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Computer Forensics and Security
Undergraduate course
MEng

Computer Forensics and Security

International Scholarships available

Overview

Explore the interconnected fields of computer forensics and security. This four-year course will see you progress from an undergraduate degree after your initial three years of study to postgraduate-level study in your fourth and final year, enabling you to gain a masters-level qualification.

The areas of computer forensics and security are more closely related than ever before, with police forces creating cybercrime teams which draw on expertise from across these two specialities.

You will learn how to analyse digital devices such as hard drives and mobile phones to capture data that can be used as evidence in criminal trials. We will teach you where devices hide their data and how to retrieve it so it can be used in a variety of criminal cases, from those involving intellectual property theft to murder.

You will combine this knowledge with a thorough investigation of computer security as you discover new and more robust ways to protect digital data. Using our secure networks, you will gain hands-on experience of hacking into computer systems so you can understand how to install security measures, including firewalls and intrusion detection systems, in order to protect them.

Our partnership with global communications technology giant Avaya brings the company’s cutting-edge expertise to the heart of Headingley Campus. You will have direct access to the Avaya Breeze, Avaya Aura and Avaya Equinox platforms as you explore the real-time optimisation of new middleware. This facility forms the company’s regional base, meaning you will be part of a community that includes potential employers who use Avaya’s products, enabling you to start building your professional network while you study.

Studying for an integrated masters will allow you to build on the expertise you developed at undergraduate level. Many masters courses in computer security and forensics are designed for students from a general computing background, so teaching has to start with the basics. When you start the final year of your integrated masters, our teaching team will already know your level of expertise, so you will be able to refine your knowledge at a more in-depth level.

Throughout your course, you will be taught by a small and dedicated teaching team. Many of our staff have extensive knowledge of working in industry, giving them insights that will feed into your teaching. Senior Lecturer Emlyn Butterfield has extensive experience working as a digital forensic analyst and has provided testimony in criminal and civil cases.

As part of our new Cybercrime and Security Innovation Centre, teaching staff from your course are working in partnership with West Yorkshire Police to develop new ways of fighting the growing problem of cybercrime. This partnership will give you unparalleled access to cutting-edge research and industry contacts, in turn giving you an invaluable insight into the real-world applications of computer security. You will have the opportunity to get involved in this research, enhancing the skills employers will expect of a masters-level graduate.

We understand that full-time study does not suit everyone. That’s why we offer courses which give you the opportunity to decide where, when and how you can get involved in learning. Studying a distance learning course offers the convenience and flexibility to make education work for you. Whether you’d like to fit your studies around childcare, develop your skills while working or, quite simply, want to learn from the comfort of your own home, we can help you gain a qualification at a time and pace that suits your lifestyle.

Like our students on campus, you will have the same excellent teaching and learning resources, however you’ll find these online instead of in a lecture theatre. Not only are all the modules taught online, but you will also have access to an online community and more than 140,000 books and journals in our online library.

Visit our Distance Learning Website

This course offers the opportunity to take a ‘sandwich’ year – a year of paid employment in industry which will build your skills and experience. This is usually taken between the second and third year of your degree, typically making your course four years in total.

Students who choose the sandwich route find it helps with both their studies and getting a job after graduation. It can build your confidence, contacts, and of course your CV. Leeds Beckett advertise lots of placement opportunities and provide support in helping you find the right placement for you.

Course Features

  • Specialist facilities
  • Real-life projects
  • Expert careers service
  • 24/7 Library
  • University accommodation
  • TEF Silver Award
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Entry Requirements

88
POINTS REQUIRED
If you're applying via UCAS, find out more about how your qualifications fit into the UCAS tariff.

Additional Requirements

GCSEs:
GCSE English Language and Maths at Grade C or above (Grade 4 for those sitting their GCSE from 2017 onwards) or equivalent. Key Skills Level 2, Functional Skills Level 2 and the Certificate in Adult Literacy/Numeracy are accepted in place of GCSEs.
IELTS:
IELTS 6.0 with no skills below 5.5, or an equivalent qualification. The University provides excellent support for any applicant who may be required to undertake additional English language courses.
Mature Applicants
Our University welcomes applications from mature applicants who demonstrate academic potential. We usually require some evidence of recent academic study, for example completion of an access course, however recent relevant work experience may also be considered. Please note that for some of our professional courses all applicants will need to meet the specified entry criteria and in these cases work experience cannot be considered in lieu.

