Full-time: Three years, four years sandwich
GF44; Short form: BSc/FC
Preston (Campus code: U)
Combine your interest in solving crimes with computing on this fascinating course which involves detecting, preserving and presenting evidence from computers and mobile devices. You’ll develop an understanding of hardware, operating systems and communications software, attention to detail, creative problem-solving and investigative skills and an appreciation of computer threats and counter-measures and relevant legal issues. Forensic analysts require a high level of technical expertise, an understanding of computer-related crime, an appreciation of relevant law, a methodical approach to investigation, and the ability to explain complex technical ideas simply. The skills you will develop on this course can lead to careers in digital forensic analysis or in systems management and computer security.
112 - 120 points at A2; General Studies accepted
OCF BTEC Extended Diploma: Distinction, Merit, Merit
QCF BTEC Diploma: Distinction* Distinction*
Pass Access to Higher Education: 112 UCAS Points
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 28 Points
GCSE: 5 GCSEs at grade C including Maths and English or equivalent
IELTS: Grade 6 with no subscore lower than 5.5
For changes to 2017 UCAS tariff entry requirements please see our important information. UCLan requires all undergraduate applicants to have a minimum attainment of five GCSEs at grade C and above, or equivalent, (including Maths and English). In 2017 and beyond we will view the new Grade 4 as being equivalent to a C grade and will therefore require students to achieve GCSE Grade 4 or above. However, if the subject is relevant to our degree programme and requires a higher GCSE grade (e.g. GCSE B grade), and/or includes a Professional body that governs the entry requirements, Grade 5 or above may be required.
One module from :
One additional module from :
N.B. Not all options will run every year
In the first year, you develop practical skills in software design and development, computer technology and a range of modern applications, and in managing small computer systems. You practise communication skills needed by forensic analysts. The common first year enhances your general computing knowledge and gives you the experience to ensure you have chosen the specialist course most suited to you.
During the second year, you explore the investigation of hardware and operating systems, computer security, data communications, software development and legal issues. This develops the general hardware and software skills expected of a forensic analyst as well as introducing specialist investigative skills. A team project develops technical and inter-personal skills and prepares you for the final year individual project. We recommend that you take a sandwich placement at either a specialist forensic company or in general IT system management.
In the final year, you study forensic investigation, legal issues, penetration testing and an option. You will integrate your learning with an individual project. A module that will help you plan your career is available as an additional module, closely coordinated with a second year professional skills module.
In the 2015 National Student Survey (NSS) results Computer Science courses at UCLan have been ranked top in the North West for overall satisfaction, and 13th nationally out of 105 providers.
The Forensic Computing degree was a great choice for me. I gained valuable skills and knowledge in computing and the discipline of digital forensics. The learning experience at UCLan was of high quality and covered a wide range of industry relevant skills which prepare you for your first graduate role.
The course focused on core computing concepts (databases, security, hardware, operating systems, programming and networks) and a wide range of modules covering forensic aspects such as data preservation, chain of custody, hardware, digital investigations and analysis techniques. The university also embedded employability skills throughout by giving me many opportunities to focus on some of the softer skills that most employers require.
Our common first year allows you to transfer to other computing courses, e.g. Computer Network Technology, Information Systems Design, Internet Software Development, Software Engineering, or Multimedia Development.
IT makes commerce and industry more efficient and effective, but also encourages and hides many crimes. As organisations become more dependent on sophisticated computers and communication to manage valuable data, they become more vulnerable to IT-based attacks. Moreover, the internet crosses international boundaries, making it easier to commit crimes but more difficult to identify and prosecute offenders. Forensic analysts play an important role in investigating and recovering from incidents. They use systematic methods to preserve, collect, and analyse digital evidence to reconstruct or anticipate crimes or abuse of company policies. They use sophisticated tools to investigate and interpret the evidence and present results clearly and fairly. Analysts require a high level of technical expertise, an understanding of computer-related crime, an appreciation of relevant law, a methodical approach to investigation, and the ability to explain complex technical ideas simply.
