With demand for privacy professionals surging, driven as much by a business imperative to protect customer data as by a wave of new regulation, students are seeking an on-ramp into the privacy profession.
According to the IAPP 2017 Salary Report, law remains the most common background for privacy professionals (35%). Moreover, those professionals who come to privacy from the legal profession hold the best paid positions, including privacy counsel and ultimately, chief privacy officer. (To be clear, not all CPOs are lawyers, but the greatest plurality of CPOs are).
It’s no wonder, then, that law students are demanding opportunities to learn more about privacy – and law schools are responding.
In this research project, the first of its kind, the IAPP set out to better understand how privacy is taught at American Bar Association–accredited U.S. law schools. We have tiered schools according to their curriculum offerings in privacy law. For purposes of this project, we defined “privacy law” narrowly, excluding more general courses in cybersecurity or law and technology, and focusing strictly on courses in privacy, information privacy or a close equivalent.
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.
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.
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.
Schools have a privacy offering, such 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||Number of Schools||Percentage|
|No Data/Not Counted||106/203||52%|
The table above represents our initial findings by tier. In total, 97 schools (48% of all schools) offer some privacy related courses. Of those, seven schools (3%) have a concentration or certification in privacy that results in formal recognition on a student’s transcript. Eleven schools (5%) offer at least one three-credit annual privacy course. Seventy-nine 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
Indiana – Bloomington
Loyola – Los Angeles
New York University (NYU)
University of Southern California
Catholic University of America
Chicago -- Kent
Florida International (FIU)
Indiana -- Indianapolis
Lewis & Clark
Oklahoma City University
St. Thomas (Minn.)
Washington and Lee
Washington University in St. Louis
William and Mary
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.