Earning a Ph.D. in Marketing Online

Become Team
Become Team
July 30, 2019

Earning a doctoral program in marketing online is ideal for students who wish to advance professionally and financially in their careers. Distance learning allows students to maintain personal and professional responsibilities while completing their degree. Online programs also provide valuable technical experience, as graduates gain experience with software, spreadsheets, video conferencing, presentations, and other online systems in order to effectively collaborate, supervise, and communicate. Graduates of marketing Ph.D. programs online are prepared for lucrative, dynamic careers in the field.

What Can You Do With a Ph.D. in Marketing?

Marketing Ph.D. online program graduates possess excellent mathematical and analytical skills, and are skilled communicators. Many learners pursue careers in public relations or fundraising where they can promote an organization's public image. These professionals also possess top-notch research and writing skills, which makes them well-suited for analyst and specialist positions. Ph.D. graduates also possess strong leadership skills, which can translate to executive positions in the field.

Potential Careers & Salaries

Graduates of marketing Ph.D. online programs have substantial career opportunities across public, private, and nonprofit sectors, as well as in education. Professionals can pursue careers as executives, managers, analysts, or specialists, while others may teach in a college or university. Depending on one's career, a marketing Ph.D.-holder may oversee a company’s finances, manage a staff, or promote an organization's public image.

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

Annual Median Salary: $132,620

Job Growth Projection: 10%

Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers strategize marketing plans and advertising campaigns, and determine the types of media best suited for promoting products and services. They hire, supervise, and work with staff. These managers collaborate with department leadership and corporate executives to address budgets and contracts. A marketing Ph.D. is a substantial advancement beyond the minimum requirement of a bachelor’s degree.

Market Research Analysts

Annual Median Salary: $63,120

Job Growth Projection: 23%

Market research analysts use questionnaires, focus groups, public opinion polls, and market analysis to research demand, sales, and pricing of products and services. They employ software and statistical methods for data interpretation in order to better forecast market trends. Most positions require a bachelor’s degree; other market research analysts need a master’s degree for research-focused employment opportunities.

Public Relations and Fundraising Managers

Annual Median Salary: $114,800

Job Growth Projection: 10%

Public relations managers are tasked with maintaining their employer or client’s public image through advertising, spokesperson designations, audience identification, and press releases. Fundraising managers work toward achieving fundraising goals through strategic development and planning events which will generate money. A bachelor’s degree is the most common requirement for these positions, in addition to years of experience.

Public Relations Specialists

Annual Median Salary: $60,000

Job Growth Projection: 9%

Public relations specialists need a bachelor’s degree. They use social media and other traditional media outlets to mold and increase public perception and awareness of an organization’s message, efforts, and achievements. Specialists analyze advertising and promotions for effectiveness and compatibility with an organization’s public image goals.

Top Executives

Annual Median Salary: $104,980

Job Growth Projection: 8%

Top executives develop policies and procedures to better manage an organization’s activities meant to achieve goals. Top executives oversee a company’s finances and collaborate with other executives who they have appointed. They improve performance and efficiency, and identify cost-cutting opportunities. A bachelor’s degree and significant experience are top executive job requirements.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Traits of a Successful Marketing Professional

To excel in a marketing career, professionals in the field must demonstrate strong reasoning and communication skills, as well as deductive reasoning and the ability to distill complex information. Additionally, professionals must be able to skillfully read and analyze market and culture trends in order to effectively advertise to consumers. Marketing graduates must also possess strong initiative, dependability, and leadership to succeed in careers like specialists, analysts, managers, and executives. Career advancement is more likely for professions who welcome new challenges and responsibilities.

Active learning skills require individuals to engage and comprehend new information to solve problems and make decisions. Active learners participate exclusively in meaningful activities and methods to retain and understand content. It enables professionals to make decisions in consideration of market trends and consumer variables.
Active listeners concentrate fully on what is being said. They take special care to understand a speaker’s position and respond without interrupting. Active listeners are better able to retain information, and this skill can enhance workplace communication and collaboration.
Critical thinkers analyze facts and use logic to reach conclusions, solve problems, and present arguments. They reject assumptions and biases, and are skeptical of authoritative assertions that are not based on facts. In business, it is important to make logical and informed decisions.

