About the Ph.D. Program in Marketing

The Marketing Ph.D. program focuses on preparing students for research-intensive careers in academic institutions. The program is designed to provide both the theoretical and quantitative background necessary to allow students to begin their careers as well as provide them the grounding necessary to develop new skills that will allow them to keep up with changes in the discipline.

The department is able to support a wide range of interests, but has specific expertise in the following:

  • Managing interactions between frontline employees and customers whether those be in sales of service contexts
  • Understanding the behavioral underpinnings of firm/customer interactions
  • Developing and managing customer relationships in both consumer and business contexts
  • Understanding the role of cultural factors on customer relationships

Admissions Requirements

An excellent record from accredited universities is required and should include:

  • High GPA (in excess of 3.5), and a positive trend in grades.
  • High verbal and quantitative GMAT scores (recommended > 650) or GRE (recommended combined > 320), taken within the past three years. The GMAT is preferred but students may choose to take either the GMAT or the GRE.
  • Three letters of reference that speak to the ability of the applicant to successfully complete the Ph.D. program and his or her potential for teaching and research.
  • A current résumé
  • Applicant’s statement of purpose for pursuing the Ph.D. program (1-2 pages).
  • Note that a master’s degree is not required for our program. While there may be some advantages to having a master’s degree (particularly one that has already covered statistics and research methods), it is not a requirement for admission. Furthermore, because the goals of a Ph.D. and master’s program (particularly an MBA) are very different, working on them at the same time will not be beneficial and thus is discouraged. Only in very rare cases do we allow transfer of MBA courses or Ph.D. courses from other programs for credit in our program.

Application Deadlines

We encourage prospective students to get their applications to us by January 1 of the year they would like to be considered for admission. Applications are accepted after this date, but those submitted on or before January 1 will be given first priority.

We only accept students to start the Fall semester due to the structure of our coursework.

After an initial screening of applications for minimum admission requirements, we conduct phone or video conference interviews with a select group of candidates in January. From there, invitations are given to a small number of potential students for spring visits to interview and meet the faculty during February and early March. Most acceptance decisions are made by March 15. We will accept applications into the summer only if we have yet to fill our available positions.

All applications must be completed through The University of Alabama Graduate School website. To apply, go to graduate.ua.edu.

Curriculum and Qualifying Exam Process

Students must complete 48 hours of coursework. We try, to the extent possible, to have students complete coursework in the first two years, assuming a student has completed a Master’s program from which classes can be transferred into our program. Courses fall into three categories: (1) Major Courses (24 hours), (2) Quantitative Courses (12 hours), (3) Electives (12 hours).

Major Courses consist of the following:

    • MKT 690: Theory Development and Use
    • MKT 691: Seminar in Marketing Strategy
    • MKT 613: Consumer Behavior
    • MKT 688: Quantitative Modeling Marketing

MKT 674: Measurement and Structural Equation Modeling

  • MGT 690: Research Methods I
  • MGT 691: Research Methods II

Students are given some latitude in identifying quantitative courses and electives based on their specific interests.

Our qualifying exam process consists of two parts, a first and second-year paper. The first-year paper is completed during the summer between the first and second year. The primary goal of the first-year paper is for students to exhibit the ability to identify a unique research idea, provide a strong theoretical underpinning for the idea, draw on that theoretical perspective to develop and support testable hypotheses, and suggest a research methodology to allow the testing of the hypotheses. Evaluation of the first-year paper includes both written and oral components. the second-year paper occurs during the late spring of the second year and can be a continuation of the first-year paper or a new idea. The focus of the second-year paper is to provide evidence of the ability to carry out a research project including data collection, analyses, and interpretation. Taken together, the successful completion of the two papers along with having completed all coursework allows a student to be admitted to candidacy.


The dissertation is designed to be the culminating experience in a Ph.D. program. It is expected that after completing the second-year paper process, if not before, students will begin discussions with the program coordinator and other faculty about the dissertation process. Dissertations can take a variety of forms, but ultimately should be focused on the development of an original research idea and the theoretical and methodological aspects of that idea. The formation of a dissertation committee is an early step in this process.