The Master of Science (MS) degree in Cyber Forensics & Security (CFS) provides students with advanced education and skills in cyber forensics and cybersecurity. This advanced, practitioner-focused program is intended to prepare students for the fast-moving and ever-changing environment they will work in upon graduation. Students will learn advanced skills and techniques to solve investigative and cybersecurity problems using cutting-edge science and technology. The program will also prepare students to face sophisticated cybersecurity and investigative challenges and take a leadership role within their organization. The MS in CFS curriculum includes many challenging, hands-on exercises with realistic, real-world problems and opportunities for students to practice and refine their communication skills.
The MS degree requires 33 credit hours of graduate coursework. This includes 27 credit hours of required core coursework and 6 hours of technical electives.
Students will take 27 hours from the following list of core courses:
CFS 630 – Cyber Threat Intelligence – 3 hrs
CFS 640 – Advanced Cyber Forensics – 3hrs
CFS 650 – Advanced Cyber Defense – 3hrs
CFS 660 – Advanced Red Team Operations – 3 hrs
CFS 665 – Cybersecurity of Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Control Systems (ICS) – 3 hrs
CFS 670 – Practicum – 3-6 hrs or CFS 675 – Adv Research in CFS – 3-6 hrs
CFS 690 – Capstone – 3hrs
CYBR 530 – Cybersecurity Policies and Management – 3hrs
CYBR 542 – Cyber Operations – 3hrs
Students will choose 6 hours from the following list of technical elective courses:
CFS 500 – Intro to Digital Forensics, 3 hrs
CFS 505 – OSINT Practicum, 3 hrs
CFS 520 – Incident Response, 3 hrs
CFS 545 – Mobile & Web Pen Testing, 3 hrs
CFS 548 – Multimedia Forensics, 3 hrs
CFS 554 – Network Defense, 3 hrs
CFS 560 – Applied Digital Evidence, 3 hrs
CFS 561 – Cyber Warfare, 3 hrs
CFS 562 – Network Forensics, 3 hrs
CFS 564 – Network Security & Cyber Crime, 3 hrs
CFS 567 – Mobile Device Forensics, 3 hrs
CYBR 500– Computer Security Design
CYBR 615– Cyber Vulnerability Assessment
Deadlines: Applications to the program are due by August 1 for the fall semester and by December 1 for the spring semester. However, students are strongly encouraged to apply early. Applications submitted after the due dates may be considered, but no later than three weeks from the start of classes for both fall semester and spring semesters. Application for admission does not guarantee acceptance into the program.
Applicants should follow the admissions process described in the Graduate Catalog, or at the Graduate Admissions website at www.marshall.edu/graduate/admissions/how-to-apply-for-admission. (Submit all materials to the Graduate Admissions Office.)
Prospective students will apply for the program at various stages of their careers. Some students will come straight into the program after completing their undergraduate degrees, while other students will be seeking to further their education after several years in the field. As such, there will be two paths into the program: Option A is for those students having recently graduated with an appropriate 4-year degree. Option B is for those applicants having significant work experience in the field. The details for each option are outlined below.
Option A is intended for applicants that are recent graduates and have less than three years work experience in cyber forensics and security.
- Baccalaureate Degree – Students admitted to the program must have an appropriate baccalaureate degree from an accepted, accredited U.S. institution, or U.S. equivalent.
- Grade Point Average – Students admitted must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.8 on a 4.0 scale.
- GRE Score – Applicants must take the GRE. The GRE will be evaluated in combination with the undergraduate GPA. Waivers: Applicants may qualify for a waiver of the GRE requirement if the student:
- possesses an overall GPA of 3.30 or higher as evidenced by his/her official, final degree transcript from the applicant’s baccalaureate degree-awarding institution, or
- by completion of a master’s degree in a related field. Applicants who have completed a previous Master’s degree must submit an official, final transcript from the applicant’s master’s degree awarding institution as evidence of qualifying for the waiver.
