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 the 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 the pursuit of dissertation research. The final oral examination, including the defense of the dissertation, is administered after completion of the dissertation.