Research course

Social Marketing

Open University · The Open University Business School

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) plus 120 credits in research methods training or, ideally, a Masters degree in Research Methods (MRes), which is the usual precursor to PhD studies.

Months of entry


Course content

Research in social marketing encompasses a range of work examining social change and quality of life, and sustainable and ethical consumption. Principal research themes are in two areas: (i) health-related social marketing, including the social consequences of alcohol consumption, healthy eating interventions and smoking cessation; and (ii) sustainability, including research to promote more sustainable energy use, transport use, and sustainable fashion. There are also interests in the use of faith and secular partnerships for social change and wellbeing, and in financial wellbeing.

The Open University Business School’s research in social marketing is led by ISM-Open, a collaborative partnership with the Institute for Social Marketing at the University of Stirling, conducting research aimed at improving health and wellbeing.

Potential research projects

Internally funded full-time research studentships are advertised in January and may include the following. We also welcome part- and full-time self-funded applications in these areas:

  • Social marketing
  • Sustainability and ethical consumption
  • Fashion sustainability
  • Faith and secular partnerships for social change and wellbeing
  • Ethics in marketing
  • Critical marketing
  • The social consequences of alcohol consumption
  • Consumption in the family.

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website for more information.

Qualification and course duration


full time
36 months
distance learning
variable months
part time
72 months


distance learning
variable months
full time
15 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Claire Wylde
+44 (0)1908 332311