Master of Science in Computer Forensics and Security Management (MSCFSM)

Program Information

The Master of Science in Computer Forensics and Security Management (MSCFSM) is an interdisciplinary professional practice graduate program involving faculty from the Departments of Computer & Information Sciences and Justice Sciences (College of Arts and Sciences), and the Departments of Management, Information Systems and Quantitative Methods (School of Business), and Accounting & Finance (School of Business).  The program prepares students with backgrounds in criminal justice, computer and information sciences, information systems, information technology, and forensic accounting to practice in the fields of computer forensics and security management including information security and IT auditing. The program develops required skills, including familiarity with industry practices, innovative methods, critical thinking, and problem solving that are crucial for competitiveness and success in entry- or advanced-level positions in the areas of computer forensics, information security management, and IT auditing.  The program is designed to increase the pipeline of prospective, high- quality, entry- and advanced level employees involved with protecting physical and virtual systems vital to the U.S. whose incapacitation or destruction would have debilitating effects on national security and/or the nation’s economic system.  The program also provides current public and private sector employees an opportunity to obtain advanced high-quality training in the core areas of computer forensics, information security management, and IT auditing, to facilitate career advancement.

The program is modeled after traditional MBA programs, wherein a core curriculum is offered that all students take, and then they are allowed to choose a track or specialization.  In the MSCFSM program, students complete a core curriculum which includes courses in computer forensics/cybercrime investigation, information security management, and ethics.  Students then choose a specialization in either computer forensics/cybercrime investigation or IT auditing/fraud examination, both of which also require a field practicum (internship) with an appropriate public or private sector agency or organization.

Admission Requirements

Students accepted into the program will have graduated with a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university or recognized university from abroad.  Most students accepted into the program will have achieved a minimum overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and will have earned a combined score of 305 or higher on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or a total score of 550 or higher on the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT).  The three Program Co-Directors review each application and make a recommendation to the UAB Graduate School concerning admission into the program.

Students seeking admission to the program will be accepted from undergraduate programs including criminal justice, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, MIS, IT, business, and accounting, as well as other science and social science fields.  Students seeking admission to the program, regardless of specific undergraduate preparation, will have had formal exposure to the core areas of computer forensics – including cybercrime and its investigation; IT auditing/forensic accounting; fundamentals of computer and Internet literacy, probability and statistics, computer programming, networking, logic, discrete mathematics/logic, and information security management.  Students lacking requisite backgrounds but who otherwise meet other admission requirements may be admitted on a contingency basis and required to take a series of prerequisite courses that allow them to develop the necessary backgrounds to be successful in the program. These courses include the following (or their equivalent): IS204 (Intro to Business Programming)/CS 201 (Intro to Object Oriented Programming); CS250 (Discrete Structures); AC200/201 (Principles of Accounting I & II); and AC304 (Accounting Information Systems).

Application to the program is made through the UAB Graduate School. Deadlines for applying for admission include June 1st for Fall admission, October 1st for Spring admission, and March 1st for Summer admission.

Degree Requirements

A total of 36 semester hours are required for the degree, including 24 hours of required courses and 12 hours of electives in one of two tracks: Cybercrime and Computer Forensics or IT Fraud Examination.  Students are also required to complete a field practicum.

The core curriculum includes MBA613 – Information Security Management, JS530– Ethics and Computer Forensics, JS504 – Introduction to Computer Forensics, JS675 – Law, Evidence & Procedure, CS534 – Internetworking & Intranets, CS536 -  Network Security, CS636 – Computer Security, and CS591 – Special Topics in Organizational Information Assurance.  The Computer Forensics/Cybercrime Investigation track includes the following courses: CS516 – Digital Documents, Security & Intellectual Property, CS537 – Cybercrime & Forensics, CS591 – Investigating Online Crime, and CS599 – CyberCrime Practicum.  The Fraud Examination track includes the following courses: AC572 – Forensic Accounting & IT Audit, AC573 – Fraud Examination, LS571 – Expert Witness & Litigation Support, and AC574 – Forensic Accounting Practicum.

Program Co-Directors

Dr. John Sloan
Department of Justice Sciences

Dr. Anthony Skjellum
Department of Computer and Information Sciences

Dr. Molly Wasko
Department of Management, Information Systems, and Quantitative Methods