Ph.D. in the Marketing Area


The doctoral program at Jones School of Business at Rice University is designed to provide students with the training necessary for a successful research and teaching career. This training revolves around attaining expertise in the foundational areas and using this as a basis to address important marketing issues. The training components involve selecting courses to meet individual needs and interests, working closely with faculty members on joint research, and conducting original research projects which ultimately lead to a dissertation that advances the field.

Marketing is naturally interdisciplinary in nature and therefore draws theory and methodology widely from a variety of fields, including economics, statistics, psychology, anthropology, sociology, and neurosciences. Research in marketing encompasses three broad overlapping areas: quantitative modeling, consumer behavior, and strategy.

The quantitative modeling area is rooted in microeconomics, econometrics, psychometrics, sociometrics, statistics and industrial organization. Some of the major objectives include creating models to probe competitive marketing strategies that explain and predict consumer choices and understand market structure. Examples of topics investigated by researchers at Rice include how to detect underlying trends using google data, how consumers allocate their time and discretionary income across competing products, services and activities, how product assortment impacts customer retention, why prices in the internet vary widely even though customers can easily search and why digital piracy might not be bad for firms.

Consumer behavior primarily focuses on explaining why consumers behave the way they do. Traditionally, psychology and sociology have been used to understand factors that explain consumer behavior. More recently, empirical modeling, survey methods, and neuroscience have provided important insights about consumers. Examples of the research conducted at JSB include why consumers purchase extended service contracts, how different identities (political, gender, moral) affect consumer decision making, studying lending decisions in peer-to-peer sites like Kickstarter and Kiva, developing strategies to encourage consumers to save more, why being on online communities fosters more risk taking, why just surveying customers makes them more satisfied.

The marketing strategy area deals with issues that focus on understanding and improving the strategy of the firm, and with strategic decision making of managers. Today, researchers in this area use a variety of tools including quantitative modeling, experiments, and surveys to answer questions related to a variety of topics. Topics researched at JSB include understanding the financial impact of marketing-mix decisions by managers, estimating customer-lifetime value and its impact on a firm’s financial performance, developing and measuring the impact of strategies that affect customers in terms of their satisfaction, brand-connection, brand equity, and commitment and measuring marketing outcomes such as brand-equity, customer satisfaction, corporate-social responsibility based on secondary data


Depending on their research interest, a student must take courses not only in JGS, but also in other departments such as psychology, economics and statistics. The Ph.D. degree requirements are as follows.
  1. During the student’s first two years, he or she must take a minimum of four doctoral-level courses per semester. The chosen courses must be approved by the marketing area faculty advisor. These courses will be a combination of required courses and electives. 
  2. Students must successfully complete the summer research paper requirements during the first two years. This requires working with a marketing faculty member during summer, getting the faculty member’s approval of the resulting paper, and then presenting the paper at a marketing research seminar no later than the spring semester of the following academic year. Students will also be required to present their research in the spring semester after the second year
  3. Students must successfully pass a comprehensive exam administered by marketing faculty at the end of the second year – typically in early May. The exam will be jointly administered and graded by marketing faculty. The exam is focused on the coursework taken in marketing and also measures the student’s knowledge of the area as a whole. A successful performance in the exam will demonstrate the student’s competency in marketing and provide the foundation from which he or she begins the research that will form the basis of the dissertation.
  4. Students are expected to complete and defend dissertation within a maximum of 7 years from the time of matriculation.
Doctoral students will continue taking doctoral-level marketing courses beyond their second year as well. 

Sample Course Sequences

Here is a sample course sequence for a doctoral student in Marketing seeking to develop a foundational expertise in Economics. Such a foundational expertise can enable students to explore a research path oriented toward Marketing Strategy, Consumer Choice Modeling, Understanding the Marketing-Finance interface, and Industrial Marketing/ Empirical IO Models. Students may also decide to develop a specialization in Quantitative Methods that can be applied to a wide variety of marketing problems. .

Year One (Fall)
ECON 501 - Microeconomic Theory I
ECON 504 - Advanced Economic Statistics
ECON 507 - Mathematical Economics I
BUSI 501 - Pro-Seminar in Marketing – I

Year One (Spring)
ECON 440 - Advanced Game Theory
ECON 510 - Econometrics I
ECON 523 - Dynamic Optimization
BUSI 502 - Pro-Seminar in Marketing – II

Year Two (Fall)
ECON 511 - Econometrics II
ECON 514 - Industrial Organization and Control
STAT 622 - Bayesian Data Analysis
BUSI 503 - Econometric Models in Marketing

Year Two (Spring)
ECON 577 - Topics in Economic Theory
STAT 540 - Practicum in Statistical Modeling
STAT 640 - Data Mining and Statistical Learning
BUSI 504 - Game Theory Models in Marketing

Here is a sample course sequence for a doctoral student in Marketing whose foundational expertise in psychology, sociology, and research methods. Such a foundational expertise can enable students to explore a research path oriented toward Consumer Behavior, Managerial Decision making, and understanding decision making in general. Students may also decide to develop a specialization in basic psychology with an eye to applying a variety of theoretical perspectives to answer research questions related to behaviors of consumers and managers.

Year One (Fall)
PSYC 502 - Advanced Psychological Statistics I
PSYC 511 - History and Systems of Psychology
PSYC 507 - Research Methods
BUSI 501 - Pro-Seminar in Marketing – I

Year One (Spring)
PSYC 503 - Advanced Psychological Statistics II
PSYC 550 - Foundations of Social Psychology
PSYC 602 - Psychometrics
BUSI 502 - Pro-Seminar in Marketing – II

Year Two (Fall)
PSYC 601 - Multivariate Statistics
PSYC 520 - Foundations of Cognitive Psychology
STAT 581 - Mathematical Probability I
BUSI 505 - Seminar in Consumer Behavior I

Year Two (Spring)
ECON 510 - Econometrics I
STAT 540 - Practicum in Statistical Modeling
STAT 582 - Mathematical Probability II
BUSI 506 - Seminar in Consumer Behavior II


Examples of research conducted by marketing faculty at JSB with current and past doctoral students (PhD Student name is bolded).


Kamakura, Wagner A. and Carl Schimmel (2013), “Uncovering Audience Preferences for Concert Features from Single-Ticket Sales with a Factor-analytic Random-Coefficients Model,” International Journal of Research in Marketing Volume 30, 129-142.

Du, Rex and Wagner Kamakura (2012), “Quantitative Trendspotting,” Journal of Marketing Research Volume 49 (3), 514-36.

Du, Rex and Wagner A. Kamakura (2011), “Measuring Contagion in the Diffusion of Consumer Packaged Goods,” Journal of Marketing Research Volume 48 (February).

Ajay Kalra, Shibo Li and Wei Zhang (2011), “Understanding Responses to Contradictory Information about Products,” Marketing Science Volume 30 (6), 1098-1114.  

Kamakura, Wagner A. and Sangkil Moon (2009), “Quality-Adjusted Price Comparison across Internet Retailers,” International Journal of Research in Marketing Volume 26 (September), 189-196.

Ajay Kalra and Shibo Li (2008), “Signaling Quality Through Specialization,” Marketing Science Volume 27, 168-184.

Peter Boatwright, Ajay Kalra and Wei Zhang (2008), “Research Note: Should Consumers Use the Halo to Form Product Evaluations?” Management Science Volume 54 (January), 217-223. 

Samaha, Stephen A. and Wagner A. Kamakura (2008), “Location, Location, Location: Assessing the Market Value of Real Estate Property,” Real Estate Economics Volume 36 (4), 717-751.

Du, Rex, Wagner A. Kamakura and Carl Mela (2007), “Size and Share of Customer Wallet,” Journal of Marketing Volume 71 (2), 94-113.

Boatright, Peter, Wagner A. Kamakura and Suman Basuroy (2007), “Reviewing the Reviewers:  The Impact of Individual Film Critics on Box-office Performance,” Quantitative Marketing and Economics Volume 5 (4), 401-425.

Moon, Sangkil, Wagner A. Kamakura and Johannes Ledolter (2007), “Estimating Promotion Response When Competitive Promotions Are Unobservable,” Journal of Marketing Research Volume 44, 503-515.

“Useful Mathematical Relationships Embedded in Tversky’s Elmination By Aspects Model,” Randy Batsell, John C. Polking, Roxy D. Cramer, and Christopher M. Miller. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 47, pp. 538-544, 2003 .


Swaminathan, Vanitha, Christopher Groening, Vikas Mittal, and Felipe Thomaz (2014), "How achieving the dual goal of customer satisfaction and efficiency in mergers affects a firm’s long-term financial performance," Journal of Service Research accepted for publication.

Leana, Carrie, Vikas Mittal, and Emily Stiehl (2011), “PERSPECTIVE-Organizational behavior and the working poor,” Organization Science Volume 23 (3) (May-June), 888-906.

Mittal, Vikas and Carly Frennea (2010), “Customer Satisfaction: A Strategic Review and Guidelines for Managers,” MSI Fast Forward Series, Marketing Science Institute, Cambridge, MA.

Shang, Jennifer, T. Pinar Yildirim, Pandu Tadikamalla, Vikas Mittal, and Lawrence H. Brown (2009), “Distribution network redesign for marketing competitiveness,” Journal of Marketing Volume 73 (2) (March), 146-163.

