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Program Design

Course Requirements

Students are encouraged to complete their doctoral training within 5 years. Required coursework is commonly restricted to the first two years of study, while the remaining time is spent completing the dissertation.

Students are required to take 12 Ph.D. courses in their first two years.  These include the following:

  • Behavioral Marketing Core Courses (3)
  • Judgment and Decision Making 1
  • Judgment and Decision Making 2
  • Foundations in Behavioral Economics
  • Empirical Methods Courses (2)
  • Experimental Design
  • Statistics
  • Breadth Courses (2)
  • Quantitative Marketing
  • Microeconomics
  • Electives in Behavioral Sciences (5) (example courses include)
  • Social Cognition
  • Cognitive Development
  • Cognitive Science of Morality
  • Foundations of Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Science of Pleasure
  • Psychology of Free Will
  • Independent study

Regular Activities

In order to remain in good standing students are required to attend three seminar series regularly, including:

  • The weekly Ph.D. Research Workshop in Behavioral Marketing (Sprouts)
  • The weekly Marketing Seminar series
  • The Ph.D. Pre-Workshop inMarketing (immediately prior to most weekly Marketing Seminars}

Additionally, students are expected to meet regularly with their primary advisor and any collaborating faculty.

Qualifying Examinations

First year paper and presentation. During their first year students are expected to develop a project in collaboration with one or more member of faculty. During the summer between the first and second year, students are required to write a 10 to 12 page paper reporting this research, due September 1. Students are also required to give a 30 minute research presentation summarizing this research in the fall semester of their second year.

Second year paper and presentation. During the second year, students are expected to develop a more in-depth investigation (either an extension of their first-year or a new line of work in a related area). Over the summer between the second and third year, students are required to write a 15+ page paper reporting this research, due September 1.This paper should include an extensive introduction that demonstrates mastery of the relevant literature. Students are also required to give a 60 minute research presentation summarizing this research inthe fall semester of their third year.

Assessment of the second-year paper and presentation serve as the qualifying exam for the advancement to the Ph.D. candidacy.

Students may not remain in the program longer than six years unless they obtain permission for a seventh year from  the Director of Graduate Studies. Very rarely, students may request an eighth year of registration due to serious circumstances beyond their control that have prevented them from completing the dissertation by the end of the seventh year of study. Approval for an eighth year must come from the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. In either case an Extended Registration Request Form must be submitted.


The dissertation typically consists of three essays which are completed in Years 3 to 5. 

Dissertation Prospectus. Prior to starting work on the dissertation, students submit a dissertation prospectus which consists of brief descriptions (one to two pages per essay) of the essays to be contained in the dissertation.  At this stage, the student must also finalize their dissertation committee consisting of the principal advisor and three other faculty members.  The Prospectus must be completed and accepted by the dissertation committee by the end of the student’s third year.

Thesis Defense. After completing the dissertation, students must defend it before their doctoral committee, other faculty members and interested doctoral students.  The faculty can accept the dissertation as is, require minor changes, or not accept the dissertation and ask the student to redo one or more essays (the third result occurs very rarely). If minor revisions have to be made, the student makes these revisions, gets them approved by the principal advisor, and then submits the dissertation to the Graduate School.

If the student would like to receive their degree during May Commencement, the dissertation must be submitted to the Yale Graduate School no later than March 15.  If the student plans on obtaining their degree in December, the dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate School by October 1.