Graduate Certificate in Digital Forensics

Digital ForensicsThe Graduate Certificate in Digital Forensics is designed to provide students with knowledge and skills for the identification, collection, preservation, and examination of various types of digital evidence, including basic and in-depth knowledge and skills in digital forensic analysis policy and procedure, forensic analysis tools and techniques, data recovery, and investigation, as well as quality assurance, legal, and ethical considerations important to this rapidly changing field. This Graduate Certificate program does not assume, nor does it require, that the applicant have any experience in the field of digital forensics as the course sequence includes instruction ranging from fundamentals to advanced topics. Successful completion of this Graduate Certificate requires that the student:

1.  Maintains a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better in 5 required courses, e.g., FSC 632, FSC 634, FSC 605, FSC 609, FSC 676, with no grade of "C" or less.

2.  Successfully passes a comprehensive examination which spans these subject areas.

Admission Requirements

1.  Applicants seeking admission to the Graduate Certificate in Digital Forensics program, without admission to the M.S. Forensic Science degree program, should apply to the Marshall University Graduate College as a Certificate/ Professional Development student.  Students will be admitted on a competitive basis for fall semester admissions only.  Review of applicants will begin March 1 of each year but applicants may be admitted any time prior to the fall enrollment deadline.  As a limited enrollment program, student will be admitted on a space available basis.

2.  Regarding Digital Forensics, those students enrolled in the M.S. in Forensic Science degree program may choose to complete the M.S. Forensic Science with a Graduate Certificate in Digital Forensics OR the M.S. Forensic Science with an Emphasis in Digital Forensics.   Those electing to pursue the Graduate Certificate in Digital Forensics must complete a “Graduate Admissions Secondary Program Request” form.

3.  Applicants must submit official undergraduate transcripts to the Marshall University Graduate Admissions Office verifying that the applicant has a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning and a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher.

4.  Applicants must submit their Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores to the Graduate Admissions Office.

5.  Applicants must submit 2 letters of recommendation to the Graduate Admissions Office, on formal letterhead from individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic record and moral character. These letters must be signed and dated.

6.  Applicants must submit a "Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose" to the Graduate Admissions Office, written, signed, and dated by the applicant, explaining why the applicant believes he/she should be admitted to the program.

7.  Applicants must successfully complete a background check to gain entrance to this program. The procedure for undergoing a background check will be provided once the applicant demonstrates he or she has met all other admissions criteria.  International students who have resided in the United States longer than 30 days are required to have a U.S. criminal background check as an admission requirement. As international students have a background check as part of their visa application, international students who have resided in the United States for less than 30 days are exempt from undergoing a U.S. background check.

Check the Graduate Certificate in Digital Forensics Program Flyer for more information.


Applicants must be aware that background checks similar to those required for law enforcement officers are likely to be a condition of employment (Reference: NIJ Report NCJ 203099 – "Qualifications for a Career in Forensic Science." pp. 7-10) in the field of Digital Forensics.


The Forensic Science Fee is a special fee designed to support the Forensic Science Program which cannot be waived.


Fall Semester
Course Number Course Title & Description Credit Hours
Fall Semester Credit Hours 6
FSC 609 Network Forensics
Teaches the basics of how computers and networks function, how they can be involved in crimes as well as a source of evidence
FSC 632 Foundation & Fundamentals of Digital Evidence
This course will provide an overview of the foundations of digital forensics and its component sub disciplines: computer, audio, and video forensics. The course will be taught as a combination of lectures, laboratory, and practical exercises.


Spring Semester
Course Number Course Title & Description Credit Hours
Spring Semester Credit Hours 8
FSC 605 Forensic Digital Imaging
Introductory course in digital image processing. Covers techniques used in forensic laboratory to enhance, analyze, and catalog digital images. Instruction in a laboratory setting
FSC 634 Digital Evidence Search & Seizure
Introduces students to the information required by investigators in the proper procedures for seizing computer systems and related storage devices used in the commission of a crime. Includes special needs of the field examiner and legal issues such as possible cause and evidence preservation peculiar to seizing computer systems
FSC 676 Advanced Digital Evidence Detection & Recovery
This course will provide an overview of the advanced procedures and techniques used by investigators working with digital evidence. The course will be taught as a combination of lectures, laboratory and practical exercises.


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