BSc single honours Computer Forensics and Security with foundation year 2019/20

Year of entry

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This course offers you an alternative pathway to access degree level study in Computing. The course is designed to improve your Computing discipline knowledge, including programming. In addition, the course will equip you with the skills you need to study at undergraduate level and will inform your choice of degree.

The programme will:

  • introduce you to the discipline of Computing, including programming concepts
  • inform your choice of degree specialism in Computing
  • provide you with the study skills needed for a degree-level course
  • allow you to apply academic knowledge and skills to real world technical challenges.

Great news!

We’re building a new £60m Science, Engineering, Technology and Health facility on our main campus in Canterbury, equipped with the latest technology and bespoke learning spaces for our engineering students. We’re planning to open Building 2 in September 2020, with building work now well underway.

Computer Forensics and Security are interesting, dynamic and growing areas of Computing. Instances of cybercrime continue to rise (particularly between nation states).  Hence there is a growing demand for computing professionals to lead the fight against it. Computer security involves (amongst other things) protecting computer systems    from malicious attacks, human error, and exploitation of vulnerabilities. This includes utilising an ethical hacking approach to highlight security vulnerabilities so that they can be fixed or mitigated.

The School of Law, Criminal Justice and Computing, where this programme is housed and taught, has close links with Kent Police, the College of Policing and Europol, and students from this programme have gone on to successful careers in the computer forensics and computer security industries.

The course provides the opportunity to apply a comprehensive theoretical background to realistic scenarios using popular, industry standard software, hardware and systems. The teaching will take you beyond software interfaces to understand the underlying data structures from first principles. They are taught under the guidance of staff with real-world experience of conducting forensic investigations and intelligence gathering, enabling our graduates to have an immediate productive impact when they begin their careers.

"My time at Canterbury Christ Church University was one that has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on both my personal and professional life. The skills given to me by the course has meant that at interviews with important and influential agencies, I have had the necessary knowledge and skills to impress and hold long discussions with interviewers. The lecturers had a stunning ability to impart insight into the subject."

Joshua Bartholemew , BSc (Hons) Forensic Computing, graduated 2015

You can study French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish as part of, or alongside, your course.

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You will study specialist computing forensics and security topics, such as tracing online evidence, structure of popular file systems, recovery of digital artefacts and cybersecurity threats alongside broader computing topics. Each year builds on previous knowledge and understanding to reach an advanced standing in the area. You are encouraged to develop as an independent thinker and solution finder, with a contribution to make to the profession. A variety of different tools and techniques are studied over the three years. We work in the Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems, with programming languages such as C#, Bash and Perl. A mixture of forensic and security tools such as EnCase, FTK, X­Ways Forensics, WinHex, Aceso, Metasploit, nmap and Wireshark are used.

Students on this course can expect to go on a small number of optional trips such as the National Computing Museum at Bletchley Park. We also have a number of guest lecturers from professional in the industry each year.

In the third year you will undertake a substantive piece of research in an individual study. This allows you to demonstrate your capabilities across the whole range of activities that you have been taught in the previous years as well as research new elements of your own choosing.

Work experience

You may opt to take a third year placement module, providing you meet the requirements of the module. This allows you to put your classroom knowledge into practice.

The School has also offered a number of paid student internships over the summer, open to students to apply to. For instance, a previous paid internship opportunity involved a group of students looking at security issues of products deemed to be in the ‘Internet of Things’.

Core modules

Year 1

Computer Forensics and Cybersecurity (20 Credits – Single Honours)

We introduce the key principles and concepts underpinning the discipline. This includes a blend of both theoretical and practical skills aimed to be applicable to both criminal and civil investigations. You will also be taught how to look for and identify evidence that links a user to a given crime, showing both the action and the intent behind it. By developing a problem-solving approach based on first principles and the scientific principles of hypothesis testing, you will be equipped with the skills to operate as an effective forensic practitioner following industry best practice across multiple jurisdictions.