This course develops the specialist skills and knowledge required by the forensic analyst. This expertise may also lead to careers managing corporate IT resources, or as an information security specialist protecting servers and computers, and tracking intruders on networks. The course prepares you for many careers in computing because it develops a detailed understanding of computer systems, software development skills, logical reasoning, presentation skills, and an understanding of legal issues. This practical course uses the School’s communications and systems labs and a dedicated forensic computing lab, which has a range of analysis tools used by Police and commercial forensic analysts. A team project and a final-year individual project provide the opportunity to apply your skills to complex problems.
I decided to take the forensic course mainly due to the broad array of avenues the course would allow me to follow after graduation. While the course concentrates on the forensic principles, this would not be possible to undertake without having knowledge in all avenues of how a computer, network, peripherals and the end user work.
I am currently employed as a business analyst, which I would not have been able to do without the experience gained through the course and for the hard work and dedication the lecturers provide. I enjoyed the course throughout and found it challenging every step of the way. I was attending the course full-time and was also a full-time carer for my wife. I worked part-time and if it wasn’t for the support of the university, my course leader and lecturers I would not have succeeded.
For a concise summary of the main features of this course, see our course specification.
For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.
For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:
Full-time: £9,250 per year (UK/EU)
Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated and may be subject to increase annually in line with UK Retail Price Index inflation rate
For 2016/17 fees please refer to our fees page.
The course has accreditation leading to MBCS, CITP and partial CEng exemption from the British Computer Society, the computing professional body.
We emphasise practical-based learning using purpose-built laboratories and the University's general computer rooms. Our laboratories allow you to use specialist software and to do things that would not be allowed on a public network, e.g. configuring networks, exploring computer viruses or testing system security. We use the specialist software used by the Police and other forensic investigators. This includes a range of investigative software and multi-processor password cracking software. Where possible, we make software available for your own PC.
You will use an online learning environment to facilitate flexible learning. This environment enhances traditional face-to-face lectures, tutorials and practical sessions by providing additional, resource-rich, online materials allowing you to continue learning independently. You will have directed work to do outside timetabled classes.
Visiting fellows from industry will help you develop your skills, and you’ll get the opportunity to undertake a professional expert witness training course.
The course is assessed using individual coursework assignments, group work, presentations and exams, which may be seen or unseen. There is a practical emphasis with the main contribution to your degree classification coming from coursework.
You can take a one-year industrial placement after completing your second year. Most placements are UK-based, but we regularly place students in English-speaking workplaces elsewhere in Europe. It is possible to study a year of the course at a university abroad.
Most placements are UK-based, but we regularly place students in English-speaking workplaces elsewhere in Europe. It is possible to study a year of the course at a university abroad.
This course develops the specialist skills and knowledge required by the forensic analyst. This expertise may also lead to careers managing corporate IT resources, or as an information security specialist protecting servers and computers, and tracking intruders on networks. It prepares you for many careers in computing because it develops a detailed understanding of computer systems, software development skills, logical reasoning, presentation skills and an understanding of legal issues.
Many graduates seek careers as forensic analysts, security professionals or computer system managers, while others will work as software developers. The technical and interpersonal skills developed on the course will help in many graduate-level careers, particularly with the Police and other investigative agencies.
My time spent studying at UCLan greatly improved my career prospects. In particular the expertise and professionalism of my lecturers, course leaders and colleagues allowed me to take full advantage of the course and the knowledge that was available. Not only does the course have the correct equipment but it also has the people who know how to use and take advantage of the content. Although my career path does not involve computer forensics directly, without the support, course content and development that I received whilst studying at UCLan, I would not be where I am today.
National Student Satisfaction Survey
In the 2015 National Student Survey results Computer Science at UCLan has been ranked 13th out of 105 providers for overall satisfaction.
The 2014 NSS results show 100% of BSc Forensic Computing students said they were satisfied with their course, and 94% of students were satisfied with the assessment and feedback they received for their work.