Privacy in US Law Schools: An IAPP Westin Center Report

With demand for qualified privacy professionals surging, the IAPP is working to identify and pave pathways into the privacy workforce. In the U.S., lawyers continue to comprise the largest plurality of privacy professionals. The IAPP therefore set out to catalog and categorize the various law school offerings in privacy.

In September 2019, the IAPP released the first-ever “Privacy in U.S. Law Schools” report reflecting an overview of privacy education at U.S. law schools accredited by the American Bar Association. The initial tiering of schools was based on criteria that are transparent, objective and quantitative. The IAPP reviewed publicly available materials on law schools’ websites to divide schools into three categories. The first category (Tier 1) included schools that offer students a certification or formal concentration in privacy law; the second, schools that regularly offer at least one three-credit course in privacy; the third, schools that provide some privacy offering, such as a one-credit seminar.

The report does not assess schools’ research output, number of faculty members who specialize in privacy, or the existence of research centers or extracurricular programs. It does not include in the definition of a “privacy course” adjacent offerings in, for example, cybersecurity, law and technology or digital ethics. It does not profess to measure academic clout. Rather, it aims to provide students who are interested in this field a snapshot of current offerings.

Understanding that not all websites are up to date, the IAPP invited schools to complete a short survey to provide accurate, up-to-date information on their privacy programs. Over the past few weeks, dozens of schools have submitted additional information to update and amend their material. And this call for information remains open. Any schools that have not yet participated are invited to complete the survey here.

With the new insights gained, the IAPP now presents the adjusted and updated results below. Hopefully, over the next months and years, more schools will expand their privacy curricula to elevate to higher categories.

Our methods for creating these tiers involved reviewing materials publicly available on the law schools’ websites. We realize that not all schools have updated information on their sites. Schools that are not listed or believe they are in the wrong tier are welcome to contact the IAPP by completing the short survey below.


Tier 1
Schools offer a certification or formal concentration in privacy law (or close equivalent) that results in students receiving formal recognition of their chosen specialization. Formal recognition requires a notation on students’ final transcripts.

Tier 2
Schools offer at least one three-credit course in privacy annually, but not a formal concentration or specialization. Schools are considered to be offering at least one annual three-credit privacy course if course catalogs or other information on the school’s website showed at least two consecutive years of offering the same privacy course.

Tier 3
Schools have a privacy offering, such as a one-credit seminar, but the offering doesn’t meet the three-credit qualification for a Tier 2 school or have offered privacy in the past but do not offer privacy on a consistent basis.

Schools that were not included are schools whose websites contained no information about course offerings or whose course offerings did not reflect an offering of a privacy-related course.

Once more, we acknowledge that web-based research is inherently incomplete and recognize that some of these results may not be accurate. If you feel that your school has been miscategorized or if you’ve spotted an error, we invite you to submit information by clicking here. We will review any submissions and adjust school classifications accordingly.

Schools that were not included are schools whose websites contained no information about course offerings or whose course offerings did not reflect any offering of a privacy related course.

Tier Table

Tier Number of Schools Percentage
 Tier 1  11/216  5%
 Tier 2  30/216  14%
 Tier 3  68/216  31.5%
 No Data/Not Counted  107/216  49.5%

The table above represents our findings by tier. In total, 109 schools (50.4% of all schools) offer some privacy related courses. Of those, eleven schools (5%) have a concentration or certification in privacy that results in formal recognition on a student’s transcript. Thirty schools (14%) offer at least one three-credit annual privacy course. Sixty-eight schools offer or have offered a course or seminar in privacy but not a concentration, certification or annual three-credit privacy course.

The full breakdown of schools and their classification is in the table below.

Law Schools by Tier

Tier 1
Arizona State
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University
Indiana – Bloomington
Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
New York Law School
Santa Clara
Seton Hall University School of Law
University of Illinois at Chicago John Marshall Law School
University of Maine School of Law
Tier 2
Albany Law School
American University Washington College of Law
Boston College Law School
Boston University School of Law
Chicago-Kent College of Law
University of Colorado School of Law
DePaul University College of Law
Georgia State
New York University (NYU)
Northwestern University
Saint Louis University School of Law
UC Berkeley
UC Irvine
University at Buffalo School of Law
University of Chicago Law School
University of Denver Law School
University of Massachusetts School of Law
University of Minnesota Law School
University of North Carolina
University of Pennsylvania
University of Southern California
University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
William & Mary Law School
Tier 3
Appalachian State
Catholic University of America
Florida International (FIU)
Florida State
George Mason
George Washington
Golden Gate
Indiana -- Indianapolis
Lewis & Clark
LSU Law Center
Michigan State
Northern Kentucky
Notre Dame
Ohio State
Oklahoma City University
Penn State
Roger Williams
St. John’s
St. Thomas (Minn.)
San Diego
San Francisco
South Dakota
Southern Illinois
Southern Methodist
Texas A&M
UC Davis
UC Hastings
University of Texas School of Law
Washington and Lee
Washington University in St. Louis
Wayne State
West Virginia
Western State
WMU Thomas Cooley

Schools who are not listed or who believe they are in the wrong tier should contact IAPP by clicking the button below.

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