Digital Forensics, or computer forensics, is an emerging forensic discipline. Though not a traditional physical science, digital forensics incorporates methodical procedures-based investigations to obtain digital evidence usable within the criminal justice system. Digital workstations, laptop computers, and mobile devices store a wealth of digital information including text, images, audio, and video, which can serve as digital evidence. Precise recovery of digital evidence is critical for use in legal proceedings in any technology-based society.
The need for highly-trained digital forensics investigators has never been greater. To meet this need, within law enforcement and the private sector, MUFSC established the Digital Forensics Emphasis, as part of our Forensic Science Graduate Program, along with a Graduate Certificate in Digital Forensics. Our digital forensics programs are the first in the nation to be FEPAC accredited.
Digital Forensics is a multi-faceted discipline in which students learn from an array of topics concerning digital evidence extraction and examination. The Digital Forensics Emphasis and Graduate Certificate programs were created to include topics from three core areas; Digital Forensics, Information Security, and Electronic Discovery.
Our students learn to use forensic software to extract digital images from an array of devices. Then students learn how to analyze the digital images for digital evidence using a variety of software programs. Mobile forensics is an area emphasized in our digital forensics courses, as well as the investigation of personal computers and gaming devices. The opportunity to participate in hands-on tutorials with state-of-the-art investigative tools allows students to prepare for careers in this exciting discipline.
Our Digital Forensics graduate courses include:
The Marshall University Forensic Science Center has state-of-the-art digital forensics facilities including a dedicated Digital Forensics Laboratory and four distance-learning capable classrooms. Two classrooms, each with a twenty-student capacity, have individual computer workstations pre-loaded with digital forensics software. This allows instructors to demonstrate key concepts while students follow along, further enhancing the educational experience.
The Digital Forensics laboratory enables students to gain hands-on experience with tools used in professional forensic examinations. The laboratory also acts as a digital forensics research center, where graduate students perform equipment validations and related studies. The laboratory includes a Radio Frequency (RF) screening room allowing investigators to address the unique challenges of cellular and mobile device investigations in a secure environment.
MUFSC is committed to providing technical assistance to law enforcement. As part of this commitment MUFSC houses one of the West Virginia State Police Digital Forensics Units (WVSP-DFU) in our Annex building. The WVSP-DFU actively perform investigations on cases involving child exploitation, fraud, narcotics, homicide, and sexual predators in a high-technology laboratory. This partnership allows our graduate students real-world apprenticeship opportunities and the ability to interact with law enforcement professionals in this burgeoning field.
Learn more about the WVSP Digital Forensics Unit at MUFSC.
Dr. Terry Fenger, Director of the Marshall University Forensic Science Center, and Josh Brunty, Assistant Professor of Integrated Science & Technology, speak about the research performed at Marshall University's top-ranked Forensic Science program. Learn about the equipment used for research, the projects students take part in, and how the research benefits the students during their education and in their careers after graduation.
Marshall University Forensic Science Center Digital Forensics Laboratory received federal funds from the National Institute of Justice to provide technical assistance, training, and evaluation for the local criminal justice community engaged in digital forensic activities. The project is funded under support of NIJ cooperative agreement 2009-IJ-CX-K011.
To learn more about the National Institute of Justice please visit their official website.
Reprint of Marshall Magazine Spring 2012 Issue used by permission.