Computer Systems (20 Credits – Single Honours)

Computer systems examines the underlying fundamentals of computer system’s operations, including the number systems they use, how computer processors operate at a simple level and the relationship between different hardware components.

The Computing Professional (20 Credits – Single Honours)

This module introduces you to the variety of roles there are in computing and some of the key skills required to work in those areas. You will also start to think about the ethical issues in the field of computing and start to develop your own ideas of appropriate responses to these. You will also start to look at some of the non­ technical skills that are involved in computing: team work, presentation and research.

Introduction to Programming (20 Credits – Single Honours)

This is the first module of programming in the degree and assumes you have no prior programming experience. You will be taught some of the fundamental concepts in the area. You will work with two different programming languages – for example you will develop Android apps using MIT App Inventor and traditional applications in the C# programming language.

Principles of Software Development (20 Credits – Single Honours)

We look at the basic ideas of software engineering – the processes that should be followed to go through to develop software solutions. You will also study the basic concepts of standard algorithms and data storage and the mathematics required to support this area.

Transfer and Trace Materials (20 Credits – Single Honours)

This module develops your understanding of the wide range of physical evidence and intelligence which can be recovered to show that a particular person is connected to a digital device, computer or workstation by means other than assumed ownership or through analysis of data within it. You will learn the underlying theories, such as Locard’s Exchange Principle and the notion of uniqueness and individualisation.

Year 2

Computer Security (20 Credits – Single Honours)

This module introduces you to the concepts, practices and issues of ensuring computer systems are kept secure. You will gain a basic understanding of the security threats and mechanisms and be able to assess their impact, as well as combat and mitigate against them. You will also be taught how to use applications and tools for detection, prevention and auditing of security threats including malware, human factors and physical security.

Computer Law and Ethics (20 Credits – Single Honours)

The Computer Law and Ethics module looks at the laws that apply especially to computer systems and their users. A largely UK centred approach is taken looking at such laws as the Data Protection Act and the Computer Misuse Act how these have been applied in practice and how they might apply in the future. A key skill you will be taught is how to advise management on the ethical and professional factors which should be taken into account when planning an appropriate legal and ethical response to a given set of circumstances, such as a network breach.

Computer Networks (20 Credits – Single Honours)

The computer networks module introduces you to the theories and practical deployment of computer networks to enable more than one computer to communicate to share both data and processing. You will be introduced to the OSI and TCP/IP models of network operation.

Data Recovery and Analysis (20 Credits – Single Honours)

This module looks at the principles of file systems, operating systems and networking, and how this information relates to the recovery and analysis of data. You will use commercial, open source and free tools to develop techniques used in data recovery. You are also equipped with the necessary skills to identify, examine and present digital evidence for use in legal proceedings.

Developing Database Systems with SQL (20 Credits – Single Honours)

This module looks at the concepts and theories behind the use the relational database model and how this is practically implemented in the Oracle Relational Database Management System using the SQL language. Oracle is the world’s most popular database management system by market share.

Research Methods (20 Credits – Single Honours)

Research methods looks at how we can research new areas in computing. You will be given a range of tools to glean data, such as interviews, questionnaires and experimentation. You will also be given the analysis tools to make sense of the data collected, such qualitative and quantitative statistics. By the end of the module you will have produced a fully articulated research proposal.

Year 3

Individual Study (20 or 40 Credits – Single Honours)

This module is the culmination of your learning experiences on the entire course. Under the guidance of a supervisor, you will undertake a piece of focussed research. This will build on work completed elsewhere on the course by an in depth study of one aspect of such work or by the exploration of a new area. The output of such work can demonstrate to a prospective employer your skills at applying the knowledge you have gained throughout your degree.

Digital Forensics and Ethical Hacking (20 Credits – Single Honours)

This module provides you with the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in digital forensics and in ethical hacking. From a digital forensics perspective, it provides you with the knowledge to professionally, systematically and impartially approach the identification, preservation, recovery and analysis of all relevant evidence from digital devices using appropriate tools and techniques. From a computer security perspective, you will have the opportunity to develop theory and practice in ethical hacking through the examination of the principles, theories and technical skills required in ethical hacking and the design of countermeasures.

