The vast influx of accelerated online Master’s in Computer Forensics degrees that are available in the country can be considered a result of the demand that both professionals and employers have on the educational system to offer more online degrees in the field. As the projected growth of the field is estimated to be around 28 percent through 2022, other avenues of education must be offered to established professionals who wish to advance their position within computer forensics. And as traditional programs are increasingly seen as a hindrance to working professionals, online degrees are becoming the best path forward for many students.

Online degrees are flexible, affordable and accelerated in ways that a traditional program cannot be. Students can choose to study full-time or part-time, accelerate their programs through the use of immersive course sessions or summer sessions, and even find programs that utilize a special online tuition rate or use the in-state graduate tuition rate for all professionals. Features like the ones listed above are why this ranking has been updated from last year; now professionals can focus on the most affordable online master’s in computer forensics available right now.

Methodology

This ranking was made possible by the research conducted at the National Center for Education Statistics website and its publicly available College Navigator database. The ranking began with a group of 25 schools, which were found based on searching for online aster’s in Computer Forensics, which made up the base standard of schools for this ranking. Each school was then independently reviewed and compared to each other based on several factors, including tuition rates and estimated time to completion for each program. The final 15 schools, which are listed below, were chosen based on the school’s total estimated in-state graduate tuition rate for the program.

Ranking Low-Cost Accelerated Master’s in Computer Forensics

15. Norwich University

Northfield, Vermont

Online Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Computer Forensics Online for 2019
The online MS in Information Security and Assurance offers three degree concentrations.

School Profile

Tuition: $29,700

Norwich University confers an accelerated online Master’s in Computer Forensics that can be completed in two years when students choose to study full-time. This degree comes with three concentrations, including Vulnerability Management, Cyber Law and International Perspectives on Cyberspace, and Project Management. This degree is offered online just one residency requirement; students will need to attend campus for one week during their culminating experience in order to graduate. All courses for this degree are offered online through the school’s learning management system; sessions are held asynchronously or synchronously in 11-week terms. Full-time students will be able to graduate within 18 months. This degree requires a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, a culminating experience, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Information Assurance Technology, Computer Security Incident Response Team Management, and Computer Forensic Investigation.

14. Penn State University World Campus

College Park, Pennsylvania

Online Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security, Information Security and Forensics Option

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Computer Forensics Online for 2019
The online MPS in Homeland Security has no residency requirements.

School Profile

Tuition: $29,238

The affordable accelerated online Master’s in Computer Forensics that is available at Penn State University World Campus was designed to provide working professionals with the advanced knowledge they need in order to become leaders in the field. This is a 100 percent online course of study that has no residency requirements. Students will participate in their coursework online through the school’s virtual portal, with sessions held live or on-demand in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Full-time students will be able to graduate within two years if they take a full course load during summer sessions as well as during the academic year. This program requires a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, a research paper or capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Introduction to Multisensor Data Fusion, Foundations of Information Security and Assurance, and Network Management and Security.

13. Utica College

Utica, New York

Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity, Specialization in Computer Forensics

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Computer Forensics Online for 2019
The online MS in Cybersecurity in Computer Forensics requires 30 credit hours of coursework.

School Profile

Tuition: $26,850

Utica College confers an accelerated online Master’s in Computer Forensics, a program that was designed for in-service professionals who wish to complete a program in two years or less. This program is recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the United States Department of Homeland Security. This degree comes with five concentrations, all of which can be found online: Computer Forensics, Cyber Operations, Electronic Crime, Intelligence, and Malware Analysis. The degree is offered mostly online; there is one three-day on-campus residency that must be completed prior to graduation. All courses are held asynchronously or synchronously through the school’s learning management system and are delivered in 16-week academic term formats. Students will be expected to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours, a capstone project, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Network Forensics, Computer Forensics and Network Analysis, and Essential Topics and Emerging Trends in Cybercrime Investigations.

12. Stratford University

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Online Master of Science in Digital Forensics

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Computer Forensics Online for 2019
The online MS in Digital Forensics can be completed in 15 months of study.