If you wish to apply through this route you should refer to our University Recognition of Prior Learning policy that is available on our website.

Please note that all applicants to our University are required to meet our standard English language requirement of GCSE grade C or equivalent, variations to this will be listed on the individual course entry requirements.

Additional Requirements

GCSEs:
GCSE English Language and Maths at Grade C or above (Grade 4 for those sitting their GCSE from 2017 onwards) or equivalent. Key Skills Level 2, Functional Skills Level 2 and the Certificate in Adult Literacy/Numeracy are accepted in place of GCSEs.
IELTS:
IELTS 6.0 with no skills below 5.5, or an equivalent qualification. The University provides excellent support for any applicant who may be required to undertake additional English language courses.
Verify your qualifications
If you are an international student, we can help you to compare and verify your qualifications. Please contact our International Office on +44 (0)113 812 1111 09.00 to 17.00 Mon-Thurs / 09.00 to 16.30 Fri GMT or email internationaloffice@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.
Need to improve your English Language skills?
Don't worry if you don't have the level of English required for your chosen course. We offer a wide range of courses which have been designed to help you to improve your qualifications and English language ability, most of which are accredited by the British Council. Check your English and find out more about our English courses.


More questions?
No matter what your questions, we are here to answer them, visit our International website to get more information and find out about our online open days.

Careers

Josh Price

Careers

Josh Price

BSc (Hons) Computer Forensics

“The support I received from my lecturers was amazing and they opened my eyes to a career in forensics. The opportunity to do a work placement in my second year was really exciting.

Teaching and learning

Understanding advanced computer security and forensics and the broader computing area. The course covers key topics such as authentication, access control, malware and vulnerabilities, secure coding, sandboxing, virtualisation, vulnerability assessment, Unix security, and ethical hacking and penetration testing techniques. You will also develop your security mind-set, and be better prepared for the immense challenges facing ICT and security professionals.

The tabs below detail what and how you will study in each year of your course. The balance of assessments and overall workload will be informed by your core modules and the option modules you choose to study – the information provided is an indication of what you can expect and may be subject to change. The option modules listed are also an indication of what will be available to you. Their availability is subject to demand and you will be advised which option modules you can choose at the beginning of each year of study.

Build upon your knowledge of the core areas of computing and begin the specialisation in Computer Forensics & Security. This specialism is contextualised within the team project which allows you to learn and apply project management techniques and to experience a development role within a realistic team environment.
Overall workload
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290 hours Teaching and learning Typically, this will include lectures, seminars, tutorials, supervised studio time or laboratory time and one-to-one meetings with your personal tutor.
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910 hours Independent study This is the time outside your timetabled hours when you will be expected to continue learning independently. Typically, this will involve reading, research, completing assignments, preparing presentations and exam revision.
Indicative assessment proportions (based on 2018/19)
Examination This could include a timed examination, take-away paper, formal presentation or viva-voce examination or a set exercise, quiz or multiple choice test.
15%
Practical This is an invigilated assessment of your practical skills and competencies, such as delivering a coaching session, or a school experience if you are training to be a teacher.
33%
Coursework This could include essays, reports or other written assignments, a dissertation or project, or a portfolio of your work. Assessed work will normally be returned with feedback within four weeks of your submission. When you begin your course, you will be provided with a module handbook for your chosen modules which will provide specific guidelines on how and when you will receive that feedback.
52%
Core Modules

Explore the foundations of computer forensics and security by studying evidential processing, basic analysis techniques, and the commands and process used within a security assessment.

You will be introduced to the fundamentals of computer programming, including variables and data types, understanding sequence, selection and iteration, basic algorithms, and structured programming and reuse.

You will develop, deploy and evaluate a website, enhancing your knowledge of current standards, languages, emerging technologies, internet protocols and web security.

Extend the basic knowledge of programming you have gained on the fundamentals module by focusing on the concept of object oriented programming and its associated design techniques.

Discover the stages involved in the development of database systems and acquire database modelling and implementation skills. You will also examine the ethical and professional issues associated with the database development process.

