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PhD in Marketing Management

Summary of the study programme

Marketing is a well-defined academic field within the social sciences that has membership organizations including academics and practitioners, dedicated scientific journals, and academic programs offered at all levels (bachelor, master, and doctoral). Marketing is a core academic field within any business school and an important element in all study programs. Marketing is also a core competency in any organization that must compete for customer preferences and for which fulfilling customers' needs is necessary for long-term profitability and sustainability. Marketing competence is applicable not only to profit-driven companies, but also to nonprofit and public organizations that must fulfill the needs and goals of their target audiences.

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as:

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

The term Marketing Management is used to emphasize that the focus of the program is marketing in a management perspective. This perspective is a natural one, given that the program is offered at a business school and related to other fields of management research such as organizational theory, finance, law, economics, IT, and accounting. Also, by including management in the name, the program is more holistic in terms of research topics, theory, and research methodology.

In the coming years, business schools in Norway will need to substantially increase the number of faculty members with doctoral degrees because business degrees at all levels are important in a modern society, and study programs of high international standards require an active, highly competent, and research-oriented faculty. Also, the business community is increasingly hiring people with research qualifications. As competition becomes more global and complex, companies and organizations are in constant need of more scientific and research-based competence to master ever-changing challenges in demand, more international organizations, more demanding financial markets, and the need to innovate as new technologies provide opportunities and threats.

The PhD program in Marketing Management at USN, is designed to develop academic skills that will meet the requirements of scientific rigor and be relevant for business and the society. The program will cover the major fields within marketing management both in terms of theory as well as methodology. The program is deeply integrated with the research faculty, and PhD students are strategically important for developing the schools overall academic quality.

Admission requirements

To be accepted into the PhD program, the applicant must have a five-year master's degree or equivalent qualification.

The entry requirements are in accordance with the Regulations for Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at USN.

The following factors are considered in regards to admission:

  • The candidate's academic course of study at the bachelor's and master's levels;
  • The candidate's grades, preferably B or better;
  • An academically acceptable description of the project;
  • A plan for undertaking the PhD program.

The application for admission will contain:

  • Description of the research project;
  • Time line for completion of the project;
  • Budget;
  • Statement of supervision needs and identification of potential supervisors;
  • Plan for periods at other research institutions or organizations, including those overseas;
  • Plan for dissemination of the research;
  • Documentation of education undertaken that is the basis for the application
  • Details of any intellectual property restrictions in order to protect the rights of others.

There will be a project plan, including description of the research proposal, prepared in collaboration with the primary supervisor. The plan must specify the topic, research questions, proposed theoretical perspective and methods, and suggested publication form (articles or monograph). The applicant may submit a preliminary proposal, but a complete project description must be prepared within 12 months of admission.

Learning outcome

The aim of the PhD program is to produce candidates of the highest international standards who can carry out high-level research suitable for publication in leading academic journals and other outlets and who are capable of addressing research issues important to academia and business practice.

The National Qualification Framework for Higher Education (2009) adapted the overarching European qualification framework for higher education, which was mapped out in the Bologna Process and the European Qualification Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF). The prescribed categories contained in the qualifications framework are knowledge, skills, and general competence. The learning outcome descriptors for the PhD in Marketing Management have been developed in accordance with these categories.

After completing the program, the candidate will have the following competences:


1. Knowledge in the forefront of theories, methods, and specific issues pertaining to marketing management

2. Knowledge at high international standards of on-going research in the forefront of theory development in marketing management

3. Knowledge at high international standards of philosophy of science and relevant ethical issues relating to specific issues in marketing management research


1. Ability to contribute to the development of new scientific knowledge, theories, and methods within the field of marketing management, to challenge the existing interpretations, and to use new forms of documentation to disseminate new knowledge within marketing management

2. Ability to formulate research problems and design relevant to marketing management and to carry out research at a high international academic level

3. Ability to evaluate the applicability of various research designs, methods, and data analyses specific to the field of marketing management

