Written By - Bob Litt

Edited By Darryl S.

Review & Contribution By Dr. Kristi Pratt

With the rise of the internet and digital devices, previously impossible tasks have become achievable, particularly investigative efficiency. For individuals with a passion for law, an inclination towards technology, and a desire for a lucrative and high-demand career, Digital Forensics/Computer Forensics may be the perfect fit. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, forensic positions are projected to increase by 13% by 2032, surpassing the average growth rate. Obtaining a computer forensics degree, also known as digital forensics, is essential to capitalize on this growth. Pursuing an Online Master’s in Digital Forensics can further advance a career.

Online Masters in Digital Forensics

Table Of Contents

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online Masters Degrees

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the GetEducated.com Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Top Master’s in Digital Forensics Online Programs

Many universities offer online master’s programs in digital forensics. But not all the programs are the same. We used a custom methodology to list the top digital forensic schools.  The OMC team has created this list of digital forensic degrees from the top universities by metrics like program rankings, reputation, student-to-teacher ratio, graduation rates, etc. Here is the list of top programs:

<a href="https://www.onlinemasterscolleges.com/online-masters-in-digital-forensics/">Online Master's in Digital Forensics</a>

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
University of Central Florida
4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, Florida 32816
George Mason University
4400 University Dr, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
The University of Maryland University College
College Park, Maryland 20742
Pennsylvania State University
201 Old Main, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802
Champlain College
163 S Willard St, Burlington, Vermont 05401
Desales University
2755 Station Avenue, Center Valley, Pennsylvania 18034
Illinois Institute Of Technology
10 West 35th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60616
University of New Haven
300 Boston Post Road, West Haven, Connecticut 06516
Stevenson University
1525 Greenspring Valley Rd,Stevenson,Maryland 21153
Sam Houston State University
1806 Ave J, Huntsville, Texas 77340
University of the Cumberlands
6191 College Station Drive,Williamsburg,Kentucky 40769

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Master’s in Digital Forensics Online Programs

The computer forensic online programs provide individuals with comprehensive knowledge of advanced computer forensic software applications and the legal and ethical considerations surrounding digital evidence. Participants will learn techniques for recovering and collecting evidence from digital devices, handling viruses and information security breaches, and preparing court-ready reports. Online computer forensics degree programs also cover the structured format of forensic investigations.

Curriculum and Coursework

Introduction to Digital Evidence
This course teaches students fundamental skills for recognizing, identifying, collecting, and preserving digital evidence in criminal investigations. The emphasis is placed on diverse digital technologies, fostering the development of critical competencies in this domain.

Network Forensic Criminal Investigation
This course centers on forensic security concerns in criminal investigations, explicitly addressing issues related to accessing data on networked computer systems and data transmission between systems.

Digital Evidence Recognition And Collection
In this course, students acquire essential skills in identifying the potential origins of electronic evidence, equipping them to respond to an electronic crime scene effectively. The course also instructs participants on collecting items with evidentiary value for use in court proceedings.

Digital Forensic Criminal Investigation
In this course, students will be introduced to digital forensics as employed by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Participants will acquire practical experience with various digital forensic tools through a laboratory-based approach.

Skills Gained in Digital and Computer Forensic Programs

To pursue a thriving career in digital forensics, specific skills are naturally possessed, and many more are gained by enrolling in digital forensics online courses. The program imparts various skills, including:

  • Evidence Collection: Digital and computer forensic programs teach the systematic gathering of electronic evidence, ensuring proper handling and preservation to maintain integrity throughout investigations.
  • Data Recovery Techniques: Students acquire skills in recovering and reconstructing data from various storage devices, vital for retrieving crucial information in forensic examinations.
  • Forensic Imaging: Mastery of creating forensic images of digital media, preserving original content for analysis, and ensuring the integrity of evidence during investigations.
  • Malware Analysis: Understanding and dissecting malicious software, enabling professionals to identify, analyze, and counteract cyber threats effectively within forensic contexts.
  • Network Forensics: Proficiency in examining network activities, identifying security breaches, and tracing digital footprints, crucial for investigating cybercrimes and enhancing overall cybersecurity measures.
  • Incident Response: Gaining the ability to promptly and effectively respond to cybersecurity incidents, mitigating risks and minimizing potential damages through strategic and organized approaches.
  • Legal and Ethical Considerations: A thorough understanding of the legal frameworks and ethical guidelines governing digital forensics, ensuring compliance and integrity throughout investigative processes.
  • Expert Witness Testimony: Acquiring the skill to present findings and insights effectively in legal proceedings, translating technical information into understandable language for non-technical stakeholders.
  • Cryptanalysis: Developing expertise in decrypting coded information, vital for uncovering hidden details and providing a comprehensive understanding of encrypted data encountered in forensic investigations.