Ethical and Professional Computing (20 Credits – Single Honours)

This module deepens the understanding of how ethics and professional codes of conduct may affect what a computing professional will do and how they approach it. You will look at a number of issues and use an evidencebased approach to consider the alternative choices that would be open to a person working in the computing field.

Recent Advances in Computer Networks (20 Credits – Single Honours)

The computer networks module introduces you to the theories and practical deployment of computer networks to enable more than one computer to communicate to share both data and processing. You will be introduced to the OSI and TCP/IP models of network operation.

Likely optional modules

Advanced Database Development with Oracle (20 Credits – Single Honours)

This module deepens your knowledge of database development, following on from Developing Database Systems with SQL, giving you a greater understanding in order to maximize the benefits of using a Database Management System.

Cryptology (20 Credits – Single Honours)

Cryptology is the study of codes and ciphers. These are highly important in the computer environment to protect information from malicious attack or unintended release. You will study the operation of modern computerbased ciphers and other cryptographic mechanisms, which when combined can form protective protocols for a number of computer and everyday problems.

Forensic Intelligence Modelling (20 Credits – Single Honours)

This module provides you with an understanding of the potential of intelligence systems within the forensic investigation process, and the application of modelling techniques for crime scene reconstruction. The intelligence systems are not just employed by investigators in a ‘reactive’ manner, for example, in the use of DNA databases but increasingly more proactively. Modelling is used to derive testable hypotheses for events before, during and after a crime and is often based upon principles from the physical sciences.

Operating Systems (20 Credits – Single Honours)

This module looks at the operation and underlying operations of the operating system in the use of modern, largescale computer systems. You will gain an understanding of how resources are managed by the operating system by looking at these in theory and the actual operation of an operating system, such as Windows and Linux.

Placement in Industry or Commerce (20 Credits – Single Honours)

The placement module is a flexible module that allows you to gain experience and put your knowledge into practice outside the university classroom setting. This can be done over the summer before your third year of study as a block of work, during your third year on a given number of hours each week, or some combination in agreement with the organisation and University.

You will be required to: pass all your second year modules of study at first attempt; have a good overall average and must gain your placement place to be eligible to take this module. You will be given some assistance in identifying and applying for placements, but you will be expected to secure the placement itself.


The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time - Foundation Year 0 £6,575 £8,500
Full-time - years 1-3 * £9,250 £11,900
Part-time £4,625 N/A

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

* The tuition fee of £9,250 relates to 2019/20 only. Please read the 2019/20 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2019/20 tuition fees and mid-course year on year fee increases.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

Course specific costs

Field Trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc)

We run several part-funded optional trips per year. Students are expected to pay a share of the overall cost: Typically in the order of £10-£20 per trip for UK regional trips. These are payable two weeks or more in advance of the trip. Fee will cover part of the travel and entry fee (if any).

Food and drink are not included.

We are hoping to run optional trips further afield in the UK or abroad. A larger student cost may be required for these. This will be indicated to students in advance. Wherever possible we will look to maximise the subsidy offered for the trip.

Travel and Accommodation costs for Placements

Students who take the Placement module in Year 3 will be expected to self-fund all travel, accommodation if required, and subsistence costs.

Text books

Some modules require a purchase of a text book. Text books in computing can cost between £10 and £70 per book. Other modules will use either free books or students will use a number of different books from the library. Students select which books to purchase. Books are highlighted in the first lecture few lectures of a module.

Clothing / Kit

Not required, unless required for placement, where the student will be responsible for these costs, unless essential Health and Safety requirements, where the placement partner organisation will bear the costs.

Social Events

We do not charge for programme social events at the start and end of each year. Other social events may make a small charge of £15 or less to cover costs.

