The best online digital forensics master’s degrees can land you a high-paying job in the growing field of cyber security. There is a shortage of digital security experts to prevent cyber security threats in the US. With an online master’s degree in digital forensics, you can identify cyber security breaches and gather evidence for forensic investigations.
In this article, we present a detailed list of the best online digital forensics master’s degrees from universities in the US. Most programs are flexible and allow you to earn a master’s degree in under two years. With so many areas of specialization, you can find digital forensics master’s degree jobs that suit your skills and interests.
Where Can I Get a Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Online?
Some of the best schools to get an online digital forensics master’s degree include Pennsylvania State University’s World Campus, the University of Central Florida, and the University of New Haven. Their websites feature information on courses, tuition, and requirements. You can also request that schools send you brochures with detailed information.
What Schools Offer the Best Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degrees?
- Pennsylvania State University
- Stevenson University
- University of Central Florida
- University of Maryland
- University of New Haven
What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree?
The admission requirements for an online digital forensics master’s degree are a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. Most schools require a minimum GPA of 3.0 or equivalent GRE or GMAT scores.
Schools will give preference to applicants with work experience in the field. Schools also expect you to have some background in computing and programming. You can complete your application online and send the documentation by mail or electronically. Admission offices will only accept official transcripts from your bachelor’s degree.
Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Admission Requirements
- Official transcripts issued by your undergraduate institution
- Letters of recommendation from previous instructors
- A GPA of at least 3.0 or equivalent GRE or GMAT scores
- Personal statement
How to Get a Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Online
You can get a digital forensics master’s degree online by fulfilling all the graduation requirements. While requirements can vary from school to school, the ones listed below are the most common. The best way to fulfill all the requirements is to have them clear from the getgo and make sure you fulfill them gradually throughout your degree.
Digital Forensics Degree Requirements
- Complete the required number of credits in core courses
- Complete the required number credits in electives
- Maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 while working toward the degree
- Participate in virtual lab sessions
- Complete a capstone project in digital forensics
Best Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|Champlain College||Digital Forensic Science Online Master’s Degree||New England Commission of Higher Education|
|DeSales University||Online Master of Criminal Justice: Digital Forensics||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|Pennsylvania State University World Campus||Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security – Information Security and Forensics Option||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|Sam Houston State University||Master of Science in Digital Forensics||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
|Stevenson University||Online Master’s in Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|University of Central Florida||Online MS in Digital Forensics||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
|University of the Cumberlands||Online Master of Science in Digital Forensics||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
|University of Maryland Global Campus||Online Master’s Degree Digital Forensics & Cyber Investigation||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|University of New Haven||Online Master’s in Digital Forensic Investigation||New England Commission of Higher Education|
|Utica University||MS in Cybersecurity: Computer Forensics Specialization||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
Best Schools for Digital Forensics: Top Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Programs
We present a detailed list of the top online digital forensics master’s degree programs. We include their requirements, curricula, and other useful information. There are programs for different budgets and even for students with busy work schedules.
What Is an Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree?
An online digital forensics master’s degree is a graduate degree that shows you have the competencies for a job in digital forensics. It demonstrates that you can use digital forensics techniques to solve forensic problems.
An online digital forensics master’s degree program covers subjects like cyber security and network penetration prevention. It differs from an in-person program because you only need a computer and an Internet connection to complete your studies. Even so, an online digital forensics master’s degree is just as respectable as its on-campus equivalent.
Online vs In-Person Digital Forensics Degrees
You can complete an online digital forensics degree from the comfort of your home. All you need is a computer and an Internet connection. An advantage of online degrees is that you don’t have to commute to the campus or the library. The online learning platform allows you to set your own pace for readings and forum participation.
In-person digital forensic degrees require commuting and class attendance. These degrees are more expensive because they include campus costs. The advantage of an in-person digital forensics degree is access to on-campus forensics laboratories.
Top 5 Benefits of an Online Master’s Degree in Digital Forensics
- No need to commute. You don’t have to spend time and money on transportation, and you can complete your program from the comfort of your home or at your workplace.
