of the Senator Patrick Leahy Center for Digital Investigation & Cybersecurity, Champlain College’s computer forensics program can benefit from the college’s multiple designations. This includes a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education recognition from the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security.

Champlain College is also a National Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence, as the Defense Cyber Crime Center Air Force Office of Special Investigations (DC3) designated.

Did You Know?

Champlain College is known to keep its class sizes small and manageable. This gives the faculty and advisors more room to focus on students’ success from the beginning of their journey all the way through graduation. This means academic advisors have ample time and dedication to provide the support students need to meet and succeed in their academic goals.


Careers after a Master’s Degree in Digital Forensics

A Master’s Degree in Digital Forensics is oriented toward careers in the investigative side of the criminal justice system. These careers can be from within both the public and private sectors. Here are some of them, with a broad-strokes description of what they do and their average salaries:

Forensic Computer Examiners

Forensic computer examiners are specialists skilled in retrieving digital evidence and other data from computers and data storage systems.

Average Annual Salary: $84,281

Information Security Analysts

Information Security Analysts are typically in charge of monitoring the computer network/s of specific organizations in order to detect and investigate any security breaches. They are also tasked with constantly checking for vulnerabilities in these networks.

Average Annual Salary: $111,090

Cyber-Fraud Investigators

A lot of modern fraudulent activities have various traces that are left behind in the digital space. It is the job of cyber-fraud investigators to look for these distinct pieces of digital evidence.

Average Annual Salary: $92,978

Information Research Scientists

Information Research covers a wide range of disciplines. Still, with regard to cyber security, the work, of an information research scientist can factor into developing solutions that improve the security of various computer systems, as well as better detecting the fingerprints left by digital crime.

Average Annual Salary: $107,228

Federal Agents

Depending on the department, federal agents can take on a variety of roles, including investigation and law enforcement. A career as a federal agent requires more steps and training, but a master’s in digital forensics serves as a good preparation.

Average Annual Salary: $135,000

Online-Masters-in-Computer-Forensics-fact

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common admission requirements to computer forensics degree programs?

Usually, the primary requirement to get admitted into the Computer Forensics program is holding an undergraduate degree in Computer Science or any related technical field. Some colleges and universities may need prospective students to meet a certain GPA.

Other requirements include official transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal statements, updated resumes, and more. In some cases, transfer credits may be considered, allowing students to reduce the time that it takes to complete the program.

What is the difference between Computer Forensics and Computer Science?

Both degree programs are integral to today’s increasingly digital world. While they both have benefits in terms of pursuing a lucrative and rewarding career, the two fields have their distinctions.

AspectComputer Science ProgramComputer Forensics Program
FocusBroad overview of computingSpecific focus on digital forensics and cybersecurity
Core Subjects-Computer programming languages
-Software development-Algorithms
-Criminal justice
-Forensic Science
-Digital forensic tools
Specialized Subjects-Applied machine learning
-Advanced computer system
-Malware analysis
-Software vulnerability analysis
-Network forensic
Specific Career Paths-Software development
-Systems analysis
-Data Science
-Digital forensics analyst
-Cybersecurity specialist
-Law enforcement

Summary Points

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