Steps to Earning a Ph.D. in Marketing Online

Online doctoral programs in marketing vary in their specific course offerings and titles, and may also feature different specializations. Determining which online degree program is the best fit requires significant research, so make sure you thoroughly explore your prospective marketing Ph.D. online programs. Despite program differences; however, most students will take similar steps to earn their Ph.D. in marketing online.

Find the Right Program for You

Finding the right marketing Ph.D. online program requires extensive research. Students should first determine if the program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, which indicates the program has been vetted by industry leaders. Then, examine the marketing course offerings and determine if the dissertation process is suited to your needs and abilities. You may also want to consider the university’s reputation -- especially in its distance learning programs -- and review any residency, orientation, or other face-to-face requirements. Finally, explore tuition costs and a program's admission requirements.


Students should plan to spend at least a year applying to online doctoral programs in marketing. Application windows typically last three months, and notifications for fall acceptance arrive three to four months later. Prospective learners should prepare to submit letters of recommendation, official transcripts, personal statement essays, as well as evidence of a completed master’s degree in business from an accredited institution. A graduate management admissions test (GMAT) or graduate record examination (GRE) may be also required.

Capstone, Dissertation, or Thesis

Ph.D. programs often require students to complete their program by researching and writing a dissertation. This 12-18 month process begins with multiple seminar courses, and ends with a student proposing a topic, crafting the project, and defending the project before a committee.

Fellowship or Internship

Fellowships are partial or full scholarships. Some universities award full scholarships to students enrolled in a doctoral program. Partial scholarships may cover the expenses for distance learning students where residencies are required. Internships are temporary jobs, paid or unpaid, which emphasize program-specific training and provide valuable experience. This financial assistance is provided to offset costs, relieve financial stress, and offer incentives for choosing to apply to one program over another.

Curriculum for an Online Ph.D. in Marketing

The curriculum of a marketing Ph.D. online can vary by program, with each offering different courses, titles, and areas of concentration. However, most programs touch on topics like research, strategy, promotions and advertising, consumer behavior, business challenges, and leadership theories. Throughout the program students learn to define success in marketing, how to achieve it, and how to evaluate and understand consumers and market trends. Experience with software, online communication, research, and report composition and submission prepare graduates with advanced technological skills, while studying leadership styles can prepare students for executive careers in the field.

  1. Contemporary Business Challenges: This course examines change and crisis management, disruptive technology, and innovation in business. Students analyze these business challenges through the lens of scholarly literature. They draft plans to meet these challenges, and demonstrate both writing and critical thinking skills for personal and professional development.

  2. Marketing Research: Students theorize, evaluate, and apply marketing research methods as a means of comprehending the empirical research process. They collect data to identify trends and new research opportunities, and use report-formatting software to demonstrate critical thinking and analytical skill improvement. They also examine established literature and theories in the marketing research field.

  3. Marketing Promotions: Students explore how the application of promotional theories and strategies increases product awareness and promotes growth. Upon course completion, students use their knowledge of theory, design, and the application of promotion techniques to better sell products and services.

  4. Consumer Behavior: Comprehending buyer motivations, the psychology of choice, and customer satisfaction are key components of consumer behavior. In turn, this drives how products, services, and causes are promoted. Students examine the impact of cultural influences on markets and how they affect consumer behavior. Understanding how consumers process information contributes to determining marketing techniques.

  5. Leadership Theory and Practice: In this course, students examine a variety of leadership styles to shape and sustain a successful business culture. Since leadership is contextual, students determine which leadership styles are most effective for an organization. Successful business leaders manage and overcome ethical dilemmas and organizational stress, in positive collaboration with management personnel. Students approach these solutions through the perspective of business leaders.


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