Back to top

PhD in Consumer Sciences

With a doctorate degree in Consumer Sciences, you'll be an expert in the field prepared to become a future professor at a top-ranked university or principal investigator at a research organization with expertise in family resource management, fashion and retail studies or hospitality management.

Yizhi “Ian” Li
"Each faculty member provides the most and best attention to their students. Advisors really care about the success of their students."
- Yizhi “Ian” Li


The Doctor of Philosophy in Consumer Sciences prepares you to significantly and positively impact consumers within our world economy. Doctoral studies in consumer sciences allows you to dive deeper into studying consumers and their consumption patterns and decision-making.

You'll be immersed in research from the beginning to end of your PhD studies as you deepen your knowledge of consumer sciences. The program also gives you one-on-one access to distinguished faculty who have vast insight and contribute to research that uncovers new ways to enhance consumer welfare and market efficiency and to improve consumer experiences in the marketplace.

At Ohio State, there are numerous research opportunities while you focus your studies through three areas leading you to a PhD in Consumer Sciences:

  • Family Resource Management focuses on how consumers make decisions related to the use of limited resources, with a focus on time and money. You can build emphasis areas in consumer and family finance, consumer health, economics of aging, financial wellness, consumer policy, family economic policy, consumer behavior, or global consumer issues.
  • Fashion and Retail Studies focuses on the investigation of textiles and clothing products and their use by consumers from historical, behavioral and social-psychological perspectives. You will study body image, appearance management behaviors, or consumer responses to phenomena in the retail sector.
  • Hospitality Management focuses on the hospitality-tourism industry, the largest employer in the world. You will undertake a systematic examination of the various functional areas of hospitality firms and their contribution to the greater community. The rigorous research-oriented curriculum prepares you for a successful career in academia.

Career Paths

The Consumer Sciences Graduate program has a proven track record of successful placement of graduates. Our PhD graduates are employed at major universities and colleges, research institutes and government agencies including, Cornell University, University of Georgia and Seoul National University.

See where more of our graduates have started their careers.


Deadline to Apply: 
December 1 – to be considered for funding. Applicants will be notified of admissions decisions beginning in late January and rolling admissions continue until the cohort is filled. Contact the program if you need to request review of a late application.
Program Start: 
Autumn semester
Prerequisites/Pre-major Requirements: 
Master's degree
Minimum Program Hours: 

Application Materials: Online application, Transcripts, Statement of Purpose, CV/Resume, 3 Letters of Recommendation, GRE scores, Test of English scores (if applicable)
Time to Degree: Doctoral students spend a minimum of 3 years earning their degree, with many spending 4-5 in the program.
Location: While a limited number of courses may be completed online, in-person learning on the Columbus campus is essential to degree completion.
Coursework: Intro to research, theories and models in consumer sciences, the behavior of individuals and families in the marketplace, research methodologies
Course requirements: 4 department core courses (11 hours), at least 5 major and supporting courses (15 hours minimum), at least 3 research methods and statistics (9 hours minimum), dissertation (6 hours)
Other requirements: Candidacy exam, dissertation
Academic opportunities: Graduate associateships, Consumer Sciences Graduate Student Organization, program scholarships, university fellowships, EHE Research Forum, Hayes Research Forum

Download Consumer Sciences Handbook

View the Curriculum Sheet


Michael Betz, PhD, Associate Professor
Andrew S. Hanks, PhD, Associate Professor
Sherman D. Hanna, PhD, Professor
Lauren Eden Jones, PhD, Associate Professor
Jay Kandampully, PhD, Professor
Dean Lillard, PhD, Professor
Stephanie Liu, PhD, Associate Professor
Caezilia Loibl, PhD, Professor
Catherine Montalto, PhD, Associate Professor
Nancy Rudd, PhD, Faculty Emeritus
Robert Scharff, PhD, Professor
Tansel Yilmazer, PhD, Associate Professor

Affiliated Faculty
Sanja Ilic, PhD, Assistant Professor
Weidong Li, PhD, Associate Professor
Anastasia Snyder, PhD, Associate Professor
Brian A. Turner, PhD, Associate Professor
Jen D. Wong, PhD, Assistant Professor


Department of Human Sciences
PAES Building, 1st Floor
305 W. 17th Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43210

Robert Scharff
Graduate Studies Chair/Associate Professor

Graduate Student Services