Supply chain managers oversee the flow of goods and services. Professionals in the field source and move raw materials. They also manage the inventory, manufacturing, and delivery of goods. Supply chain professionals oversee a product’s lifecycle from inception to disposal. Responsibilities include directing the allocation of materials and supplies, developing relationships with clients and suppliers, and reviewing logistics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for logisticians to increase 4% from 2019 to 2029.
Most supply chain and logistics positions require a bachelor’s degree in business. However, a master’s degree can lead to career advancement in the field. Master’s programs in supply chain management usually require 30 credits and take 1-2 years to complete. Applicants typically need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and must meet minimum GPA and standardized test score requirements.
This guide explores the best master’s programs in supply chain management, along with resources for students in the field.
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Top 10 Cheapest Online MBA in Supply Chain Management Programs 2021
Rutgers University offers an online MS in supply chain management for students wanting specialized knowledge of best practices and tools. Working professionals seeking career advancement enjoy the flexible online format. Students typically receive a 19-26% salary increase while enrolled in or after graduating from the program.
This degree requires 30 credits that students can complete in one year. Students take courses in supply chain management strategies, demand management, and supply chain finance. Other classes include operations analysis, risk and disruption management, and supply chain trends.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited university with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Candidates should also submit essays and three letters of recommendation. Students can apply during three admission cycles each year: fall, spring, and summer. Rutgers does not require, but recommends, GMAT scores.
Rutgers University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Indiana University Bloomington offers an MS in global supply chain management that prepares students to manage distributions, logistics, manufacturing, and materials, and operations. Students can advance their careers through flexible online courses completed at their own pace.
The program requires 30 credits and takes 1.25-3 years to complete. Core courses cover sustainable operations, strategic marketing management, and operations management. Other classes include quantitative analysis and enterprise operations and analysis.
Applicants must submit all previous transcripts, a personal statement, a resume, letters of recommendation, and GMAT or GRE scores. Candidates with a 3.2 GPA or higher may request a GMAT/GRE waiver. Prospective students must also complete a 30-minute phone interview with the admissions team.
Indiana University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Arizona State University-Tempe
Arizona State University Tempe features an online MS in supply chain management. The program prepares professionals to develop and run supply networks in ways that benefit both consumers and the company. ASU offers the program in collaboration with the MITx micromasters program on the edX platform. Students receive training in the technical elements of data and modeling, purchasing and procurement, and logistics.
This program requires 30 credits and takes 1-2 years to complete. Students take courses in operations and supply management, supply chain design and cost management, and strategic procurement. Learners also study supplier management and negotiation and logistics in supply chain management.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework. Candidates must also successfully complete the MITx micromasters program in supply chain management with a cumulative score of 80% or above.
Arizona State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The Maine Maritime Academy offers an online MS in international logistics management that prepares students for a successful career at industries and companies worldwide. Enrollees analyze and evaluate the flow of goods, finance, and information from suppliers to consumers. Asynchronous online classes average 10-12 students to encourage meaningful interactions with both faculty and other students.
Students typically complete the 36-credit program in 19 months. Coursework includes accounting and finance for logistics professionals, economics of transportation and logistics, and managing organization development and change. Learners also study strategic marketing and integrated international logistics. The curriculum culminates in a capstone strategic supply chain management course. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. The Maine Maritime Academy welcomes service members and transfer students.
Maine Maritime Academy is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
North Dakota State University
North Dakota State University offers a non-thesis online master's in supply chain management. The program prepares students and working professionals for a career in the logistics industry including operations, purchasing, and emergency management; consulting; and retail.
Enrollees typically finish the 30-credit program in 1-2 years. Learners take courses in logistics systems, crisis analysis and homeland security, and international logistics management. Classes also cover organizational change management and logistics data analysis. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain in good academic standing.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. NDSU may consider students with a lower GPA for acceptance if they submit GMAT or GRE scores. Candidates must also submit their transcripts, resume, and letter of intent with the online application. NDSU may still consider other students for admission if they demonstrate potential.
