Minor Privacy Studies

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Minor Privacy Studies

From smartphones to cloud computing, from Big Data to social media, the exploding use of information technology and its many applications will be a source of massive social, legal and economic changes for years to come. In the past, privacy has mostly been addressed from a single perspective, at present, however, it is acknowledged that privacy has many facets, and researchers and professionals worldwide are working together to address privacy from a truly interdisciplinary approach. The minor Privacy Studies offers students an opportunity to engage in this interdisciplinary field and will provide them with, among others, ethical, legal, economical, technical and medical approaches to privacy. The courses are open to students from all academic backgrounds and Faculties and the minor aims at attracting a diverse student population. Privacy has both high societal and academic relevance and the minor Privacy Studies offers students excellent career perspectives, a broad education in interdisciplinary methodology and trains both their academic skills and research competences.

Learning objectives

The Amsterdam Platform for Privacy Research (APPR) and the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (IIS) offer a study programme within the minor/major system. This minor is called ‘Privacy Studies’ and has the following learning objectives:

  • To gain insight in the value of privacy, its role and function in interpersonal relations and its constitutive relevance for democratic states. 
  • To understand the potential threats to privacy and to gain insight in the different possible solutions.
  • To learn the skills and crafts of Privacy Studies, with emphasis on analytical skill training. 
  • To learn to think interdisciplinary and to apply qualitative and quantitative skills and methods.
  • To gain academic writing and research skills.


The minor is in English and open to students with all linguistic backgrounds, provided that their English reading and writing skills are adequate.


Register for the minor if you are planning to follow the minor or if you already started the minor and forgot to do this. Use the registration form below and also let us know which courses you are planning to do.

Please note that apart from filling this registration form for the minor you need to register for the different courses as well. UvA students can do this through SIS. 
Contract students and students from other universities can do this through the separate registration forms. 
Right now you can only register for the minor starting in September 2015.

If you encounter any problems with registration, please contact: servicedesk-iis-science@uva.nl.

Minor certificate & letter of recommendation

Once a student finishes the minor programme, he/she will obtain a certificate. Students who have an average mark of 8 or higher can apply for a letter of recommendation.

Career perspectives

The minor Privacy Studies is intended for highly talented students with a special interest in carrying out research in an interdisciplinary fashion. Specialization, exploration and reflection are important concepts of this minor. The minor provides an ideal program for those students who aspire a career as a researcher, inside or outside the university, and for those wanting to specialize in privacy and technology, either as a lawyer, a technician/computer programmer, for those aspiring to work in politics or public administration and for those seeking a career as privacy auditor at one of the international firms such as KPMG, PWC, Deloitte and Ernst & Young. This minor provides students with the basic theoretical fundaments to engage in topical privacy discussions, develops their skills in interdisciplinary research, trains their writing and oral skills in English and provides them with direct contacts with businesses and institutions in both the public and private domain.  


Obligatory course:                                                       Optional courses:

6 EC – Privacy: Big Data, Quantified Self and Social Networks


6 EC– Ethics of Privacy

6 EC – Privacy: Legal, Ethical, Medical and many more Perspectives


6 EC– Privacy moot court

6 EC – Final Essay


6 EC - Internship

To complete the minor, 30 EC must be obtained. Students must either choose Ethics of Privacy or Privacy moot court or both.

Privacy: Big Data, Quantified Self and Social Networks / Privacy: Legal, Ethical, Medical and many more Perspectives (12 EC)

In sixteen lectures, privacy issues will be discussed from various disciplines. These lectures will be given by top scientists from various faculties of the University of Amsterdam. The subjects and their teachers are: Ethics (Beate Roesler), Political Science (Marieke de Goede), Comparative Media Studies (José van Dijk), Surveillance (Willemijn Aerdts), Law (Nico van Eijk), Economy (Edo Roos Lindgreen), Interactive Media (Geert Lovink), Communication Sciences (Edith Smit), International Relations (Ruud Janssens), Digital Culture (TBA), Informatics (Guide van ‘t Noordende) and Medicine (Corrette Ploem).

Ethics of Privacy (6 EC)

Individual privacy is one of the most contested problems in contemporary liberal-democratic societies. In this course students will discuss the problem of privacy from ethical as well as social-philosophical and empirical perspectives. In five classes, the student will learn in detail what the current debates are with regard to privacy within the philosophical field. Themes that will be addressed are: the history of the concept of privacy, the connection between privacy and autonomy and the value of privacy for the individual as well as for society.

Privacy moot court (6 EC)

The privacy moot court is open to a maximum of 9 people. In it, the students are provided with a dossier, containing a description of the case, background material and basic documents. The students are divided in three groups, representing the defense, the prosecution and the judge. After an introduction meeting, each group will have three weeks to write their report, which they will present and defend at the final meeting. The case will contain juridical, philosophical and technical dilemmas to which the students must provide their own answers through independent research.

Internship (6 EC)

The internship is open to a maximum of eight students; students must have scored an 8 or higher for the two basic courses to apply for an internship. Selected businesses and firms offer an internship of 3 month, which focusses on privacy and the processing of personal data. The students will receive extensive training and be personally supervised by professional experts. Through writing reports and memoranda and taking part in the everyday practice of the company, students will gain work experience, build a professional network and get an insight in the meaning of privacy in practice. The students will write a report.

Final essay (6 EC)

Students will be asked to write an essay on privacy in which they engage in innovative and interdisciplinary research in which they provide a new insight to academic questions or solutions to current societal problems. The essay should be between 25 and 35 pages and should be sent in word, format normal, no (line) spacing and it should be presented in times new roman 12.





Privacy: Big Data, Quantified Self and Social Networks

Block I


Van der Sloot/Roessler

Privacy: Legal, Ethical, Medical and many more Perspectives

Block II


Van der Sloot/Roessler

Ethics of Privacy

Block IV


Roessler/Van der Sloot


Block IV & V


Van der Sloot/Roessler

Moot Court

Block V


Van der Sloot/Roessler

Final Essay

Block VI


Van der Sloot/Roessler



The minor is offered by the Amsterdam Platform for Privacy Research (APPR) in collaboration with the IIS. APPR unites more than 60 researchers at the University of Amsterdam who conduct privacy research. They have such diverse backgrounds as law, philosophy, economics, medicine, communication studies, informatics, and political science. Through an interdisciplinary approach and joint discussion, APPR increases both the understanding and the awareness of privacy related topics: http://appr.uva.nl/en

For more information about the minor Privacy Studies, please visit http://appr.uva.nl/en/minor

Coordinators of the minor Privacy Studies

  • Beate Roessler

Beate Roessler is professor of ethics and its history at the University of Amsterdam and head of the capacity group Philosophy and Public Affairs. She has published widely on the ethics of privacy and is a member of the board of the APPR.

  • Bart van der Sloot

Bart van der Sloot is a researcher at the Institute for Information Law  (IViR, Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam). He specializes in privacy and is the coordinator of the APPR.

For more information about the minor privacy, please contact us through: minorprivacystudies@uva.nl.

Conditions for admission
30 ECTS, 10 months
Language of instruction
Starts in

Published by  Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies