Forensic Computing & Cyber Security (level 3)

Provided by

About the course

Students on all our Level 3 Computing pathways complete a common 1st year Advanced Computing course before having the opportunity to specialise in the 2nd year. On application you’ll be asked to identify a preference for a pathway, but this is largely for planning purposes and you can alter your choice at any point up to the start of the 2nd year.

Year one: common first year that introduces you to a variety of essential computing skills and software. This year will provide you with a good grounding to allow you to make an informed choice about your specialism.

Year two: specialised units to develop skills outlined below.

Ideal if: you want to study how to detect, prevent and investigate issues (including crime) related to digital devices, networks and the internet.

You’ll learn: in the first year the basics of computing before moving on to computer hardware and software programming, cryptography, cryptanalysis, IT auditing and legislative frameworks.

Expect: to explore data-crime related to fraud and hacking.

You’ll love: our well-equipped labs and up-to-date computer systems, software and network, which you can investigate and explore without restriction.

Are you interested in securing network traffic? Recovering lost data files? Investigating computer systems for incriminating data? Finding out how data encryption actually works? If the answer to any of these questions is "Yes", then the Diploma in Forensic Computing qualification is the right choice for you!

This course gives you the opportunity to learn about Forensic Computing. It is designed to meet the demand for specialists able to detect, prevent, and investigate crime related to computers, the internet and networks.

"Teachers work closely with students to devise a personalised programme, taking into account students’ interests, initial starting points and career aspirations." (Ofsted, 2016)

Your studies will include:

  • Data crime related to identity theft (‘phishing’), virus attacks, organised crime, fraud, and hacking
  • Computer hardware and software programming
  • Cryptography and cryptanalysis
  • IT audit, legislative frameworks.

A full-time course, the cyber security and forensic pathway is a programme equivalent to studying three AS-Levels.  Successful completion of the common first year, will enable you to continue onto the forensic and cyber security pathway for year 2.

Achievement of the 2nd year (Extended Diploma) is equivalent to completing 3 full A Levels and represents good progression for either work or Higher Education (e.g. Edexcel Higher National Certificate (HNC), Higher National Diploma (HND) or BSc Degree).

Over the two years, you will study 18 units. Further details of these units will be given to you at Interview or Induction.

All learners will have the opportunity to work towards GCSE maths or Maths in Context (Core Maths).

Available at
Forest of Dean

Entry Requirements
Typical Entry Criteria

  • Five GCSE subjects at Grade 4 and above including:
  • GCSE English Language or Literature at Grade 4 and above or GCSE Maths at Grade 4 and above
  • Four other GCSE subjects at Grade 4 and above

Gloucestershire College welcome any other/combinations of relevant qualifications that are comparable and/or equivalent to the typical course entry requirements.

Applicants that do not have recognised qualifications may still meet course entry requirements through alternative methods of assessment at the College’s discretion.

All queries regarding course entry criteria including the equivalency of qualifications and exceptional extenuating circumstances should be directed by email to the Admissions Department . 

What Next?
Upon completion, you may be able to move on to a higher education computing course.  Alternatively, you may wish to seek employment as a forensic computer analyst.

Related article

If you missed our webinar broadcast on the 17.06: Cybersecurity’s Skills Shortage: Creating New Pathways for the Next Generation