- Always open. You have full access to the online learning platform and digital library at any time of day.
- Flexible schedule. Online master’s degree programs accommodate students with busy work schedules.
- Lower tuition and fees. Tuition and other fees tend to be lower because there is no cost associated with campus maintenance.
- Formally recognized. Agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have formally recognized some online master’s degrees in forensics for their excellence.
Top 5 Benefits of an In-Person Master’s Degree in Digital Forensics
- Physical forensic laboratories. The digital forensics laboratories offer a better learning experience when working with electronic devices.
- Socialization opportunities. Studying on campus allows you to socialize with like-minded people and develop friendships and professional relationships.
- Sports facilities. Tuition and fees for an in-person master’s degree in digital forensics programs often include access to the athletic facilities of the school.
- Conferences and events. Some on-campus events are not available online.
- Human interaction. Some students need social learning environments to stay motivated and engaged.
What Types of Online Master’s Degrees Can You Get in Digital Forensics?
The types of online master’s degrees you can get in digital forensics are a Master of Science (MS) and a Master of Arts (MA). The Master of Science includes the MS in Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation. The Master of Arts includes the MA in Intelligence and Security Studies.
A Master of Science is oriented toward the technical aspects of digital forensics. A Master of Arts degree is geared toward social and political concepts, like policymaking and compliance.
Is It Better to Get a Master of Science or a Master of Arts in Digital Forensics?
It is better to get a Master of Science in Digital Forensics because employability after graduation is higher. A Master of Arts is a good idea if you plan to work in policymaking in justice or law enforcement institutions. A Master of Science prepares you for employment in both the private and the public sectors.
How Much Does a Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Cost?
A digital forensics master’s degree costs $12,171 on average. Tuition for state residents is significantly lower than for out-of-state students. Many schools offer discounts for justice and law enforcement employees. There are also scholarships that cover tuition and book costs.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Online?
It takes one to two years to get a digital forensics master’s degree online. Typically, you will need between 24 and 30 credits to graduate. If the program requires 30 credits and you decide to take 15 credits per semester, you will graduate within a year. If you have a tight work schedule, you can take between six and nine credits per semester and graduate in two years.
Are Online Digital Forensics Degrees Respected?
Yes, online digital forensics degrees are respected. Graduate students with online digital forensics degrees are in high demand by companies like AT&T and GE. The Department of Homeland Security has formally recognized online programs as National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.
Is Digital Forensics Hard to Learn Online?
No, digital forensics is not hard to learn online. But you should already have some background in computing and programming. You’re already familiar with college-level work if you have a bachelor’s degree. In a digital forensics bootcamp, you can expect to build up your knowledge and skills right from the beginning.
Digital Forensics Bootcamp vs Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree: Which Is Better?
An online digital forensics master’s degree is better than a digital forensics bootcamp. Assuming that you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can complete a master’s degree program in two years or less. You can also transfer credits from other graduate and undergraduate courses.
A digital forensics bootcamp is an intensive learning experience that can land you a job in digital forensics in less than a year. You don’t need an undergraduate education or previous work experience.
Top 5 Benefits of an Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree
- Graduate fast. You can complete many online digital forensics master’s degree programs in less than a year. If you have a full-time job, you can reduce the number of credits that you take per semester and graduate in two years.
- Transfer credits. Schools allow you to transfer credits from other graduate programs. Some schools will give you credits for undergraduate courses related to computer science.
- Fully online. You can complete the entire program remotely. You don’t need to commute or pay fees for the use of facilities.
- Virtual digital forensics labs. Graduate students have access to virtual labs to work on real-world scenarios.
- Access to doctoral degrees. You can enroll in a doctoral degree program and apply for a research scholarship as soon as you graduate.
Top 5 Benefits of a Digital Forensics Bootcamp
- No need for undergraduate education. A digital forensic bootcamp will help you build up your skills starting with the basics. You don’t need previous formal education or an undergraduate degree.
