The growth of the digital economy has resulted in personal data processing becoming a global industry of enormous value. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in May 2018, aims to protect EU privacy rights and harmonise data protection law across the EU. The GDPR changes the way in which personal data must be collected, stored and processed. Given that personal data is used so widely, the GDPR impacts upon a vast number of sectors and data privacy has become an important concern for businesses, internet users, lawyers and public bodies.
The MA in Data Protection and Privacy Law is an interdisciplinary degree run jointly by the School of Law and Government and the School of Computing. The aim of the programme is to combine the University’s expertise in law and computing to provide students with advanced expertise in the technological and legal aspects of data protection and privacy law.
To facilitate both interdisciplinarity and specialisation, the MA will be divided into two streams: law and computing. Entrance on to either the law or computing stream will be dependent upon existing education. All students will complete 4 core modules which will offer a mix of law and computing and will be accessible to all admitted students. For example, the core law modules will be accessible to students from a non-legal background and the core computing modules will be accessible to students from a non-computing background.
Students on the law stream will complete a law focused research module, a law dissertation, the core modules common to both streams and pick two optional modules. Students on the computing stream will complete a computing focused research module, a computing practicum, the core modules common to both streams and pick two optional modules. In addition to providing a comprehensive grounding in both areas, the MA will allow students, through the research dissertation or practicum, in addition to the optional modules, to achieve a higher level of expertise in either computing or law.
Programme Aims and Objectives
- Provide students with a systematic understanding and critical awareness of the legal and technological issues at the forefront of data privacy.
- Enable graduates to be highly competitive in a field which has a high demand for well qualified graduates.
- Provide students with a unique interdisciplinary education.
View the current course structure
- a young and innovative university with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research (consistently rated in the ‘Top 50 under 50’ by the QS World University Rankings).
- High-level expertise in both law and computing
- an English-speaking, European university engaged with Europe and the broader world, in an English-speaking country similarly engaged and committed.
- small class sizes with a diverse student body.
Why Do This Programme?
- This MA will give students the legal and technical knowledge necessary to become experts in data privacy.
- This degree, given its interdisciplinary nature, is the only programme of its kind in Ireland and will give graduates a high-level qualification in a rapidly expanding field with significant employment opportunities across multiple sectors.
- The knowledge gained through this programme will place graduates in a unique position for careers with law firms, tech companies, as data protection officers or as advisors on data governance, both nationally and internationally.
- The masters will also provide students with an opportunity to expand and enhance their academic training and critical thinking by taking specialized modules delivered by subject experts and by honing their research, analytical, writing and presentation skills.
- The legal profession as specialised experts in privacy and the GDPR.
- Technology and data–driven sectors such as prospective data protection officers for businesses or advisors on data governance and best practice models.
- Privacy experts in one of the many tech companies operating in Ireland.
- Public bodies such as the Data Protection Commission.
- Academic or research career in an expanding field.
"The MA programme on Data Protection and Privacy Law is very topical. EU regulations and an increasing awareness of privacy issues and data protection, with the digitalisation of operations and practices in the private and public sectors sets urgent needs for experts who can understand, apply, analyse and develop the law and different information systems and software programs. Those experts must understand technical details and the impact of the requirements by the law. For this need, the MA programme provides an excellent and unique chances to develop ones’ skills and competences, and later build a successful career in law, computer industry or consultancy." Professor Samuli Pekkola, Information Management Unit, Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University, Finland.
For admission to the MA in Data Protection and Privacy Law programme, successful applicants will have -
- Computing stream applicants must have an Irish or UK Honours undergraduate degree (H2.2 or above) or equivalent in Computer Science, Computing, Computer applications or a related discipline. Candidates with significant experience in the software development sector in addition to an Honours primary degree in some other discipline, may also be considered for entry.
- Law stream applicants must normally have achieved a Second Class Honours Grade One (H2.1) in a primary degree (level 08) in law or an interdisciplinary degree which includes law as a significant component. Examples of relevant experience for the programme are:
- Irish Computer Society DPO/GDPR qualifications
- The Advanced Diploma in Data Protection Law by the Kings Inns
- The certificate in data protection by the Law Society
- Relevant practical experience working with data protection related issues.
Applicants who have not achieved a H2.1 may apply but applications will be assessed on a competitive basis.
If an applicant has not yet completed their degree, then a conditional offer may be made on the basis of most recent grades and pending the achievement of no less than a H2.2 degree.
Applicants with appropriate combinations of professional qualification and experience may also be considered. This includes discipline-specific knowledge and know-how; transferable skills; basic research competency; personal effectiveness.
International candidates who are non-native speakers of English must satisfy the University of their competency in the English language. More information about DCU's English language requirements can be found here.