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Digital Forensics with a Foundation Year - BSc (Hons)

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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
  • Award BSc (Hons)
  • Start date September 2024
  • School School of Computing and Digital Technology
  • Faculty Faculty of Computing, Engineering and The Built Environment

This course is:

Open to International Students

Overview

I'm a third year Music Technology student. When I was looking for Music Technology courses, Birmingham City University really stood out to me. I was keen on attending a Bachelor of Science and the course really focussed on the science aspects as well as maintaining the artistic elements of music and sound production. The support of the tutors has been fantastic. The professional standard and the facilities on campus are great due to their accessibility around the clock. The easy access to studios has been extremely helpful in completing my work and keeping on top of deadlines. At BCU, there's been a heavy focus on employability and what I could do with all aspects of my degree. The university has organised the industrial mentor forum, a space where students can communicate with alumni and people within the industry. The Acoustics Special Interest Group also consisted of more bespoke talks from people within the acoustics industry about different aspects of the work and how individual companies run. This is how I developed contact with an acoustic consultancy to complete my placement year. I act as an Acoustic Technician at Dragonfly Consulting. It went so well that I'm returning upon my graduation to continue working with them. The university has given me opportunities I don't think I would have received anywhere else.

I'm a second year computer science student studying at Birmingham City University. As a Computing student, there are plenty of computer labs available. There's entire rooms filled with Cisco networking equipment, as well as laptops that can be rented out to complete your work. Several of the facilities have now moved over to STEAMhouse, which is a £70 million build that is now the new home for Computing and Digital Technology students. One of the main things for me was getting employment at the end of my university degree. And Birmingham City University offers a wealth support for moving into the work environment. The course is a very important focus and a very industry focussed as well. I've been offered roles as a student demonstrator for Python programming. I found that the best way to show that you've understood something is to be able to teach somebody else.

I'm studying Computer Networks and Security. So far, I've really enjoyed my time at BCU. I felt really included within the student community. For the past two years, I've been involved in Innovation Fest. This is an annual event that showcases student work from the faculty. A lot of employers visit this festival, which allows us to widen our professional network. Throughout my time at BCU, I've had some time to

develop a relationship with the Careers+ team and go through tailoring my CV and my cover letters with them. Because of this, I have been presented with many opportunities which they have tailored to me and my needs. Through this, I was encouraged to apply for the women in tech competition.

So it was a one week program and I was working with the team from Cyferd. It's a software company,

and I successfully won and have taken up the placement year with them as a Junior Development Lead.

I look forward to coming back and applying the skills I've learnt throughout my placement and applied them within my studies.

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.

STEAMhouse building exterior

Introducing STEAMhouse

STEAMhouse is a centre for technology, innovation, creative thinking, prototyping and business development. Our brand new £70 million pound building is the new home for the School of Computing and Digital Technology.

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:

  • IET_Accredited_Programme
  • 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 STEAMhouseThis state-of-the-art building is the new home for our Computing courses. 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

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to learn about this course in detail, chat to students, explore our campus and tour accommodation. In the week before the event, we’ll post you an event programme to plan your day and find your way.

Next Open Day: 29 June 2024

Book Now

Entry Requirements

These entry requirements apply for entry in 2024/25.

All required qualifications/grades must have been achieved and evidenced at the earliest opportunity after accepting an offer to help confirm admission and allow for on-time enrolment. This can also include other requirements, like a fee status form and relevant documents. Applicants can track their application and outstanding information requests through their BCU mySRS account.

Essential requirements

80 UCAS tariff points

If you have a qualification that is not listed, please contact us.

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 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

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 2024

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

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.

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

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

  1. Register with UCAS
  2. Login to UCAS and complete your details
  3. Select your course and write a personal statement
  4. Get a reference
  5. Pay your application fee and submit 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).

First Year

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

Second Year

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

Final Year

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.

IET_Accredited_Programme
Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

CEng accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), fulfilling the educational requirements for Chartered Engineer when presented with an accredited MSc. In addition, the programme meets the educational requirements for registration as an Incorporated Engineer.

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

[00:00:02] Speaker 1 Hello and welcome to the computing tour for Birmingham City University.

[00:00:05] I'm Alex, a second year Computer Science student sitting here today, and I'll be taking you around the facilities here at BCU.

[00:00:11] Right now we're in STEAMhouse. If you're coming on to a computing course, you may be spending time here doing your Innovation Fest project, where you'll be presenting your project that you worked on to industry professionals. So STEAMhouse is a £72 million conversion of the old bike factory that used to be here.

[00:00:31] This is one of the larger learning spaces that we have here at STEAMhouse, completely built around computing. The entire building is modular. All these walls can be opened up and these classes can be made gigantic.

[00:00:43] So here's another space here at STEAMhouse for, sort of like, breakout rooms or for independent learning places you can go as a group to work on projects. To the left of us, there is the business space where visitors come in and they can work on projects there and also allows for students and staff members to integrate with the tech industry. If you'd like to learn more about STEAMhouse, the video link in description. And now I'm going to take you over to Millennium Point.

[00:01:13] Here we are at Millennium Point. This is the level four project space, the space you'll be using in term time to work on things such as the Innovation project. It is also the home of the Maker's Lab, which I'll be showing you in a little bit. It's a completely transformative and modular space.