- Multiple certifications. Toward the end of their programs, digital forensic bootcamps offer several certification options. These certifications include the EC-Council Certified Network Defender certification and the CompTIA Security+ certification.
- Ready for the job market. Digital forensics bootcamps prepare you to get a job as soon as you complete the program. They often have connections with companies that are continually hiring digital forensics specialists.
- University-backed programs. The best digital forensics bootcamps are backed by institutions like San Diego State University or California State University.
- Easy admission. You only need to take an introductory course and an admissions exam. There is no need for transcripts, letters of recommendation, or previous work experience.
Why You Should Get a Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Online
You should get a digital forensics master’s degree online because it’s a great way to land a job in the field of forensics just after graduation. There is a growing demand for digital forensics experts in both the public and private sectors.
The schools have online learning platforms, digital libraries, and virtual forensics labs to offer an integrated educational experience. You can complete a digital forensics master’s degree from the comfort of your home in less than a year.
What Courses Do You Take in an Online Master’s Degree Program in Digital Forensics?
The courses you take in an online master’s degree program in digital forensics include cyber policy, computer forensics, and electronic crime. The courses offer an integrated understanding of the common problems in digital forensics. You can choose elective courses according to your specialization interests by the end of the program.
In computer forensics, students learn to find and retrieve data from devices like mobile phones and computers. They learn to trace how and when the devices were used and determine what they were used for. This information is used as evidence in criminal investigations.
In cyber policy, students learn about the laws and regulations regarding the use of digital information. This includes access policies for users within a corporate network and policies to protect privacy. Students learn the purpose of those policies and how to enforce them.
In data analytics, students learn to work with large data sets and identify network activity patterns. They learn how to detect anomalies and profile behaviors. This allows them to identify data breaches and vulnerabilities.
In electronic crime, students learn how cyber criminals use information technology for illegal purposes. Electronic crimes include fraud, identity theft, and illegal trade of assets. In this course, students learn strategies for prevention and mitigation.
Cyber criminals use spyware and ransomware to identify targets and steal information. In malware analysis, students learn how to protect networks and servers from malware.
Continuing Education Paths for Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Graduates
Graduates of an online master’s degree program in digital forensics are qualified to pursue a doctoral degree to enhance their knowledge and build expertise in an area of specialization.
After getting their master’s degree, they can also get industry-standard certifications, like the CompTIA Security+ certification or the EC-Council Certified Network Defender certification. These certifications will give them further credibility and boost their employability.
Related Online Digital Forensics Degrees
What to Look For in the Best Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Programs
The things to look for in the best digital forensics master’s degree programs are regional accreditation, national recognition, and connections with employers. You should also look for programs with good value and flexible schedules.
The best digital forensics master’s degree programs are accredited by a formally recognized accrediting body like the New England Commission of Higher Education, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Digital forensics master’s degree programs with a national reputation offer high-quality courses and virtual labs. Students can capitalize on that reputation while on the job market. You can learn about a program’s recognitions and awards on its website.
Connection with Employers
The best digital forensics master’s degree programs have strong connections with employers in the public and private sectors. You can expect to have options for employment in your area of specialization shortly after graduation.
There is a wide range of prices for digital forensics master’s degree programs, as well as a variety of funding options. Look for programs that offer reasonable tuition fees for courses that develop skills in high demand.
Look for digital forensics master’s degree programs with flexible schedules if you have a full-time job. You can even consider programs with accelerated options if you want to earn your degree as soon as possible.
What Is the Most Affordable Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree?
The most affordable online digital forensics master’s degree is the online Master of Science in Digital Forensics from the University of the Cumberlands. The tuition is $4,282 per year and requires 31 credits. Assuming you take the full academic load of 15 credits per semester, you can earn your degree for $8,564 in less than a year.
Can I Get a Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Online for Free?
No, you cannot get a digital forensics master’s degree online for free. But there are free ways to advance your knowledge in the field. The Rochester Institute of Technology offers a free computer forensics online course. It takes eight weeks to complete, and you have full access to all materials.