North Dakota State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
University of Washington-Seattle Campus
The University of Washington offers an engineering-focused master's in supply chain transportation and logistics. The program provides students with a deeper understanding of complex supply chain problems and potential solutions. Enrollees gain the analytical skills necessary for career advancement or a career change into the field. The primarily online program requires a one-week residency on the UW campus in September.
UW's program comprises 43 credits and takes two years to complete. Core courses include facility design and operations management, inventory management, and logistics and analysis. Classes also cover freight transport and collaboration across the supply chain. The curriculum culminates in a practicum group project where students analyze a contemporary supply chain problem and propose a solution.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. UW does not require GRE or GMAT scores.
University of Washington is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Georgia College & State University
Georgia College and State University offers a cohort-based master of logistics and supply chain management designed for students interested in advancing a long-term career in the logistics industry.
The degree requires 30 credits over two years, with two courses each semester. Students take core courses in supply chain management strategy, logistics processes and management, and distribution and industry control.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. GCSU bases admissions on both undergraduate academic performance and GMAT/GRE scores. Candidates may apply for a GMAT/GRE waiver if they hold a prior advanced degree from a regionally accredited institution, majored in business and meet minimum GPA thresholds for their specific discipline, or possess significant full-time work experience.
Georgia College and State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Fontbonne University offers an MS in supply chain management that prepares students to manage complex supply chains on a global scale. Enrollees learn about the lifecycle of products and services, including procurement, manufacturing, and delivery. Graduates can sit for the Council of Supply Chain Management SCPro Level One Certification.
This online degree requires 30 credits and consists of 1-2 years of eight-week courses. Classes include operations, risk, and materials management, as well as logistics in the supply chain. Students must complete a 12-credit concentration in project management.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Prospective students must submit an application form, personal statement, resume, and transcripts. Candidates can transfer up to six graduate credits from another institution.
Fontbonne University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Charleston Southern University
Charleston Southern University boasts an online MS in supply chain management that prepares students to synchronize the flow of products; finances; and information between suppliers, organizations, and customers.
The curriculum focuses on real examples and practical applications. Instructors deliver courses entirely online in an accelerated seven-week format. Graduates can pursue careers as industry analysts, logistics managers, and transportation directors. Other possible positions include supply chain consultants and procurement analysts.
Students typically finish the 30-credit program in 1-2 years. Learners take courses in ethical management, managerial innovation strategies, and strategic procurement. Other classes cover transportation and distribution management and supply chain information technology.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Candidates must submit a resume, transcripts, and two letters of recommendation with their application form. CSU does not require a specific minimum GPA or GMAT scores, but recommends a 3.0 and the test.
Charleston Southern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
University of Alabama in Huntsville
The University of Alabama in Huntsville offers a fully online MS in supply chain and logistics management (MS-SCLM). The program attracts students who want to deepen their understanding of supply chain dynamics.
The MS-SCLM degree requires 30 credits over 12-22 months. Core courses include supply chain management systems, quantitative methods, and decision modeling. Students interested in conducting research may complete a thesis option. They must contact a potential thesis advisor and the graduate advisor in the college of business before completing their first 12 credits.
Applicants must submit transcripts and GMAT/GRE scores. Candidates need a minimum of 500 on the GMAT and 300 verbal and quantitative with a 3.0 in writing on the GRE. UAH temporarily waives GMAT/GRE requirements for Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 if students meet certain minimum GPA requirements.
University of Alabama is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an example of supply chain management tasks?
Along with completing other tasks, supply chain management professionals coordinate the logistics of a product’s lifecycle from design to distribution.
What is supply chain management, and why is it important?
Supply chain management professionals oversee the flow of goods and services. This process ensures that supply meets demand.
Are supply chain managers in demand?
The BLS projects employment for logistics professionals to increase 4% from 2019 to 2029.
