This program is rather flexible, allowing students to redefine their educational goals as their interests grow and change. The design of this Ph.D. program is based on a full-time commitment, including summers, and on the completion of the activities listed below.

The key requirements for completing the degree are:

  • Course work
  • First-Year and Second-Year Summer Research Paper
  • Qualifying Examination
  • Dissertation Proposal & Defense

Details on each of these, as well as additional information on degree policies, are below.

-Course Work-

Total Number of Units Required for Degree Attainment: Students are required to carry a minimum of 36 units in each semester (Fall, Spring, and Summer) for the duration of their time in the program. Any exceptions to this, because of extenuating circumstances, would have to be approved by the student’s advisor and the JPOC.

Waiver Policy: Since the Tepper School PhD program has no required courses, students have the option of opting out of taking courses in which they feel they have sufficient preparation. Students should consult with their advisors for approval to opt out of a course; it should be noted that students are required to take the full cohort of qualifying exams in Year 2 of the program, whether or not they have taken the Tepper courses that correspond to them.

Curriculum Requirement Details

  • The Ph.D. curriculum is a synthesis of course offerings from the Tepper School and from SDS.
    • For Tepper, there is no explicit course requirement, though courses are offered in a variety of disciplines organized around the core disciplines of Economics, Operations Research, and Organization Behavior and Theory, with each of the functional areas of Accounting, Finance, Information Systems, Marketing, and Operations Management being associated with one or more of the core disciplines. Students in the Ph.D. program also take courses in their own area of specialization (i.e., the area in which the student is admitted).
    • For SDS, a minimum of 12 PhD courses (156 units; typically 144 units for 12 unit graduate classes, some graduate classes—e.g., PhD courses from the Psychology Department—are 9 units).
      • At least 4 of the 12 courses must be in methodology. At least 2 of the 4 methodology courses must embody standard statistics methodology.
      • All courses must be at the PhD level. Some courses with PhD numbers may not be acceptable, for example, a basic course in computer programming. Non-standard PhD courses should always be approved by your advisor the JPOC. Masters courses are only acceptable if the instructor verifies to the JPOC, prior to the start of the course, that the PhD –level work and activities will be undertaken by the students.
      • Students may use, at most, one independent study for meeting the coursework (non-methodology) requirements. This independent study must be taken for a letter grade. Students must petition the GEC to use an independent study for this purpose, and include in the petition a comprehensive reading list and statement signed by the faculty member facilitating the independent study indicating that the student’s time and effort was comparable to a standard PhD-level course. Independent studies used as “fillers” or for research do not count for coursework requirements. These latter independent studies must be taken pass/fail.
    • SDS PhD Seminars (12 units)
      • Students must attend the SDS PhD Seminar (88-900 and 88-901) during their first year of residence in the program.
    • Department Seminars
      • Students must attend the main SDS seminars (typically held on Tuesdays, 12:00-1:30pm) during their entire period of residence. Students are also expected to attend one or more of the specialized seminar series sponsored by SDS during their entire period of residence.

-Further Details about the Marketing Courses-

The general Marketing PhD Program is organized into three tracks:

(I) Consumer Behavior

(II) Empirical Modeling

(III) Analytical Modeling

Often, two or more tracks are combined.

For this joint program, students are expected to complete the Consumer Behavior track, but are encouraged to take courses in the other tracks. This is especially true because successful completion of the Marketing Qualifying exam is unlikely without a core understanding of Empirical Modeling and Analytical Modeling.

The courses that students take tend to organize into two categories: Courses for All Marketing Students and Courses Based on Track. One thing to note is that this list is just an example and course offerings change regularly. Make sure to consult your area representative about this.

Courses for All Marketing Students Include:

(Note that in order to succeed in the qualifying exam, all of these courses are recommended)

  • Topics in Consumer Behavior I
  • Topics in Consumer Behavior II

Courses Based on Track

Note that students typically do not take all of these courses, but rather select those that best fit their research interests. Also, the set of courses for the two modeling tracks are the same because 1) empirical students increasingly formulate theory-based models and 2) theory/analytical students increasingly empirically test and validate their conclusions.

Courses for the Consumer Behavior Track

Courses for the Empirical and Analytical Modeling Tracks

  • Human Judgment and Decision Making*
  • Social Psychology
  • Nonlinear Decision Models
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Emotion*
  • Experimental Research Methods
  • Seminar in Unethical Behavior
  • Seminar in Organizational Behavior
  • Experimental Design for Behavioral and Social Science
  • Multivariate Data Analysis
  • Marketing seminars, which include topics such as choice models, data analysis, game theory, and structural marketing models
  • Contract Theory
  • Economics of Contracts
  • Game Theory
  • Game Theory Applications
  • Advanced Economic Analysis I and II
  • Econometrics I, II, III, IV
  • Microeconomics I, II
  • Macroeconomics I, II
  • Analytical and Structural Marketing Models
  • Bayesian Statistics in Marketing
  • Bayesian Theoretical Statistics
  • Dynamic Structural Models
  • Machine Learning
  • Multivariate Data Analysis
  • Advanced Statistical Methods
  • Applied Bayesian Methods
  • Computational Methods of Economics
  • Intermediate Statistics
  • Nonparametric Modeling and Econometrics
  • Regression Analysis
  • Statistical Computing
  • Time Series Analysis

Qualifying Exams Based on Track

Consumer Behavior Track

Students take two exams:

  1. Marketing Breadth
    1. The exam typically consists of four questions, two based on coursework from the Consumer Behavior track and two from the Empirical and Analytical Modeling Tracks. Students are expected to complete three of these four exam questions.
  2. Marketing Depth
    1. Students pick a topic area and create a reading list (~50 papers). Exam questions are based on this list and are designed to test expertise within one or two selected sub-areas of marketing.

-Further Details about the SDS Courses-

As stated above, the base requirement for SDS is to complete 12 courses (4 of which are methodology courses). There are, however, a number of recommended courses that will not only enhance your education, but will greatly assist with qualifying exams. We provide a non-exhaustive list of these courses here:

  • Econometrics (2-semester sequence)
  • Experimental Design
  • Stats for Behavioral Science
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Micro-economics
  • Psychology Core A,B,C,D