Online Master’s in Digital Forensics Program Degree Types

Most universities offer an online master’s in digital forensics as a Master of Science in Computer Forensics (MS) or Master of Science in Digital Forensics (MS). Either teaches the analysis and management of cybersecurity threats, processes to identify security breaches, and data preservation for legal proceedings.

Master of Science in Computer Forensics (MS)

 The MS in Computer Forensics emphasizes advanced technical skills in investigating cybercrimes. Students gain expertise in digital evidence collection, forensic analysis, and incident response, preparing for roles in law enforcement, cybersecurity, and private sectors.

Master of Science in Digital Forensics (MS)

 The MS in Digital Forensics focuses on comprehensive digital investigation techniques, covering cybercrime, fraud, and data breaches. Students learn forensic tools, legal aspects, and ethical considerations, equipping them for roles in cybersecurity, digital forensics, and law enforcement.

Areas of Specialization for Digital Forensic Students

Specializations in digital forensics are focused study programs in a specific domain, providing students with expertise in particular fields. Choosing a specialization allows students to allocate more time to thoroughly comprehend and prepare for specific topics of interest, a valuable asset for those pursuing a master’s degree in digital forensics. Here are some specializations students pursuing a master’s degree in digital forensics online can opt for:

Area of FocusDescription Career Options
Network ForensicsNetwork Forensics specializes in investigating and analyzing security incidents within computer networks. Professionals in this field trace cyber threats, identify vulnerabilities, and employ advanced tools to enhance overall network security, crucial in safeguarding against cyber attacks.Network Forensic Analyst, Network Security Engineer, Cyber Security Consultant
Mobile Device ForensicsMobile Device Forensics extracts and analyzes digital evidence from smartphones and tablets. Experts in this specialization play a pivotal role in investigating cybercrimes involving mobile technology, ensuring thorough and accurate forensic analysis.Mobile Forensic Analyst, Digital Forensic Investigator, Mobile Security Consultant
Incident Response and Threat HuntingIncident Response and Threat-hunting specialists develop skills to effectively respond to cybersecurity incidents, mitigate threats, and proactively identify potential risks. Their expertise is critical in ensuring swift and strategic actions to protect digital environments from security breaches.Incident Responder, Security Analyst, Digital Forensic Investigator
Malware AnalysisMalware Analysis specializes in dissecting and comprehending malicious software, equipping professionals with the expertise to identify, analyze, and counteract diverse forms of malware. This specialization is pivotal for fortifying digital environments against evolving cyber threats.Security Researcher, Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst, Security Consultant (Malware)
Cloud ForensicsCloud Forensics specializes in investigating digital evidence within cloud computing environments. Addressing data storage, access, and security challenges, this specialization navigates the complexities of forensic analysis in cloud-based platforms for comprehensive cybersecurity.Cloud Security Engineer, Cybersecurity Analyst (Cloud), Digital Forensic Consultant (Cloud)

Online Master’s in Digital Forensics Program Length

The length of an Online Master’s in Digital Forensics program varies but commonly spans 18 to 24 months. This timeframe accommodates the comprehensive curriculum, allowing students to delve into core and specialized courses while balancing other commitments. The flexible online format enables learners to progress through the program at their own pace, making it suitable for working professionals seeking to advance their expertise in digital forensics without compromising their professional responsibilities.

Accelerated Digital Forensics Programs

An accelerated Master’s in Digital Forensics program enables students to complete their degree in less time than traditional programs. The application process for accelerated follows the same procedure as for standard master’s degrees. Often chosen by those with additional commitments like part-time work, these programs reduce costs and accelerate completion through credit transfers. While completing more courses in less time can be overwhelming, it offers a quicker route to a master’s degree, suitable for those balancing various priorities. Here are colleges offering accelerated master’s in digital forensics online programs:

University of New Haven 1

George Mason University2

Master’s in Digital Forensics Online Programs Admission Requirements

Digital Forensics is a science replete with opportunities in the current scenario. It has become a favorite subject of many who are interested in the methods of law enforcement using technology for cybercrime solving. To enroll in an online master’s program in digital forensics, most universities have the following digital forensic requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree in computer science, network administration, criminal justice, math, or science.
  • A competitive GPA (score at least a 3.0)
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • GRE scores