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.


You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical workshops. You will typically have around 12 contact hours per week.

Seminars in smaller groups will enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures.  In addition, you will meet with your academic personal tutor. 

You will use industry-standard software. You will have access to specialist facilities throughout your course.

In year 3, subject to your meeting the criteria, you will have the choice to take a Professional Practice Placement option with an external organisation. As part of this you would normally be expected to write a report on a work-based project you undertake and keep a journal of your day to day activities. 

Your actual contact hours depend on the option modules you select.

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars, workshops or other timetabled sessions you will continue learning through self-study.  Typically, this involves reading journal articles and books, undertaking research in the library, working on projects, and preparing for coursework assignments/examinations, workshops and seminars.

Your module tutor will direct you towards specific readings and/or activities to complete before class, as needed.

For the Individual Study in year three, you will undertake independent research. You will work under the supervision of a member of the course team. You will meet with your supervisor regularly.

Overall workload

Your overall workload typically consists of 12 contact hours. You will undertake 25 hours independent learning and assessment activity.

For each 20-credit module, your study time is about 10 hours a week.

Academic input

The team consists of highly qualified academics. They have a range of expertise and experience.

Almost all of our team members hold doctoral and all hold teaching qualifications. Some of the staff have considerable experience in industry and several are research-active. They have experience in delivering research-informed teaching. You can find out more about the current teaching on our Meet the Team. You should note members of the teaching team might change.

Postgraduate students sometimes assist in teaching and assessing some modules. However, experienced academics teach the vast majority of lectures and seminars.

You will be assessed largely by coursework, though some modules will have examinations or class tests. Coursework is largely practically­oriented with appropriate theoretical elements to ensure a well­rounded education. Assessments are largely individual, with group work for some modules where this matches the approaches used in industry.

We use coursework assessment methods based on their suitability for specific modules. Formative feedback is provided formally in year one and the year three individual study, and informally in later years’ workshops and seminars. Methods of assessment used include production of software artefacts, project plans and diaries, essays, reports, ‘investigation­based’ presentations, oral presentations, individual studies/projects, poster presentations, online assessment, logs, examinations and time constrained assignments.

Students of the course have access to a specialist computer forensic lab and equipment throughout their studies. The lab houses a dedicated network, separate to the rest of the university, allowing you to experiment and learn at your own pace between classes. Furthermore, this is accessible both during the day (subject to availability) and out of hours.

We have a Makerspace lab open to computing students that contains PC Computers, Arduino and Raspberry Pi micro­computer development systems and a 3D printer. Students can use these technologies on week days, evenings and weekends. A networking and server room will also be available for use during certain modules for student operations.

The University also has a specialist Hydra suite. The facility is an immersive simulation system, supported by the Hydra Foundation, that provides a unique, high­fidelity learning environment that enables the monitoring of real­ time leadership and decision making in critical incidents such as terrorist attacks, murders and abductions.

In 2020, we will open a major new facility for science, engineering, health and medicine, part of our £150m vision to transform our Canterbury Campus. The new building will be the main base for our Kent and Medway Engineering, Design, Growth and Enterprise (EDGE) Hub, with specialist centres across the region located alongside Engineering and Technology businesses.


Our main campus in Canterbury has city centre facilities on its doorstep and, of course, you will benefit from all the new building has to offer.

Our academic staff members have a number of contacts in industry that provide input to course development, master classes and in some instances placement opportunities, subject to availability.

Several of the academic staff are members of the British Computer Society (BCS) and some staff are linked to the Engineering Council through Chartered Engineer (CEng) status.



Full-time study

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Part-time study

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Full-time study

Need some help?


For advice on completing your application please contact the Course Enquiry Team:

Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000 (0)1227 928000


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Fact file

UCAS course code

  • FG4F Computer Forensics and Security with Foundation Year

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 4 years full-time including a Foundation Year


  • September 2019

Entry requirements



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Last edited: 04/07/2019 17:07:00