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What Is the Best Online School for Computer Forensics?

Computer forensics, which focuses on the recovery and examination of digital data, is often available as a specialization within a broader degree program, such as computer science, information technology or criminal justice. Get to know the rankings, program offerings and other distinctions for the best schools to study computer forensics online.

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It is possible to earn an undergraduate degree or certificate in computer forensics online, and there are also schools that provide educational opportunities at the graduate level.

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School Overviews

The three U.S. colleges and universities profiled in-depth below offer online computer forensics programs that incorporate a variety of course offerings to enhance the educational experience. All three of these institutions are also ranked by U.S. News and World Report in one or more categories.

Champlain College in Burlington, VT

School Highlight: Champlain College was tied for #91 in U.S. News & World Report's 2017 rankings of the best regional universities in the North.

Champlain College offers several programs in cybersecurity and digital forensics. Students may earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer Forensics and Digital Investigations, a Master of Science in Digital Forensic Science or a Certificate in Computer Forensics and Digital Investigations. Courses in both the certificate and bachelor's degree program cover anti-forensics and network forensics, white collar crime and cybercrime. The bachelor's program additionally includes topics in forensic and financial accounting, as well as networking fundamentals. All programs are available fully online and give students access to course features 24 hours a day.

DeSales University in Center Valley, PA

School Highlight: DeSales University placed 61st in U.S. News & World Report's best regional universities in the North for 2017.

DeSales University is a 4-year liberal arts institution that offers a 33-credit Master of Arts (MA) in Criminal Justice program online. The master's program in criminal justice allows for concentrations in either traditional forensics or computer forensics. DeSales University's forensics track includes courses focused on issues in criminal law, advanced criminology and research methods. Once a concentration in computer forensics is declared, students must complete five core courses covering investigation, data gathering and digital forensics. Additionally, students take electives in areas such as urban crime or addiction. A practicum is also required.

Pace University in New York, NY

School Highlight: The school was ranked the 11th best school nationwide for online bachelor's programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2017.

Students can pursue computer forensics as a concentration within the online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Professional Technology Studies at Pace. The program combines criminal justice studies with a broad introduction to information technology. Students also learn how PCs and mobile devices can be used to fight cybercrime. As of 2017, U.S. News & World Report also reported that Pace offers the sixth-best online graduate criminal justice program.

Top Computer Forensics Programs

  • Penn State University Online, based in University Park, PA, was named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security.
  • U.S. News & World Report named Sam Houston University's online graduate criminal justice program the 3rd best in the nation for 2017; the program is based in Huntsville, TX.
  • At Stevenson University in Stevenson, MD, a virtual lab is available for online cyber forensics students.
  • Utica College in Utica, NY, is a member of the Consortium of Digital Forensic Specialists.
  • The University at Albany State University of New York has a digital forensics program that partners with well-known accounting firms, digital technology companies and state law enforcement agencies.
  • The University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL, was ranked #21 for best online graduate criminal justice programs and #20 for best online bachelor's degree programs.
  • The University of Maryland in Adelphi was designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security.

Students who are looking for the flexibility of an online degree in computer forensics can find strong programs offered by many well-regarded online schools.

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