CRIM-120, CFDI-240 and 60 completed credits or permission of the program director.
Explore Computer Forensics & Digital Investigations
As network breaches and digital crimes become more prevalent, the need for experienced computer investigation professionals is rapidly growing. As a nationally recognized leader in digital forensics, Champlain College's online bachelor's degree in computer forensics and digital investigation is the ideal program for those looking to advance their careers in this critical field, delivering cutting-edge education and virtual hands-on learning application to help you stand out in the field and advance your career from day one.
A Nationally Recognized Leader in Digital Forensics
Champlain is a nationally recognized leader in cybersecurity and digital forensics education and home of the Senator Patrick Leahy Center for Digital Investigation & Cybersecurity. With a robust faculty of expert-practitioner instructors who have significant experience working for top organizations and are sought-after thought leaders in the field, we specialize in building agile cybersecurity and digital forensics programs that the meet mission-critical needs of today's businesses, nonprofit organizations, and state and federal governments.
Champlain has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the U.S. National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security since 2006, and Champlain cybersecurity programs have been named best in the nation by SC Magazine. Champlain is also designated as a National Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence by the Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3) Air Force Office of Special Investigations - the fifth college in the nation to receive this distinction.
Build Your Career Future
Digital forensics is a fast-changing field, with new technologies and best practices constantly emerging, so it’s essential that your degree helps you build a foundational skillset that can help you adapt and grow. Graduates of Champlain’s program will emerge with both core technical skills (including knowledge of over 25 key applications, platforms, and programming languages, listed below) and essential soft skills like critical thinking and problem solving that will carry you through your career.
Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3) Certificates and Transfer Credits
In partnership with DC3, Champlain College Online offers students expedited pathways to a digital forensics bachelor's degree by aligning our courses and learning outcomes with the DC3 Cyber Investigations Training Academy (CITA). This agreement means that your DC3/CITA courses can be easily applied to your CFDI bachelor's degree program to reduce your time to completion by up to 5 courses, or 15 credits.
The partnership also works in reverse for individuals who earn a Champlain CFDI degree, and are interested in gaining additional credentials from DC3/CITA at no extra cost. Upon successful completion of the Champlain online digital forensics program requirements, graduates receive a CDFAE Certificate of Completion and instructions for receiving the prestigious Department of Defense Digital Media Collector and the Digital Forensic Examiner certificates that can boost career prospects in both the Federal Government and private sector.
Academic Excellence and Recognition
Regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education
Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News & World Report
Designated as a Military Friendly School for our commitment to the military community
Named the Best Private Online College by Intelligent.com
What Can You Do With A Degree In Computer Forensics?
The global digital forensics industry is poised for significant growth as a result of increasing cybersecurity threats; projections estimate the market to be worth over $6.65 billion by 2025 - rising at a rate of nearly 10% between 2017 and 2018. As a result of this high demand for qualified digital forensics professionals, the median salary for this career path is over $77,000, and the profession was named one of the "top 100 careers with big growth, great pay, and satisfying work" in CNNMoney's list of the Best Jobs in America.*
Graduates of Champlain's bachelor's in computer forensics and digital investigations degree program will be prepared to enter digital forensics roles in a variety of settings, including mid- to large-sized corporations, crime laboratories, state and national law enforcement agencies, and large municipalities.
*Source: Infosec Institute, 2019
Top Jobs for Bachelor's in Digital Forensics Graduates
- Computer Crime Investigators
- Computer Forensics Analysts
- Computer Forensics Examiners
- Digital Forensics Specialists
Learn more about Champlain's 100% online computer forensics bachelor's degree, designed for working professionals.
Champlain's online computer forensics courses encompass the top skills needed by today's computer forensics professionals. Graduates of the program are required to complete the following courses.
Professional Courses (63 credits)
Technical Electives (6 credits)
General Education Courses (24 credits)
Math Elective (6 credits)
Science Literacy (4 credits)
Human Thought & Creative Expression (3 credits)
Human Behavior & Social Institutions (3 credits)
Historical Perspectives (3 credits)
General Electives (8 credits)
Note: Some of the courses in this program are available in 15-week terms only. Please contact your advisor for details.
Provides a comprehensive analysis of the fundamentals of substantive criminal law. Students will learn the essential elements of crimes and the rationale underlying criminal law. The nature of jurisdiction, the criminal act, the criminal state of mind and matters affecting responsibility for criminal conduct are included.
This course focuses on the rules and procedures governing how the American criminal justice system must process individuals suspected, accused, and convicted of law violations.
