BSc (Hons) Computer Forensics and Security

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Attend an open day How to apply

Overview

As computing technology becomes more integral to our homes, workplaces and public services, cybercrime is increasingly widespread and dangerous. With this degree, you’ll be part of the solution as you learn to investigate breaches and harness secure systems.

You’ll specialise in information and network security, file system-based forensics and analysis, and network and internet forensics. And because other people’s private data is involved, you’ll also explore the legal and ethical implications and how they relate to digital investigations.

Throughout our Computer Forensics and Security degree, you’ll gain a broad understanding of computer security concepts, the phases of a forensic investigation and of computing in general. Extensive group work will develop your ability to think logically and use your initiative to critically analyse problems in the forensic domain. By the time you graduate, you’ll have a set of skills that are in high demand in our technology-led world, across both the public and private sectors.

Our BSc (Hons) Computer Forensics and Security also provides the opportunity to spend an extra year expanding your horizons, working on a placement in industry.

This course is available with a Foundation Year.

Features and Benefits

Accreditations, Awards and Endorsements

Career Prospects

A Computer Forensics and Security degree will prepare you for a wide range of careers in a fast-growing industry. You’ll be ideally placed to apply for jobs such as cyber/IT security analyst or digital forensic investigator. Broader jobs in computing include software developer, systems analyst and architect, IT manager and technician as well as roles managing technology to support a range of public and private sector organisations.

In addition, the skills you learn on this degree are highly valued by a range of employers and opportunities may exist in areas such as project management, e-commerce and social media marketing, scientific research, education and many more.

Manchester is a major hub for the digital technology industry. The close proximity of MediaCity and a large number of both established companies and innovative tech start-ups means that the opportunities for technological collaboration are huge. Situated in the “Oxford Road Corridor" innovation district of Manchester, the University and the Department of Computing and Mathematics are perfectly placed to work with key players in the digital technology and new media sectors.

Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

These typical entry requirements apply to the 2019 academic year of entry and may be subject to change for the 2020 academic year. Please check back for further details.

UCAS tariff points/grades required

104-112

A levels ­– BCC-BBC, to include grade C in IT, Computer Science, Mathematics or a Science subject.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (1080) in IT or Computing – DMM, with grade merit or above in the following units:

IT – 01 and 04

Computing – 01 and 02

Equivalent qualifications and combinations will be considered, including Extended Project (EPQ) at grade C or above. Other AS levels (or qualifications equivalent to AS level) are not accepted.

Applicants who do not meet the subject-specific knowledge requirement may be offered the opportunity to complete an admissions test.

Please contact the University directly if you are unsure whether you meet the minimum entry requirements for the course.

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE grade C/4 in English Language or Level 2 Functional Skills English

and

GCSE grade C/4 in Mathematics

and

GCSE grade C/4 in Science or BTEC Level 2 in Applied Science with grade merit

The level 2 requirements may also be met through the level 3 course requirements for the course; please contact the University directly if you require further information.

Non Tariffed Qualifications

Pass Access to HE Diploma in IT, Computing or Science with a minimum score of 106 UCAS Tariff points.

International Baccalaureate points

26 IB Diploma Points including HL 5 in IT

IELTS score required for international students

6.0 overall with no individual element below 5.5

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Further information

Applicants studying Level 4 HNC or Level 5 HND or equivalent qualifications in a relevant IT/Computing subject may be considered for direct entry onto the second year of this course if their study profile meets the course’s second year prerequisites. Direct entry onto the final year of this course is not possible.

Course details

Computing technology is fundamental to the way our world works. It’s a vital part of communication, transport, finance, leisure and more. In a matter of a few decades, it has quickly developed from the work of the early pioneers to computer systems that underpin nearly everything we do. And the pace of innovation hasn’t slowed, with technologies like artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things, smart cities, robotics and virtual reality taking us deeper into uncharted territories every day.

With our Computer Forensics and Security degree, you’ll develop the analytical, programming, web development, problem-solving and professional skills necessary not just to keep up with these changes, but to drive them forward. With all the latest equipment, we provide training in specialist labs with high-performance computers and the latest software. We also have strong industry links in a city with one of the biggest creative and digital sectors in the UK. Our courses are developed with industry, giving you the skills and knowledge you’ll need in the workplace. This ensures that by the time you leave us, you’ll be well placed to pursue a range of careers across a variety of sectors.