Govind, Rahul, Rabikar Chatterjee, and Vikas Mittal (2008), “Timely access to healthcare: Customer-focused resource allocation in a hospital network,” International Journal of Research in Marketing Volume 25, 294-300.

Mittal, Vikas, Matthew Sarkees, and Feisal Murshed (2008), “The right way to manage unprofitable customers,” Harvard Business Review (April), (Reprint: R0804F).

Mittal, Vikas, John W. Huppertz, and Adwait Khare (2008), “Customer complaining: The role of tie strength and information control,” Journal of Retailing Volume 84 (2) (June), 195-204.

Du, Rex, Wagner A. Kamakura and Carl Mela (2007), “Size and Share of Customer Wallet,” Journal of Marketing Volume 71 (2), 94-113.

He, Xin and Vikas Mittal (2007), “Understanding escalation of commitment: The moderating role of decision risk,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes Volume 103 (July), 225-237.

Mittal, Vikas, Wagner Kamakura, and Rahul Govind (2004), “Geographic patterns in customer service and satisfaction: An empirical investigation,” Journal of Marketing Volume 68 (July), 48-62.


Zhang, Yinlong, Lawrence Feick, and Vikas Mittal (2014), “How males and females differ in their likelihood of transmitting negative word of mouth,” Journal of Consumer Research, accepted for publication.

Winterich, Karen P., Vikas Mittal, and Karl Aquino (2013), “When does recognition increase charitable behavior? Toward a moral identity-based model,” Journal of Marketing, Volume 77 (May), 121-134.

Kamakura, Wagner A and Rex Du (2012), “How Economic Contractions and Expansions Affect Consumption Priorities” Journal of Consumer Research Volume 39 (2), 229-47.

Winterich, Karen P., Yinlong Zhang, and Vikas Mittal (2012), “How political identity and charity positioning increase donations: Insights from Moral Foundations Theory,” International Journal of Research in Marketing Volume 29 (4) (December), 346-354.

(Runner Up: MSI-IJRM Best Article Award for special issue on Consumer Identities) LISTED AS TOP TEN DOWNLOAD ON SSRN, June 2013, (CATEGORY: BHNP, ERN: Altruism, Moral Psychology, & Non-profit Organizations)

Du, Rex and Wagner A. Kamakura (2011), “Measuring Contagion in the Diffusion of Consumer Packaged Goods,” Journal of Marketing Research Volume 48 (February).

Darron Billeter, Ajay Kalra and George Loewenstein (2011), “Underpredicting Learning Following Initial Experience With a Product,” Journal of Consumer Research Volume 37 (February), 723-736. (Lead Article).

Uzma Khan, Meng Zhu and Ajay Kalra (2011), “When Tradeoffs Matter: The Effect of Choice Construal on Context Effects,” Journal of Marketing Research Volume 48 (1), 62-71.    

Ajay Kalra and Mengze Shi (2010), “Consumer Value-Maximizing Sweepstakes and Contests,” Journal of Marketing Research Volume 47 (2), 287-300.

Tao Chen, Ajay Kalra and Baohong Sun (2009), “Why do Consumers Buy Extended Service Contracts,” Journal of Consumer Research Volume 36 (December), 611-623.

Winterich, Karen P., Vikas Mittal, and William T. Ross (2009), “Donations behavior toward In-groups and Out-groups: The role of Gender and Moral Identity,” Journal of Consumer Research Volume 36 (2) (August), 199-214.

Du, Rex and Wagner Kamakura (2008),“Where did all that money go?  An analysis of consumer expenditures in America,” Journal of Marketing, Volume 72 (November), 109-131.

He, Xin, J. Jeffrey Inman, and Vikas Mittal (2008), “Gender jeopardy in financial risk taking,” Journal of Marketing Research Volume 45 (4) (August), 414-424.

Zhang, Yinlong and Vikas Mittal (2007), “The attractiveness of enriched and impoverished options,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin Volume 33 (4) (April), 588-598.

Kamakura, Wagner A., Suman Basuroy and Peter Boatright (2006), “Is silence golden? An inquiry into the meaning of silence in professional product evaluations,” Quantitative  Marketing and Economics.

Du, Rex and Wagner A. Kamakura (2006), “Household Lifecycles and Life Styles in America,” Journal of Marketing Research Volume 43 (February), 121-132.

Garg, Nitika, J. Jeffery Inman, and Vikas Mittal (2005), “Incidental and task-related affect: A re-inquiry and extension of the influence of affect on choice,” Journal of Consumer Research Volume 32 (1) (June), 154-159.