PhD in Marketing

‌Entry requirements

It is our experience that research degrees are most likely to be completed successfully and in good time when there is a good match between the interests and availability of a potential supervisor, the interests of the applicant and the importance and accessibility of the topic. It is not often the case that exact matches occur, and as a result only three or four candidates are normally accepted as research students in any one year.

Should we feel that you would be better able to complete your studies at another institution, we may be able to provide suggestions on suitable supervisors or academic departments at other institutions.

We prefer applicants to hold an appropriate Masters degree or have specialised in Marketing or Management at undergraduate level, gaining at least an upper second class Honours degree. Overseas students need to demonstrate their competency in the English language – for example, by obtaining a minimum score of 7 in the IELTS test.

If you wish to be considered for a place on our PhD programme, you need to complete an application form online. You will also be prompted to send in your supporting documents online. This will include academic transcripts for your Undergraduate and Masters degree, two references and a detailed research proposal. Information on how to write a research proposal can be found here.

A detailed description of the Marketing PhD programme can be found in the PhD Marketing handbook.


Lancaster University Management School normally offers a number of scholarships but it should be noted that the competition for them is intense. For UK/EU students, registration under the PhD in Marketing will also bring eligibility for ESRC research studentships. For more details on the wide range of scholarships available please see the information on funding for PhD study at LUMS.

Application process

Applicants will be accepted only on the basis of a completed application form, an outline research proposal of approximately 2,500 words and two references. The proposal should describe the research question and why it is interesting/important, previous literature, theoretical and empirical, on the topic, a possible research methodology and appropriate forms of data analysis. Please see also the School's further advice on how to write a research proposal.

The preparation of a proposal should be regarded more as an application test than a plan, however, and may be expected to change, often radically, over the course of the research. It is unlikely that a proposal would be acceptable on the first or even second attempt but staff will provide feedback to aid improvement if the proposal shows promise. We also put considerable weight on the strength of the two references. Please make sure that you select suitable referees who can comment on your academic curriculum and potential for carrying out research at doctoral level.

The probability of acceptance of an application depends on the academic merit of the candidate, the strength of the proposal as well as our ability to find a supervisor. Staff have their own specialisms and research interests and obviously give preference to proposals that closely match these interests, as outlined in our staff profiles. Another way of finding out about the Department's research strengths is to look at the topics of completed PhD theses. You can also read abstracts of recently completed PhD theses in the Department. Finally, we regret to say we are unable to comment on draft research proposals until we see a completed application form, including referees' reports.