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Digital Forensics with a Foundation Year - BSc (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

With digital forensics playing a critical role in the world of modern criminal investigations, our BSc Digital Forensics course with a Foundation Year will help you develop the practical and professional skills needed by employers in the digital forensics, cyber security and law enforcement sectors. You’ll have access to our specialist Digital Forensics labs....

  • Level Foundation
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Computing and Digital Technology
  • Faculty Faculty of Computing, Engineering and The Built Environment

Overview

With digital forensics playing a critical role in the world of modern criminal investigations, our BSc Digital Forensics course with a Foundation Year will help you develop the practical and professional skills needed by employers in the digital forensics, cyber security and law enforcement sectors.

You’ll have access to our specialist Digital Forensics labs. Plus, laboratories are equipped to industry standards and run the latest software so that you can experience the most current technology and prepare yourself for the working world.

About the Foundation Year

The Foundation Year course option enables you to study for our BSc (Hons) degree over an extended full-time duration of four years by including a Foundation Certificate (year one of four). The Foundation Certificate provides a broad study programme that underpins the follow-on degree. In order to progress to the next year of your degree, it is necessary to achieve a pass in all of the modules of the Foundation Certificate.

Introducing STEAMhouse

STEAMhouse is a centre for technology, innovation, creative thinking

Our brand new £70 million pound building, STEAMhouse, will become the new home for the School of Computing and Digital Technology from the start of the 2022 academic year.

Find out more

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

This course is for you if you want to combine a highly rigorous academic qualification with real life practical work experience that will prepare you to apply your knowledge as a digital forensics expert or forensic investigator. You’ll be joining a well-established course, with a proven track record of producing skilled and confident graduates who are ready to meet the demands of the digital forensics industry. To ensure the course meets the knowledge and skill requirements for conducting professional digital forensic investigations, the course curriculum has been designed in close consultation with digital forensics experts from the private sector as well as from a number of UK police constabularies.

The multidisciplinary nature of our course will foster the essential skills you require in computer networking, ethical hacking, computer programming, data investigation, incident response, mobile device forensics and legal and expert witness roles complementary to digital forensic investigations. These attributes are not only essential to employers in law enforcement and the digital forensics industry but also serve as broader employability skills. On graduation, you will be capable of managing a digital forensic case and conducting technical examination and interpretation of digital-based evidence. You will develop as a confident, highly skilled and professional graduate with a meticulous and methodological approach to problem solving, whether working individually or as part of a professional team.

Motivated by a practice led, knowledge applied philosophy, our course emphasises a hands on, practical approach to learning digital forensic investigation, computer networking and other essential computing techniques using commercial and open-source forensic tools. We incorporate additional activities such as industrial workshops, practitioner boot-camps, guest lectures and vendor qualification assessments to strengthen the employability driven nature of our course. Studying computing with us puts you at the heart of an exciting, innovative community. Part of your first-year assessment will involve taking part in our annual Innovation Fest, where students get together to solve society’s problems with creative technology. Previous projects have included medical assistance drones, accessible gaming controllers, and smart housing solutions.

The event brings together students, academics and industry guests, so it’s a great way to have fun, build experience and network, and win prizes! You can also opt for an industrial placement year, which gives you an invaluable opportunity to hone your expertise, try out a potential career path and get relevant workplace experience that is valued by employers.

Accredited By

This course is accredited by:

  • Athena Swan Bronze Award

I enjoyed the practical sessions and the problem solving aspects of the course. I believe that this has set me up with the right skillset to allow me to conduct digital forensic investigations to the best of my ability. Peter O'Dwyer

Why Choose Us?

  • Brand new facilities at STEAMhouse - This £70 million state-of-the-art building will become the new home for the School of Computing and Digital Technology from the start of the 2022 academic year. Based at our expanding City Centre Campus, this unique centre will give you access to outstanding facilities and teaching spaces, as well as opportunities to collaborate with people and businesses across multiple sectors and work on real industry-based projects
  • Collaboration with industry - Our curriculum has been developed with various digital forensics service providers and police constabularies around the UK, to ensure that you are learning the most up-to-date information that aligns with industry practice
  • State-of-the-art facilities -  To provide you with the best learning opportunities and industry-relevant hands on practical skills as well as our specialist Digital Forensics Lab which has digital forensics and data recovery resources. You will be based in Millennium Point, at our City Centre Campus, which has recently undergone a £6.5 million investment
  • Network with potential employers  - We have excellent links with industry and regularly host guest lectures and workshops hosted by digital forensics and law enforcement professionals. This provides you with the opportunity to meet key industry figures and build relationships to help secure work experience and employment
  • Obtain additional qualifications - Delivered by digital practitioners we host specialist boot-camps that provide opportunities to additional qualifications, to compliment your degree and enhance your career prospects
  • Employment in a range of sectors - We have a proven track record of producing highly skilled and confident graduates who gain employment in various industries including cyber security, digital forensics and law enforcement

See our facilities

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area in our course talks.

