Certified Data Protection Officer (CDPO)

There has been a significant increase in the complexity and volume of the regulation underpinning compliance in data protection. As well as a thorough understanding of the regulatory and legislative framework, professional practice in the area of data protection requires judgements and decisions to be made for many scenarios.

The primary motivation underpinning the development of the Certified Data Protection Officer designation is to provide a learning opportunity for compliance and/or other relevant professionals to develop the necessary intellectual capital to ensure that their organisations meet their current and future regulatory responsibilities in relation to data protection.

This has been acknowledged by the Data Protection Commissioner;

“The Irish DPC welcomes the recent increase in the offering of the data protection certificate to twice a year. Staff with skills necessary to support organisations in lawfully collecting and safeguarding personal data are in growing demand as we enter into the final run-up to the General Data Protection Regulation implementation date in May 2018. We wish all students every success.”

Helen Dixon, Irish Data Protection Commissioner:

To be awarded the CDPO designation by ACOI, you must register for and successfully complete a 1 module educational programme offered by ACOI’s academic education partner, the Institute of Banking which is a recognised college of University College Dublin (UCD).



The programme consists of 1 module, as follows:

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


At the end of the programme, students will be able to:

  • Interpret contemporary legislation in the specific areas of 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.
  • Justify the rationale behind recommendations in relation to data protection.
  • Maintain, develop and apply contemporary professional best practice and use academic literature to contribute to a personal ethos of life-long learning and self-improvement.


When you successfully complete the programme you will be awarded the Professional Certificate in Data Protection from UCD, a 10 ECTS award at level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications.

The Professional Certificate in Data Protection forms part of the MSc in Compliance. Students who successfully complete the certificates are exempt from this module if they subsequently decide to apply for the MSc in Compliance as this module is part of the syllabus of the MSc.


The minimum entry requirements for the programme are a:

Honours degree (H2.2 minimum) in a business or a legal discipline.

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


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.


Lectures are held on a part-time basis across one semester (from early February to May 2018) with examination in May


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

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


Holders of the Professional Certificate in Data Protection are invited to apply to become a Certified Data Protection Officer (CDPO). Continued use of the CDPO  designation is subject to meeting annual 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.”

Dr David O’Dwyer, Elavon & top placed student. 


Further Information

CDPO Professional Certificate Data Protection


E: education@acoi.ie

T: (01) 779 0200


Suzanne McInerney BA. MA, M.ED

Programme Manager

E: Suzanne.mcinerney@iob.ie

T: (01) 6116534

How to Apply

  • First become a member of the ACOI
  • Once you receive your receipt of membership with your ACOI membership details, you can then apply for the programme.