Prospective Students

Welcome prospective students!

Welcome to Marshall University’s Cyber Forensic and Security prospective student page. We hope this page will help answer any questions you or your families may have regarding our program by covering the curriculum, collaborations and research opportunities, competitions, and awards. We also have a dedicated F.A.Q. section that answers some of our most frequently asked questions. If you can’t find what you are looking for here, feel free to send an interest email to

Our Mission

Teaching students to use cutting-edge technology to solve the investigative and cyber security problems of the modern world.

Our Curriculum

The Cyber Forensics and Security program at Marshall University gives a well-rounded learning experience that provides students with the best of both cyber forensics and the cyber security world. Students will gain hands-on experience with forensic collection techniques and evidence processing and be exposed to the world of testifying from the forensics aspect of the curriculum, while the security side provides students with the tools they need to do network analysis and defense, penetration testing, and open-source intelligence. The CFS program aims to provide students with a 50/50 split across the two fields to create the “Swiss Army Knife” student post-graduation.

Open the accordions below to see some of the courses taught relating to each subject field and their descriptions. Some of the courses offered by our program give students a mix of both subjects, which are listed in both dropdowns. If you wish to view the entire course listings page, visit the Course Catalog.

Intro to Cyber Forensics
This course teaches students how information is recovered from electronic devices and the forensic techniques used to perform forensic examinations. In addition, legal issues regarding electronic data will be discussed.

Incident Response
This course examines forensic and investigative aspects of a network intrusion. Topics include pre-incident preparation, developing leads, scoping an incident, forensic data collection, and evidence from hosts, networks, and enterprise environments.

Digital Evidence
Concepts of computer forensics, including handling digital evidence, case preparation, forensic imaging, data recovery, password cracking, email analysis, and report writing. Proper usage of different forensic tools is emphasized.

Multimedia Forensics
Course will introduce principles of multimedia forensics and their application to digital forensics. Practical forensics enhancements and analysis techniques, including how to prepare forensically sound exhibits are covered.

Applied Cyber Forensics
Introduction to the principles, practices, and tools of digital forensics and electronic discovery. Hands-on exercises in a simulated real-world environment are a critical component of the course.

Network Forensics
Examination of techniques and tools used to investigate, search, collect, analyze, and report on network-based breaches and events.

Mobile Device Forensics
Identification, preservation, collection, analysis, and reporting techniques and tools used in the forensics examination of mobile devices such as cell phones and GPS units.

Open Source Intelligence
This course identifies and demonstrates free online resources that can aid investigators in searching the Internet for resources that can be applied to domestic and international investigations.

Network Penetration and Attack
Students will explore tools and techniques used to penetrate, exploit, and exfiltrate data from computers and networks.

Incident Response
This course examines forensic and investigative aspects of a network intrusion. Topics include pre-incident preparation, developing leads, scoping an incident, forensic data collection, and evidence from hosts, networks, and enterprise environments.

Exploit Development
Students will learn the skills required to reverse-engineer 32-bit and 64-bit applications, perform remote user applications, analyze patches for 1-day exploits, and write complex modern software and operating systems.

Mobile and Web Pen Testing
This course is designed to teach students the advanced skills and techniques required to test mobile and web applications.

Network Defense
An in-depth examination of the principles, strategies, and tools used to defend, detect, and respond to a variety of common network attacks.

Cyber Warfare
Broad examination of this new form of conflict includes the role of nation-states, the challenge of attribution, the potential impact on the physical world, and current government policy and doctrine.

Network Security
Addresses security issues for TCP/IP-based networks, Access Control, and Communications are covered as well as Internet security in areas of cryptography, protocols, applications, encryption, hash functions digital signatures, etc.

Looking for information about a specific program?

Click one of the links below to get to our specific program listings!

Collaborations and Partnerships

The Cyber Forensics and Security program actively seeks to create lasting collaborative efforts between Marshall and outside organizations, whether that be non-profits, private organizations, or local/state/federal agencies. Our collaboration efforts thus far have provided our students with access to high-end virtual cyber ranges, opportunities to support investigations worldwide, and funding for research and assistantships.

We are extremely grateful for the partnerships that we have formed as our program has grown and look forward to continuing those as well as forming new connections that are mutually beneficial.

One way that our collaborative efforts benefit students is in the form of our Open Source Intelligence Exchange, which you can learn more about here.

Want to learn more about our collaborations, partnerships, and affiliations?

Learn more



Extracurricular Offerings

The CFS Department offers plenty of student involvement opportunities through clubs and organizations, as well as department sponsored operations.



National Cyber League

The NCL, powered by Cyber Skyline, enables students to prepare and test themselves against practical cybersecurity challenges that they will likely face in the workforce, such as identifying hackers from forensic data, pen-testing and auditing vulnerable websites, recovering from ransomware attacks, and much more!

In 2020, our team took home 1st Place in the National Cyber League Competition, and the four years prior were placed Top 8!

