A Ph.D. in marketing from a respected research institution is widely regarded as a necessary qualification for those interested in a career as a marketing faculty member. This career offers a high degree of intellectual stimulation, creative freedom, and the opportunity to develop and disseminate new knowledge via research and teaching.

Starting salaries (nine month) for newly minted Ph.D.s in marketing average over $140,000 a year (at research universities). In addition, many schools provide three or more years of additional summer salary and a research stipend.

Application and Admissions

Admission to our doctoral program is highly selective, as we strive to maintain a one-to-one ratio between students and faculty. Thus, we only admit a few select students each year and look for applicants who have research interests that align with those of our faculty.

Typically, successful applicants have a strong undergraduate record (3.3 GPA or higher) and high GMAT scores (high 600s or above) or GRE (90th percentile). In addition, we value applicants who have a strong interest in academic research, are highly motivated, possess strong communication and analytical skills, and have demonstrated the ability to think creatively and work independently. We value these skills and traits because experience has shown that they are essential for successful completion of a Ph.D. in marketing as well as later career success as a marketing academician. If you feel that you possess these qualities, we strongly encourage you to apply to our Ph.D. program.

If you have any questions about applications or admissions, please contact our Ph.D. coordinator, Belle Heberling, at bheberling@bus.wisc.edu.


Prerequisites for the program include a bachelor's degree or four courses selected from two or more of the following areas: accounting, finance, management, economics, and operations and information management. In addition, all incoming students are expected to have competency at an intermediate level of statistics (GEN BUS 706 or equivalent).


You must have completed four Ph.D. seminars in marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


You must have completed four courses at the graduate level, either inside or outside the Wisconsin School of Business. Courses must be at a level beyond that of intermediate statistics, with at least one course in the methods of data collection and at least one in the methods of data analysis.


You must have completed one of the following:

Option A – Departmental Minor: 10 credits in one department outside the Wisconsin School of Business.

Option B – Distributed Minor: 10 credits in more than one department outside the Wisconsin School of Business, with the possibility of some courses in business in areas other than the major.

Summer Paper Requirements

Following students' first year in the program, they are required to complete a research project, typically in collaboration with a faculty member. The summer paper should be based on a student's research interests, and it may be empirical or conceptual in nature. The summer paper must be submitted to the Ph.D. committee no later than August 31. Students will receive written feedback from the committee, including specific comments that will be similar to what they can expect in reviews from journals. Students will present the research to the department during the fall speaker series and receive feedback from the Ph.D. committee on their progress.

Preliminary Examination

In the summer following students' second year in the Ph.D. program, they will sit for the preliminary examination. The examination is designed to assess a student's breath and depth of knowledge before they begin working extensively on their dissertation. The examination will be reviewed by the Ph.D. committee in consultation with the full faculty.

Other Requirements

Other courses may be required by the department based on the student's previous academic background. Before the start of the second semester in the program, each student must complete a form showing a list of intended courses. This form must be approved by the faculty chair of the Ph.D. program in the Marketing Department, and all changes to the list must also be approved. Approval must be gained for all methods and minor courses before they are taken.

All marketing and methods courses must be satisfactorily completed before the preliminary examination can be taken; the examination cannot be taken before the student has completed at least two years of full-time coursework in the Marketing Department Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.