Program Overview

Marketing is one of the major functional areas in business and non-profit organizations, and is one of the most popular areas of study in most undergraduate and graduate programs in management. Academic research in marketing covers a broad range of topics, ranging from highly quantitative models of market behavior and consumer decision making to experimental studies of consumption behavior.

A PhD in marketing ordinarily prepares students for careers in academic research and teaching in this area. Current and recent doctoral students from the Smith School have won prestigious dissertation competitions, and have obtained positions at the world's leading universities. Recent doctoral student placements can be found on the PhD student profile page. There has been a very strong demand for PhDs in marketing in recent years, and this is expected to continue.

Marketing professors who are doctoral graduates of the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland are among the nation's best in terms of impact of their research on the profession, according to a recent study by Academic Assessment Services. Smith doctoral marketing graduates ranked 15th nationally in average number of citations to their work.


The objective of the program is to provide the most rigorous and up-to-date training possible, and to provide an educational experience that at least matches that of the very best programs. The marketing faculty at the Robert H. Smith School includes the former Editor of the Journal of Marketing, former Editor of Marketing Science and the Editor of the Journal of Service Research. In addition, Smith marketing faculty are members of the editorial boards of many top journals in marketing, includingJournal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Research Marketing Science and Journal of Marketing. Marketing faculty members regularly publish in the leading journals in marketing.

The marketing department at the Robert H. Smith School is also the home of the Center for Excellence in Service, a world-class center for the study of such topics as customer equity management, e-service and service innovation. This center hosts the annual AMA Frontiers in Services Conference and the Journal of Service Research and is also a source of contacts with corporations, who are potential sources of funding and data for research.

The presence of the Center for Excellence in Service makes the PhD program in marketing at the Smith School especially attractive to students with interests in service marketing, e-service, customer equity and CRM. However, the marketing department faculty have a wide variety of other interests, including marketing strategy, marketing research, consumer behavior, consumer decision making, retailing, business-to-business marketing, pricing, advertising, promotions, service marketing, international marketing, and product management. In short, the Robert H. Smith School marketing faculty has a very broad range of interests and expertise that can accommodate virtually any PhD student interest.

The Department of Marketing at the Robert H. Smith School of Business selects one outstanding marketing doctoral student who has advanced to candidacy to receive the Marvin A. Jolson Award, a financial award of $1,000. The selected student has demonstrated academic excellence during doctoral studies; distinctive service to the Smith School; service to the Association of Doctoral Students; quality research and presentation of research at conferences and in scholarly journals; and activity in a professional or academic association. A complete article about Marvin Jolson can be found here.

Student Support

Doctoral students typically are supported through research and teaching assistantships. In their first two years, students normally have a research assistantship that involves working up to 20 hours per week with a faculty member on research projects. This is an excellent way to learn the practical aspects of conducting research, and often leads to joint publications with faculty members. After their first two years, students normally do some teaching, and all students in the program are required to get teaching experience before they graduate.

Levels of financial support are competitive with the best schools, and include stipend, tuition waiver, and summer support. Students have office facilities, access to state-of-the art computing resources, and the use of the University of Maryland's excellent library system. In addition our corporate contacts are very useful sources of data for research projects and dissertations.

Students studying under current faculty members in marketing at the Robert H. Smith School have recently been placed at University of Delaware, European School of Management and Technology, Loyola College of Maryland, Indiana University, University of Southern California, Cornell University and the University of Rochester.


The University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business is located in College Park, a suburb of Washington, D.C. College Park is nine miles from downtown Washington, the seat of the Federal Government of the United States. College Park is also 32 miles from the city of Baltimore. The Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area is the fourth largest in the United States with almost 8 million residents. Aside from being one of the world's major centers of government, this area is a major center of the information technology, telecommunication, bio-technology, health care, and travel industries. The area has one of the world's most diverse populations, and a sunny, temperate climate. It offers activities to match any taste, including restaurants of all types, some of the world's best museums, and access to all sorts of outdoor activities, ranging from boating and fishing to running. Abundant housing and access to public transportation is available in the College Park area.

The Program

The goal of the PhD program is to develop outstanding research scholars in marketing who are also effective teachers. Toward this end, each doctoral student:

  • Takes relevant courses
  • Completes a pre-dissertation paper
  • Must pass a written comprehensive examination
  • Prepares and defends a dissertation proposal
  • Implements and defends a dissertation

A total of six courses (18 credits) are required for the marketing major. Ordinarily four of these courses will be PhD level seminars that students take in their first two years (one per semester). The purpose of these seminars is to provide as broad coverage as possible of the marketing area. Depending on the student's background and interests, the other two marketing courses can be in a variety of areas; one or both may be waived if the student has received an MBA Degree before entering the program.

In addition to the marketing major, each student must take two minors, each of which comprises 12 credits (4 courses). One minor must be in the area of research methods, and is normally comprised of a set of courses on data analysis relevant to the student's interests. The second minor can be in any area related to the student's area of interest in marketing, and may be selected from within or outside of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Examples of relevant minors are economics, psychology, information systems, electronic commerce, and management science.

Students are encouraged to become active in research as soon as they enter the program, and are expected to submit something for publication, most likely in collaboration with a faculty member, by the end of their first year. The first formal research requirement is a paper based on the student's own original research that the student must write and present to the marketing faculty at the end of his/her second year in the program. Students ordinarily take their comprehensive exam in marketing in the middle of their third year. After that they work on their dissertation. Depending on the student's background, the program ordinarily takes 4-5 years to complete.


Ideally students will have a master's degree in business or some related area (e.g., psychology, economics, operations research, communications), and a few years of relevant work experience. In some cases, students with undergraduate degrees with a strong quantitative focus, such as the physical sciences or engineering, will be considered for admission. An official test score on the GMAT or the GRE is required. Student selection is based on expected performance in the program. Some of the factors considered in the selection process are:

  • Past academic record
  • GMAT and/or GRE scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Level of expressed commitment to the program

The typical doctoral student in marketing has an undergraduate GPA of 3.5, holds a master's degree, has about three years of work experience, and has a GMAT score above 650. Highly qualified applicants will be interviewed on the telephone or invited for a campus visit prior to acceptance.


For additional information, please contact:

Professor Liye Ma 
Robert H. Smith School of Business
3323 Van Munching Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742.1815



Professor Rosellina Ferraro
Robert H. Smith School of Business
3309 Van Munching Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742.1815
Tel: 301.405.9664


All applications to the Doctoral program at the Smith School of Business are done online. This is a link to the application page.

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