Explore Information Technology with Digital Forensics & Incident Response (MS)
Take your technical expertise to the next level with a master’s in information technology degree specialized in digital forensics and incident response. Designed for professionals with technical backgrounds in various fields of study including computer and information systems, software development, web design and development, and more, this unique master’s in information technology degree with an imbedded digital forensics certificate was developed in response to industry demand to provide a path for professionals to master their crafts and demonstrate they are technically focused to be compatible with today’s long-term technological workforce needs.
The specialized curriculum for this one-of-a-kind program teaches students how to classify risks, identify and categorize vulnerabilities, and recommend mitigation and remediation strategies that are effective in criminal and civil digital investigations in both the public and private sectors. Gain competitive in-demand skills - like the ability to conduct forensic analysis of operating systems, create incident reports, and preserve log files from network devices - that will give you a mastery of technical and communication experience to thrive as a digital forensics and incident response professional in the larger digital forensics landscape.
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
Designed for those looking to take their digital forensics education to the next level, this IT master’s degree program with a specialization in digital forensics and incident response was built with employer needs and industry trends in mind. You’ll graduate with a strategic, integrated view of information technology that will provide a robust framework for today’s technical professionals to think more critically and approach complex organization challenges more innovatively. You’ll also gain essential soft skills, such as communication, critical thinking, and leadership, that will be key assets for future career advancement as technology evolves.
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 among the best schools with accelerated bachelor's degrees by Intelligent.com
Prepare For What's Next
As technology evolves and changes, the industry’s need for highly skilled and qualified technical professionals is fast-growing across all sectors. With a valuable combination of technical acumen, subject matter expertise, and critical soft skills, graduates of Champlain's master's in information technology program with a concentration in digital forensics and incident response will be prepared to pursue advanced roles in the information technology field.
Master’s degrees are in high demand in the vast and varied world of information technology, and employment in master’s-level occupations is projected to grow by 13% from 2020 to 2030 - much faster than the average for all occupations. Additionally, the median annual salary for computer and information technology occupations is $91,250.*
*Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2020
Master's in Information Technology Careers
- Computer Network Architect
- Computer Programmer
- Computer Support Specialist
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Computer and Information Research Scientist
- Data Scientist
- Database Administrator
- IT Manager
- Network and Computer Systems Administrator
- Software Developer
- Web Developer and Digital Designer
Learn more about Champlain's 100% online master's in information technology with a digital forensics & incident response graduate certificate.
MS Information Technology Courses
Required Courses (21 credits)*
Electives (3 credits)
Digital Forensics & Incident Response Graduate Certificate (9 credits)*
* For admission to this program, students must demonstrate previous coursework and/or experience in information technology (IT) and Digital Forensics. Students who do not display sufficient IT knowledge and skills will need to complete CMIT-500 and those without the necessary level of digital forensics experience or skills will be required to complete DFS-500 before starting the program.
Students will be using FTK Imager, Magnet Encrypted Disk Detector, OS Forensics Volatility Workbench, Kali Linux, Reg Ripper, Network Miner, and Wireshark to develop a foundation framework for the practice of Digital investigations, including technical and managerial issues.
Understanding risk and identifying the threats organizations face are essential skills for today's information security professionals. In this course that introduces students to the graduate degree program, students learn to compute impact scores for vulnerabilities, classify data, and use Champlain College Online's virtual environment to explore how to use IOCs (Indicators of Compromise).
In this course students learn to differentiate relational and non-relational databases, and to design a database to an organization's requirements. Preparing raw data for import into a database, using queries to manipulate data, and developing reports to meet stakeholder needs, and database integrity and security are also covered.
Students will gain an understanding and respect for emerging technology by exploring current trends in security and examining topics such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and behavior analytics. Students will analyze the science behind these technologies as well as the ethical and privacy concerns and implications that may hinder their widespread adoption.
This course is designed to introduce a systematic process for planning, organizing and controlling projects. The course will present a practical methodology for completing projects more quickly with fewer problems. Student work will consist of readings, research, class special-topic presentations, group activities, a project management journal, and participation in a real world IT business project. Students will be encouraged to apply project-management techniques to solve existing real-world technology-related business problems.
In SDEV-520, Software Engineering, students learn about the field of software engineering, including project management methodologies applied to the field of Software Development, economic factors that affect development decisions and product life cycle, requirement gathering and assessment, and modelling languages. Disruptive technologies and methodologies and their impact on this field are also covered in this course.