Typical units of study may include:

  • Computer Forensics and Security Fundamentals
  • Computer Systems Fundamentals
  • Information Systems
  • Programming (Java)

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Programming (Java)

This unit introduces computer programming in a high level programming language and includes principles and practice in problem solving, program design, solution implementation and testing, including:

  • Introduction to programming using Java
  • Software life cycle: importance of correctly identifying the problem, iterative nature of software development, software maintenance
  • Design methodology: the application of the top-down design method using step-wise refinement to produce pseudo-code solutions to problems, incorporating constructs for sequence selection, iteration, abstraction and re-use
  • Verification and testing: the use of desk-top execution, simple debugging strategies and more formal approaches to testing eg black box white box boundary analysis and equivalence classes
  • Applications of standards and conventions: software maintenance and developing a professional approach to coding
  • Constructs and features of a structured high level programming language: control constructs, operators, procedural abstraction, simple I/O and use of libraries
  • Data types – primitive types: constants, variables, arrays and simple structured data
  • Object orientated design and implementation: inheritance and polymorphism
  • Software support environment: use of an IDE editors compiler/linkers and operating systems
Information Systems

An introduction to the use of information systems in organisations which will show you how to develop key systems analysis techniques to be applied to information systems built on a commercial Relational Database Management System (RDBMS). You will also develop essential communication and teamworking skills. Topics include:

  • Business activities supported by information systems including case studies and examples
  • Use of information systems for management information and decision making, business operations and data processing
  • E-commerce theory, information systems and society
  • Systems analysis and design techniques including UML use cases
  • Database management systems and database design/development: entity relationship diagrams (ERDs), normalisation, SQL development
Computer Systems Fundamentals

This unit provides an introduction to the fundamental principles and mathematics underpinning the design and construction of computer systems, including:

  • Digital Logic and Boolean Algebra: digital logic gates and circuits, Karnaugh maps, use of a digital logic circuit simulator, components of a CPU, processor model, Fetch execute cycle, hardware interrupts
  • Assembly Language Programming: relationship between high level languages and assembler, instruction sets, registers, debugging
  • Discrete Mathematics: matrices and vectors, matrices as linear transforms
  • Functions: definition, properties
  • Sets: subsets, set algebra
  • Logic: propositions, predicates, propositional algebra, proof of simple results
Computer Forensics and Security Fundamentals

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to the fundamental concepts of digital forensics and computer security, including:

  • Forensic Process: types of investigations, role of investigator, processes, toolkits, legal aspects, ACPO, case studies, incident response cycle
  • Data forms, bits, bytes, decimal, hexadecimal, files
  • Scripting for digital forensics
  • Security principles, incident response strategy, security roles and responsibilities, types of security policies, security culture, security certifications
  • Information security management: threats, vulnerabilities, risk concepts, handling risk, threat landscape, security standards (e.g. ISO/IEC 27000), understanding auditability, internal audit processes.

Typical units of study may include:

  • Advanced Programming
  • Computer Networks and Operating Systems
  • File Systems Forensics and Analysis
  • Professional Development

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Professional Development

The unit covers professional, legal and career development issues in the Computing and Digital Technology industries and includes a pathway-specific group project.

The current legal framework of Computing and Digital Technology is examined e.g. data protection legislation, intellectual property rights, computer misuse, freedom of information, computer contracts and employment contracts as is an overview and comparison of workable ethical theories eg utilitarianism and duty based approaches. Important issues regarding professional bodies in computing are also addressed including their role, structure, codes of conduct and practice. You will also investigate employability factors and learn about the employment application process and the importance of continuing professional development. A themed case study mini-project linked to the subject pathway, which may include the opportunity to work with an external company. This will help you to develop your skills and understanding of project planning and control concepts, planning techniques (eg Gantt charts) and monitoring, academic research, software prototyping and report writing.

Computer Networks and Operating Systems

The unit provides an introduction to the operation of computer networks operating systems theory and practice.

Topics include - Concurrency: the solutions to and the problems of concurrency, race conditions, livelock deadlock starvation and priority inversion. The use of semaphores and/or monitors in solving classical problems such as: i) the bounded buffer and ii) multiple readers and writers. Computer Networks: network components – repeaters, hubs, switches, routers, gateways; protocol stacks – OSI TCP/IP, basic network performance characteristics. Process management: processes and threads, performance benefits of multiprogramming, scheduling algorithms, two-level schedulers. Input/Output: principles of I/O hardware; devices and controllers; principles of I/O software – device drivers, device interrupt, handlers device, independent software. Memory Management: evolution of physical and virtual memory management, algorithms and computer architecture for memory management. File systems: structure and organisation of the file system; disk space storage allocation using contiguous linked indexed and inode based schemes.

Advanced Programming

This unit covers concepts relating to object-oriented program design, the use of framework libraries, web server and mobile application development.

The unit covers object-oriented concepts: introduction to object-oriented concepts including class, object, instantiation, attributes, constructor, methods, overloading, inheritance, overriding, polymorphism and design techniques using Unified Modeling Language (UML). Testing of object-oriented programs. Advanced topics: interfaces, inner classes, collections, exception handling, stream based file input/output, building a Graphical User Interface (GUI) using libraries, event handling, graphics and threads. Implementation: practical application and implementation of concepts studied above. Use of Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Implementation of a UML diagram. Documentation and coding standards. Case studies.

File Systems Forensics and Analysis

The unit provides content to enable an understanding of the theory and practice of computer forensics. It covers: Forensic process: types of investigations, role of investigator, processes, toolkits, legal aspects. Forensic response: collecting volatile data, MAC times, login data, open ports, running processor, current/ recent connections, reviewing event logs and registry data, obtaining system passwords, dumping system RAM, forensic duplication. File system analysis: data acquisition, volume analysis, journaling, write blockers, signatures, locating and restoring deleted content. Memory: capturing memory, memory contents identification, flash memory devices, data persistence. Information hiding & malware analysis: scanning/evaluating data streams, steganography, slack space, host protected area, static and dynamic analysis, post-mortem analysis, program confinement, rootkits.

