If you enjoy problem solving and collaboration, you may be particularly suited for the logistics and supply chain industry. As a discipline, supply chain management and logistics examines analytic, theoretical, and practical approaches to transporting goods and services, from their point of production to their point of consumption. This includes the planning, implementation, and control of procedures for inbound, outbound, and internal movement. From the smallest family business to the largest global corporations, supply chain and logistics professionals are widely in demand throughout the United States today.
Pursuing a master’s degree in supply chain and logistics management provides professionals with the advanced skills required for senior positions and higher salaries in the industry. With the skill set they gain from this program, graduates can do their part to develop and improve distribution practices, drive innovation, and further the discipline as a whole. For current supply chain managers looking for a career change or seeking advancement within their organization, an online master’s in supply chain management offers an affordable and flexible educational option that helps you compete in a growing job market where median salaries can reach over $70,000.
Listed below are accredited program options for students seeking to earn a master’s in supply chain management online. Online learning allows students to complete coursework on their own schedules, with more flexibility than traditional on-campus programs. And because our ranking methodology takes into account both cheap tuition costs and high returns on investment, working professionals will be able to find the most affordable supply chain and logistics program for their needs.
Online Supply Chain Management Master’s Degrees at a Glance
|Time to Complete||Program completion time varies, although most schools offer two-year online supply chain management programs. Sometimes students finish more quickly (the University of Southern California’s program lasts 16 months), but part-time students might take three to four years to graduate.|
|Credit Hours||Most schools require 30 credit hours of study before graduation. Full-time students take anywhere from six to 10 credits during one semester.|
|Concentrations||Online master’s degrees in supply chain management feature concentrations in logistics management, global supply chain management, and nonprofit company supply chain management, among others.|
|Accreditation||Online programs in supply management are often accredited by one of the big six regional accreditation agencies. Online master’s programs in supply chain management, though, are often part of business schools, so look out for accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), too.|
|Additional Considerations||Many online supply chain management degree programs require students to have at least a few years of experience working in the field before enrolling in the MBA programs.|
Georgia College and State University
|Value Score 8.32||
As Georgia’s only public liberal arts university, GCSU serves about 7,000 students from around the world – over 850 of which are at the graduate level. The school’s professionally focused online and hybrid graduate programs are among the fastest growing of its 62 program offerings.
GCSU established one of the oldest logistics programs in the country. The master of logistics and supply chain management (MLSCM) is a cohort-based, accelerated program comprising 30 semester hours. Apart from a mandatory orientation session, the program is fully online. Its lockstep course sequence allows students to study two courses each semester in unique areas. For example, the “special topics” elective varies according to current interest. As a for-profit institution, GCSU also distinguishes the program with nationally-accredited courses, top-tier faculty, and cheap tuition. The master’s degree in logistics and supply chain management has tuition rates well below the national average, and is the same for in-state and out-of-state students.
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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
|Value Score 7.97||
Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, Embry-Riddle is the world’s largest university of aviation and aerospace. The school also specializes in non-aviation fields, including business, available to students across three campuses. The Worldwide Campus was one of the first to offer distance learning, and now provides many of its graduate programs online, all with 10 term starts per year.
The master of science in logistics and supply chain management at ERAU explores areas of study such as process optimization, integrated logistics, and sustainability. Some prerequisite courses are required in areas such as management and accounting, and students must pass each with a grade of “B” or higher. To reduce tuition, ERAU assesses applicants’ prior credit for relevant coursework and offers very low military rates. In their final semester of the 30-credit program, students take a comprehensive exam in the capstone course. Graduating the master’s in supply chain management online program prepares students for a variety of management positions as well as several professional certifications.
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University of Wisconsin - Platteville
|Value Score 7.62||
The University of Wisconsin-Platteville, a comprehensive, public institution, is one of the nation’s leading regional universities and the fastest growing school in the UW System. Established almost 150 years ago, UW-P has pioneered distance education for over 35 years.
The school currently offers five graduate programs completely online, including a regionally accredited master of science in integrated supply chain management. Students are required to choose from six areas of emphasis to tailor their degree to their career goals. These cover distinct courses such as design of experiments and engineering communications. The program culminates in a capstone. To earn the online master’s in supply chain management degree, students must complete a minimum of 30 credits. UW-P’s tuition per credit is the same for all students regardless of residency. Applicants need not submit GRE or GMAT scores, may transfer up to 12 credits from another school, and can also earn credits for professional experience.
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University of Alabama in Huntsville
|Value Score 7.02||
UAH is a public Tier 1 research university serving a diverse student population from almost all U.S. states and 84 countries. The school is nationally recognized for its return on investment; while graduates boast the highest starting salaries in Alabama, UAH’s online course tuition remains affordable for both in- and out-of-state students.