In this course students demonstrate mastery of the information technology concepts and skills learned and acquired through the Master of Science in Information Technology degree program via successful completion of a Capstone project. Students are required to complete a reflection assignment to produce additional insight.
Successful completion of 30 credits in the degree Information Technology MS program.
Choose One of the Following
Students learn to create and use scripts to access, acquire, prepare, and transform data, including structured and semi-structured data, and to define and detect patterns in unstructured data to demonstrate how real world problems can be answered with data.
Students will develop the ability to write basic python scripts (WIngIDE) to help in digital investigations. Students will also interpret scripts written in other languages, like EnCase Enscript or Perl or Microsoft Powershell or UNIX Shell Script.
Scripting languages like Python can help security professionals extend available tools but also create new tools to address specific needs. Extensive labs in this course have students attacking MD5 hashes, web scraping, parsing security logs and breaking a cipher.
Digital Forensics & Incident Response Certificate Courses
Students will use tools such as The Sleuth Kit and Volatility to conduct forensic analysis of PC & server operating systems and software running on those systems, while gaining a knowledge set of forensic relevant information about operating systems, including those used in mobile devices. Finally, students will look at the challenges of virtualization, including those that come with the growth of Cloud systems.
In this class, students use tools like nfdump, Snort and Wireshark for network forensic analysis in the context of the role of an incident response team.
Hands-on labs and assignments using Kali Linux, Metasploitable, Nessus and Armitage build on previously acquired knowledge of threat and vulnerability classification in this course that allows students to use the knowledge of a vulnerability to perform threat analysis. Vulnerability and patch management processes are also addressed.
In addition to developing advanced analytical skills, and a strategic mindset, graduates of the MS in Information Technology online program will demonstrate a mastery of the following industry-specific competencies:
- Develop classifications of systems and information to determine priorities based on importance or sensitivity
- Relate market, organizational, and operational factors to innovation and the development of new technology
- Plan, implement, and conclude a project with appropriate management of requirements and change, applying critical thinking and reasoned decision making to achieve project objectives.
- Design a database and develop reports to meet stakeholder requirements, and use queries to manipulate data while acknowledging the need to maintain data integrity and security.
- Use objective measures to determine the feasibility of software development projects, summarize objective ways of collecting functional and nonfunctional requirements, decide the most appropriate modeling language for a variety of software projects, and categorize software verification and validation techniques.
- Develop practical, in context, programming/scripting skills.
- Compare public and private sector, and criminal and civil digital investigations and processes for preparing digital evidence, within a moral, legal, and ethical framework.
In addition to the learning outcomes of the MS in Information Technology, graduates of this program with a certificate in digital forensics & incident response will also master the following:
- Develop classifications of systems and information to determine priorities based on importance or sensitivity
- Compare public- and private- sector and criminal and civil digital investigations and processes for preparing digital evidence, within a moral and ethical framework that weighs privacy issues against the need for digital investigations.
- Categorize identified vulnerabilities based on severity, impact, and class to prioritize remediation, determine approaches to exploit identified vulnerabilities, and recommend mitigation or remediation strategies for identified vulnerabilities.
- Develop and evaluate methods, and conduct forensic analysis, of PC and server operating systems and software, and analyze and report user activity.
- Preserve and analyze log files from a range of network devices, conduct analysis of captured network traffic, and investigate and report on a computer incident.
In addition to the admission requirements for all graduate program applicants, our online MS in Information Technology program has specific requirements that must be met.
Admission to this program is open to students from diverse backgrounds, including the several fields of information technology (IT) and career changers looking to combine their skills with IT. Students who demonstrate, through coursework and/or professional experience, sufficient IT knowledge and skills might not be required to complete CMIT-500, those who similarly demonstrate sufficient digital forensics knowledge and skills might not be required to complete DFS-500.
Champlain College Online's IT faculty, led by Program Directors Kathleen Hyde, are expert practitioners in the field. Their industry expertise ensures that our curriculum is aligned with the needs of employers, and reflects the skills today’s IT professionals need for success. Classes led by our seasoned experts will give you real-world insight into the field and create a rich community of career-focused learning.
Increasing your career mobility is at the center of everything we do. As an online master's degree student, you get free access to the Fast Start Formula Career Bundle for getting noticed and getting hired, taught by Jen Morris, a leading executive career coach that partners with us to support our students in their job search journeys.
Tuition & Costs
Graduate Tuition Fall '23 - Summer '24
*Based on a 3-credit course; cost will vary if course is a different number of credits
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.
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