PhD Degree Guidelines

These tabs provide guidelines for the marketing doctoral program at the Fuqua School of Business. Three major topics are addressed: guidance for course selection and other matters, progress guidelines, and research and teaching assistantships. Because the mechanisms for carrying out these functions differ somewhat depending upon the student’s year in the program, the first year, second year and third year are addressed in separate sections below.

"The dedication of the Fuqua faculty to the doctoral program was, and as far as I can tell, still is, second to none."

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First Year

Advice and Guidance
The major mechanism for providing advice and guidance regarding course selection, research and teaching assistantships, and other matters is a first-year academic advisor system.  Each student will be assigned two academic advisors before the beginning of the first year.  These advisors will contact the student following admission and will continue to interact with the student regarding questions and information prior to the student’s arrival at Duke. These  advisors may or may not be the same individuals to whom you are assigned as an RA/TA.

One of the major roles of the advisors during the first year is to assist with course selection, because the program calls for developing a program consistent with, and tailored to, each student’s background and goals.  Three marketing seminars,  BA562 Seminar in Consumer Behavior, BA563 Marketing Models Seminar and BA591 Marketing Strategy Seminar are required courses that all marketing students have to successfully complete.  Other courses that the students take should be consistent with their research interests.  Some examples of course schedules for PhD students in marketing with different emphases (e.g., consumer behavior, marketing models, marketing strategy) are provided in Appendix A.  The advisors assist the student in selecting both Fall and Spring courses for the first year and Fall semester courses for the second year. The advisors also provide guidance to the student regarding involvement in research and teaching assistantships and other matters as appropriate throughout the first year.   Finally, the advisors provide an important source of information for feedback to the student and for the first-year paper, as described in more detail next.

Throughout the PhD program, students are expected to take full advantage of faculty expertise and the intellectual environment at the Fuqua School.  During the first year, students should meet with faculty members one-on-one to learn about different faculty members’ research projects. All students are also expected to attend all the seminars in the marketing workshop/seminar series, and this will be true throughout your time in the PhD program.  These seminars are a central feature of intellectual life here.  If you have a class that conflicts with seminar, please let your advisors know.  Seminar speakers’ schedules typically include a meeting with PhD students; students are expected to take advantage of these opportunities to interact with visiting scholars.

Progress Guidelines
An important part of any doctoral program is a mechanism for assuring that students receive timely and accurate feedback on their progress in the program.  Although course grades and informal conversations with faculty members provide some of this information, more formal procedures ensure that each student has the benefit of as much feedback as possible about his or her performance.  The procedures used by the marketing area in the first year are outlined below.

The marketing area faculty will gather information about each student’s first year performance   Sources of information will include the student’s advisors, instructors, and faculty for whom he/she has been research or teaching assistant.  In addition, the student will provide an annual report discussing first year accomplishments, shortcomings, areas of interest, and how the student would like to be positioned.  See Appendix B for the specific format of the annual report. The student will also submit a one to two page proposal for the first year paper. The annual report and the first year paper proposal should be submitted to the marketing area’s PhD coordinator (currently Rick Staelin) by May 15.  Under the graduate school requirements, a separate report also needs to be submitted to the director of Fuqua PhD program (Jim Bettman) by April 15. Students are expected to maintain a cumulative grade point average of “B” (3.00) or better by the end of the first year and throughout the rest of the program.  Any student who receives an “F” or fails to exceed or meet a cumulative “B” average by the end of the first year will be subject to dismissal. In assessing performance, incompletes in coursework will not be viewed positively.