Examine the principles involved in making information sharing possible, efficient and secure. You will gain an understanding of the techniques that networking protocols use to achieve successful communication, including error detection and recovery, multiplexing and security protection.

Undertake a minimum of three specialised modules in Computer Forensics & Security, which allows you to further progress your understanding of process and analysis techniques. The choice of option modules allows you to diversify, adding extra avenues to your employability upon graduation.
Overall workload
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224 hours Teaching and learning Typically, this will include lectures, seminars, tutorials, supervised studio time or laboratory time and one-to-one meetings with your personal tutor.
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976 hours Independent study This is the time outside your timetabled hours when you will be expected to continue learning independently. Typically, this will involve reading, research, completing assignments, preparing presentations and exam revision.
Indicative assessment proportions (based on 2018/19)
Practical This is an invigilated assessment of your practical skills and competencies, such as delivering a coaching session, or a school experience if you are training to be a teacher.
57%
Coursework This could include essays, reports or other written assignments, a dissertation or project, or a portfolio of your work. Assessed work will normally be returned with feedback within four weeks of your submission. When you begin your course, you will be provided with a module handbook for your chosen modules which will provide specific guidelines on how and when you will receive that feedback.
43%
Core Modules

The next stage in your understanding of digital forensics, this module will examine the various legal aspects of forensics and explore the tools and file systems that are available for analysis.

Building on your understanding of digital security, this module will examine various security mechanisms, both physical and policy based, and give you practical experience of hacking and prevention.

Develop an in-depth practical understanding of the analysis techniques and tools used by forensic examiners.

Look at the major business challenges and threats that are introduced when an organisations network is connected to the public internet. You will discover how hackers access online networks and how firewalls and VPNs can be used to provide security.

Further your professional and entrepreneurial skills by working within a small group to design, develop and present a solution to a real or case-study based problem.

Option modules may include:

Build on your experience of designing and implementing databases and apply your database application development and programming skills to build robust applications.

Explore the design and development of dynamic websites. You will examine the design process alongside an introduction to server side web development, enabling you to build a well designed, interactive site.

Focus on advanced programming techniques and study concepts including exception handling, defining interfaces and use of collections. You will also look at other topics such as analysis of algorithms.

This course offers the opportunity to take a ‘sandwich’ year – a year of paid employment in industry which will build your skills and experience. This is usually taken between the second and third year of your degree, typically making your course four years in total.

Students who choose the sandwich route find it helps with both their studies and getting a job after graduation. It can build your confidence, contacts, and of course your CV. Leeds Beckett advertise lots of placement opportunities and provide support in helping you find the right placement for you.

Study three masters-level specialised modules in Computer Forensics & Security, which focus on advanced topics in these fields. You will also undertake a major dissertation project which encompasses significant research, planning and the production of a product.
Overall workload
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219 hours Teaching and learning Typically, this will include lectures, seminars, tutorials, supervised studio time or laboratory time and one-to-one meetings with your personal tutor.
Clock icon
981 hours Independent study This is the time outside your timetabled hours when you will be expected to continue learning independently. Typically, this will involve reading, research, completing assignments, preparing presentations and exam revision.
Indicative assessment proportions (based on 2018/19)
Examination This could include a timed examination, take-away paper, formal presentation or viva-voce examination or a set exercise, quiz or multiple choice test.
28%
Practical This is an invigilated assessment of your practical skills and competencies, such as delivering a coaching session, or a school experience if you are training to be a teacher.
20%
Coursework This could include essays, reports or other written assignments, a dissertation or project, or a portfolio of your work. Assessed work will normally be returned with feedback within four weeks of your submission. When you begin your course, you will be provided with a module handbook for your chosen modules which will provide specific guidelines on how and when you will receive that feedback.
52%
Core Modules

Develop your practical and theoretical experience of a wide range of security defences, exploring security schemes and techniques for protecting and confining users, programs, systems and networks.

Gain a hands-on, in-depth view of the nuances of the analysis of alternative sources of digital evidence, beyond that of the standard computer. These sources include satellite navigation systems, mobile phones and networked environments.

Look at the ways in which data can be investigated and interpreted. You will develop analytical skills that can be used for interpreting complex data.

The production project allows you to study an area chosen by you in significant depth. You will develop a product, ideally for an external client, and evaluate both the product and your own performance throughout the process.