- Personal Statement – In the Personal Statement, the applicant will describe their background and goals as they relate to the study of cyber forensics & security. Successful applicants will articulate how their background has prepared them for success in the program as well as how their goals align with the program’s learning objectives. Note that in a masters program, writing skills are more important than ever. We, therefore, urge all applicants to spend a lot of time composing a thoughtful and detailed Personal Statement of about 500 words.
- Letters of Recommendation – Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation. The letters should attest to the applicant’s knowledge, skills, character, and work ethic.
Option B is intended for applicants that have been out of school for more than three years and have three or more years of documented work experience in cyber forensics, cybersecurity, or incident response.
- Baccalaureate Degree – Students admitted to the program must have a baccalaureate degree from an accepted, accredited U.S. institution, or U.S. equivalent.
- Grade Point Average – Students admitted must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
- Personal Statement – In the Personal Statement, the applicant will describe their background and goals as they relate to the study cyber forensics & security. Successful applicants will articulate how their background and work experience has prepared them for success in the program as well as how their goals align with the program’s learning objectives. Note that in a Master’s program, writing skills are more important than ever. We, therefore, urge all applicants to spend a lot of time composing a thoughtful and detailed Personal Statement of about 500 words.
- Letters of Recommendation – Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation. The letters should attest to the applicant’s knowledge, skills, character, and work ethic. Current CV/Resume – An updated Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV) that includes a detailed work history, education, training, certifications, awards, publications, professional memberships, etc.
- Professional Portfolio -The portfolio must include examples of the applicant’s work product and is intended to demonstrate their capacity to successfully complete graduate-level work in digital forensics and cybersecurity. The portfolio could include things such as:
- Samples of professional writing (redacted reports, grants, SOPs, etc.
- Code/Script Examples (GitHub repositories, etc.) Professional Publications (journals, books, articles, etc.)
- Presentations (slide decks, conference proceedings, etc.)
- Current/Prior Research
Provisional and Conditional Admission and Enrollment
Students may be considered for provisional admission or conditional enrollment. Please see www.marshall.edu/graduate/admissions/types-of-admission. All prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact the Cyber Forensics & Security Graduate Director before applying to the Master of Science Cyber Forensics & Security program to discuss the application process and requirements.
Assistantships And Financial Support
The Cyber Forensics & Security program has funds available in the form of assistantships to provide financial support for graduate students. For complete information on graduate assistantships, please see www.marshall.edu/graduate/graduate-assistantships-2/graduate-assistantshipoverview. For complete information on other financial support opportunities, please see www.marshall.edu/graduate and click on “Costs and Aid.” Additionally, there are paid part-time research and internship opportunities within various federal, state, and private contracts within the program that can help alleviate the costs associated with this degree. All prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact the Cyber Forensics & Security Graduate Director before applying to the Master of Science in Cyber Forensics & Security program to discuss these potential opportunities.
Graduates of our MS program are successfully employed in a variety of fields
- Federal Bureau of Investigation- Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory (RCFL)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation- Computer Analysis Response Team (CART)
- United States Army- Criminal Investigation Division (CID)
- United States Department of Homeland Security- Cyber Crimes Center (C3)
- West Virginia Fusion Center
- West Virginia State Police Digital Forensics Unit
- Virginia Department of Forensic Sciences- Digital Evidence Laboratory
- Marshall University- Information Technology Services
- Expel Managed Security Services
- Kroger Corporation- Cyber Threat Operations Team
Contact: Josh Brunty, CFS Graduate Program Director, 304-691-8962, firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional Program Resources
- NIJ’s Just Science Podcast (May 2022)– Marshall University Digital Forensics Program Development and Outlook
- Unallocated Space Podcast S1:Ep9 (2022): Marshall’s CFS Program
- Cellebrite Life Has no Ctrl-Alt-Delete Podcast (2021)– DFIR Mentorship- What Does it Mean?
- Forensic Lunch Podcast (5/8/2020)– Overview of CFS Program @ Marshall
- Forensic Focus Podcast (8/2020)– Digital Forensics Programs: Marshall University’s CFS Program