This course provides students with an understanding of the many different devices and technologies, from historical to emerging, that are required to design and build networks. In a broad survey of concepts and terminology, students will learn about topology, communications, protocols, and security, and to diagram basic networks to specification.
Students will learn about the financial operations and analysis tools of any business or organization and their role in the success of the enterprise. Students will learn how to read and interpret financial statements and how to apply cost accounting theories and methods. They will gain a general knowledge about operational and capital budgeting processes and how to apply financial goals to departments and units and monitor financial performance against those goals.
From day one, students in this course are problem solving, first in terms of algorithmic design and then as early as week two via programming in the latest version of Python, using PyCharm. Students begin by writing a program to have a conversation, having strings and numbers as input, and advance, by week seven, to building a working password saver program, capable of looking up, adding (and encrypting), and storing passwords.
Use Windows? Want to know more about Linux and or Apple? In this course, students don't just read about other operating systems, they step out of their comfort zones and develop a working knowledge of their structure and functionality. As part of these activities, students also learn how to use VMware and, in the case of students without access to Apple hardware, resources offered in the cloud as a services. Students also survey/compare mobile device operating systems.
Computer evidence (digital evidence) is being used every day in our country to convict criminals of crimes ranging from possession of child pornography to embezzlement to murder. Every competent, modern law enforcement officer understands the significance of digital evidence in every case submitted for prosecution. Students will be required to learn, and apply, legal principles that govern how this vital evidence is recovered (and used) to insure that it will be legally admissible in court.
This course provides students with a broad overview of the history, theory, and fundamentals of criminal investigation. Students are introduced to the basic responsibilities of investigators and protocols for report writing, evidence collection, and preparation of cases for trial. They also learn specific investigative techniques for different types of crimes, such as crimes involving violence and property, terrorism, and hate crimes, and, where appropriate, compare investigative protocols from other legal cultures.
Take CRIM-120, CRIM-121.
This exciting course introduces students to the myriad software tools and best practices for handling digital evidence. Labs utilize Champlain College Online's Forensic VDI and challenge students to begin building their skills, from creating a hash value for a forensic copy with X-Ways Forensics and FTK Imager, to examining evidence with The Sleuth Kit (TSK), Autopsy and/or EnCase.
Complete CMIT-135 and CMIT-140
This course will introduce foundation subject matter and technologies that are critical to the multidisciplinary landscape of cybersecurity.
Complete CMIT-130 and CMIT-135.
Malware is a global problem. Every year, hundreds of millions of new types of malware are unleashed on the world. It's a challenge for businesses to keep up with orgranizations investing in finding new ways of infecting and evading detection. Once a company has been infiltrated with a malware infection, it's essential to determine the source so as to close the hole. Students will learn detection techniques, infection vectors, static and dynamic analysis as well as how to construct a timeline to determine the initial infection in case of multiple pieces of malware on the same system.
This course explores more advanced topics and methodologies for examining digital evidence. Topics taught in this class include File System Forensics, Computer Operating System Forensics and Mobile Device Forensics. Students are challenged to work individually and in groups to examine and prepare detailed reports showing the relevance of digital evidence to mock cases. This course presents a higher level of technical detail and will balance theory and hands-on aspects for conducting digital forensic examinations.
Dig into network forensics and anti-forensics in this course, where students examine files for hidden messages and learn to use programs like MobileFish, OpenPuff and SilentEye to hide files in images and audio files, and Wireshark and NetworkMiner to analyze packet captures. Students also work with the Windows registry, practice locating Internet passwords from browsers using IE PassView and Google tools, and encrypt files/folders using AESCrypt and similar open source programs.
CFDI-240 and CMIT-130
Building on the skills students have previously acquired, this course offers students the opportunity to deep dive into a case using X-Ways Forensics to examine the registry, understand "typical" user activities on the Internet (social media and search histories, for example), and create a timeline/events. Students also gain more experience with RegRipper along with an introduction to analyzing a memory dump using Volatility.
White collar crime investigations often require investigators and examiners to dig deep because the schemes to defraud are complex. In this course, students examine many different types of white-collar crime, including frauds (consumer, securities, corporate and fiduciary, and health care), environmental crimes, abuse of power (public officials and corruption), and computer crimes. Students are also asked to assume the role of forensic accountant in a scenario-based lab and determine what, if any, financial crimes have been committed.
Complete CFDI-240. Complete ACCT-130 or MGMT-230.