School Profile

Tuition: $26,730

The affordable accelerated online master’s from Stratford University was designed for in-service professionals who are ready to advance their knowledge of the field. This degree was built to be completed entirely online and within 15 months, depending on a student’s ability to show competency. This program is unique in that the term length for online courses, which are delivered through the school’s virtual portal, ranges from five to 10 weeks, putting students in charge of how long it takes them to master a subject. Because all courses can be completed online, a student can choose to take one course at a time and still graduate within 15 months. This degree requires a minimum of 54 quarter credit hours of coursework, the Digital Forensics Capstone project, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Analysis of Forensic Data, Cyber Security Prevention and Protection, and Strategies in Cyber Conflict.

11. The University of Maryland Global Campus

Adelphi, Maryland

Online Master of Science in Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation

university-of-maryland-global-campus

School Profile

Tuition: $24,984

The University of Maryland Global Campus is home to an accelerated online Master’s in Computer Forensics. This degree was designed by and for professionals in the field, making it a great choice for in-service individuals who are interested in becoming leaders in computer forensics. This degree leads to a variety of industry certifications, including EC-Council Certified Incident Handler, AccessData Certified Examiner, and Certified Cyber Forensics Professionals. All courses for this degree will be available through the school’s learning management system. Courses are held live or on-demand and in 16-week terms. Students will be able to complete this degree in 18 months just by taking two courses every term. This degree requires a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, the Capstone in Cybersecurity, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Digital Forensics Technology and Practices, Cyberspace and Cybersecurity Foundations.

10. Stevenson University

Owings Mills, Maryland

Online Master’s in Forensic Studies

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Computer Forensics Online for 2019
The online Master’s in Forensic Studies follows a traditional 16-week academic term format.

School Profile

Tuition: $24,120

Students at Stevenson University are offered the chance to complete an accelerated online Master’s in Computer Forensics within two years. This degree was designed to be completed 100 percent online by professionals who are already working in the field and who wish to move into leadership roles. Students will find that this degree is offered online through the school’s virtual portal; courses are held asynchronously or synchronously in the traditional 16-week academic term format. It is possible to graduate within two years when students choose to study full-time. This program requires that students complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, the Mock Trial Capstone, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Forensic Journal Research and Review, Forensic Information Technology, and Incident Response and Evidence Collection.

9. Champlain College

Burlington, Vermont

Online Master of Science in Digital Forensics

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Computer Forensics Online for 2019
The online MS in Digital Forensics requires 30 credit hours of coursework.

School Profile

Tuition: $23,850

Champlain College confers an accelerated online Master’s in Computer Forensics that was developed for in-service and pre-service professionals. This degree is offered 100 percent online; there are no residency requirements. Students will instead take all of their courses through the school’s learning management system, where sessions are held live or on-demand in accelerated eight-week terms. This means that students who take two courses every term will be eligible for graduation in two years or less. The curriculum is focused on digital forensics and provides professionals with a strong foundation on technological advancements in the field. Students can expect to complete a minimum of 30 credit hour of coursework, a thesis, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Legal Principles of Digital Investigation, Scripting for Digital Forensics, and Incident Response and Network Forensics.

8. DeSales University

Center Valley, Pennsylvania

Online Master of Criminal Justice in Digital Forensics

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Computer Forensics Online for 2019
The online Master of Criminal Justice in Digital Forensics has no residency requirements.

School Profile

Tuition: $22,520

The accelerated online Master’s in Computer Forensics that is offered by DeSales University was designed for professionals who are interested in completing a two-year degree in the field. This program can be taken part-time or full-time; all courses are available 100 percent online and there are no residency requirements. Students who are involved with law enforcement will receive a 20 percent tuition discount for this degree. All courses can be found through the school’s virtual portal; sessions are offered mostly live and in the evening to accommodate working professionals. This degree requires that students complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework, the Master Project Seminar, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Research Methods and Evaluation, Forensic Acquisition and Analysis, and Digital Investigation and Evidence Collection.

7. Sam Houston State University

Huntsville, Texas

Online Master of Science in Digital Forensics

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Computer Forensics Online for 2019
The online MS in Digital Forensics requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

School Profile

Tuition: $18,018

Sam Houston State University delivers an accelerated online Master’s in Computer Forensics that was designed for professionals both in network security or computer forensics. This degree was designed to be completed 100 percent online with no residency requirements; students may also choose to take this program as a hybrid course of study if they live near campus. All courses are delivered live or on-demand through the school’s learning management system. Sessions last for approximately 16 weeks, meaning that students can graduate in two years when they choose to study full-time. This degree requires that students complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include File System Forensics, Cyber Law, and Digital Forensics Investigation.