The university currently offers 21 programs of study in online or hybrid formats. Its master of science in supply chain and logistics management is one of four business programs available in both. Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), this program aims to meet the highest possible academic standards. The supply chain management master’s degree online curriculum consists of 30 credit hours and can be completed in as little as one year. Coursework incorporates an eight-course core, plus two elective courses and a thesis option. Applicants must fulfill two program prerequisites: a bachelor’s degree (in any field) and prior experience in statistical analysis using a computer.
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University of Maryland-College Park
|Value Score 5.71||
UMUC, located in Adelphi, Maryland, is a regionally accredited state university offering most of its degrees fully online. The school emphasizes career-focused education for busy professionals at competitive costs per credit. UMUC also accepts transfer credits and “fast paths to credit” for prior college or workplace learning; up to six can be applied to the management master’s degree with a specialization in acquisition and supply chain management.
This program’s curriculum entails networking opportunities, simulations, and projects sponsored by real businesses to provide real-world experiences and practical skills. Following a mandatory orientation (which may be waived for students with previous graduate degrees), the 36 required credits of coursework include specializations such as contemporary logistics; law, management, and technology; and contract pricing. Once students have completed 24 credits of the online supply chain management master’s, they move on to a capstone centered on strategic management.
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Portland State University
|Value Score 5.64||
Recognized as one of the most innovative and sustainable universities in the country, PSU, a public research university, aims to offer graduate programs that few other schools provide online. The master of science in global supply chain management is the only program of its kind available online, is one of only two approved by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), and is sanctioned by Fortune 500 companies such as Boeing and Nike for their employees.
The 52-credit program is designed to be completed in 21 months in a collaborative online learning environment. As well as practical case studies, strong industry ties, and a rigorous core curriculum designed and taught by on-campus faculty, students can benefit from a short-term field trip to Asia. PSU Online is also one of Oregon’s most affordable online colleges; the online master’s in supply chain management has competitive tuition rates, flexible coursework, and in-state tuition for eligible Washington state border residents.
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Wright State University
|Value Score 5.45||
Situated in Dayton, Ohio, Wright State (named after the Wright brothers) is a public research university with a strong focus on graduate education. Wright State’s 14 online master’s offerings include a one-year, blended MS in logistics and supply chain management. The program consists of online study (nine courses and a capstone) plus four on-campus residencies (totaling 11 days).
Online classes are taught in a lockstep, cohort-based format, while the residencies give students the opportunity to participate in case studies, breakout sessions, and simulations. Afterward, students complete an intensive capstone project assigned by their own organizations. Tuition for the master’s in supply chain management online program is competitive, and discounted tuition rates are available to students sponsored by their employers. Applicants must have at least three years of experience in logistics, supply chain management, or a related field.
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Michigan State University
|Value Score 4.75||
MSU, the nation’s first land-grant college, is one of the world’s top research institutions. The school enrolls over 25,000 students in its 115 online and hybrid programs. MSU’s recently reformatted MS in supply chain management is a highly interactive, rigorous, blended offering, which can be completed in two years with only 12 days of face-to-face instruction. Ideal candidates are supply chain managers or mid- to top-level executives, and they must have two years of experience.
Courses in the online master’s in supply chain management program are cross-functional, studying supply chain management’s relationship with technology and innovation. All classes are required (36 credits in total). Distinct subject areas include change management, distribution fulfillment, global supply chain management, and technology and production innovation management. There is also a five-credit field study or research project. The program’s flat tuition covers all credits, fees, and lodging/meals for on-campus sessions.
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|Value Score 4.51||
Fontbonne, a Catholic university located in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, represents over 20 countries but keeps its community small. With a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Fontbonne boasts intimate class sizes, and that extends to its evening and online programs. Although many of these are offered in hybrid formats, the 30-credit MS in supply chain management is entirely online.
This program, recognized as one of the top-leading in the country, has concentrations available in management and leadership, nonprofit management, and accounting. Its curriculum has eight required courses, including an introductory business components assessment to test students’ business knowledge. During the eight-week terms of the supply chain management online master’s degree, students may take two courses at once to accelerate the program, making it as short as one year. Once they graduate, students will be prepared for the Council of Supply Chain Management’s SCPro Level One Certification. Tuition and fees are competitively priced – regardless of location – compared to other private universities.
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Pennsylvania State University
|Value Score 4.40||
Penn State University launched its online campus, Penn State World Campus, in 1998. This campus is now the second largest in the Pennsylvania State University System and offers 18 graduate degrees to students across six continents, who have access to the largest alumni network in the world.