Are you sure you know how to conduct a digital forensics investigation? Prove it! In this course, students utilize the knowledge and experience they have gained to analyze multiple images for artifacts related to a case and more. Students draft a search warrant, use FTK Imager to create an image, experiment with keyloggers and select which open source and commercial software tools they want to use throughout the investigation.
Investigations don't just happen. Sometimes victims allow investigators to examine their devices and other times search warrants are necessary. In this course, students work a case in a manner that closely resembles piecing together a puzzle. They examine the digital evidence that is provided with Autopsy and Axiom, and then, in the final week, conclude the investigation and submit a final investigative report that documents the evidence, details the analysis work, provides an accurate timeline, and takes into account the information and data from the victim and offender(s).
Opportunities to explore abound! Students typically write papers, complete hands-on projects and/or conduct original research in this course. Topics are selected in the first few weeks, and then students demonstrate progress throughout the 15-week course. In the final week, students present their work to the class and instructor.
Must complete 90 credits before taking this course.
The internship is an individually supervised experience in an organization that provides an opportunity for career exploration. In this setting, students will obtain practical experience and further develop technical skills along with interpersonal and conceptual skills needed in the workplace. Specific experiences are developed for each workplace. Course requirements include working a minimum of 120 hours, submission of weekly reflections, and a final performance review by the organization supervisor.
Must complete 75 credits before taking this course. Must also have GPA of 3.0 and permission of Program Director.
For students excited by the prospect of analyzing mobile devices for artifacts, this course offers plenty of hands-on opportunities to work with files from smartphones (Android and iOS), and drones. Students gain experience with FTK Imager, Autopsy, Cellebrite UFED Reader and Cellebrite UFED Physical Analyzer, and Magnet Internet Evidence Finder (IEF), and also learn to use AccessData Password Recovery Tool Kit (PRTK) to decrypt a file.
Interested in carving files out of a disk image with scalpel or parsing a log file to track changes to a disk? Looking for intensive hands-on opportunities? In this course, students perform cryptographic hash verification, advance to examination of fundamental data structures, and conclude with a complete analysis of a disk image. Currently, each week in this course features a lab designed to build an understanding of file system forensics but also to enhance skills with the tools found in Kali Linux, The Sleuth Kit and more.
General Education Courses
This course draws on fundamental concepts of contemporary communication research to help students identify and develop strategies to become effective and versatile communicators across media and settings. Students will examine and respond to a range of interpersonal situations through the critical evaluation of the three essential components of all communication: its purpose, audience, and context. Students will leave the course with the ability to reflect on and adapt their strategies to successfully and consistently communicate for a range of purposes across diverse settings.
Students will learn to navigate the rapidly changing nature of communication in the digital age, deeply engaging with tools such as instant messaging, social networks, blogs and collaborative spaces online, all the while applying specific communication theories in order to determine best practices. Through reading, discussion and intensive hands-on projects, students will work to overcome online communication barriers and gain critical understanding of which tools are effective in which situations. Students will be required to download, access and utilize various online communication tools.
COM-100 or COMM-130 and 30 completed credits or 60 completed credits
This course introduces students to the foundational concepts needed to communicate effectively in writing for academic study and professional development. Students will learn how to use the four stages of the writing process--prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing--to create written communication that meets its intended purpose for its intended audience. Students will also be introduced to rhetorical modes and their role in the development of written communication. A minimum grade of C is required for this course to meet a general education requirement.
This course builds on students' proficiency in the writing process and rhetorical modes to introduce the use of evidence from sources in written communication. Students will learn to determine the need for evidence from sources, identify types of information resources, develop effective search strategies, and incorporate evidence from sources in written communication legally and ethically. A minimum grade of C is required for this course to meet a general education requirement.
Complete ENGL-100 with a minimum grade of C or better
This course will introduce students to major streams of social justice thought, including historical social justice movements, theoretical problems having to do with social equality, personal freedom, marginalization, and stigmatization, and the ways in which civic and professional communities respond to these issues.
Specific application of common tools for writing in the working world. Students will be instructed in rhetorical strategies of professional writing including style, report formats, editing, document design, and integration of visual aids. Students will complete a semester-long writing project; oral and written reports associated with the process of problem-solving within the project will be included.
ENGL-112 or COR-125
This course introduces students to the fundamental elements of technical writing (clear, concise, and targeted)that are common among seven forms of technical communication: email correspondence, editing,employment communication, proposals, long, formal reports,oral communication, and inventions. Through peer reviews and writing workshops, students develop the ability to write and edit text that precisely targets its audience. This course emphasizes deepening and broadening students' writing, speaking, and thinking abilities in a non-lecture-based, hands-on, discussion-centered classroom.
