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Research in social marketing encompasses a range of work examining social change and quality of life, and sustainable and ethical consumption. Principal research themes focus on the social consequences of alcohol consumption, healthy eating interventions and smoking cessation. There are growing interests in the use of faith and secular partnerships for social change and wellbeing, sustainable consumption and ethics in marketing.

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.

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) and a Masters degree. Ideally we require 120 credits in research methods training. Where candidates do not have such training we can offer a Masters degree in Research Methods (MRes) which is the usual precursor to PhD studies.

Potential research projects

Internally funded full-time research studentships are advertised in January (closing date end of March) and may include the following. We also welcome part-time and full-time self-funded applications in these areas:

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

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Debby Hing
+44 (0)1908 655272

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under ‘Your questions’ on the right of the page.