Carnegie Mellon University
October 16, 2012

New Master's for Privacy Engineers

People tasked with safeguarding privacy in this age of Big Data and easy Internet access need an unusual combination of technological know-how and policy savvy.

This expertise will be honed in a new first-of-its-kind master's degree program for privacy engineers offered by Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science.

The Master of Science in Information Technology-Privacy (MSIT-Privacy) is a 12-month program that begins in the fall semester of 2013.

"Privacy breaches, whether through poor design or as the result of attacks, have become a staple of the daily news," said Norman Sadeh, professor of computer science and co-director of the MSIT-Privacy program.

"Leaders in social media, tech and Internet companies, financial service firms and government agencies all tell us that they see an increasing need for privacy engineers who can help them design and maintain systems that protect people's identities and personal information," Sadeh added.

Until now, however, this critical expertise has been acquired only through on-the-job experience, said Lorrie Faith Cranor, director of the CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Lab, associate professor of computer science and engineering and public policy and co-director of the MSIT-Privacy program.

"Carnegie Mellon has a number of faculty with deep expertise in privacy and offers a variety of privacy-related courses," Cranor added. "This new program goes a step further by integrating privacy engineering with product design, software development, cybersecurity and human-computer interaction, as well as legal and business considerations."

The program includes two semesters of courses taught by leading academic privacy and security experts. In the Carnegie Mellon tradition of learning by doing, the program also includes a summer-long capstone project in which students will serve as privacy consultants on projects for commercial clients.

The program will emphasize the concept of "privacy by design," in which safeguards are incorporated into the design of systems and products from the very beginning of the development process.

Students who complete the master's program will be prepared for the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Certified Information Privacy Professional certification exam.

"As the field of privacy grows around the globe, we are seeing a clear need for highly trained engineers who can translate the complexity of privacy into technology," said J. Trevor Hughes, president and CEO of the IAPP. "There are too few of these professionals today, and we look forward to welcoming Carnegie Mellon graduates into this burgeoning profession."

Students should apply for the MSIT-Privacy program by Feb. 1, 2013.

Related Links: Read the press release | MSIT-Privacy | School of Computer Science | CyLab | Human-Computer Interaction Institute | Institute for Software Research | Heinz College