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What Can I Do With a Supply Chain Management Degree?
The broad supply chain management field includes a variety of career opportunities since businesses in most fields need qualified supply chain management professionals. Individuals with a supply chain management degree typically focus on a specific area, such as manufacturing, data analysis, procurement, transportation, or customer service.
Common positions for graduates with a supply chain management degree include purchasing agent, operations manager, logistics analyst, purchasing manager, supply chain manager, production manager, and storage and distribution manager.
Responsibilities vary by specific position. For example, production managers typically work with manufacturing to coordinate production schedules. Operations analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical models to help organizations efficiently allocate resources, develop production schedules, and set prices. Most jobs in the field require only a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s can qualify holders for advanced management positions.
Accreditation for a Supply Chain Management Degree
Accreditation demonstrates to students and stakeholders that an institution or program meets set educational standards. In the United States, universities and colleges can hold regional or national accreditation. Seven agencies award regional accreditation to schools in certain geographic areas. Technical schools and religious institutions typically receive national accreditation.
Regional accreditation is older and more prestigious since it requires schools to meet higher standards of educational quality. Because of this, regionally accredited schools usually only accept degrees and credits from other regionally accredited institutions.
In addition to institutional accreditation, learners can look for field-specific programmatic accreditation. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education award accreditation to business programs. The U.S. Department of Education maintains a searchable database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs.
What Are the Requirements for a Supply Chain Management Degree?
A master’s degree in supply chain management typically requires 30-48 credits, which students usually complete in 1-2 years. Learners study topics such as supply chain analytics, logistics systems, databases and data analysis, risk and distribution management, and operations analysis. Students may also complete a capstone course or thesis.
Degree-seekers who intend to focus on research may choose a thesis program, while others often select a non-thesis program. Admission requirements generally include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a minimum GPA. Some programs also require satisfactory GMAT or GRE scores.
Courses in a Supply Chain Management Program
Master’s-level supply chain management curricula typically deliver an advanced, holistic overview of the field. Learners develop the skills necessary to succeed in supply chain management positions. Coursework covers topics including sourcing and supply, procurement and operations management, and logistics and customer service.
Some programs offer concentrations or specialized electives in areas such as operations management and logistics. The following list includes courses common to many supply chain management programs. However, course titles vary by master’s program.
- Supply Chain Management Strategies
- This course provides an introduction to supply chain strategies and challenges. Supply chain management involves the cross-functional integration of key business processes, both within an organization and across the network of companies that comprise the supply chain. Enrollees learn how to efficiently integrate these processes. Course topics include logistics networks, inventory management, procurement and outsourcing, forecasting, supply contracts, and global supply chain issues.
- Supply Chain Risk and Disruption Management
- Enrollees learn how to address disruptions in supply chains. Learners explore supply chain risk areas, including outsourcing, information technology, and global logistics. Students also examine preventative preparation and mitigation strategies for disruptive events. Additional course topics include vulnerability and threat assessments, crisis management tactics, contingency planning, and disaster recovery.
- Lean Six SIgma
- This course prepares students to apply the Lean Six Sigma quality management techniques to supply chain management work. Degree-seekers learn the fundamentals of Lean Six Sigma and explore strategies for improving business processes and increasing operational efficiency. Learners practice solving business problems during simulations, group exercises, and assessments. Students also learn about lean manufacturing approaches, fact-based management and change management, and other strategies to improve business operations.
- Supply Chain Finance
- This course provides an overview of the financial and accounting elements of supply chain management. Students learn to think strategically to enhance the financial value of a corporation, and they prepare to analyze and streamline supply chain issues and systems. Coursework covers capital management, supply chain financing, supply chain risk management, and contracts and purchasing. Students examine case studies and complete group exercises to practice applying a financially oriented mindset to supply chain management.