6. George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia

Online Master of Applied Information Technology, Cyber Security Concentration

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Computer Forensics Online for 2019
The online Master of Applied Information Technology requires 30 credit hours of coursework.

School Profile

Tuition: $17,670

Students at George Mason University are offered the chance to complete an accelerated online Master’s in Computer Forensics. This degree was designed for professionals who are seeking leadership positions within the field. Students will take this program as a 100 percent online course of study; there are no residency requirements. Courses are held asynchronously and are delivered in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students who take two or three courses every term, including one summer term, will graduate within two years. This program requires that students complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework, a research project or thesis, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Algorithms and Data Structures Essentials, Database Management Systems, and Incident Handling and Penetration Testing.

5. Wilmington University

New Castle, Delaware

Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Computer Forensics Online for 2019
The online MS in Cybersecurity requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

School Profile

Tuition: $17,172

Wilmington University is home to a one-year Master’s in Computer Forensics online that is perfect for ambitious students. This degree was designed to be completed 100 percent online with no residency requirements. Students will instead take all of their coursework online through the school’s learning management system. Courses are held live or on-demand and in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students can choose to specialize in either Cyber Terrorism or SCADA Cybersecurity. This degree requires a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, the Cybersecurity Capstone project, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Cyberthreat Intelligence, Project and Change Management, and Radio Frequency Identification Applied Systems.

4. The University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Computer Forensics Online for 2019
The online MS in Cybersecurity requires 33 credit hours of coursework.

School Profile

Tuition: $14,652

Students enrolled at the University of Arizona are offered the chance to complete an accelerated online Master’s in Computer Forensics that focuses on cybersecurity. This program was designed specifically for professionals who have more than three years of real-world work experience in the field and are interested in moving into advanced roles. Students will find that this degree is offered 100 percent online; there are no residency requirements. Courses are held live or on-demand through the school’s virtual portal and are delivered in eight-week sessions. This program requires a minimum of 33 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Fundamentals of Computer Networks, Data Mining for Business Intelligence, and Information Security in Public and Private Sectors.

3. Southern Arkansas University

Magnolia, Arkansas

Master of Science in Computer and Information Science – Cyber Security and Privacy Option

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Computer Forensics Online for 2019
The online MS in Computer and Information Science requires 30 credit hours of coursework.

School Profile

Tuition: $12,450

Southern Arkansas University delivers an accelerated online Master’s in Computer Forensics that was designed for working professionals. This is a 100 percent online course of study; there are no residency requirements. However, students who live near campus can take on-campus courses if they choose. This degree is held entirely online through the school’s learning management system, where courses are delivered asynchronously or synchronously in 16-week terms. This degree is possible to earn in two years or less when students choose to study full-time. This degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Data Structures and Algorithms, User Interface Implementation, and Traceable Systems and Computer Forensics.

2. The University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, Kentucky

Online Master of Science in Information Systems and Security

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Computer Forensics Online for 2019
The online MS in Information Systems and Security requires 31 credit hours of coursework.

School Profile

Tuition: $10,215

The accelerated online Master’s in Computer Forensics that is available from the University of the Cumberlands was designed for working professionals seeking a two-year degree that can be completed with little to no disruption to their professional or personal lives. This degree is offered through the school’s virtual portal; sessions are delivered live or on-demand and in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 31 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral final exam. Sample courses include Information Security and Risk Management, Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery Planning, and Security Architecture and Design.

1. The University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida

Online Master of Science in Digital Forensics

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Computer Forensics Online for 2019
The online MS in Digital Forensics offers courses in 16-week academic term formats.

School Profile

Tuition: $9,820

The University of Central Florida confers an accelerated online Master’s in Computer Forensics that is a collaborative effort between the school and the National Center for Forensic Science, making it a great choice for working professionals interested in advancing their careers. This degree’s core courses are offered online; however, many electives or prerequisite courses may not be offered online. It is up to the student to ensure that they take the courses they need as they become available. Students will find that most courses are offered live or on-demand through the school’s learning management system and are held in the traditional 16-week academic term format. It is possible for a student to graduate within two years if they choose to study full-time. Students are highly encouraged to contact the school’s admissions office to learn more about the programs, graduation requirements and for a list of all course offerings available in the coming academic year.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Affordable Accelerated Online Master’s in Computer Forensics?