An important component of the first year is the first year paper.  This paper is due to the marketing area PhD coordinator on or before the first day of the Fall semester of the second year.  Failure to hand in the paper by this date will result in an immediate recommendation for dismissal of the student.  The student’s first year advisors must approve the paper before it can be submitted.  The paper should represent the student’s best work at this stage of the doctoral program.  The paper may be a reworked paper handed in for a seminar or a new paper done over the summer.  It may be empirical, theoretical, or a review.  The important point is that it represents work that the student feels best demonstrates his or her capabilities at the point in time.  Collaboration with the faculty is allowed with two stipulations: 1) the student should have played a major role in the generation and development of the core idea and 2) the student should do the writing of the first year paper. The student should provide a statement listing faculty help on the project and the faculty involved should provide statements about their role and the student’s role.

During the Fall semester of the second year, the marketing area faculty will examine the first year paper, the student’s annual report, grades, and feedback from faculty who have had the student in class and/or have had the student as a research or teaching assistant.  The marketing area faculty will provide feedback to the student.  If progress is not satisfactory, performance may be assessed again at a time determined by the area faculty.  Poor performance may ultimately result in dismissal from the program.

Research and Teaching Assistantship
A critical part of the doctoral program is forming relationships with faculty members and learning about research and teaching processes.  To encourage the early formation of such
relationships, the marketing doctoral program requires that each student engage in an average of at least ten hours per week of research and teaching assistantship activities throughout the first year. Payment for these ten hours is guaranteed and part of the student’s first year stipend.  In general the student will be assigned to specific faculty who are responsible for providing work associated with these hours.  The student’s advisors will also provide advice and guidance to help the student become engaged in activities that match their needs and interests with those of the faculty.

Conference Funding
Another critical dimension of PhD education is forming broader networks with academic scholars. In order to facilitate these networks the Marketing group has set aside funds to cover a portion of the student’s expenses for attending conferences in the first or second year of the program (even though the student is not presenting a paper). These funds are different from funds that are available from Fuqua Ph.D. program for presenting papers at conferences. Full details of these funds, along with funds to support research initiatives can be found in Appendix C.

Second Year

Advice and Guidelines
At the beginning of the second year, each student will find one or two marketing faculty willing to serve as their academic advisor(s) and inform the marketing area PhD coordinator about this relationship.  As in the first year, academic advisors will guide the student on all academic issues.  In addition, by October 1 of the second year, each student will form a second year paper committee made up of four faculty members willing to serve on the committee, with one faculty member designated as its chair.  The student must notify the marketing area PhD coordinator in writing regarding the membership of this committee.  

All students are also expected to attend all the seminars in the marketing workshop/seminar series, and this will be true throughout your time in the PhD program.  These seminars are a central feature of intellectual life here.  If you have a class that conflicts with seminar, please let your advisors know.  Seminar speakers’ schedules typically include a meeting with PhD students; students are expected to take advantage of these opportunities to interact with visiting scholars.

Progress Guidelines
As in the first year, the student will submit an annual report by May 15 (please see Appendix B for the specific format of the annual report) along with a one or two page proposal for the second year paper. Under the graduate school requirements, a separate report also needs to be submitted to the director of Fuqua PhD program by April 15.  Similar to the first year, the marketing area faculty will examine grades, obtain feedback from faculty, and assess the student’s performance at the beginning of the Fall semester of the third year and provide
feedback. Depending upon the level of performance, remedial action or dismissal may be recommended.

During the second year, students should also begin planning and implementing their second year research paper, which must be completed and presented orally to the faculty.  This paper is due to the marketing area PhD coordinator as well as the second year paper committee on or before the first day of the Fall semester of the third year.  Failure to hand in the paper by this date will result in an immediate recommendation for dismissal of the student.

The research paper should be a written piece of original research, such as an empirical paper (e.g., based on experiments, surveys, secondary data, or scanner data) or an analytical or other quantitative model.  The research may be done jointly with faculty; in fact, joint work with faculty is strongly encouraged. However, the student must have made clear and significant contributions to all phases of the project. The aim is to have a paper which is potentially submittable to a proceedings or journal.  The student will present the paper at a brown bag seminar.  The second year paper committee will then assess the suitability of the paper in terms of meeting the requirements stated above.