Next Open Days: Autumn 2022

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Essential Requirements

BB or 80 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS
GCSE
  • GCSE English language and mathematics at grade C/4 or above
  • Equivalent level 2 qualifications can be accepted - please see UCAS for list of acceptable Maths and English equivalents considered in lieu of GCSE
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)
  • See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details
Scottish Intermediate 2
  • English language and mathematics at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Scottish Credit Standard Grade
  • English language and mathematics at grade 2 or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Scottish National 5
  • English language and mathematics at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A level and Advanced VCE
  • 80 UCAS points
  • A maximum of 3 subjects are considered. These can be other A-levels or level 3 equivalents.
Access to HE Diploma
  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at level 3.
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma
    (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF)
    (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma
    (2002 – 2010)
  • MMP
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma
    (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Diploma (QCF)
    (2010 – 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Certificate
    (2002 – 2010)
  • 80 UCAS points
  • Considered with one A-level or an equivalent level 3 qualification
  • Pearson BTEC National Foundation Diploma (2016 to present)

  • Pearson BTEC 90-Credit Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)

  • 80 UCAS points
  • Considered with one A-level or an equivalent level 3 qualification
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate
    (2016 – present)

  • Pearson BTEC Subsidiary Diploma (QCF)
    (2010 - 2016)

  • BTEC Level 3 National Award
    (2002 - 2010)

  • 80 UCAS points
  • Considered with one A-level or an equivalent level 3 qualification

Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate - Skills Challenge Certificate (first teaching September 2015)

  • 80 UCAS points

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma – Core (awarded until 2016) ESW/KS Combined component

  • 80 UCAS points

International Baccalaureate Diploma

  • Obtain a minimum of 28 points overall and pass one of the following subjects from Group 4 at Higher Level (Computer Science, Chemistry, Design Technology, Physics)

  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level) from the IB Diploma will be accepted

  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB will be accepted.

Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
Additional information for EU/International students
Essential

Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In additional to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.

EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications  
IELTS

6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).

1. For students who complete the full IB Diploma: a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects.

2. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates.

Students must have grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level)
AND
English Group A - Grade 4 or above,
OR
English Group B and Ab Initio - Grade 5

Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

 

International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

Additional Requirements

As part of the application process you will be invited to attend an applicant visit day where you will undertake a short one-to-one interview with an academic member of staff. This is your chance to show us how passionate you are about the subject and it will help us make a decision on your application.

This will provide you with more information about the School and your course. In addition, it will give you a chance to meet and our staff and students to gain a better understanding of what it is like to be a student here.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BSc (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Study Year (2023/24) £9,250

Professional Placement Fees

The tuition fee for your first year of study at the university is shown here. Full-time courses with a Professional Placement also incur a fee during the placement year. The fee for your placement year will be £1,850, which is equivalent to 20% of the total full-time course fee.

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BSc (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • TBC

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key Software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Microsoft Certifications (optional)

The exams required to gain Microsoft Office (MOS), Microsoft Technical Certification (MTC) and Microsoft Technical Associate (MTA) certifications are currently free for our students. We also provide free self-paced resources and access to practice exams via dedicated Moodle pages. Find out more about the exams available, and the objectives covered.

Project materials (mandatory)

This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

Some modules may suggest that you purchase a key textbook. All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. Many students choose to purchase a copy.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Guidance for UK students

UCAS

UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Course in Depth

Foundation year

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Year one

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Year two

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Year three

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Download course specification

Download now

The programme is motivated by a practice led, knowledge applied philosophy placing considerable emphasis on a practical approach to learning digital forensic investigation, computer networking and other essential computing techniques using commercial and open-source forensic tools.

The programme is delivered largely through a flipped methodology, placing significant emphasis on the development of practical skills supported by blended learning and a variety of learning activities including lectures, seminars, practice-led, self-directed and experiential learning, in person and online through Virtual Learning Environments (VLE).  The programme incorporates additional activities including industrial workshops, practitioner boot-camps and vendor qualification assessments, strengthening the employability driven nature of the course.

Assessment

The assessment strategy applied throughout the programme has been devised in conjunction with comprehensive student feedback, industrial practitioner consultation and best academic practices. You will acquire knowledge and understanding through formal lectures, computer networked practicals, laboratory experiments, seminars and other directed independent learning activities.