ENGL-112 or COR-125
This course builds on students' proficiency in using evidence from sources to support their own prior knowledge to using evidence from sources to develop persuasive communication for a range of purposes, including solving problems and pursuing opportunities in the workplace, in addition to academic study. Students will learn to articulate effective inquiry questions, recognize errors in logic, interpret the validity of persuasive communication created by others, and develop effective persuasive communication of their own using evidence from sources. The role of accurate citation of sources in persuasive communication will also be addressed. A minimum grade of C is required for this course to meet a general education requirement. Prerequisites: ENGL-100 The Writing Process & ENGL-110 Introduction to Using Evidence from Sources in Writing.
Complete ENGL-100 and ENGL-110 with a minimum grade of C.
In this course, adult students demonstrate skills and knowledge from work and other life experiences in order to request credit for a specified degree requirement. Students use the conceptual framework of argumentation to make a logical case for credit in an e-portfolio. The portfolio will identify the context for the student's learning in the subject matter, trace its progression over time, and explain how the learning is equivalent to the specified CCO degree requirement. The student will then demonstrate proficiency in each course learning outcome and integrate the learning outcomes in a relevant case study. To achieve a course pass, the completed portfolio must demonstrate course outcome proficiency according to the framework and criteria described above. Portfolios meeting these criteria will be submitted to a faculty subject matter expert for evaluation.
Full admission into a CCO degree program, ENGL 111, ENGL 112, and approved PLA plan. Students within 12 credits of degree completion are not eligible to take CRIT 200.
Choose One Science Literacy Course:
Introduces students to the biochemistry and physiology of nutrition and exercise. Emphasis will be placed on human body systems such as musculoskeletal, digestive, respiratory and circulatory, and their relationship to nutrition and fitness. Students will also study the biochemistry of energy conversion as it relates to exercise physiology. Laboratory sessions are designed to reinforce, by a hands-on approach, the principles discussed in lecture. Course includes two laboratory hours per week.
Students learn the biology, genetics, chemistry, and physics involved in the forensic investigation of crimes. A wide range of topics are studied including DNA, entomology, fingerprinting, trace evidence, serology (blood, saliva, and semen), blood spatter, and chemical analysis of drugs, alcohol, and other compounds. Students apply their new knowledge of forensic science through the use of case studies and laboratories. This course includes two laboratory hours per week.
If you have taken FOR-110 you may not take this lab science course.
This lab course focuses on the structure and function of the human body and the mechanisms for maintaining homeostasis within it. This course includes: the study of human anatomical terminology and function, the structure and function of the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. It is recommended that students have a strong science background.
Strong science background recommended
Choose One Human Thought & Creative Expression Course
With pressure and release, a window opens and closes, recording light on a sensor. The simple action captures the instinct, judgement, and skill of the person behind the lens. This class will begin a study of the art and craft of photography. Students will develop their vision and their understanding of how to achieve it. Solid skills will be learned and many doors will be opened.
A survey of the continuing change experienced in art since the 15th century. Students will examine how an image is achieved as well as the significance of the subject represented. Individual inquiry concerning the nature of art is encouraged.
Students learn to appreciate films through the critical analysis of various elements of mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing and sound. The course introduces the conventions of classical Hollywood cinema, considers the work of one major director (auteur), and surveys selected international and independent films. Students view and discuss films each week.
Students will become familiar with arguments originating from the following schools of ethics: virtue ethics, deontology, and utilitarianism. Students will apply these ethical schools of thought to formulate arguments, practice deliberation and assess the implications of their decisions for various stakeholders in a professional context.
Must have 75 completed credits or permission of Program Director.
A study of fiction of various lengths, with an emphasis on plot techniques, character development, style, point of view, setting, structure, theme, and artistic unity. Continued emphasis is placed on the improvement of writing skills.
ENGL-112 OR COR-125
An introduction to the major literary genres: poetry, drama and fiction. Selections are chosen from American, European and non-Western literature. The emphasis of this course is on improving the student's ability to read perceptively and write effectively . A continued emphasis is placed on the improvement of writing skills.
ENG-110, ENGL-112 OR COR-125
Choose One Human Behavior & Social Institutions Course:
A survey of the science of psychology, including an overview of human behavior in various areas such as physiopsychology, development, learning social psychology, personality and abnormal behavior.
A study of human groups, culture, the self, and human interaction. The course focuses on contemporary American society and the influence of culture on our actions and beliefs, with the goal of fostering critical thinking about our social environment.
