2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    Apr 19, 2021  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

Digital Forensics MS ►

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College: Engineering and Computer Science Degree: MS
Department: Computer Science Option: Thesis, Nonthesis
Program Websites: http://msdf.ucf.edu/
Graduate Program Handbook

Program Description

The Digital Forensics MS program will consider international applicants only on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the program at czou@cs.ucf.edu to determine eligibility before submitting an official application.

The Digital Forensics master’s degree is a collaborative effort between various UCF academic departments (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Forensic Science of Chemistry, Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies) and the National Center for Forensic Science (NCFS). NCFS is both a national center, as part of the National Institute of Justice Forensic Research Network of the Department of Justice, and a state Type II Center. NCFS is based in the UCF College of Sciences as a forensic science research center and is housed in Orlando’s Research Park, adjacent to UCF.

The mission of the MSDF degree program is to provide a quality graduate education in science and practices of digital forensics, to prepare the students for digital forensics jobs, and to prepare the students for a lifetime of learning. The objectives of the program include the following:

  • To give MSDF graduates the knowledge and skills necessary to participate as an effective team member or team leader in digital evidence investigations
  • To prepare MSDF graduates for professional careers in digital forensics examination, forensic tool development, tool verification and validation, security and forensics administration
  • To prepare MSDF graduates with the knowledge and skills to pursue advanced studies and research in computer technology or computer crime-related disciplines
  • To equip MSDF graduates with the communication skills, both oral and written, to become an effective problem solver as well as an effective communicator as an expert forensic examiner and expert witness

Please note: Digital Forensics (MS) may be completed fully online, although not all elective options or program prerequisites may be offered online. Newly admitted students choosing to complete this program exclusively via UCF online classes may enroll with a reduction in campus-based fees.

International students (F or J visa) are required to enroll in a full-time course load of 9 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters. Only 3 of the 9 credit hours may be taken in a completely online format. For a detailed listing of enrollment requirements for international students, please visit http://global.ucf.edu/. If you have questions, please consult UCF Global at 407-823-2337.

UCF is not authorized to provide online courses or instruction to students in some states. Refer to State Restrictions for current information.


The Digital Forensics MS degree is comprised of 30 hours of study beyond the bachelor’s degree with required, intensive specialization in topics related to digital forensics. The degree program prepares students, including working professionals, who will pursue the degree on a part-time basis to gain the knowledge and skills required to work as an examiner in the field. The program may also be taken by those who have an interest in scientific applications and research in the field, and who would like to continue to a doctoral degree program or law school after completion.

Total Credit Hours Required: 30 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor’s Degree

The program offers both a thesis option (6 credit hours) or an opportunity to complete two additional courses (6 credit hours) selected from the Restricted Electives. At least one-half of the credit hours must be at the 6000 level.


Undergraduate articulation courses may be required for students with BS and/or MS degrees in fields other than a computer-related field. The articulation courses will be determined by the graduate program director. Students without a computer-related degree must be versed in basic computing and networking knowledge and skills, including computer (PC) hardware, computer operating systems, and computer networking. Appropriate job- or training-related experience may be a suitable substitution, the suitability of which will be determined by the admissions committee. Courses taken to correct deficiencies cannot be used to satisfy minimum degree requirements. Some advanced elective courses require a programming background, specifically in C and C++, computer architecture, and parallel programming.

Restricted Elective Courses: 12 Credit Hours

Thesis Option: 6 Credit Hours

The College of Engineering and Computer Science requires that all thesis defense announcements are approved by the student’s adviser and posted on the college’s website and on the Events Calendar at the College of Graduate Studies website at least two weeks before the defense date.

  • CAP 6971 Thesis 6 Credit Hours

Nonthesis Option: 6 Credit Hours

Students not interested in a thesis can instead enroll in two formal courses (6 credit hours) to fulfill the degree requirements.

  • Take two electives (total of 6 credit hours) from the list of Restricted Electives above

Equipment Fee

Students in the Digital Forensics MS program pay an $82 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $41 per semester.

Independent Learning

The Independent Learning Requirement is met by successful completion of a master’s thesis or completing the capstone course CIS 6207 .

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions  section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirement , applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Statement of educational, research, and professional career objectives.
  • Résumé.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Applicants applying to this program who have attended a college/university outside the United States must provide a course-by-course credential evaluation with GPA calculation. Credential evaluations are accepted from World Education Services (WES) or Josef Silny and Associates, Inc. only.

Faculty members may choose to conduct face-to-face or telephone interviews before accepting an applicant into their research program. The GRE is not required for admission into this program.

Application Deadlines

Digital Forensics MS *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15 Jul 1 Dec 1  
International Applicants        
*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information  section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.

Contact Info

Graduate Program

Cliff Zou PhD
Associate Professor
Telephone: 407-823-5015
HEC 243

Graduate Admissions

Ashley Rivera Mercado
Telephone: 407-823-2766
Millican Hall 230
Online Application
Graduate Admissions

Mailing Address

UCF College of Graduate Studies
Millican Hall 230
PO Box 160112
Orlando, FL 32816-0112

Institution Codes
GRE: 5233
TOEFL: 5233
ETS PPI: 5233

Graduate Fellowships

Grad Fellowships
Telephone: 407-823-0127

Graduate Financial Aid

UCF Student Financial Assistance
Millican Hall 120
Telephone: 407-823-2827
Appointment Line: 407-823-5285
Fax: 407-823-5241

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