No GRE Online Digital Forensics Master’s Programs

The Graduate Record Examination is a standardized test mandatory for admission to numerous master’s programs in the United States. However, a growing number of colleges have chosen to eliminate the GRE requirement. Owing to the pandemic, some schools have made the GRE requirement optional for the current and upcoming years. Some institutions that provide online digital forensics master’s no gre include:

Accreditation for Master’s in Digital Forensics Online Programs

When a program is chosen, it is essential to check for the accreditations of the universities or colleges. There are two formats of accreditation – national and regional. Regional accreditation is given for institutions offering bachelor’s, master’s, associate, and doctoral degrees. Here are some of the institutions that issue accreditation to forensic sciences programs:

ANSI National Accreditation Board

ANAB is an established provider of accreditation for forensic agencies based on the ISO standards in the United States.

Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) 6

FEPAC recognizes and evaluates college-level academic programs and accredits the applications based on the standards and administration of the programs offered.

The six regional accreditation agencies accrediting institutions are:

Read more about accreditation in the Accreditation Guide. 

Where to Find Free Online Courses for Digital Forensics Master’s Students

Individuals pursuing an online Master’s in Digital Forensics can choose to participate in free courses provided by reputable institutions. Although these free courses may lack workplace-recognized credentials, they offer valuable opportunities for expanding knowledge and gaining insights into computer science. Here are some websites providing access to free online courses:

CourseDescription Provided by
Diploma in Digital Forensic Investigation 7This beginner and intermediate-level diploma course explores techniques and resources for competent forensic investigations. It covers investigative processes such as data acquisition, malware analysis, and network forensics, imparting highly sought-after skills for a competitive edge in job acquisition.Alison
Digital Forensics Essentials (DFE) 8The course introduces participants to the basics of Computer Forensics and the investigation process. Expect to explore topics like the Dark Web, Windows, Linux, Malware Forensics, and more! Interactive labs ensure hands-on, practical experience, crucial for a future in digital forensics.Class Central
Computer Forensics Specialization 9In this course, students will acquire knowledge of digital forensics concepts, comprehend aspects of Windows OS forensics, and apply newfound concepts to analyze the Windows Registry.Coursera

How to Pay for Master’s in Digital Forensics Online Programs

The cost of higher education in the US is increasing rapidly. Fortunately, universities offer students various financial aid forms; some employers may reimburse some tuition fees. Additionally, students can explore options such as student loans, fellowships, grants, and more to make pursuing a degree more affordable and accessible. 

Here are a few examples of ways in which students can finance their master’s degree in digital forensics:


Scholarships are financial awards given to students based on criteria such as academic merit, talent, or financial need. They provide support to help students pursue their educational goals without needing repayment.


Grants are financial awards provided to individuals or organizations for specific purposes such as research, projects, or educational pursuits. Unlike loans, grants do not require repayment and are typically awarded based on merit or need.

Student loans

Student loans are financial aid options that help students cover the cost of higher education. They are typically borrowed from government programs or private lenders and must be repaid with interest after graduation.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are positions offered to graduate students that provide financial support and professional development opportunities. In exchange for their work, students receive a stipend, tuition remission, and valuable experience in teaching, research, or administrative roles.


FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form prospective students can fill out and submit to determine their eligibility for financial aid.

To know more about education funding, read the financial aid guide.

Scholarships for Forensic Students

As mentioned above, accessing student debt or financial aid has become more accessible and available due to a wealth of funding sources for those seeking to pursue a degree in forensics. Numerous scholarships exist for students pursuing degrees in forensics. Here are some of the scholarship opportunities:

Center for Cyber Safety Education 10 

Center for Cyber Safety Education (formerly ISC2 Foundation) is a non-profit organization committed to making the cyber world safer for everyone. The Centre aims to empower students, teachers, and whole communities to secure their online lives through cybersecurity education and awareness. To support this mission, the Center administers scholarship awards for graduate students pursuing a graduate degree in cybersecurity and information assurance. 

Award Amount – $1,000 to $5,000

Deadline – Varies

ISSA Education Foundation Scholarships 11

The ISSA welcomes applicants pursuing a cybersecurity, Information technology field, or other relevant areas, offering numerous awards. Applicants are required to have a GPA of 2.5 and submit a letter of intent.

Amount: $2,000 – $3,500

Deadline: Varies

Great Minds in STEM Scholarship 12

The Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) scholarship is awarded to students pursuing a science, technology, engineering, or math degree or STEM undergraduate and graduate programs at accredited 2-year or 4-year colleges in the United States.