- Global Logistics Management
- This class explores the tactical elements of global logistics, such as transportation infrastructure, storage, and forward and reverse forms of product movement. Coursework also covers cross-docking, multi-modal freight operations, high-tech automated warehousing, reverse logistics tactics, order delivery, and automated warehousing. Students learn to apply a total-systems approach to managing the forward and reverse transportation and storage of products and materials.
Certifications and Licensure for Supply Chain Management Majors
Licenses and certifications demonstrate advanced skills and competence to prospective employers. Individuals in some fields need a license or certification to practice. For supply chain management positions, certifications and licensure are voluntary but can increase job prospects. Graduates can pursue the certifications below to increase their chances of securing high-level supply chain management jobs.
ASCM Certified Supply Chain Professional Certification
The Association for Supply Chain Management offers a general certification for supply chain professionals. Candidates need a bachelor’s degree in the field or at least three years of professional experience. Certified professionals must earn 75 professional development points every five years to renew their credential.
ASCM Certified in Production and Inventory Management
This globally recognized credential demonstrates competence in materials management, master scheduling, forecasting, and production planning. Candidates must pass two exams within three years. Certification renewal requires 75 professional development points every five years.
ASCM Certified Logistics, Transportation and Distribution
This certification demonstrates an in-depth understanding of methods for streamlining logistics. Candidates need advanced knowledge in order management, distribution inventory management, and warehouse management. Applicants must pass the CLTD certification exam. To maintain the certification, professionals must earn 75 professional development points every five years.
Professional Organizations for Supply Chain Management Majors
Professional organizations provide students and professionals with networking and training opportunities. Many organizations in the field of supply chain management offer certification, continuing education courses, conferences, and research. These organizations often advocate for members and provide career and scholarship opportunities to help individuals achieve their professional goals.
Association for Supply Chain Management
ASCM is the largest nonprofit organization for supply chain professionals. The association provides certifications, continuing education and training opportunities, and corporate transformation services. Members receive discounts on certification courses, events, and publications.
Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
CSCMP connects supply chain management professionals with colleagues and resources. The organization hosts conferences, research symposiums, and round tables. Members can access online courses and career services. Both individuals and corporations can join CSCMP.
International Warehouse Logistics Association
IWLA promotes high standards of business ethics in the warehousing and logistics field. Members receive networking opportunities, current information and resources, industry-focused education, and advocacy. The association hosts an annual convention and expo and offers certificate programs.
Institute for Supply Chain Management
This professional organization for supply chain professionals provides education, certifications, leadership development, and research. Membership benefits include scholarships, career resources, and networking opportunities for students and working professionals.
Scholarships for Supply Chain Management Students
Supply chain management master’s degree students can apply for a variety of scholarships based on merit and financial need. Organizations also offer scholarships to encourage individuals who belong to minority groups to pursue careers in supply chain management. In addition to the scholarships below, learners can research awards from their school and state.
Who Can Apply: The Project Management Institute awards four academic scholarships each year to undergraduate and graduate students. Candidates must be pursuing a degree in a field related to project management, including supply chain management. Applicants must attend an accredited college or university.
Who Can Apply: The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals awards several scholarships each year. Applicants must have completed at least one supply chain management course and must be interested in pursuing a career in the field. Candidates must be in good academic standing with a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA or 3.5 graduate GPA.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports undergraduate seniors and graduate students in supply chain management programs. Applicants must demonstrate academic achievement, leadership abilities, high ethical standards, and a commitment to a career in the field. Candidates must be enrolled full time in an accredited program.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports female graduate students who are pursuing careers in transportation. Candidates must be enrolled in a graduate program related to transportation and must demonstrate leadership skills. The scholarship committee prefers applicants who are interested in addressing the impact of transportation on land use, sustainability, and the environment.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship program encourages women to pursue graduate studies and careers in transportation and related fields. Applicants must be enrolled in a graduate-level program in a transportation-related field, such as transportation engineering and logistics. Candidates need a minimum 3.0 GPA.