Professional Certificate in Data Protection

Data protection law underwent a fundamental reform in May 2018, the date on which the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. This new law has significantly changed what data protection law is and how it applies. The GDPR imposes new penalties and liabilities on data controllers and processors who fail to comply with its provisions.
The Professional Certificate in Data Protection, a 10 ECTS award at level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications has been designed in consultation with the office of the Data Protection Commissioner. It provides Data Protection Officers and Compliance Officers with the expert knowledge of data protection and is the only accredited qualification at this level. Participants will learn through an applied approach and develop specialist skills and competence to support and advise their organisation in managing and mitigating data protection related reputational, compliance and financial risks.
The programme is delivered on a part-time basis across one semester. It comprises of one module, data protection policy and procedures and forms part of the MSc in Compliance. Students who successfully complete the certificate are exempt from this module if they subsequently decide to apply for the MSc in Compliance.
How you will benefit
On successful completion of the Professional Certificate in Data Protection, graduates will be able to;
  • Understand the obligations imposed by the GDPR in law and practice and justify the rationale behind recommendations in relation to data protection;     
  • Use contemporary theories and practical evidence to design a data protection framework within your organisation;     
  • Design, complete and report on major data protection projects which may be required to enhance your firm’s positioning within the sector; and     
  • Maintain, develop and apply contemporary professional best practice and contribute to a personal ethos of life-long learning and self-improvement.
On successful completion of the programme, you will be awarded the Professional Certificate in Data Protection from UCD. Graduates who complete the Professional Certificate in Data Protection, are entitled to apply for the designation ‘Certified Data Protection Officer’ and use the designatory letters CDPO. Continued use of this designation is subject to meeting ACOI’s CPD requirements.



This programme has received Summit Finuas Network funding since its inception in 2015. Funding for the next programme intake is subject to Network funding approval.

The Summit Finuas Network is part of the Finuas Networks Programme, managed by Skillnets Ltd, whose aim is to support the sector in maintaining Ireland’s position as a top international financial services centre, through ongoing investment in the development of the skills and expertise of this workforce. This recognition of the programme highlights the need for suitably qualified persons in an area considered as strategically important. For further information about the network, please click on image below.

“Working in the arena of Data Protection, there is an increasing need for regulatory professionals within the financial services sector to ensure that they have both the technical and professional skills to fulfil this evolving and challenging area. In seeking to enhance and solidify my knowledge in the area of Data Protection, I undertook the Professional Certificate in Data Protection in 2014. In summary, I am happy to attest that following the completion of the course, which was superbly delivered by Dr. Denis Kelleher, that not only has my technical knowledge of the Irish and European Data protection landscape improved but also and arguably more importantly, due to the practical focus of course delivery and the exposure to other Data Protection professionals, I have significantly increased my capacity to deliver useful, informed and practical data protection advice during my day to day work activities.
Further Information


Professional Certificate Data Protection

How to register?

  1. Become an ACOI Member
  2. Once you receive your receipt of membership with your ACOI membership details, you can then register for the programme.