Certificate in Computer Forensics Overview

Computer Forensics Certificate Program

Program Co-Directors:

Ken Sloan Sloan Pic CIA JFR Final
Dr. Kenneth Sloan
Department of Computer and     
Information Sciences
Dr. John Sloan
Department of Justice Sciences


The Department of Justice Sciences offers two graduate-level certificate programs in Computer Forensics (CF), co-sponsored with the Department of Computer and Information Sciences (CIS). The Category "A" Certificate is designed for degree-seeking graduate students already enrolled in the criminal justice (MSCJ), forensic science (MSFS), or computer science (MS/Ph.D.) program. The Category "B" Certificate is designed for non-degree seeking graduate students desiring to learn more about computer forensics and use CF skills in an "on the job" fashion.  A separate program leading to the Master of Science in Computer Forensics and Security Management (MSCFSM) is also available.  Information on that program is available by clicking here.

Program Overview

Criminal offenders increasingly use computers as "weapons" to commit crimes such as illegally downloading from websites or network servers, information, documents, or copyrighted materials, or releasing "worms," "viruses," and similar "rogue programs" on computer networks to disrupt or shut them down. As a result, law enforcement agencies will increasingly have to rely, to greater extent than ever before, on local, state, and federal crime labs to provide experts in CF to uncover, retrieve, and protect evidence of such illegalities.

CF, as an area of specialization within the larger disciplines of Forensic Science, Criminal Justice, and CIS, is literally at the point where DNA analysis as an investigative and prosecutorial tool was 10-15 years ago. The need for CF-based skills continues to grow as personnel working at local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and crime laboratories develop requisite training to retrieve and preserve electronic evidence (e.g., digital documents and images, or similar material) stored on personal computers, including hard drives, floppy disks, zip drives, and related information storage devices.

Additionally, CF training provides to those seeking positions in law enforcement agencies, state/federal crime labs, or the private sector, the necessary tools to identify, and appropriately respond to, attacks on local- and wide-area networks. Finally, individuals certified in CF will be prepared to testify in state and federal court as expert witnesses in criminal and civil litigation.

The program will help thrust UAB to the forefront as a major source of training in both forensic science and computer and information science.


Admissions

Category "A" Certificate:
Acceptance into and enrollment as a degree seeking student in one of the following graduate programs: MSFS, MSCJ, or CIS (master's or Ph.D.) AND computer science competency at the level of CS201: Introduction to Object Oriented Programming (or its equivalent based on courses taken at other universities; if the student does not have competency at the above level, he or she will be required to take CS201 before being admitted to the certificate program) AND forensic science competency at the level of JS110: Introduction to Forensic Science (or its equivalent, based on courses taken at other universities; if the student does not have competency at the above level, he or she will be required to take JS110 before being admitted to the certificate program).

Category "B" Certificate:
Enrollment as non-degree seeking graduate student in CIS, FS, or CJ graduate programs. Student indicates on application for enrollment as non-degree student, his or her desire to enroll in CF "B" certificate program by completing the application form and indicating a "concentration designation" (to which the Graduate School will attach a specific numerical identifier); AND computer science competency at the level of CS201: Introduction to Object Oriented Programming (or its equivalent, based on courses taken at other universities; if the student does not have competency at the above level, he or she will be required to take CS201 before being admitted to the certificate program); AND forensic science competency at the level of JS110: Introduction to Forensic Science (or its equivalent, based on courses taken at other universities; if the student does not have competency at the above level, he or she will be required to take JS110 before being admitted to the certificate program).