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What Do You Need to Become Professor at a University for Marketing?

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Marketing professors begin their careers mainly in the instruction of college students at both two-year and four-year institutions. Professors at two-year institutions generally remain focused on instruction and other administrative functions, while their counterparts at four-year colleges and universities tend to move toward research activities. A career as a professor begins with intense study, most often taking six years for an individual to complete doctoral work.


To begin an advanced degree program in marketing, graduate candidates must first complete an undergraduate degree in marketing, business or a related discipline. Acceptance into graduate programs is very competitive, and candidates should achieve a minimum grade point average during their undergraduate careers and obtain minimum scores on standardized graduate aptitude tests such as the Graduate Registry Exam (GRE) or Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT).

Graduate Programs

Professors begin their graduate program experience by first obtaining a master's degree in their chosen field. During this time, they may also teach students as a teaching assistant, or assist professors in their research work. The graduate candidates may work under the supervision of professors, or may fully shoulder the teaching responsibility in lower-level classes. Work in these areas helps to prepare them for a career as an academic professor.

Doctoral Work

After completing the master's level coursework and submitting an accepted dissertation, graduate candidates must be accepted into doctoral programs based on the weight of their scholarly work. Once accepted into a doctoral program, doctoral candidates begin research and study in a chosen discipline within marketing such as economics, consumer behavior or data analysis. Once the program is completed, the doctoral candidates may be asked to pass examinations, present their findings, submit scholarly articles or submit their bodies of research and analysis to peers for review and acceptance.

Career Advancement

Those who have recently obtained a Ph.D. may begin their careers at institutions as an assistant professor on a tenure track. Tenure is a status professors often reach within seven years. Once achieved, tenure allows professors freedom to teach and research in theoretical areas that may be unconventional or unpopular with the certainty they will not be removed from their positions.


Tim Burris has over seven years experience writing and editing formal sales proposals and marketing materials. Tim has also worked as a freelance journalist for two news organizations. His cover story in "NUVO Newsweekly," Financial Disclosure, May 5, 2004, won an award from the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists. Tim has a Bachelor of Science degree in business, finance from Indiana University.