Professional Certificate in Data Protection NEW



Who is this programme for?

Data protection law will undergo a fundamental reform on 25th May 2018, being the date on which the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation will come into force. This new law will significantly change what data protection law is and how it will apply. The GDPR will impose new penalties and liabilities on data controllers and processors who fail to comply with its provisions.

The prospect of such liabilities and penalties will require that data controllers and data processors reform their internal governance of personal data processing to ensure that the new standards of data protection that the GDPR will impose are complied with. Many organisations will be required to appoint a Data Protection Officer; all organisations will have to significantly enhance their compliance functions in order to ensure that the obligations of Data Protection Impact Assessments and data protection by default and design are complied with.

The Professional Certificate in Data Protection has been carefully designed to provide Data Protection Officers and Compliance Officers with the professional qualities and expert knowledge of data protection law along with guidance on practical application that they will need to implement in order to discharge their requirements under the GDPR.

The programme has been designed in consultation with the office of the Data Protection Commissioner. Also the programme is accredited by UCD and is the only accredited qualification at this level.

How you will benefit

This programme will support your personal and professional development.

  • understand the existing law and the new obligations to be imposed by the GDPR.
  • undertake a Data Protection Impact Assessment.
  • use contemporary theories and practical evidence to design a data protection framework within your organisation, both in respect of the existing law and to prepare for the application of the GDPR.
  • design, complete and report on major data protection projects which may be required to enhance your firm’s positioning within the sector.
  • justify the rationale behind recommendations in relation to data protection.
  • maintain, develop and apply contemporary professional best practice and contribute to a personal ethos of life-long learning and selfimprovement.

Professional designation

Members who complete the Professional Certificate in Data Protection, and who commit to completing Continuing Professional Development hours, will be entitled to use the designation CDPO – Certified Data Protection Officer.


You will study one module:

  • Data Protection Policies and Procedures (NFQ Level 9, 10 ECTS)

Lecture Topics:

01 Introduction
02 GDPR and DPIA
03 Sectoral rules and subject rights
04 The Data Protection Bill, supervision and enforcement
05 Crime, ePrivacy and Transborder data flows

Students will undertake a Data Protection Impact Assessment as a group project.


When you successfully complete this programme, you will be awarded the Professional Certificate in Data Protection from UCD (at postgraduate degree level 9).

The Professional Certificate in Data Protection forms part of the MSc in Compliance. 


Lectures are held on a part-time basis across one semester (4 months).


Four months part-time


Assessment is a combination of continuous assessment and end of semester exams.

The pass mark is 40% in line with UCD academic policy.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for the programme are an:

- Honours degree (second class honours grade 2 award or higher) in a business, legal or a relevant cognate discipline.


- Those who do not hold a degree, but have detailed professional experience in the area of data protection, risk and/or regulatory compliance, are eligible to apply and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Professional body membership

You must be a current member of the Association of Compliance Officers in Ireland, or become a member, to register for this programme. Membership is currently €150 per year.


The programme fees are €1,450.

Part-funding may be available for eligible applicants through Summit Finuas Network. 

For more information see