PhD in Consumer Behavior

Updated: 21 days ago
Deadline: 15 Jan 2023


The Marketing group at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University seeks a highly motivated PhD student looking to study research questions in the domain of consumer behavior. Strong applicants are motivated to conduct novel research within the field of consumer behavior, typically have a background in psychology, business, statistics, or a related field, and desire to pursue careers as world-class academic researchers. The project will enable the PhD student to develop new theories about consumer behavior and/or psychology and test these theories utilizing quantitative research. Students define and execute their own projects in consultation with their advisers, and thus need creativity, self-direction, and a passion for scientific research.


Consumer behavior, Psychology, Judgement and decision making, Attitude formation and change, Preference formation and measurement, Market place morality, Technology


The marketing group at Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ranks among the best in the world. Our members publish their research in top journals in marketing as well as related fields. They deeply care about open science practices (e.g., data sharing and open-source software), and frequently host seminars to encourage knowledge exchange. Every year, we host a PhD day during which the students present their work and receive ample of feedback. The group is diverse (in terms of research interests and cultural background), collaborative, and collegial.

Our PhD program seeks to train the next generation of marketing academics. We want our students to maximize their potential and become independent marketing scholars. We expect students to become experts in their domain of interest and define a research agenda around a topic of their choosing. As such, PhD positions in our group are open and students have the possibility to collaborate with several faculty members depending. The supervisory team will be formed considering the student’s research interests. During their years of study, students define and execute their own projects. They do this in consultation with their advisers.

Our faculty members in consumer behavior work on a wide range of topics, such as how advertising works psychologically (Steven Sweldens), judgment and decision making (Gabriele Paolacci), self-control and consumption (Mirjam Tuk), how technology augments behavior Anne-Kathrin Klesse), numerical processing (Dan Schley and Christophe Lembregts), biological influences on consumption and goal pursuit (Bram Van den Bergh), how to measure consumer preferences (Antonia Krefeld-Schwalb), pro-social behavior, social credit, and consumer advocacy (Alex Genevsky), marketplace morality (Johannes Boegershausen), and pro-societal consumer interventions (Romain Cadario).

PhD students in our department receive excellent training. In addition to standard required course work, students typically take courses in experimental design and statistics, and seminars in consumer behavior and psychology, both internally and externally. In addition, the department offers a workshop series that includes seminars on a variety of topics, content, skills, and method related. Examples are: How to publish successfully, how to prepare for the job market, how to analyze voice-data, how to manage your data and code. These workshops are hosted by internal and external faculty members, which enables students to get to know excellent researchers and establish their own (international) network. To facilitate the latter, students are also encouraged and receive funding to go on a research visit to leading research-intensive international institutions and collaborate with excellent external faculty. 

Note : Applicants seeking to work at the intersection of consumer behavior and another discipline (quantitative marketing and/or neuroscience) should indicate this preference in their application and discuss their motivation for interdisciplinary research.


The PhD student will work in close collaboration with the supervisory team and other faculty on tasks that include:

  • Identifying novel research questions based on real-world phenomena or extant theory.
  • Understanding the theoretical foundations and prior literature relevant to understanding the phenomena
  • Identifying the fundamental variables and relationships that are most important to studying the phenomena and formalizing them in a measurement model or set of experimental hypotheses
  • Gathering experimental data to test hypotheses or measure phenomena.
  • Identifying the critical assumptions needed to draw inferences from empirical results.
  • Writing computer code to analyze experimental or secondary data
  • Presenting research findings at international conferences
  • Writing up findings for publication in international journals
  • Attending classes and seminars (including those offered at other universities) to develop thinking and research skills further
  • Participating in and contributing to departmental research functions (PhD Day, research seminars, weekly research meetings)
  • Teaching (to a limited degree) students of the department

Through workshops, research seminars, applied and theoretical research with faculty, and seminars on key disciplines that provide the foundations of the marketing discipline (statistics, economics, psychology), the PhD student will gain the requisite experience for independent work. The actual project will be defined by the student and the supervisory group and, thus, requires creativity, self-direction, and passion for top-notch scientific research.

Students have access to world-class research facilities:

  • Erasmus Behavioral Lab provides facilities to conduct high-quality behavioral research, including sound-insulated cubicles, group labs, video labs, and facilities for eye tracking, EEG/ERP, facial coding, and hormone-administration studies.
  • High-performance computing is available to researchers via SURFSara (a Dutch consortium for scientific computing).
  • Researchers have access to multiple MRI scanners via Erasmus Medical Centre.