A range of assessment methods are employed, the criteria for each module being published within each specified module guide and assignment briefs. Knowledge is assessed, formatively and summatively, by a number of methods, including seminars, coursework, examinations (seen and unseen, open and closed book), presentations, and practical work. You will develop analytical and problem-solving skills by using a range of case-studies and problem/task-based learning scenarios.

Assessment activities include practical work, individual and group work, presentations, written coursework, laboratory experimentation, examinations (seen and unseen, open and closed book). The acquisition of appropriate practical skills is central to the learning strategy of the programme. You will gain initiative and independence incrementally as the course progresses. Emphasis is placed on guided, self-directed and student-centred learning, with increasing independence of approach, thought and process.

You will develop research skills in module activities and assessments, by undertaking a major individual project and completing a related dissertation. Transferable key skills are also pervasive and incorporated into modules and assessments as appropriate, for example team working skills are fostered via group, task-based practical projects, presentations, coursework, peer and self-assessment.

Attendance requirements

For more information on attendance requirements, course contact time and suggested self-study hours, download the course specification.

Athena Swan Bronze Award
Athena Swan Bronze Award

We have successfully secured the Athena SWAN Departmental Bronze Award recognising a commitment to gender equality.

The Athena Swan Charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education (HE) and research.

Employability

Enhancing your employability skills

Our course has been designed with graduate employability at its heart. Throughout the course we invite speakers from industry to share their valuable knowledge and experience in guest lectures and seminars. This provides an invaluable opportunity to network with the experts. At various stages during the course, we host specialist boot-camps delivered by digital forensics practitioners as well as provide opportunities to obtain vendor qualifications to enhance your career prospects.

Because we have close links with business and industry – with our academic team having worked in the sector – we know that your studies are always relevant, up-to-date and meet the exact needs of the current marketplace.

Recent graduates have been snapped up by specialist digital forensics companies or departments in a range of reputable organisations, including:

  • SYTECH Consultants
  • BT
  • DiskLabs Ltd
  • Capital One
  • Deloitte
  • Carbon Black
  • PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
  • West Midlands Police
  • 7Safe
  • Warwickshire Police
  • Kroll Ontrack
  • Cheshire Police Constabulary
  • CCL Group Ltd.
  • Greater Manchester Police
  • IBM
  • London Metropolitan Police
  • Capgemini
  • Themes Valley Police
  • Zepko
  • Humberside Police

Our graduates forge rewarding careers in areas such as systems security, forensic accounting and fraud investigation and specialist digital evidence/high-tech crime units.

Placements

We aim to have you employer-ready by the time you graduate and as part of your course, you have the option of undertaking an industrial placement after the second year of study. Placements will also provide you with an opportunity to develop your practical expertise, earn money and try out a potential career path. It may not always be possible to get a placement in the digital forensic industry, so we actively encourage you to broaden your interests to allied sectors, for example, cyber security, data recovery companies as well as law enforcement agencies. We have successfully allocated placements for students at the following employers:

  • Arcanum Digital Forensics
  • Context
  • Cheshire Police Constabulary
  • Humberside Police
  • DiskLabs Ltd
  • Aperio Digital Investigations
  • BBC
  • IBM
  • BT
  • Rolls Royce
  • Xerox
  • TATA Motors
  • Caterpillar
  • TNT

International

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Facilities & Staff

Computing facilities two
Computing facilities three
Computing facilities four

Our Facilities

As a student in the School of Computing and Digital Technology, you will have access to our labs, software, professional sound studios, computer games labs and industry-standard facilities to develop your practical skills in audio, video and multimedia application development, content creation and more.

We are currently undertaking a £340 million investment programme in our facilities, including a major expansion of our City Centre Campus. This includes our brand new £70 million development, STEAMhouse, which will be the new home to Computing and Digital Technology students. This state-of-the-art centre will give you access to outstanding facilities and equipment, as well as opportunities to collaborate with businesses across multiple sectors and work on real industry-based projects.

Our facilities in Millennium Point have undergone a £6.5million investment with a new maker area, engineering labs/equipment and IT equipment.

Thanks to our partnerships with Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, Juniper, SAS and LPI you will have access to the latest technology and facilities that reflect advanced professional practice. Our students also have access to software such as the Adobe Suite including Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.

Computing and Digital Technology facilities

Our staff

Shahid Shabbir

Senior Lecturer

Shahid is a Senior Lecturer in Digital Forensics. Shahid is trained, certified and highly proficient in the use of professional digital forensics tools including EnCase, FTK and XRY, in addition to a range of professional data recovery and diagnostics technologies. His primary specialist areas include Digital Forensics, Data Storage and Recovery,...

More about Shahid