During the Fall semester of the third year, the marketing area faculty will examine the second year paper, the student’s annual report, grades, and feedback from faculty who have had the student in class and/or have had the student as a research or teaching assistant.  The marketing area faculty will provide feedback to the student.  If progress is not satisfactory, performance may be assessed again at a time determined by the area faculty.  Poor performance may ultimately result in dismissal from the program.

Teaching and Research Assistantships

Throughout the second year, the student should continue to be involved in research and teaching assistantships at a recommended level of at least 10 hours per week, on average.  Six of these hours are associated with the student’s stipend.  The remaining hours need to come from the individual faculty’s research budget.  Consequently it is incumbent on the student to provide enough value to justify the support of the individual faculty member.

Conference and Research Funding

As in the first year, the students are encouraged to attend conferences, and present papers if possible. Funding opportunities available for attending conferences are listed in Appendix C. 

Third Year and Thereafter

At the beginning of the third year, each student finds one or two marketing faculty willing to serve as academic advisor(s) and inform the marketing area PhD coordinator about it. As in the first two years, academic advisors will guide the student on all academic issues. In addition, by October 1 of the second year, each student will form an examination committee made up of four faculty members willing to serve on the committee, with one or two faculty members designated as its chair or co-chairs. The student must notify the marketing area PhD

coordinator in writing regarding the membership of this committee. This committee should reflect the student’s best estimate of his or her interests and will probably overlap substantially with the dissertation committee. The examination committee is responsible for approving the topic and scope of a comprehensive review paper (major area paper, or MAP), that constitutes the marketing area’s major field examination. The comprehensive review paper will be similar to a paper in Psychological Bulletin or Journal of Economics Literature. The paper will be due July 1 of the third year. However, earlier completion of the paper is strongly encouraged. The examination committee will grade the paper and determine what actions are required depending upon the quality of the paper. Such actions might include rewriting some or all of the paper, granting a terminal M.A. degree or dismissal from the program.

After the MAP has been successfully completed, the student forms a dissertation committee and begins formulating a dissertation proposal. The student should notify the marketing area PhD coordinator in writing when they form their dissertation committee. The committee must have at least four members, at least one of whom must be from a non-business school department (e.g., psychology, economics; someone from another business school, such as UNC, does not meet this requirement). The student will choose a chair or two co-chairs for the dissertation from this committee. From this point forward, the dissertation committee monitors progress and provides feedback.

The student should continue to be involved in research and teaching assistantships at a recommended level of at least 10 hours per week, on average. Again only six of these hours are part of the student’s stipend up through the first 2 years. In addition these students are eligible to receive grants up to $1000 to help facilitate research projects. See Appendix C for details of this support and other conference funding opportunities.

All students are also expected to attend all the seminars in the marketing workshop/seminar series, and this will be true throughout your time in the PhD program. These seminars are a central feature of intellectual life here. If you have a class that conflicts with seminar, please let your advisors know. Seminar speakers’ schedules typically include a meeting with PhD students; students are expected to take advantage of these opportunities to interact with visiting scholars.

Each year, each student will submit an annual report in the format described in Appendix B by May 15 to the marketing area PhD coordinator. Under the graduate school requirements, a separate report also needs to be submitted to the director of Fuqua PhD program by April 15. Throughout the program, each student should always have one or two marketing faculty as his/her academic advisors.

After year 3, developing the idea for and implementing the dissertation are the focus. The formal steps include selecting the dissertation committee and informing the graduate school about that committee, writing a dissertation proposal, defending that proposal, carrying out the dissertation research, filing an intent to graduate form online, defending the dissertation, and filing the completed dissertation. For the committee form and a description of regulations governing dissertation format and defense, see the downloadable documents at http://www.gradschool.duke.edu/Regulations/forms.htm. You can see other graduate school regulations, including the intent to receive degree form and graduation deadlines, at http://www.gradschool.duke.edu/Regulations.