School of Law and Government

MA in Data Protection and Privacy: Law and Computing

MA in Data Protection and Privacy Law
Course Code:
DC786 (Full Time) DC787 (Part Time)
Course Type:
Postgraduate
NFQ Level:
9
Delivery Modes
Full-Time
Part-Time
Duration
(FT-1 Year) (PT-2 Years)
+353 (0) 1
01 700 6008
The University has launched a new student application portal. For applications to this programme see the Make an Application section below.

DCU is currently finalising plans for a phased and incremental return to campus, with a view to welcoming all students to the DCU campuses in September. Students should plan to attend face-to face classes in Semester 1 2021-2022. Please see https://www.dcu.ie/attendingdcu-students-studying-at-dcu for more information.

Introduction

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.

"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."

Programme Structure

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. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Would a CIPP and CIPM holder get any exemption to some papers?

No, there no paper exemptions available but these qualifications would be taken into consideration when evaluating your application.

2. What are the fees?

The part-time fees in 2019 were €3,700 EU and €7,400 Non EU students. The full-time fees in 2019 were €6,950 EU and €15,000 non-EU students. For more details on current fees see the registry page describing entry and payments for this course.

3. Am I eligible for non-EU fees?

DCU has a comprehensive page describling this here. If in doubt you can contact the DCU Fees office (fees@dcu.ie).

4. How many words is required for the law stream dissertation?

Typically 15,000 words.

5. What times are the part-time lectures?

The timetable is not finalised until week 3 of semester, part time lectures will typically be timetabled between 4-7pm two days a week for two 12 week semesters a year. Your exact schedule will depend on your stream, options and year. A typical year 1 lecture timetable for the law stream would be 4-6pm two days a week with a 1 hour tutorial  6-7pm, in the computing stream this would be 4-7pm two days a week. In year 2 your lectures will reduce to typically 1 evening a week as you will spend a lot of time working on your practicum, which is more flexible hours for meeting your supervisor at least once a month.

6. Can law stream students take computing modules?

Only the core computing modules of Data Governance and AI, Information and Information Seeking. All other computing modules require programming experience.

7. Are there any grants or scholarships available for the course?

Trilateral Research sponsored one part-time place in 2019, no information is yet available for future years. The Irish government run various means-tested grants for residents of Ireland. There are tax rebates for people in Ireland paying third level fees, see the revenue web-pages.

8. What times are full-time lectures?

The timetable is not finalised until week 3 of semester, about half the lectures will typically be timetabled between 4-7pm two days a week for two 12 week semesters a year, this is to enable sharing classes with the part-time students. Your exact schedule will depend on your stream, options and year. A typical  lecture timetable for the law stream would be 6 hours spread over three days a week, in the computing stream this would be 9 hours over three days a week.

9. Is this course designed for students who have no prior knowledge whatsoever in either the law or computing stream?

Students need a good grounding in their chosen stream (law or computing) but cross-discipline supports are provided for students from from law in computing topics and vice versa.

10. Are there any distance or remote education modules?

No, the course is primarilly delivered in traditional lectures. Some computing modules (including core modules) are gradually moving to the Future Learn platform but this process will take some time to complete.

11. Are the lectures recorded (in case you miss them)?

No. All course notes and supporting materials are made available to students via the DCU Loop platform.

12. Do you need to be able to program/write code?

Not for the law stream. Yes for the computing stream.

13. What is the Practicum ?

It is a practice-oriented research project that typically builds and evaluates a system or tool and culminates in a 10-page research paper structured for an academic conference. It is only conducted by students in the Computing stream and is worth one third of the overall marks for the course.

14. Can I transfer credits from another course in another institution to the MA?

Generally, completed credits will help you meet the DCU entry requirements rather than exempt you from some parts of the course. In the case of European ECTS credits it is possible that after registration a case can be made to the Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee to decide if exemptions were applicable on a case by case basis. It would be exceptional for the credits to transfer directly unless there was a very strong overlap with material in the course.

15. Does DCU provide accommodation for masters students?

Yes, there is limited accommodation available. See the DCU Accomodation Service.

16. Is it possible to pay the fees in instalments?

Yes, a portion is paid at registration and the rest in January. See the DCU Fees Office for more details.

17. Does DCU provide work placements at completion of the Masters?

No, but there is great demand for graduates with these skills.The DCU Careers Office provides supports for students seeking employment.

18. Can I use an English language qualification other than IELTS and what are the required levels? (for non-native speakers only)

Yes, see the DCU Registry English language requirements site.

Professor Samuli Pekkola, Information Management Unit, Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University, Finland.

"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."

The MA in Data Protection and Privacy Law attracts both recent undergraduates and those already established in their careers. The knowledge and skills you acquire through this programme are highly sought by law firms, tech companies, the compliance sector, research organisations and across multiple government departments.

Graduates seek work in a variety of government departments, including the Data Protection Commission, the Department of Health, and Universities. Others may gravitate toward the private sector as many large firms, working across a range of services, continue to expand their privacy and data protection teams. These include, but are not limited to, financial services companies, law and accountancy firms and consultancy firms.

Potential Careers

  • Legal professional offering expertise in privacy and the GDPR
  • Data protection officer
  • Privacy engineer
  • Professional advisor on data governance and best practice models
  • IT consultant
  • Researcher
  • Compliance professional
  • Data Analyst 

 

Requirements

General Entry Requirements

For admission to the MA in Data Protection and Privacy: Law and Government 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.

Qualification
Postgraduate Taught

Fees

Full time

EU Status Fee
€6,950
Non EU Fee
€15,000

Part time

EU Status Fee Part-time
€3,700 Per Annum
Non EU Fee Part time
€7,400 Per Annum

Next Steps

Make an Application

To apply for this programme:

  • All Applicants must apply through DCU's Student Application Portal which is available here.  Here's a quick step by step guide if you need help with your application.
  • Provide Academic Transcripts for each and every year of study with English translation, if applicable.
  • Provide a 500 - 750 word (approx.) personal statement including:
  1. State which stream you are applying for (Law stream or Computing stream);
  2. Why you wish to study the programme;
  3. What in your record and experience makes you suitable for the MA programme;
  4. The impact which you expect the MA. programme would have on your future career.
  • Please also include your CV and details of relevant experience.
  • If applicable, provide evidence of competence in the English language as per DCU entry requirements.  Please see link http://www.dcu.ie/registry/english.shtml.

Please note if you are a non EU student and require a study visa, you are not eligible to apply for part-time programmes as study visas are only granted for full-time programmes.

Application Deadlines

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the programme is full or until the following dates:

  • Closing date for non EU applicants is 16th July 2021.
  • Closing date for EU applicants is 10th September 2021.

Please Note: EU applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the programme is full, or up to the final closing date noted above. Early application is advised

Note applicants who require a study visa for the purposes of studying at DCU, are advised to apply as early as possible.

All entry requirements should be met before the commencement of the programme.

Queries

Queries from EU applicants should be directed to postgraduateadmissions@dcu.ie.

Queries from non EU applicants should be directed to international.office@dcu.ie.

Commencement of Programme

The programme commences in September 2021.