Amount: $500 to $5,000

Deadline: Varies

Careers and Salary Outlook for Computer/Digital Forensics Graduates

Of late, the news is filled with high-profile computer security breaches and the resolution of crimes by computer forensic specialists. Note that in a generation where digital devices will play an even larger role, cyberattacks and other security issues originating from digital devices will increase exponentially. This is why both public and private sectors will require a digital forensics skill set to defend their assets from any threats (internal or external). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth for forensic science technicians is predicted to be 13% from 2022 to 2032.

According to PayScale, the highest number of respondents for the forensic-based job titles is from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Mantech International Corp., and Sony Corporation of America. Here are some of the different types of profiles and the wages one can expect with an online master’s in digital forensics:

OccupationJob DescriptionMedian Annual SalaryJob Growth (up to 2031)
Forensic Computer Analyst 13Forensic Computer Analysts are critical in investigating and analyzing digital evidence for legal proceedings. They specialize in retrieving, examining, and preserving electronic data from computers, networks, and digital devices to uncover cybercrimes. Responsibilities include conducting forensic examinations, documenting findings, collaborating with law enforcement, and providing expert testimony in court.$76,289No Data Available
Forensic Science Technicians 14Forensic science technicians perform various duties or specialists focusing on specific techniques and sciences. Those with a broad scope, criminalists or crime scene investigators, gather evidence at crime scenes and conduct scientific and technical analyses in laboratories or offices.$63,74013% (much faster than average)
Information Security Analyst 15Information Security Analysts assess and enhance an organization’s cybersecurity measures. They analyze and implement security protocols, monitor potential threats, and respond to security incidents. Their role involves staying abreast of emerging threats and protecting sensitive data and systems.$77,328No Data Available
Crime Scene Investigator 16Crime Scene Investigators collect and analyze evidence at crime scenes. They document findings, photograph scenes, and collaborate with law enforcement. Attention to detail, knowledge of forensic techniques, and maintaining a chain of custody are essential in this role.$51,350No Data Available

Certifications and Licensing for Forensic Graduates

Usually, forensic technicians would not require licensing to carry out their responsibilities and certifications that will help their careers. There are myriad certifications available offered by agencies or associations to help enhance forensic investigation skills. These certifications are classified based on the job. The following are some agencies that confer certifications for forensic technicians:

  • Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE) 17
    To earn the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS) certification, individuals must be members of IACIS, typically exclusive to law enforcement professionals. The certification process consists of two steps, highly regarded as a prestigious accomplishment within the law enforcement community.
  • Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) 18
    The CHFI Certification Program provides instruction on the techniques employed by police, government, and corporate entities worldwide. Participants learn to identify digital intrusions and collect evidence for legal proceedings.
  • Access Data Certified Examiner (ACE) 19
    This certification covers digital artifacts, Registry files, data encryption and decryption, and various cyber-attacks. Participants will gain knowledge and skills in these areas.
  • Cybersecurity Forensic Analyst (CFSA) 20
    This certification ensures that analysts can conduct forensic examinations on computer systems and other digital devices. It also emphasizes the ability to communicate the examination results clearly and understandably effectively.

Additional Resources for Digital Forensic Professionals

In law enforcement and crime-solving profiles, individuals are associated with several people and form a good network. However, having peers/associations from the same fraternity and the same understanding of forensics is usually desirable. Here are some associations or communities that keep individuals connected with like-minded people:

The International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners®

The IFSCE is a private organization that exclusively provides an internationally recognized, unblemished computer forensics certification available to all who qualify for a reasonable cost.

The American Society of Digital Forensics & eDiscovery, Inc.

The American Society of Digital Forensics & eDiscovery, Inc. is a non-profit entity of digital forensics and electronic discovery professionals.

High Technology Crime Investigation Association

The High Technology Crime Investigation Association helps all those in the high technology field by providing extensive information, education, collective partnerships, mutual member benefits, astute board leadership, and professional management.

FAQs About Master’s in Digital Forensics Online Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should you do an online digital forensics master’s degree?

Pursuing an online Master’s in Digital Forensics offers flexibility for working professionals and those with commitments. It allows access to specialized education from anywhere, fostering skills essential for combating cyber threats. Online programs provide a convenient pathway to advance one’s career in the dynamic field of digital forensics.

Can I pursue a Digital Forensics master’s online?

How long does it take to complete an online master’s in Digital Forensics?

Can I work while pursuing an online master’s in Digital Forensics?

Is professional experience required for admission to online Digital Forensics master’s programs?

Is an online master’s in digital forensics worth it?

Is it necessary to have a bachelor’s degree in digital forensics to pursue a master’s?

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