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Program Design

The goal of the doctoral program in marketing at Yale is to prepare students to do creative and original research that expands the frontiers of knowledge in marketing. To do cutting edge research, students need to be trained in basic disciplines such as economics, statistics, computer science and psychology. They also need to gain knowledge of substantive areas of research in marketing.

The program recognizes that students will specialize in either the behavioral (psychology-based) or quantitative (economics, statistics and machine learning-based) approaches to marketing. Students interested in the psychological aspects of consumer behavior--how consumers make decisions, how they react to marketing stimuli--choose the consumer behavior track. Students with a quantitative background, who are interested in theoretical or empirical analysis of applied marketing problems choose the quantitative marketing track. Notwithstanding this specialization, the program sees value in developing some "breadth." Accordingly, it requires that every student take a core set of courses that cut across the behavioral and quantitative approaches.

Students can learn about substantive research areas of marketing in several ways. They include: taking the required doctoral seminars in marketing, attending and participating in workshops, working with the faculty, and reading research papers.

The Marketing area offers doctoral courses in both the quantitative and behavioral areas of marketing. These are required courses for the doctoral students. Students will be required to read and present a combination of "classic" and recent papers on a whole range of substantive marketing topics. A unique feature of the doctoral seminars at Yale is that all of the marketing faculty attend these doctoral seminars. This provides students the opportunity to learn about a diverse set of viewpoints and critiques of each paper and also facilitates regular research interaction with all faculty members. As students learn more about each faculty member's research interests and expertise, they can make more informed decisions about which faculty member they wish to work with for their dissertation research.

Regular workshops where top researchers from within the U.S. and abroad present their latest work are the hallmark of a major research university such as Yale. Workshops are a key tool for the exchange of information throughout the academic community, and they are an essential professional activity of a successful researcher. Students should plan to attend and actively participate in the marketing workshops as well as other workshops related to their specific areas of interest throughout their stay at Yale. To help doctoral students maximize their learning from each workshop and to encourage participation, a faculty member leads a pre-workshop discussion with the doctoral students. We encourage our doctoral students to actively immerse themselves in the intellectual life at Yale in order to maximize their learning as a doctoral student.

Doctoral students are assigned as research assistants to faculty. The goal of this assignment is to offer students the opportunity to have in-depth interactions with one faculty mentor who can help accelerate the student's learning curve to do cutting edge research. These interactions are expected to lead to publishable joint research between the student and the faculty member in top journals. We view these research assistantships as an important part of the learning process for a doctoral student at Yale.

As is evident from the design of the program, the key characteristic of the Ph.D. program in marketing at Yale is the close interaction between students and multiple faculty members. To facilitate these interactions, we deliberately keep the size of the program small so that every student will have ample opportunities for research interactions with the faculty. The faculty keep an open-door policy towards the doctoral students.

Students take a comprehensive qualifying exam at the end of their second year on all materials covered in the Marketing Ph.D. courses. During their first two years of study, students are also required to write summer papers on an original research topic that interests them. They present these papers in the Ph.D. student research workshop. After completing the second year exams, students begin formulating a dissertation topic and prepare a formal dissertation proposal. In many cases, the ideas from their summer papers serve as a launching pad for dissertation research.

Sample of course work during the first two years of the program in the Behavioral and Quantitative areas:

  • Microeconomic Analysis I
  • Econometrics I
  • Econometrics II
  • Game Theory I
  • Game Theory II
  • Industrial Organization I
  • Industrial Organization II
  • Machine Learning
  • Doctoral Seminar in Marketing I
  • Doctoral Seminar in Marketing II
  • Behavioral Decision Making
  • Social Psychology I
  • Social Psychology II
  • Quantitative Methods I
  • Quantitative Methods II
  • Research Methods in Psychology I
  • Research Methods in Psychology II
  • Experimental Design and Analysis
  • Doctoral Seminar in Marketing I
  • Doctoral Seminar in Marketing II
  • Behavioral Decision Making

Students are also expected to attend the following seminar series:

  • Marketing Workshop (where Marketing scholars from the U.S. and abroad present their research).
  • PhD Student Research Workshop (where Marketing PhD students in residence discuss their research).

In addition, students are strongly encouraged to attend selected seminars in other departments at Yale such as Psychology, Economics, Statistics and Computer Science, and the Law School. A weekly seminar on Networks that draws from various areas of study across the university and outside speakers is valuable for those interested in studying network issues in marketing.