Required profile

We seek candidates with the following qualities:

  • Background in psychology, statistics, business, or a related discipline
  • Masters’ degree (preferably a Research Master´s or MPhil degree)
  • Energy and passion for consumer behaviour, consumer psychology, and marketing
  • Experience conducting experimental research with human participants
  • Statistical skills and command of standard software packages for analyzing experimental data (e.g., R, SPSS, SAS, Stata, JASP), and a strong willingness to develop these skills further
  • Command of empirical software packages (e.g., Qualtrics, MediaLab, Authorware, E-Prime) and a strong willingness to develop these skills further
  • Intellectual curiosity, eagerness to learn, and openness to criticism and other perspectives
  • Strong commitment to methodological rigor and scientific integrity
  • Strong motivation to pursue an international career as a leading scholar
  • Excellent writing ability in fluent English, ideally with experience writing for a scientific audience
  • Strong communication and organizational skills
  • Willingness and motivation to independently formulate research projects and carry them through to completion

Required by ERIM

All application documents required by ERIM can be found here:

Below are the test scores required by ERIM:

- GMAT/GRE scores above the 85th percentile, not older than 5 years

- IELTS/TOEFL test scores, not older than 2 years:

  IELTS: minimum overall band score 7.5; no band score lower than 6.5

  Internet-based TOEFL: minimum total score 100, no sub-score lower than 23

  Paper-based TOEFL: minimum score 600

Expected output

You will generate research that can be published in top-tier peer-reviewed journals in marketing, such as the Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Research, and Journal of Marketing. The research group at RSM has a strong record of publishing in these and other top journals in related fields, including Management, Psychology, Neuroscience, and Economics. The final results of the PhD project are published in a PhD dissertation, and most marketing PhD dissertations at RSM find their way into top journals.


To strengthen your international research network and complement your time at RSM, you will receive funding for a 3- to 6-month research visit. Past visits have included Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, Columbia, Harvard, Colorado, Cornell, and UCLA.

Societal relevance

Students are encouraged to pursue topics that not only improve the practice of marketing, but also consumer or societal well-being, and thus align closely with the school’s mission to be a force for positive change in the world.

Scientific relevance

PhD research should be of the highest quality, carried out with scientific rigor and the utmost integrity. The department values openness and encourages students to embrace the principles and tools of open science (e.g., making code and data available to others and pre-registering experiments). The marketing group conducts research in our core field of marketing, as well as related disciplines such as management, psychology, judgment and decision-making, neuroscience, economics, and statistics. Our diversity and interdisciplinarity make the department a lively, creative, and intellectually stimulating place to conduct research.

Literature references & data sources

Please refer to the web pages of our faculty members ( ) for more information about their current research interests. You may also refer to our RSM Discovery section (see here ). It offers a collection of articles and videos that our faculty (and those from other departments) have created about their research.

You may also look at the work done by the team of the Psychology of AI expert practice at the Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics:

Further Information

If you have any questions regarding our PhD programme, you may join the “open office hour” hosted by our PhD programme coordinator, Anne-Kathrin Klesse ( )  on November 25 at 3pm – 4:30 pm (CET) hosted on Zoom. You do not need to sign up. Just log in if you have any questions.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 696 361 3052

Passcode: 25112022                                               

Employment conditions

ERIM offers fully-funded and salaried PhD positions, which means that accepted PhD candidates become employees (promovendi) of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO) .

Contact Information

For questions regarding the PhD application and selection procedure, please check the Admissions or send us an e-mail via .

Erasmus Research Institute of Management

ERIM is the research institute of management at Erasmus University Rotterdam, founded by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), both of which excel in their research and teaching programmes. The level and international character of their research and teaching programmes has put both schools at the forefront of academic excellence. They offer a diversified portfolio of accredited teaching and research programmes, ranging from pre-experience MSc to postgraduate Masters and executive development, and from fundamental research to applied research and business support, which are renowned throughout the world. RSM is one of the few schools worldwide that holds a triple accreditation from the AMBAs, EQUIS and the AASCB, and is positioned among the top European business schools. The scientific staff of both schools plays a major role in the schools’ interaction with the international business community.

ERIM distinguishes itself by the high-level and international character of its research and has repeatedly been ranked among top 3 research institutes in Europe. ERIM’s key aims are top-quality academic research with impact both on academia and managerial practice, and the advancement of international academic careers and high-level support for both research and doctoral education. For more information about ERIM please visit [link:].

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