If you opt for the four year sandwich route your third year will be spent on placement.

Typical units of study may include:

  • Information and Network Security
  • Network and Internet Forensics
  • Project

Option units (indicative and may be subject to change year on year):

  • Enterprise Programming
  • Mobile Application Development

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Project

Provides experience in the critical review of literature and the design, implementation, evaluation and writing up. Working with your supervisor, students develop their project description and specify aims, objectives, methodology and timetable for completion. Final year projects are normally pathway-specific. For group projects, individual and collective aims, objectives and plans are specified.

Information and Network Security

This unit will cover a diverse set of topics related to information and network security with emphasis on cryptographic methods and security protocols. It includes an overview of security, cryptography and encryption algorithms e.g. DES, RSA, AES. Access control and multilevel security, internet security protocols and firewalls.

Network and Internet Forensics

The unit builds on forensic evidence and analysis and provides content on network forensics, internet forensics and latest developments in the area. Network traffic monitoring and analysis: sniffers, events, trap and trace, full content, session data, reassembling sessions, filters, router investigation, routing tables, access control lists, monitoring and network intrusion detection. Internet Forensics: internet threats, addresses and domain names, email structure and routing, URL obfuscation, HTTP transactions, log analysis, browser history, cookie storage, temporary files. Recent Developments: latest developments in the field; topics such as anti-forensics and anti-forensic countermeasures.

Option Units

Mobile Applications Development

This unit provides a thorough grounding in smartphone application development, location aware applications and mobile device technologies. This includes smartphone development, creation of mobile applications using a current mobile device development environment eg iPhone, iPad, Android, wireless technologies and security, technologies available, characteristics and security models eg RFID, WiFi, Bluetooth. Location-aware mobile applications, access and analysis of location on mobile devices and creation of intelligent applications. Current practice in mobile application development. New and emerging mobile application techniques and devices eg context aware computing. Wireless sensors and sensor networks. Smart Environments.

Enterprise Programming

Students will build secure, robust, maintainable enterprise level applications using a variety of current distributed programming techniques. Includes use of common enterprise design patterns and implementation in a suitable language, professional programming techniques, distributed programming creation and analysis of distributed applications in a high level language, web service architectures eg web services, WSDL, SOAP, XML/ JSON processing, current techniques in enterprise application development eg Hadoop, cloud computing, reference architectures, models and frameworks and enterprise frameworks eg Hibernate, Struts.

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises of 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

Study
Assessment
Optional foundation year

Additional information about this course

Students are expected to behave in a professional and business like manner when on placement or conducting projects with external partners.

Placement options

The four-year sandwich route provides the opportunity to go on a placement for at least 36 weeks, where you’ll get a taste of professional life. A placement not only gives you the opportunity to develop your core skills and experience, but also shows employers that you’re ready to get to work. We offer a wide range of services to help you find the right placement, including employer presentations, advice and fairs. But it’s also up to you – the more proactive you are about applying for placements, the better.

Department of Computing and Mathematics

Our Department of Computing and Mathematics is a vibrant community of staff and students, which prides itself on internal and external collaboration.

The department is committed to teaching and research that addresses societal challenges through disciplines like artificial intelligence, big data, computational fluid dynamics, cyber security, dynamical systems, the internet of things, smart cities, robotics and virtual reality.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff

Fees

Foundation Year students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time Foundation Year fee: £9,250 per year for the foundation year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students: Full-time Foundation Year fee: £16,500 per year. When progressing from the pre-degree foundation year to the linked degree. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study)

UK, EU and Channel Island students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students

Non-EU international students: Full-time fee: £16,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated Masters 480 credits. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional costs

Specialist Costs

Students often choose to buy a laptop in their first year however there are PCs in campus and students can borrow laptops.

Placement Costs

Students can choose to go on a placement which might incur additional travel and accommodation costs - these would be offset by salary on a paid placement and will vary by location.

Professional Costs

Students can choose to join the BCS at any point in their study. It is not required but is useful. The annual charge is identified for every year there is also an option to take course membership for £57

Other Costs

Students who do the Department's units that relate to computer games or animation may incur costs for external storage media such as USB or HDD drives. Level 5 students may complete a Live Project on the Professional Development unit - this may incur some travel costs.

Funding

Find out more about financing your studies and whether you may qualify for one of our bursaries and scholarships.

Money Matters

Want to know more?

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS.

Apply now

UCAS code(s)

G551

Remember to use the correct institution code for Manchester Metropolitan University on your application: our institution code is M40

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.

MANCHESTER IS YOUR CITY. BE PART OF IT.

Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Manchester Metropolitan University is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. More information on the role of the OfS and its regulatory framework can be found at officeforstudents.org.uk.

All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.

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