Marketing is where you go when you want to know more about your customer

While management studies the people inside a company, and finance studies the numbers in the checkbook, marketing is the study of the people who have the biggest impact on the bottom line: your customers. It's broad enough to accommodate research interests ranging from the typical to the way-out-in-left-field ideas.

And the industry is hungry for relevant research thanks to a rapidly changing landscape: Emerging markets that offer new opportunities, and new competitors. A fragmented media landscape that makes customers easier to reach but harder to attract.

Quant tools and the growing intersection of marketing, economics, and finance has allowed researchers—including our own Tom Gruca—to measure the value marketing gives to the bottom line. A PhD in marketing from Tippie provides the research, teaching, and writing skills—supported by close faculty mentorship—that will establish you as a productive marketing scholar.

Bayesian prediction, brain power, or big picture?

PhDs in marketing choose from three academic tracks.

Quantitative modeling

Focuses on developing models to explain marketing phenomenon. This track is more theoretical in nature.

Consumer behavior

Explores the psychology of how consumers think, feel, reason, and select during buying decisions. PhDs have access to our top-of-the-line behavioral research technology.

Marketing strategy

Drawing on organizational theory, this area is closely tied to quant modeling, but more applied than theoretical.

Top-tier placement

Our PhD graduates go on to tenure-track appointments at research institutions around the country and the world.

  • Baylor University
  • University of Utah
  • Mercyhurst College
  • University of Arizona
  • Armstrong State University
  • State University of New York (SUNY)–New Paltz
  • Peking University
  • State University of New York (SUNY)–Binghamton
  • Korea University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Virginia State University
  • University of Auckland, New Zealand
"What really drove me to Tippie was the research environment. I value the freedom to conduct the type of research that I’m fascinated about.”
Jing Wang
Alice Wang, Henry B. Tippie Research Fellow in Marketing and Professor Read Alice's story

Research with impact

You'll find a variety of cutting-edge and technology-driven topics in our faculty research roster. From Jing (Alice) Wang, who focuses her research on how aging and social exclusion influence buying behavior to Professor Tom Gruca, a publishing powerhouse with a particular interest in health care. Gary Russell uses complex statistical models to explore how the neighborhoods we live in affect our consumer choices.

See faculty research

It's a consumer behaviorist's nirvana

Heart rate monitors. A Tobii X2-60 eye-tracker. Skin conductance response sensors. Emotion recognition software. The kind of equipment that most researchers dream about is right at your fingertips in the Tippie College of Business.

We've spent the last five years investing in our behavioral research suites. Tippie marketing PhDs enjoy unfettered access to a 25-station, fully configurable behavioral lab, and three smaller labs containing state-of-the-art hardware for psycho-physiological measurements. With these tools, you'll be able to design better experiments that reveal new and intriguing data that's relevant to the field. And relevance is a big leg up on your journey to publication.

Getting in

First, you need to meet the minimum PhD admission requirements

An undergraduate degree in marketing is not required, but historically, most successful applicants have an MBA or a graduate degree in psychology, econ, or stats. Criteria for admission include:

Academic record

The minimum GPA is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. We consider both undergrad and graduate GPA, as well as the rigor of your undergrad or master's institution(s). You should have at least two semesters of calculus and one semester of linear algebra.

GMAT or GRE score

Admits typically have GMAT scores that average 650+, with quant scores at the 90th percentile and above.

Statement of purpose

Content and overall seriousness are considered.

Work experience

While it's not a requirement, successful students often choose to gain work experience in the private sector before pursuing their PhD.

English proficiency

This requirement applies only to international applicants whose native language is not English. We follow the Graduate College's English proficiency requirements

Letters of recommendation

We're interested in their assessment of your strengths, weaknesses, motivation, and ability to succeed.

Curriculum and sample plan of study

The PhD in Marketing requires 72 semester hours of credit, in addition to a dissertation. The typical time to complete the degree is five years. Most successful students remain in residence all five years.

The required Seminars in Marketing are designed to get you quickly up to speed on past and current research in specific areas, and introduce you to the background skills needed to successfully complete top-tier academic research in marketing. The topics alternate between consumer behavior, quantitative modeling, and marketing strategy.

Marketing Department Handbook

Academic tracks

Your curriculum will vary based on which track you choose: Quantitative Modeling (QM), Consumer Behavior (CB), or Marketing Strategy (MS). All students must meet the 72 semester hour requirement and complete the doctoral seminars and econometrics sequence. Beyond that, the program allows a fair amount of freedom based on your research interests.


Year 1
  • Required coursework common to all tracks: seminars in marketing, econometrics I and II, statistics
  • Elective coursework:
    • QM & MS: Additional statistics and economics
    • CB: Cognitive or social psychology


Year 2
  • Completion of required and elective coursework, additional coursework related to research interest area
  • Determine subject and conduct original research for second-year paper
  • End of year: Presentation of second-year paper to faculty; admitted to PhD candidacy when successfully completed


Year 3
  • Coursework if needed/desired for your research interest
  • End of year 3/beginning of year 4: Propose dissertation topic


Year 4
  • Fall semester: Continued progress toward dissertation proposal
  • Spring semester:  Oral defense of dissertation proposal
  • End of year 4: Enter job market


Year 5
  • Defense of completed dissertation