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Course Descriptions

Marketing Theory. 3 Hr.  Critical review of the literature with an emphasis on evaluating the structure of theories as well as the various schools of marketing thought.  Additionally, students develop an understanding of social science and the scientific method.

Advanced Topics in Marketing I Seminar. 3 Hr.  This seminar involves in-depth study and critical evaluation of theory and empirical research as it relates to the following areas in marketing:  services, sales management, retailing, and channels of distribution. 

Advanced Topics in Marketing II Seminar. 3 Hr.  This seminar is designed to further develop students’ understanding of marketing theories and empirical research.  Topics include pricing, brand management, new product management, and advertising and promotion.

Seminar in Buyer Behavior. 3 Hr.  This seminar covers consumer behavior theories including information processing, attitude, behavior, decision making, social environment, and potential moderators from positivist and post-positivist perspectives.

Seminar in Advanced Marketing Research. 3 Hr.  This seminar covers common research methods employed in marketing research including experimental design, sampling and survey research, meta-analysis, and validity issues to facilitate students’ ability to critique marketing papers and develop their own research.

Seminar in Marketing Strategy and Policy. 3 Hr.  This seminar provides an in-depth study and critical evaluation of the theories and empirical approaches used to investigate the marketing policy topics of international marketing, marketing strategy, and marketing and society. 

Degree Requirements

Comprehensive Exams

After the second year of coursework, a written second-year comprehensive examination will be administered. An oral, follow-up examination may also be given to provide students with the opportunity to clarify and expand their written answers, if needed. Successful completion of the comprehensive examination will admit the student to candidacy for the doctorate. Students formally admitted to candidacy for graduate degrees are required to register for at least one dissertation credit hour each semester as a condition of their continued candidacy. Candidates for graduate degrees who fail to maintain continuity of enrollment may be dropped from candidacy.

First and Second Year Paper

At the end of the summer following their first year in the program, students will be required to submit a literature review in an area that they may pursue for their dissertation.  Students will work with the faculty, especially those who teach the first year Ph.D. courses, to define their summer paper topics.

During the fall semester, following their comprehensive examinations, students will be required to submit a research proposal for their dissertation.  This proposal represents the second year summer research paper.  The proposal will include an update to the literature review completed at the end of their first summer, formal hypotheses to be tested, a plan for collecting and analyzing the data to test the hypotheses, and preliminary pretests of the research. 

Some students may opt to test their hypotheses using mathematical modeling.  In such cases, they will not collect data (although they are encouraged to do so to test the external validity of their models), but rather use the logic of mathematics to verify their hypotheses.

The two summer papers will form the basis of the dissertation proposal to be defended prior to the actual execution of the dissertation research.


After successful completion of the comprehensive examination, students will form their dissertation committees and set a date for their dissertation  proposal defenses. The dissertation committee will normally consist of five faculty members with at least one member of the committee from a department other than marketing. All committee chairs must have graduate faculty status and no more than one person may be a nonmember of the graduate faculty.

The proposal will include an extended literature review as well as the proposed method for addressing the research question. The proposal should also include any pretest studies that have been undertaken to support the dissertation research.  The written proposal must be defended by the student in an open forum that includes the student’s doctoral dissertation committee. This proposal defense normally occurs between six to nine months (but no more than twelve months) after passing the comprehensive examination. Following approval of their dissertation proposal, students will then conduct their research under the guidance of the dissertation committee, especially the committee chair.

The dissertation will take one of two forms. One form is a traditional dissertation in chapter format. A second form is the three essays format, consisting of a series of three publishable papers or monographs written on a common theme, relevant to the student’s field. The specific form taken will be jointly decided by the Ph.D. candidate and his/her dissertation committee. Regardless of which form is taken, the dissertation must be consistent with prevailing standards in the marketing discipline.

The dissertation in chapter format will include an extended literature review and development of hypotheses, research design and analysis, findings, and implications for theory and practice. Dissertations using the publishable paper, three-essay format will be designed in conjunction with a student’s chair and/or committee. The result will be three publishable papers or monographs that address a common theme, approved for submission by the committee and subsequently submitted to a high quality refereed journal. We emphasize peer-reviewed research publications as desired outcomes because of their positive impact on the skills, professional placement, and future success of graduates.

The final oral defense of the doctoral dissertation must occur within  5 years after being admitted to candidacy (i.e., successfully passing the comprehensive examination). Note that all graduate students must enroll for at least one credit hour (e.g., 797  Research) during the term (or summer) of graduation.

Sample Plan of Study

Fall 1

  • Marketing Theory
  • Statistical Methods I
  • Philosophy of Research 

Spring 1

  • Advanced Topics in Marketing I
  • Seminar in Buyer Behavior
  • Statistical Methods II

Summer 1

  • Summer Research Paper

Fall 2

  • Advanced Topics in Marketing II
  • Minor Area Course
  • Multivariate Analysis and Structural Equation Modeling

Spring 2

  • Seminar in Advanced Marketing Research 
  • Seminar in Marketing Policy
  • Minor Area Course

Summer 2

  • Summer Research Paper
  • Teaching Experience

Fall 3

  • Research Methods Electives
  • Minor Area Course
  • Comprehensive Examination

Spring 3

  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation Proposal Defense

Summer 3

  • Dissertation
  • Teaching Experience

Fall 4

  • Dissertation
  • Teaching Experience

Spring 4

  • Dissertation
  • Teaching Experience

Summer 4

  • Dissertation
  • DissertationDefense