Learn more about NCL

Mid-Atlantic Cyber Defense Competition

The 2023 Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (MACCDC) – run by the National CyberWatch Center – is in its 18th year of providing a unique experience for college and university students to test their cybersecurity knowledge and skills in a competitive environment. In 2022, more than 200+ students competed for an opportunity to be one of eight teams to advance to the Regional Finals.

Learn more about MACCDC

Locked Shields

This annual exercise, organized by CCDCOE since 2010, enables cyber security experts to enhance their skills in defending national IT systems and critical infrastructure under real-time attacks. The focus is on realistic scenarios, cutting-edge technologies, and simulating the entire complexity of a massive cyber incident, including strategic decision-making, legal and communication aspects.

In the Spring of 2022, Marshall University participated for the first time in Locked Shields!

Learn more about LS'22

Where are we located?

Cyber Forensics and Security degree program students take their classes in the Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex—a 155,000-square-foot facility that opened in 2015 with the latest technological capabilities. Our program’s majors will find they can gain experience in an advanced laboratory with the latest equipment used in the field around the country—and right here on our campus in West Virginia.

Also known as the WAEC, students will find the majority of their classes for CFS here at 1676 3rd Ave, Huntington, WV 25703.


Cyber Forensics Lab

The WAEC 1232 Lab is our undergraduate teaching lab, equipped with high-end, dual monitor workstations. Students have access to all of our software offerings in this lab and are able to access it outside of class hours for research or class work.

Advanced Cyber Lab

Our advanced cyber forensics lab at WAEC 2237 is equipped with state-of-the-art FRED Forensic Workstations and mobile forensic hardware. Mostly utilized for our graduate courses, this lab is also available for research opportunities as they arise.


Our Open-Source Intelligence Lab is the third of the department’s labs and hosts numerous intelligence-based workstations for students to perform investigative work on. Currently, it houses our OSIX student operation.

Awards and Recognition

The Program

2020 Finalist

Forensic 4Cast: Program of the Year

Our Students

2020 National Champions - MU CCDC

National Cyber League

Our Professors

Bill Gardner (2022)

Marshall University: Pickens-Queen Teacher Award

2021 Finalist - Josh Brunty

Forensics 4Cast: Mentor of the Year

Josh Brunty (2020)

Marshall University: Marshall & Shirley Reynolds Outstanding Teacher Award

2013 Finalist - John Sammons

Basics of Digital Forensics
Forensics 4Cast: Digital Forensics Book of the Year


One of the biggest questions that we receive about this degree is: What can I do with this degree, what can I expect to earn, and where can I work? Let’s take a look at those:

What can I do with this degree?

Graduates of both our undergraduate and graduate degree programs have found success in both the private and public sectors. Although there are overlaps in job roles and titles across both sectors, the main difference will usually be pay, benefits, work environment, and ability to move into higher roles.

Private sector jobs typically have a higher average salary than similar roles found in public jobs but typically lack the same level of benefits (such as 401K, insurance, etc.). While the average salary may be higher, the range of salaries is also greater, meaning that smaller private companies with smaller cybersecurity or forensic teams may not have as large of a budget to work with. That being said, there is typically a much greater need/hiring potential from private sector jobs as the number of companies and open positions grow each year as companies begin to realize the importance of cybersecurity.

There are numerous opportunities within the private sector to grow one’s career and there is typically no shortage of fields that need cybersecurity or forensics professionals. You may find private sector jobs listed by:

  • Cybersecurity companies
    • These are companies that provide cybersecurity-related services to other companies. Smaller firms may manage 10 companies while others develop software and tools deployed across thousands of companies globally.
  • Healthcare industries
    • The healthcare industry is facing a myriad of attacks on the cyber front, and as such, are always looking to hire cyber security professionals to help protect their data and their patients’.
  • Law firms
    • Law firms hire cybersecurity professionals for their protection and their clients’, as well as for consulting purposes when drafting corporate cybersecurity policies
  • Insurance companies
    • There are thousands of available positions for cyber insurance consultants who protect insurance companies’ data, as well as provide consulting services to inform their decision making
  • Financial institutions
    • All major financial institutions are hiring cyber professionals at an exponential rate – with the increase in cyber related attacks each year, this is an in-demand field of work
    • There is also a large demand for cyber forensics professionals who are able to investigate fraud cases, etc.
  • Large corporations
    • Large corporations such as Target, Walmart, Amazon, Tesla, etc. all are looking for cybersecurity and cyber forensics professionals to protect their IPs and other sensitive data. Larger companies typically have the budgets for in-house hiring and often offer enticing benefit packages
  • Businesses
    • While smaller businesses may not have the budget for a full team of professionals, nearly every company today is facing the threat of cyber-attacks, and as such, hire IT roles based in cyber security to inform them on best practices and monitor their data

Working in the public sector, i.e. for local, state, or federal government, can be an extremely rewarding career path with numerous benefits not found in the private sector. Public sector cybersecurity and cyber forensic professionals typically receive much better benefit packages, such as 401K matching, insurance, and pensions. There is also greater job security in the public sector, with employees typically maintaining longer tenures due to their not relying on company finances. That being said, public sector cyber professionals do not see the same type of pay that private sector do, a tradeoff for job security and benefits.

Public sectors have been pouring money into cyber fields as of late, mostly in part due to the growing concern that data breaches will occur. As such, there are plenty of available jobs across the board to work as public cybersecurity or cyber forensics professional. You may find positions in the following areas:

  • Local Government
    • While not every local police force has the funding to hire full teams of cyber forensics or security professionals and may only hire several positions with their forces, there are plenty of larger cities with the budget to create high-functioning teams that aid in local investigations. County clerks and courthouses may also hire or offer consulting positions to supplement their investigations as well
  • State Government
    • State police, state laboratories, and state legislative branches may require the expertise of cybersecurity professionals in any number of agencies or otherwise. State funding is typically greater than that of local governments and have many more options for employment.
    • If going the forensic route, most states have central state laboratories, many of which partner with public universities for research, that offer well-paying positions
  • Federal Government
    • The federal government offers some of the best benefits out of any of the private sectors and may even back-pay education as a benefit. While it certainty is not an exhaustive list, the NSA, FBI, EPA, CISA, DHS, SEC, GOA, DoD, and plenty of other agencies are currently hiring and expanding their cyber security and cyber forensic teams.
  • Military
    • U.S. Army – Army Cyber Command – employs workers like cyberwarfare technicians, cyberoperations specialists, and electronic warfare technicians. Depending on the role, the Army considers candidates with applicable expert-level knowledge in offensive and defensive operations, management of personnel and online assets, and electronic warfare operations planning.
    • U.S. Air Force – Cyber Surety Specialists – secure its computer networks and related operations.
    • U.S. Navy –  employs professionals in dozens of government cyber jobs. Its intelligence, information, and cryptology team offers positions for cryptologic technicians in maintenance, networks, and collection. There’s also a high-priority search for cryptologic technician interpreters.
    • U.S. Marine Corps
    • U.S. Space Force
  • Research
    • For those looking for research positions, there are numerous universities looking for researchers in the cyber security and cyber forensic fields. There are also a number of agencies across the United States that hire directly, such as:
      • NIST – National Institute of Standards and Technology
      • NICE – National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education
      • US Government Accountability Office

You may find job listings and titles under those listed below, or companies may have specific titles and roles tailored to their specific needs. There is certainly no shortage of positions and specialties in this field – meaning that for you as a student, you are not stuck in one specific job outlook. Click on each of the job titles to learn a little more about it!

It’s important to note that there isn’t one specific job title in this field – every company may have a different name for a similar role, or the same name meaning something completely different. It all depends on their needs and your skill set. What we aim to show here is that there is a ton that you can choose from/specialize in post-graduation.

For a great overview of a lot of cyber-related jobs, check out CISA’s Cyber Jobs page.

Where can I work?

Jobs in this field are available at all levels of the government (local, state, federal) and at thousands of private companies.

Some of our students go to local law enforcement agencies and specialize as forensic examiners for the PD while others become police themselves. Some go to the state’s Cyber Crime Center or the WV Fusion Center, while others reach for federal jobs in many of the three-letter agencies.

There is also a growing need by private companies for cyber security and cyber forensic analysts/examiners. Large corporations like Target, Walmart, and even Kroger, have listed for these positions – paying just as much as, if not more often much more.

Cybersecurity Careers Map

What can I expect to earn?

As explained prior, the job market is all over the place when it comes to the roles and positions available for cyber security and cyber forensic analysts. As such, coming to an exact number is a bit difficult, so some common occupations have been picked:

These are just a few possible jobs, but most cyber-related jobs can be expected to pay upwards of $60,000 out of undergrad, with most reaching over $100,000 within a few years of experience.


What experience do I need to have in computers or coding for this major?
None! We set the bar at knowing the difference between a toaster and a computer. If you can do that, we will teach you the rest!

Is this a computer science heavy course-load?
While our students do get an intro to some coding languages (HTML, C++, SQL, etc.), they aren’t at the core of what we do in the classroom. Most of our CFS classwork is hands-on, practitioner based. We teach how to utilize tools to investigate and report on cyber forensic/security events.

How strenuous of a workload should I expect?
While this is by no means an easy major, most of the work can and will be completed during class and lab times. Many of our students participate in one, if not two, student organizations and/or work without feeling overwhelmed by an excess of outside coursework. That being said, students should allocate time outside of class for their own learning – this field is constantly evolving and staying up to date on modern technologies and practices will be a life-long commitment to this field.

Is this two separate programs? Like Cyber Forensics and Cyber Security?
Cyber Forensics and Security is a single program – with an undergraduate and graduate level degree offering. The program just focuses on the best of both fields to give our students the best possible education and preparation for a job post-graduation.

How are Marshall’s CFS degrees different from other computer science cyber degrees?
CFS degrees are practitioner-focused, focusing on the application of science and technology in cyber forensics and cyber security. Many cyber degrees that focus on computer science teach conceptually, forgetting to give their students the hands-on experience they need to prepare for jobs. MU CFS gives its students access to labs, software, and the hardware needed to become the best in their field.


Interested in Cyber Forensics and Security?

If you have any questions, please reach out using the contact us button at the top of the page!