The school’s unique, top-ranked master of professional studies in supply chain management is a 30-credit program designed for working professionals; part-time students can complete it in two years. Coursework is fully online, besides one four-day residency in year two, and enables peer interaction through small group projects. In addition to core courses, the online master’s in supply chain management curriculum allows students to choose from one of three electives: logistics and transportation management, strategic procurement, or global manufacturing and service operations. If they decide to take more than 12 credits per semester, students’ tuition will be charged at a flat fee, allowing them to make the most of their degree at no additional cost.
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What Will I Learn in My Online Master’s in Supply Chain Management Program?
An online master’s degree in supply chain management gives students the knowledge to understand strategies and operations to effectively run an end-to-end supply chain for a company. Here’s a brief selection of the type of courses offered in any given online supply chain management MBA:
- Contract Pricing and Negotiation This course teaches students the art of negotiation, from procuring a price analysis before the bargain to actually practicing negotiating techniques to maximize profit.
- Supply Chain Logistics Students learn techniques to analyze transportation, material handling, and inventory. Supply chain logistics courses often include information about how to maximize new technologies.
- Business Ethics Most online supply chain management master’s programs include some type of business ethics class in their core curriculum. Students learn how their decisions and behaviors impact the business at large.
- Operations Management This course teaches students how to manage manufacturing and service operations, an essential component of supply chain management.
- Materials Management Another integral part of supply chain management is purchasing and materials management — selecting and purchasing materials — which students learn in this course.
Concentrations for a Supply Chain Management Master’s Degree
Master’s programs often provide students with the opportunity to focus on a certain area, and online supply chain master’s degrees are no different. Concentrations allow students to hone in on a certain specialization within their career paths. Below are a few examples of those concentrations:
- Logistics Management: The logistics management concentration teaches students how to make decisions in the areas of transportation management and warehouse and distribution centers. The concentration also gives students an understanding of logistics network design as a whole.
- Global Supply Chain Management: Students who concentrate on global supply chain management learn about international trade and finance, as well as multinational logistics.
- Nonprofit Management: This concentration within online supply chain management master’s programs allow students interested in working for nonprofit companies to focus on how to operate supply chain logistics for not-for-profit organizations.
Employment Outlook for Master’s in Supply Chain Management Graduates
Earning a supply chain management master’s degree online can boost your chances of gaining employment in a leadership position, and therefore bump your potential earnings considerably. Plus, earning an MBA in supply chain management can open up career opportunities across the business field, including managerial and analyst roles. People considering this path should have leadership skills and the abilities to think critically and problem solve on their feet. Below is a short selection of jobs you might be able to find after receiving a master’s in supply chain management online:
Logisticians are the masterminds of company supply chains. In other words, logisticians figure out how Product X gets from point A to point B. They analyze and coordinate to make a company’s supply chain operate at maximum efficiency. Although logisticians can find jobs in their fields after earning a bachelor’s degree, receiving an advanced degree helps put them in leadership roles and, in turn, boosts their incomes.
Projected Growth Rate 2%
Purchasing managers play the role of buyers for companies. The job is much more complex than a company-oriented shopping runs, however; purchasing managers plan, direct and coordinate the purchases of products and services. Earning a master’s degree can raise purchasing managers’ earning potential, but professionals with bachelor’s degrees can find jobs in this field too.
Projected Growth Rate 1%
Industrial Production Manager
Industrial production managers work in manufacturing plants, where they oversee daily operations. In essence, this means that they are in charge of directing the process of creating goods for a company. Professionals without advanced degrees can become industrial production managers, but pursuing a master’s degree increases one’s chances of getting this leadership role.
Projected Growth Rate -4%
Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Manager
Much like the above occupation, transportation, storage, and distribution managers direct and coordinate a company’s everyday operations involving transportation, storage, and distribution. Since companies do not always require a bachelor’s degree for entry level positions, an advanced degree would certainly set any candidates far above the crowd.
Projected Growth Rate 2%
Supply Chain Management Licensure and Certification
A student pursuing his or her master’s in supply chain management online often has the opportunity to earn licensure or pursue a specific area of certification. Since some careers in this field require licensure — and most companies reward employees who are licensed — students should consider ensuring that they become particularly attractive candidates by earning both a master’s and a license.
- Certified in Professional in Supplier Diversity The CPSD is unique in the field, as it certifies professionals in the supplier industry to diversify suppliers. The Institute for Supply Management offers the certification, and professionals with experience must take an exam to receive the certification.
