The Doctoral Program in Business, with a concentration in Marketing, is designed to develop graduates who assume positions as faculty members in research-oriented schools of business. To obtain a position in a research-oriented school, students need to be able to publish in the leading journals (e.g., Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, etc.). Indeed, publishing while a student is the best way to obtain such a job upon graduation. Our program provides an excellent opportunity to do so for the following reasons:

  • Faculty expertise: Our faculty publishes regularly in the top behavioral journals in Marketing (i.e., Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research). Indeed, over the 5 year period from 2012-2017, we are ranked #21 in North America in terms of the number of publications in these outlets—and it must be noted that this ranking is not adjusted for department size. Additionally, a number of our faculty members serve on the review boards of these prestigious journals. Thus, students in our doctoral program have access to highly productive faculty members who can provide insight regarding what it takes to publish at the top journals.
  • Research breadth: Our faculty publishes on a number of topics relevant to consumer behavior, including (but not limited to) goal pursuit, numerosity, time perception, judgment and decision making, information processing, and other topics. Visit our research page for more detail.  Thus, as a PhD student, you will have access to experts on many diverse, interesting topics.
  •  Collaboration: Ours is an open department in that doctoral students are free to work with whomever they prefer. We encourage students to start working on research from day 1, and do not limit students to working with to any particular professor. Thus, from the day students enter the program, they can approach any professor they wish and begin working on research immediately. We give students generous access to our behavioral labs and online samples in order to facilitate publications and conference presentations. The size of the program is strictly controlled to allow for intensive faculty-student collaboration, so our faculty will always have time for students. Evidence of a doctoral program’s quality can be seen in where students are placed upon graduation. Graduates from our program are currently on the faculty of the University of Virginia, Texas Tech, Hofstra University, George Mason University, and the University of Minnesota. Our placements fare well in comparison to our peers, as can be seen in the annual Who Went Where report that details Marketing doctoral placements.

About Our Program

The Ph.D. program is designed to develop graduates who assume faculty positions in research-oriented business schools.

The faculty has developed the doctoral program in marketing to provide challenging research and learning experiences for students seeking the skills to become leading researchers and communicators of advanced business knowledge. The key ingredients to the program's success are its excellent students and its dynamic, research-oriented faculty who publish regularly in the leading marketing journals. In addition, faculty members are active in national marketing associations such as the American Marketing Association, the Association for Consumer Research, INFORMS, and the Academy of Marketing Science.

The program is highly selective, rigorous, and personalized. The size of the program is strictly controlled to allow for intensive faculty-student collaboration. The required coursework provides rigorous exposure to the academic research literature in marketing as well as research methods and statistics. At the same time, we recognize that students bring a variety of interests and we will work with students to develop programs of study that will allow them to productively pursue those interests.

Program Structure

The program is designed as a four-year program with a strong research focus on marketing research areas including consumer research, judgment and decision-making, consumer health and welfare, public policy, marketing strategy, and research methodology. The doctoral program, administered by the Graduate Program Committee in the Department of Marketing and the Graduate School of Virginia Tech, requires coursework in marketing content and theory, statistics, research methodology, and one supporting minor. The minor should be consistent with the student's interests and professional goals. Commonly selected minors include psychology, sociology, management, management science, and statistics. The program, in its entirety, is designed to train students to conceptualize, design and execute research; to analyze data; and to disseminate knowledge to peers, students, and practitioners.

A series of marketing doctoral seminars are required during the first year of study. MKTG 6105, 6106, and 6304 focused on the marketing literature and current issues in academic research in the field. MKTG 6224 is oriented to research methods. Additional seminars may be offered for the benefit of doctoral students. In addition, at least two courses of graduate statistics must be taken beyond STAT 5615 and 5616 or equivalent, along with at least three courses in the chosen minor field. A major aspect of learning is the student-faculty relationship. This one-on-one interaction is emphasized early in the program through research assistantships and independent studies.

As shown in the model program below, as the student advances through the doctoral program, the focus of the program shifts from coursework to research activity. Following completion of the doctoral seminars in the first year, each student is required to take a qualifying examination building on the work completed to date. Students failing the qualifying examination will be asked to leave the doctoral program.

In addition to study of the marketing literature, doctoral students are required to develop and present original research in seminar classes. Students will be expected to submit original research, some co-authored with members of the faculty, to major conferences and later to marketing journals.

In addition to the departmental qualifying examination, students are required during their third year of study to develop a dissertation proposal and to defend it. This defense constitutes the University-required Preliminary Examination. The fourth year of the doctoral program is focused on pursuit of dissertation research. The final oral examination, including the defense of the dissertation, is administered after completion of the dissertation.

Complete Application Requirements

Online Application: Apply Now

  • CV/Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcripts
  • Official Test Scores (GMAT or GRE [GMAT preferred], and/or TOEFL [TOEFL required for International students only])


Financial Support Statement

Graduate School requires the documents bolded above.

*Departmental Requirements

  • CV/Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation

*Departmental requirement materials should be mailed to:

The Department of Marketing-Virginia Tech

ATTN: Graduate Program Coordinator

Misty A. Blankenship

880 West Campus Drive

2016 Pamplin Hall

Blacksburg, VA 24061