Consumer Behavior Specialization

Consumer behavior researchers tend to focus on psychological aspects of a consumer’s decision-making process and to collect data through laboratory studies and field experiments.

A Theory-Based Approach

Our program provides training in all the skills and perspectives necessary for success as a researcher in marketing and consumer behavior. Our program provides a unique emphasis on the fundamental building blocks of theory and how best to advance scientific knowledge via a principled, systematic approach. Students not only learn extant theories but work extensively in designing and refining cutting-edge conceptual tools. Students also gain deep experience in the identification, development, and implementation of research ideas that advance theory and practice. We empower our doctoral students to become the theoretical and empirical thought leaders of tomorrow.

A Diverse World-Class Faculty

The Kellogg behavioral faculty members are highly published in a wide range of research areas. This intellectual diversity provides doctoral students with the opportunity and guidance to pursue research that interests them. Behavioral faculty members work closely with doctoral students to develop and publish top research papers, adopting a mentorship model that familiarizes students with successful publishing strategies. To learn more about our current research interests, we encourage you to browse our faculty webpages:

A Strong Research Culture

The development and publication of influential academic research is the top priority for the Kellogg marketing department. Kellogg’s doctoral students are a critical and valued aspect of the research culture. Learning occurs not only in the classroom, but also from fellow students and faculty, whether in the hallway or in a research presentation. The Kellogg research culture emphasizes intellectual curiosity, hard work, and critical thinking in the context of a mutually supportive environment. Click here for some recent examples of published research co-authored by Kellogg faculty and doctoral students.

Kellogg welcomes speakers and visiting scholars on a regular basis, among them established and emerging thought leaders in marketing. This allows doctoral students to become acquainted with accomplished researchers beyond Northwestern. Visiting scholars present their research and meet with both faculty and doctoral students. Just prior to the start of the school year each fall, the faculty hosts a one-day “marketing camp” where several scholars from outside Kellogg as well as members of the department present their research and interact with faculty and students.

The First Two Years

Behavioral doctoral students take a total of 24 classes (4 per quarter), including eight courses taught in the marketing department. Students also conceptualize, implement, and write up a substantial research project each year, which they develop under the mentorship of a Kellogg marketing faculty, and present to the department in the fall of their second and third years.

Year Three and Beyond

In the remaining years in the program, students focus almost entirely on research. During this time, students conceptualize, develop and implement a doctoral dissertation. They do so under the direction of a dissertation chair and committee (whom the student selects), and a student’s progress in the program for these remaining years is supervised by the dissertation chair. Students also frequently work with other faculty on additional research projects that are targeted for publication in top peer-reviewed academic journals. Because additional coursework may prove helpful in accomplishing these research goals, students can take more classes as desired or needed after their first two years.

Once completion of their dissertation is in sight, doctoral students turn their attention to applying and interviewing for employment as assistant professors. Initial interviews take place in August every year, followed by campus visits in the fall and winter (to start employment in the subsequent fall).