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Social marketing

Research Social marketing with The Open University

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.

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

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.

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.

Further information

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

Lin Nilsen
+44 (0)1908 865365

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.