There are also different types of financial aid from the federal or state government, including grants and loans. Based on academic merit, you can get a scholarship to pay your tuition costs and a stipend to help you cover basic living costs.
Salary and Job Outlook for Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Graduates
There is a deficit of cyber security specialists, making the job salaries for digital forensics master’s degree graduates very competitive. You can expect annual salaries above $70,000. With some work experience, you can earn up to $166,069 as a chief information security officer.
How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Digital Forensics Master’s Degree?
It isn’t hard to get a job with a digital forensics master’s degree. According to the (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study 2021, there is a cyber security workforce gap of 377,000 positions in the US. The annual growth of the cyber security workforce is 33 percent. It needs to increase to 65 percent to defend the current information assets.
With a digital forensics master’s degree, you can land a job in the cyber security industry right after graduation. You can also get hired by justice and law enforcement agencies. Online master’s degrees in digital forensics are respected in the private and public sectors.
What’s the Average Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Salary?
The average salary for someone with a digital forensics master’s degree is $65,000 a year. Salaries will vary according to position, location, experience when you apply, and your negotiation skills.
What Jobs Can You Get With an Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree?
The jobs you can do with an online digital forensics master’s degree are information security analyst, forensic computer analyst, and cyber investigator. You can also become a cyber security analyst and work for a public or private organization.
Digital Forensics Degree Jobs
- Information security analyst
- Penetration tester
- Cyber security analyst
- Digital forensics analyst
- Forensic computer examiner
Potential Careers With an Online Digital Forensics Degree
How Much Money Can You Make With an Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree?
You can make between $65,352 and $166,069 per year with an online digital forensics master’s degree. Your salary will depend on your expertise, your work experience, and the job responsibilities assigned to you.
Highest-Paying Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview
|Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Jobs||Average Salary|
|Chief Information Security Officer||$166,069|
|Cyber Security Analyst||$77,236|
|Forensic Computer Analyst||$74,798|
|Information Security Analyst||$73,485|
|Digital Forensic Investigator||$65,352|
Best Jobs for Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Grads
The best online digital forensics master’s degree jobs include forensic computer examiner, digital forensics analyst, and information security analyst. They are well paid, and you can apply for these jobs as soon as you graduate from your program. There are other great jobs in the digital forensics field, like penetration tester and cyber security analyst.
Best Jobs According to Your Major
Is an Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree Worth It?
Yes, an online digital forensics master’s degree is worth it. Cyber security specialists are in high demand across all industries. There is a gap in the cyber security workforce of 377,000 positions.
Digital forensics specialists have the responsibility to retrieve critical data for investigations. With a digital forensics master’s degree, you can be part of a team of professionals that prevents criminal activity. You can also design policies for data access and privacy protection.
You can complete a digital forensics master’s degree program in less than a year. By the time you graduate, you will have a wide range of options for employment in both private companies and the public sector. Graduates from online digital forensics master’s degrees land jobs in the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and even the US Secret Service.
There are grants, loans, and scholarships available for you to finance an online digital forensics master’s degree program. If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, you can kickstart your cyber security career with a bootcamp. This is a golden time to launch a career in digital forensics.
Additional Reading About Digital Forensics
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Online Digital Forensics Master’s Degree FAQ
No, cyber security is not the same as digital forensics. Cyber security is about prevention, risk management, and data access and integrity. Computer forensics is about cyber security breaches that have already happened. It is about identifying and examining hacks and presenting them as digital evidence.
Yes, you can become a forensic analyst without a cyber security degree. You can pursue a computer forensics graduate degree with a bachelor’s degree from different academic areas. You need to have some background in computing and programming.
The skills that you need for computer forensics are technical aptitude, analytical skills, and an understanding of criminal investigations. You also need communication skills and fundamental cyber security knowledge. You develop these skills in a computer forensics degree program or bootcamp.
Digital forensics differs from traditional forensics insofar as forensic scientists use traditional forensics to collect evidence of crimes that happened in the physical world. By contrast, they use digital forensics to collect evidence from computer devices that were used to commit crimes.
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