Doctoral

Goals of the Marketing Ph.D. Program

We want our program to be stimulating, enjoyable, a bonding experience with other Ph.D. students, and an experience of cooperation, not rivalry. New students get a great deal of help from those who have been in the program a year or two, and are expected to offer similar help a year or two down the road to other new students.

We encourage our students to seek placements as professors at research-oriented universities, and they do. We have placed graduates in a number of major programs, including INSEAD in France, the National University in Singapore, and in the U.S. Arizona State, Louisiana State University, Notre Dame, Texas A & M University, the University of California at Irvine, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Tennessee.

As faculty members, we treat our Ph.D. students like colleagues. You are.

Expectations and duties

The doctoral program is more than a series of courses. The overall goal is for you to develop as rapidly as possible into someone who can succeed in a research-oriented academic environment; someone who can conduct and present publishable research and who can teach competently. The following points are associated with this overall goal.

  • You should begin taking the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Research, and Marketing Science. (Student membership in the American Marketing Association allows you to get these journals at reduced prices.) You also should read these journals to the best of your ability, and discuss material that puzzles or intrigues you with faculty members and fellow students.
  • You are expected to attend departmental programs: research seminars and symposia.
  • You are welcome to sit in any class, including those you are not taking for credit. If you wish to get a different professor’s point of view on a doctoral course you already have taken, or if you wish to see how some faculty member covers some topic in an undergraduate or master’s level course, just inform the faculty member that you would like to visit.
  • You are expected to show initiative in your coursework and in your duties as a research assistant. Your future career will require you to set your own goals, learn how to solve problems on your own without detailed instructions, and get work done without constant supervision or a syllabus. There is no time like the present to begin practicing these skills.
  • You should not think of your program as a series of courses or evaluate yourself in terms of grades in courses. The central program goal and basis for evaluation is overall ability to do good research.

The research assistantship is an important part of your program because it should provide “on the job training,” a research apprenticeship. As mentioned above, you are expected to show initiative in research assistant duties. Also, you should expect to receive training via your assistantship. If this does not occur—for example, your duties do not progress beyond clerical tasks or simple library research—please advise the department chairperson and/or the doctoral program coordinator so they can arrange a better assignment.

  • A quarter-time research assistantship presumably involves ten hours of effort per week during the semester. The workload usually varies across the semester, though, so that some weeks require more time and some less. Students are encouraged to be flexible in this regard as long as assistantship work does not interfere with coursework. In general, the idea would be that a research assistant is less concerned with counting hours than with getting the job done, but also does not hesitate to inform the supervising faculty member about time constraints resulting from other obligations.
  • Your duties as a research assistant end with each semester. Please see a later section of this memo on incomplete grades as relating to this point: semesters end for Ph.D. students when they end for other students.

Teaching assistantships take two forms; grading assignments in which you help a faculty member grade a large class, and independent teaching assignments in which you teach the class. Most students will receive a grading assignment before receiving an independent teaching assignment.

As a grader, you are expected to attend classes, talk with the supervising instructor about his/her method and objectives of instruction, and generally prepare yourself for an independent assignment. Your work is unlikely to take more than 5 hours in most weeks, including time spent in class, but you must be prepared to work hard immediately after assignments are collected so they can be graded and returned quickly.

Our expectations are that you will strive to be a good teacher—and we will try to help you improve—and that you will be professional in your behavior. We expect you to prepare instructional notes for classes, not to miss classes, to treat students courteously and with appropriate professional distance, and to avoid criticizing the University and/or other instructors (including their assignments) to your students.

Except for students with special previous experience, we try to apply the following model of scheduling assignments. In your first semester or two in the program, you are assigned as a grader for a basic class and as a research assistant. In your second year, you are given an independent teaching assignment (one class of the course you have been grading, if possible) and you continue to work as a research assistant. After your second year in the program, you may be given either a research or teaching assignment. In total, our goal is for you to teach independently at least once during your program, but not to teach more than half the semesters you are in the program, and not to teach more than two different courses while you are here. Remember that this is a model schedule of assignments and that various constraints often prevent its complete application.

Grading and Evaluation

Each doctoral student is formally evaluated at least once per year, in June (evaluations also may be made at other times). Please see the college policies for a description of the basis for evaluation and evaluation categories. The most important consideration in the evaluation is your ability to do research, now and in the future. An evaluation of less than fully satisfactory progress (including dismissal) can result from various causes, such as poor grades or inadequate effort, but we most strongly emphasize ability to formulate, design, and conduct research.

Instructors of doctoral courses have been encouraged to grade conservatively, giving B and C grades as well as A grades, so do not be surprised or excessively discouraged by a B or C grade. A series of lower grades, of course, can lead to a negative evaluation or dismissal from the program. I grades (Incomplete) are not allowed except in special circumstances, defined by the university.

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Professor Vanessa Patrick,
Director of Doctoral Programs


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