Historical Perspectives Course:
Students will study important themes in the social history of the United States since the Civil War. This course allows students to expand their critical thinking skills through an examination of primary and secondary sources. Themes might include: the evolving status of women; the immigrant experience; the concept of the American dream; the paradox of freedom vs. slavery; the minority experience; the tensions between social classes. Students will be evaluated primarily on writing assignments.
Graduates of the computer forensics and digital investigations bachelor's online program will acquire and demonstrate the following industry-specific skills, knowledge, and competencies:
- Interpret and appropriately apply the laws and procedures associated with identifying, collecting, processing, preserving, analyzing, and presenting digital evidence.
- Assess and apply advances in technology and legislation specific to the practice of digital forensics.
- Employ fundamental theory in the context of computer forensics.
- Adhere to the ethical standards of the digital forensics profession and apply those standards to all aspects of their work.
- Use the scientific process and apply the principles of effective digital forensics investigation techniques.
- Identify the culture and methods of white-collar criminals, and employ this knowledge to guide economic crime investigations, such as embezzlement, fraud, and money laundering.
- Evaluate industry-standard digital forensics tools and use them to increase the efficiency and quality of digital forensics investigations.
- Correlate the role of digital forensics to information security and cybersecurity activities.
- Acquire in-demand technical, analytical and soft skills employers want - such as communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration - in general education courses that are a part of this degree.
Earn a specialized certificate in a concentration of your choice as you pursue your degree, so you can build credentials as you go.
- AccessData Password Recovery Tool Kit (PRTK)
- Cellebrite UFED Physical Analyzer
- Cellebrite UFED Reader
- Forensic CDI
- FTK Imager
- Google Tools
- IE PassView
- Kali Linux
- Magnet Internet Evidence Finder (IEF)
- Silent Eye
- The Sleuth Kit
- X-Ways Forensics
Champlain College Online's digital forensics faculty, led by Cybersecurity Program Chair Kathleen Hyde, MCIS, MBA, are expert practitioners in the field. Their industry expertise ensures that our computer forensics and digital investigations curriculum is aligned with the needs of employers, and reflects the skills today’s digital forensics professionals need for success. Classes led by our seasoned experts will give you real-world insight into the world of digital forensics, and create a rich community of career-focused learning.
Alumni of the Champlain College Online bachelor's in digital forensics program work in corporations, law enforcement agencies, government organizations, and municipalities nationwide, including:
- Advanced Systems Development
- Department of Justice
- Howard County Police Department
- Federal Aviation Administration
- L-3 Communications
- National General Insurance
- National Security Administration (NSA)
- Northwest Data Recovery
- Security National Bank
- U.S. Army
- U.S. Border Patrol
Titles our alumni hold include:
- Computer Forensic Investigator
- Cyber Investigator
- Digital Forensic Analyst
- Digital Forensic Examiner
- Forensic Computer Specialist
- Global Systems Analyst
- IT Administrator
- IS Security Engineer
- Public Safety Software Specialist
- Security Analyst
- Sr. Quality Engineer
- Special Agent
- Technology Consultant
Tuition & Costs
Continuing your education is an investment in your future. Learn more about our affordable tuition rates.
Meet the Program Director
Kathleen HydeMCIS MBA
- Computer Forensics & Digital Investigations (B.S., Certificate)
- Computer Information Systems (B.S.)
- Information Security (M.S., Certificate)
- Management Information Systems (B.S.)
- Web Design & Development (A.S., B.S., Certificates)
Kathleen Hyde, MCIS, MBA, is the Chair of Cybersecurity Programs for Champlain College Online. She is responsible for the online cybersecurity and computer forensics and digital investigations undergraduate programs, as well as the M.S. in digital forensic science program.
As program director, Ms. Hyde maintains the cybersecurity and digital forensic programs' competitive and relevant edge, promotes the growth of the nation's cybersecurity workforce, and shares her passion for lifelong learning by teaching several online classes.
For more than 20 years, Ms. Hyde has provided consulting services in cybersecurity, data recovery, business continuity, and digital forensics to government, retail, finance, professional, and residential customers. She has also served as an instructor for Champlain's cybersecurity program and a subject-matter expert for course development for the past three years. Her areas of expertise and interest include insider threat detection, emerging threats and defenses, digital privacy and surveillance, and cybersecurity for educators.
Ms. Hyde holds both an MBA and an M.S. in Computer Information Studies from the University of Phoenix.
"My experience with the online classroom was exceptional, and the instructors were amazing. They teach in the fields they work in, like investigators who were on the scene of a crime during the day and then teaching us how to investigate crime that night."
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