4. Ability to relate theories in marketing management to real-world marketing management issues and to apply research-based knowledge to challenge established practice in relevant organizations or businesses

5. Ability to evaluate the quality of others• research in the field of marketing management


1. Ability to participate in academic discussions and communicate research work through recognized national and international academic channels in marketing management

2. Ability to contribute to innovation through dissemination and application of theories in marketing management to a broader audience outside academia, thereby enhancing knowledge and improving practice in marketing management

3. Ability to identify relevant ethical issues in marketing management and to work with the necessary professional integrity both in and outside the academic field of marketing management

4. Development of transferable skills to manage complex projects fitted for assignments both in research and the practice field of marketing management

Learning activities

Student-centered education is foundational to the teaching and learning strategies. The teaching and learning aspects of students' formal courses take place through USN's learning platform.

For the most part, the PhD program consists of active research, including completion of an independent research project in active collaboration with supervisors, peers, business partners, and other researchers. Therefore, participation in active research settings - nationally and internationally - as well as professional dissemination of the candidate's continuing research is central to the learning environment. Participation in seminars and use of peer feedback provide the foundation for establishing a good learning environment among candidates. Course content is provided through, but not limited to, lectures, group works, plenary sessions, supervision, and presentation of the student's own work.

Candidates participate in a series of special seminars to gain skills in developing and writing high-level academic papers. In these seminars, PhD candidates participate together with research faculty members.

The candidates also undertake a training program in project management of research projects in collaboration with research centers at the school.

In preparation for a professional career in teaching, students participate in lecturing seminars, undertake various teaching assignments, and receive professional feedback from lecturing specialists at USN.

Internationalisation & student exchange

PhD candidates are strongly encouraged to study abroad as a part of their educational plan. Undertaking research abroad will contribute to establishing and advancing international research collaborations and also will provide further impetus for work on the dissertation. Therefore, it is important that the candidate visits the selected institution and chooses the actual research environment are carefully in consultation with the supervisor. To increase the likelihood that the period abroad will be professionally relevant and worthwhile, an institution where the student, supervisor, and USN researchers already have established collaborative contacts is preferred.

Study evaluation

The program should be regularly evaluated to maintain high quality. Students are expected to actively participate in evaluations, surveys, meetings and more to help raise the quality of education in the study program. The evaluations carried out is in accordance with USNs quality assurance system.



The program's duration is three full-time years, or four years with 75 percent consisting of the PhD candidate's research project and 25 percent work duty. The work duty is linked to research assistance and teaching.

Target group

The target group for the program includes candidates with a Master of Science degree in marketing, business, management, or equivalent, who are deeply interested in academic subjects related to marketing management and who command quantitative methodology (statistics and mathematics). Highly qualified candidates with other master's degrees may be assessed. The program is targeted for candidates with international ambitions either in academia or in business.


Successful completion of the PhD program leads to the award of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) in Marketing Management.

Study model

PhD in Marketing Management
2016 Autumn2017 Spring2017 Autumn2018 Spring2018 Autumn2019 Spring2019 Autumn2020 Spring
SAM9000 Marketing strategy and management
Studiepoeng: 7.5
Versjonskode: 1
COB9000 Consumer behavior
Studiepoeng: 7.5
Versjonskode: 1
QAR9000 Qualitative research
Studiepoeng: 7.5
Versjonskode: 1
INR9000 Interorganizational networks and relationships
Studiepoeng: 7.5
Versjonskode: 1
ECA9000 Advanced experimental data collection analysis
Studiepoeng: 7.5
Versjonskode: 1
AMS9000 Advanced survey data collection and multivariate statistics
Studiepoeng: 7.5
Versjonskode: 1
CON9000 Theory Construction and Philosophy of Science
Studiepoeng: 7.5
Versjonskode: 1

Study facts

  • Studyprogram code: PHDMAR
  • Studyplan applies to: Class of 2016 Autumn
  • Credits: 180
  • Duration: 8 Semesters
  • Language: EN
  • Department group: Department of Strategy and Finance
  • Percent of full time: 75