Option modules may include:

Enhance your knowledge of how to manage information security, and detect and respond to security incidents. You will learn security monitoring techniques, methods for recovering from security breaches and investigation methods to identify the specifics of what has occurred.

Take a practical perspective on the domain of data and database development and management. You will seek to justify and implement appropriate modelling, design and programming strategies that satisfy the requirements associated with a range of modern data/database applications.

Focus on current developments, standards, tools and technologies within the area of internet application systems. You will learn to build professional web-based systems using a variety of current techniques.

Extend your programming skills and knowledge to a more advanced level and develop transferable programming and design abilities which will permit you to confidently work within industry.

Explore the latest developments in intelligent systems, and particularly, the ways in which they are applied or could be applied in various contexts, including smart cities, health, business and manufacturing.

Overall workload
Clock icon
146 hours Teaching and learning Typically, this will include lectures, seminars, tutorials, supervised studio time or laboratory time and one-to-one meetings with your personal tutor.
Clock icon
1054 hours Independent study This is the time outside your timetabled hours when you will be expected to continue learning independently. Typically, this will involve reading, research, completing assignments, preparing presentations and exam revision.
Indicative assessment proportions (based on 2018/19)
Practical This is an invigilated assessment of your practical skills and competencies, such as delivering a coaching session, or a school experience if you are training to be a teacher.
24%
Coursework This could include essays, reports or other written assignments, a dissertation or project, or a portfolio of your work. Assessed work will normally be returned with feedback within four weeks of your submission. When you begin your course, you will be provided with a module handbook for your chosen modules which will provide specific guidelines on how and when you will receive that feedback.
76%
Core Modules

Develop the skills required to initiate, plan, execute, manage and sign off a project. You will focus on appropriate methodologies, standards, legislation and the nine core knowledge areas associated with project management.

Build on your practical and theoretical experience of vulnerabilities and defensive security techniques. You will learn how to secure networked environments and analyse malware.

An introduction to modern image / video processing techniques and applications in digital forensic investigation. You will learn concepts of digital image / video processing application and how to apply techniques such as image filtering, de-nosing, enhancement and restoration methods in different scenarios.

Enhance your practical and theoretical knowledge of vulnerabilities and attack techniques. You will learn the technical details of vulnerabilities that can pose risks to users, applications, systems and networks, identify the techniques that can be used to attack these vulnerabilities, and learn how to mitigate against them with various tools and techniques, including advanced web security.

Undertake an advanced piece of research in a subject area of particular interest to you.

Cliffe Schreuders
Dr Z. Cliffe Schreuders
Reader
Cliffe is Senior Lecturer in Computer Security and Director of the Cybercrime and Security Innovation (CSI) Centre. Cliffe teaches on computer security topics, and is passionate about providing our students with the opportunity to put theory into practice. He leads a number of externally-funded research projects, has a strong publication track record, enjoys programming to create novel solutions to challenging problems, and is a proponent of open source development and free culture.
Everyday life involves digital devices - we are surrounded by technology which enables cybercrime. We work closely with local partners, including West Yorkshire Police, to identify and help solve the issues they face when tackling cybercrime and gathering digital evidence.
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Fees & funding

The tuition fee for the year for students entering in 2018/19 is £9250. The amount you will pay may increase each year to take into account the effects of inflation.
See further information on financing your studies.

Tuition fees
Your tuition fees cover the cost of registration, tuition, academic supervision, assessments and examinations.
The following are also included in the cost of your course:

  • 24/7 Library and student IT support
  • Free wifi via eduroam
  • Skills workshops and resources
  • Library membership, giving access to more than 500,000 printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • Access to software, including five free copies of Microsoft Office 365 to install on your PC, laptop and MAC, and access to free high-end software via the Leeds Beckett remote app
  • Loan of high-end media equipment to support your studies

Course specific

  • All software used on the course if a student version is available

Additional costs
In many cases, costs associated with your course will be included in your course fee. However, in some cases there are ‘essential’ additional costs (those that you will be required to meet in addition to your course fee), and/or ‘optional’ additional costs (costs that are not required, but that you might choose to pay). We have included those essential or optional additional costs that relate to your course, below.