[00:01:28] Recently, Birmingham City University has spent six and a half million pounds in revamping their Millennium Point building. It's also the area where we will be holding industry events. One of the things that I want to show you very quickly is the Lapsafe here. So Birmingham City University has one of the largest collections of Lapsafes in Europe. And they're not just here in the Millennium Point building. There's also ones over in Parkside and Curzon as well as STEAMhouse. You're allowed to take a laptop out if you haven't got one personally, and you can use it while you're at university for about six or so hours at a time. We also not only have Windows laptops, but also MacBooks.

[00:02:10] So here we are in the Makers Lab, and this is where you'll be spending time as a first year student working on the Innovation facilities there. Basically, this is where the magic happens, right? So in this room is a bunch of component parts and things to work with your systems such as 3D printers.

[00:02:24] So what you can do is you build a schematic up in the software. We send it to the machines and they can print out component parts for your project. It's also a bunch of different other components here at the university that it offers to students that they can use for their projects, such as Arduino, Mark Controllers, and Raspberry Pi is sort of like the heart of your system. You write some code, you flash onto the microcontroller, then it can control the system that you've attached it to. Over here, we've also got a bunch of component parts even using such as light sensors and motion sensors and buttons and keypads and things like that as well.

[00:02:59] So we've got a bunch of previous projects here as well. Here's Sign Genie which is a sign language interpreter, you sign in front of it and it will send back the sign language on the screen here. You can find out more about this project in description below, showing you how they built it from start to finish.

[00:03:16] We also have laser cutting services at University, so if you need, you know, a frame cut out for your project, for example, that we've got here, you can use the laser cutter and cut out little component parts that all fit together as a housing for your project. Okay, So now I think we're going to head down to level one, which houses the network labs and the games lab.

[00:03:42] This is one of the games labs here at BCU. This is more of a high spec facility to help with rendering animation and, you know, running the games that you create as a games development students as well as that. We've also got the different component parts. You need to build a project VR here so you can experiment with VR within the game called events such as Games Jam where students from across Birmingham City University come together to create a game within 24 hours or 48 hours and present it to a panel.

[00:04:14] So this is one of our networking labs here at BCU. It is a Cisco networking lab. All the hardware in here is industry standard and the majority of it is Cisco related. This entire room and several other rooms on this floor are complete separate LAN network from the rest of university. And you can, you know, run tests and simulations and try and configure and connect to of computers within the labs. The software that we use here is called Cisco Packet Tracer or Nethercutt. This is what we use to prototype our networks. And then you can actually physically build them using the hardware in the room to see how it works in practice.

[00:04:55] So this is one of our many computing labs here at Birmingham City University at the College of Computing. We have about 20 computing labs here at the University of all kinds of different software. And then depending on the course that you're doing, we have experts here from industry working as lecturers to have that real world experience and incredibly helpful with helping you to complete your coursework as well as get any additional advice and sort of guide you in the right direction.

[00:05:22] This is one of the big open communal spaces where you can come and catch up on work, but New Macs here that you can work on as well as Windows PCs out at the back can also see that there's more lab space here. So if you want to use a laptop, you can get those as well. Along with that, there's also the main I.T help desk here where you can come in and ask questions if you've got any issues.

[00:05:43] That was just a taste of computing at BCU. If you'd like to experience it yourself, come along to one of our Open Days or applicant taster days in the future. As well as if you'd like to know more about the computing experience. You can watch this video right here.

[00:06:03] You still here? Go watch the video.

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. This course will be taught at Millennium Point at the City Centre Campus.

The course is supported with a wide range of cutting-edge facilities in the City Centre Campus. We have a state-of-the-art computer games technology lab which contains high-performance PCs, Sony PlayStation development kits and a range of industry standard software including Unity, Unreal and a suite of professional Microsoft development tools.

We also have many open access areas where students can study together and even hire out laptops for use in these spaces and others within the university.

Within the University there are many internationally recognised research teams giving you the opportunity to collaborate with them on exciting interdisciplinary projects.

Computer networking

The laboratories are well-equipped for all our computer networking courses, as well as specialist areas for practical work such as voice-over internet protocol (VoIP), forensic and ethical hacking technologies, wireless and mobile technologies and radio frequency identification technologies to name but a few.

Software development and computer programming

There are a number of open access, software development and computer programming laboratories that can be used to develop systems and programmes, including database management systems such as MySQL, to name but a few.

Systems laboratories

Our embedded systems laboratories are used to develop real-time systems, such as specialist hardware training and development resources, and industrial-standard software development and simulation tools. These include microcontroller software and robotics design and development, to name but a few.

Electronic systems

To underpin the basic principles of electronic systems, we have a well-equipped laboratory of general and specialist test and measurement kits, including powered prototyping development boards, dual power supplies, frequency generators and counters and digital multi-meters to name but a few.

Forensic computing

Our successful development of forensic computing has led to a specialist forensics laboratory that is fully equipped with essential hardware and software for this sensitive area of study. The laboratory includes high-spec PCs with built-in multi interface Tableau write blockers, EnCase and FTK computer forensic software and steganography detection and analysis software, to name but a few.

More on our 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