  • Computer Forensics Investigator
  • Forensic Computer Analyst
  • Digital Forensics Specialist
  • Malware Analyst
  • Information Systems Analyst
  • Information Technology Auditor
  • Computer Forensics Examiner
  • Chief Information Security Officer
  • Digital Forensics Supervisor
  • Cybersecurity Officer
  • Cyber Investigator
  • Director of Cybercrime Operations for an Intelligence Agency
  • Business Intelligence Analyst
  • Certified Cyber Forensics Professional
  • Homeland Security Professional

How Much Can You Earn in this Field?

The median salary for a computer forensics professional is $95,510. The range is between $55,560 and $153,090. This includes positions in the public and private sector as well as entry-level and high-level career paths. It does not include any type of additional forms of compensation, such as bonuses and commissions.

Professionals will note that the highest-paying positions in the field are found in technology companies in the private sector or in the intelligence communities within the government sector. These positions are difficult to obtain and require additional training and education to become a qualified candidate. Students must keep in mind what position they are seeking and the type of compensation they would like prior to beginning the graduate school process.

Another thing to note is that location matters for this field. Because computer forensics is a field that is most closely tied with the government, professionals may find the bulk of their job opportunities within military bases or cities that are closely tied in with the federal government. These cities may have a high standard of living but this is offset by the professional’s potential salary from their position.

What are the Various Disciplines of Computer Forensics?

Digital forensics is the field within forensics that focuses on the recovery, analysis, and investigation of materials found within digital devices. It is a subdiscipline that is dedicated to combining the disciplines of crime, technology, forensic science, and investigation into a field that continues to grow and evolve. It is also one of the most recent additions to the forensics field as the field continues to evolve as technology changes how cybercrime affects individuals and groups.

The main disciplines of computer forensics remain computer science, technology, forensic science, and crime. These disciplines are supported by disciplines relating to cybercrime, hacking, network security, the law, policy, analysis, and investigation. Professionals in the field are always learning new ways to combat cybercrime threats in the future to transform how society approaches digital threats in the future.

Some professionals may choose to specialize in the field. This can include focusing on cybercrime, national security threats, specializing in specific types of crime, and more. This specialization is often found housed within a school’s program as a concentration. While not all schools offer concentrations in the field, it is possible for most students to choose to focus their electives in one area, making it easier for them to seek additional qualifications after graduation.

Is Certification Necessary for the Computer Forensics Field?

No, it is not necessary for a professional to hold a qualification or certification in the field to work as a qualified professional. In fact, there is no national qualification that can be earned after graduation. This means that there is no set standard for professionals seeking certification currently.

However, it is possible to earn certification in the field. Some of the most popular certification exam include the EnCase Certified Examiner, Certified Cyber Forensics Professional, and AccessData Certified Examiner. These certifications generally have education experience requirements that can be met by a university program; most schools will display which certification exams can be taken once their program has been completed.

Certification can be a massive help to pre-service and even early-service professionals because the qualifications provide that professional with expertise in one investigative process or another. This makes the professional more valuable to an employer that specializes in that process because the certification indicates that extra training will not be necessary for that candidate.

Certifications also help professionals build networks of like-minded people. Being able to distinguish oneself from the rest of the field with one or two certifications makes it easier for networking opportunities to come their way. Over the course of their careers, professionals may find that new employment opportunities have come their way based solely on the networking they’ve done off the back of the certifications that they have earned.

In short, while certifications are optional in this field, most professionals will benefit from earning at least one certification. Even if the certification doesn’t seem helpful, these qualifications make a difference to employers. A serious student of this field should consider earning at least one certification after graduation.

As computer crime continues to evolve, so too do the investigative processes that help law enforcement and federal agencies catch the perpetrators. The field is incredibly valuable in fighting cyber crime and so professionals in this field must be well-trained and well-educated to become strong leaders in the field. While a bachelor’s degree helps professionals get one foot in the door in this field, an accelerated online Master’s in Computer Forensics can open up the entire field to them, enabling them to reach the highest levels of their career, all while providing them with a flexible education that fits around their schedule.

This concludes our ranking of the Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Computer Forensics Online.