Course-specific essentials

  • Accommodation / travel / commuting costs incurred during any placements
    (Payments for these costs should be negotiated as part of the placement itself, or considered as any other normal outgoing while working would be. Placements are usually paid)

Course-specific optional costs

  • A laptop running Windows 10
    (Laptops can be borrowed from the university for free should you choose not to purchase your own and all computer labs at the university run Windows 10)

Other study-related expenses to consider: books (the library stocks books from your module reading list but you may wish to purchase copies for yourself); placement costs (these may include travel expenses and living costs);student visas (international students only); printing, photocopying and stationery; field trips; study abroad opportunities (travel costs and accommodation, visas and immunisations); PC/laptop (provided on campus in social learning spaces and in the library. However, you may prefer to have your own); mobile phone/tablet (to access University online services); academic conferences (travel costs); professional-body membership (where applicable); and graduation (gown hire and guest tickets).

This list is not exhaustive and costs will vary depending on the choices you make during your course. Any rental or living costs are also in addition to your course fees.

The tuition fee for the year for students entering in 2018/19 is £12000. The amount you will pay is fixed at this level for each year of your course.
See further information on fees and finance on our Financing Your Studies webpage.

Tuition fees
Your tuition fees cover the cost of registration, tuition, academic supervision, assessments and examinations.
The following are also included in the cost of your course:

  • 24/7 Library and student IT support
  • Free wifi via eduroam
  • Skills workshops and resources
  • Library membership, giving access to more than 500,000 printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • Access to software, including five free copies of Microsoft Office 365 to install on your PC, laptop and MAC, and access to free high-end software via the Leeds Beckett remote app
  • Loan of high-end media equipment to support your studies

Course specific

  • All software used on the course if a student version is available

Additional costs
In many cases, costs associated with your course will be included in your course fee. However, in some cases there are ‘essential’ additional costs (those that you will be required to meet in addition to your course fee), and/or ‘optional’ additional costs (costs that are not required, but that you might choose to pay). We have included those essential or optional additional costs that relate to your course, below.

Course-specific essentials

  • Accommodation / travel / commuting costs incurred during any placements
    (Payments for these costs should be negotiated as part of the placement itself, or considered as any other normal outgoing while working would be. Placements are usually paid)

Course-specific optional costs

  • A laptop running Windows 10
    (Laptops can be borrowed from the university for free should you choose not to purchase your own and all computer labs at the university run Windows 10)

Other study-related expenses to consider: books (the library stocks books from your module reading list but you may wish to purchase copies for yourself); placement costs (these may include travel expenses and living costs);student visas (international students only); printing, photocopying and stationery; field trips; study abroad opportunities (travel costs and accommodation, visas and immunisations); PC/laptop (provided on campus in social learning spaces and in the library. However, you may prefer to have your own); mobile phone/tablet (to access University online services); academic conferences (travel costs); professional-body membership (where applicable); and graduation (gown hire and guest tickets).

This list is not exhaustive and costs will vary depending on the choices you make during your course. Any rental or living costs are also in addition to your course fees.

Facilities

  • IT Labs
    IT Labs

    The University is home to a number of modern specialist IT labs equipped with all the up-to-date hardware and software our computing students could need.

  • Library and online resources
    Library and online resources

    Our Library is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year, providing you with access to specialist books and journals, learning spaces, computers, multimedia facilities and media equipment hire. Tens of thousands of our Library's digital resources, including ebooks, ejournals and databases, can be accessed online at a time and place to suit you.

  • Headingley Campus
    Headingley Campus

    Our historic Headingley Campus is set in 100 acres of parkland with easy access to Leeds city centre.

  • Gym and Sports Facilities
    Gym and Sports Facilities

    Keeping fit is easy at Leeds Beckett - our fitness suites are easy to get to, kitted out with all the latest technology and available to all sports members.

Location

Headingley Campus

Headingley Campus

Home to our first-rate sporting facilities – Headingley Campus has a rich and diverse history having played to visitors such as Winston Churchill and Oscar Wilde. Set in 100 acres of parkland, with easy access to Leeds city centre, many of our buildings look out onto our grassy acre – a perfect place for hanging out, playing games and catching up with friends on long summer days. Headingley Campus has modern sport science laboratories, animation and music studios and the latest computing labs, as well as one of our libraries, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

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