- Certified Professional in Supply Management The Institute for Supply Management also offers the CPSM, a certificate directed toward supply managers. A certified professional must first take three exams, covering contracting, negotiation, forecasting, and planning, among other skills. Professionals must also work in the field for at least three years before becoming certified.
- Certified Supply Chain Professional The CSCP, offered by the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), is a general certification that requires professionals to demonstrate knowledge of streamlined operations. The certificate requires one exam.
Job Placement for Supply Chain Management Graduates
In some cases, a bachelor’s degree or even a high school diploma can help professionals in the supply management field land an entry-level job. Only 24% of people working in operations logistics held an advanced degree, according to a recent report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW). However, professionals with master’s degrees are far more likely to find higher-ranking positions and receive higher salaries. In fact, professionals in operations
logistics with advanced degrees hold a 63% earnings boost over those without a graduate degree,
the CEW study found. That’s the largest earnings boost in any career path within the business field.
Master’s In Supply Chain Management Salary
Along with education level, the extent of time a person spends working within a career has an impact on employee earnings in the supply chain management field. Using data from PayScale, the table below provides a snapshot of expected salaries for managers and analysts in the supply chain field at different stages of their careers. If you’re looking to pursue an affordable online supply chain management program, chances are that your investment will soon pay off.
|Job Title||Overall Median Salary||Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years)||Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years)||Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)|
|Supply Chain Manager||$79,929||$66,509||$82,156||$91,194|
Do I Need to Take the GRE/GMAT to Enroll in an Online Master’s in Supply Chain Management Program?
The GRE and GMAT entrance exams test how well-prepared students are for graduate school. People familiar with higher education may associate the GMAT with business schools and the GRE with most other graduate programs. However, although most business schools require the GMAT, several business schools now accept the GMAT and GRE alike. The GRE tests analytical writing skills (translation: writing an essay), verbal reasoning skills (translation: answering questions about a passage), and quantitative reasoning skills (translation: math). The GMAT tests verbal skills (translation: reading a passage and answering questions about it), analytical writing skills (translation: writing an essay), quantitative skills (translation: math), and integrated reasoning skills (translation: even more math, but this time with charts and data). Students should generally set aside 12 weeks, or three months, to study for these exams.
Many online supply chain management degree programs do not require a GRE or GMAT entrance exam, although on-campus degree programs often do. But some schools, like the University of Southern California, note that taking one of the exams is “recommended.” At other schools, like Maryville University in Missouri, applicants submit personal letters outlining their qualifications for graduate work instead of submitting test scores.
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Supply Chain Management Degrees
Accreditation is important because it ensures that schools meet quality standards of education. Students who graduate from unaccredited schools can expect a much more difficult job search than their peers who attended accredited schools. Schools fall into two types of accreditation: regional and national. Most schools are regionally accredited, meaning they’ve been reviewed and given a thumbs up from one of six major regional accreditation bodies in the U.S. On the other hand, national accreditation agencies focus on one specific career area or vocational and trade schools.
Some schools offering online master’s programs in supply chain management may be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). After all, schools often offer supply chain management programs as master’s of business programs, or MBAs. The AACSB accredits business schools around the world.
Financing Your Online Master’s in Supply Chain Management Program
Students should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see whether they qualify for loans from the federal government. The federal government requires students to pay back loans after graduation, but learners can look into grants and scholarships as well. Most scholarships in supply chain management are intended to undergraduate students. However, below you can find a variety of funding opportunities for master’s students to keep your education cheap. Keep in mind that applicants can find many regional scholarships for online master’s programs through state and city chapters of the Institute for Supply Chain Management. Schools also often offer scholarships, so make sure to check with your college or university to ensure that your Supply Chain MBA program is affordable.
Supply Chain Management Scholarships
John J. Murphy Scholarship $7,500 for primary award*
Scholarship Deadline: December 29
Eligibility Requirements: Students must be the child or dependent Supply Chain Logistics department employee of a Food Shippers of America member company. Applicants must also study supply chain management, and they must hold a 3.5 GPA.
*Additional awards of $5,000, $4,000, $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000
Material Handling Education Foundation, Inc. Scholarship Varies from $1,500 to $6,000
Scholarship Deadline: February
Eligibility Requirements: Student must be a enrolled full-time in a field related to the supply chain management and must maintain a “B” grade point average.
Ivan A. Olsen Scholarship Varies from $1,000
Scholarship Deadline: April 1
Eligibility Requirements: Student must be enrolled in one of the programs listed above; hold U.S., Canadian, or Mexican citizenship; and be in good standing with his or her school.
Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Scholarship $3,500
Scholarship Deadline: March 31
Eligibility Requirements: Graduate students must be based in the Chicago area, must be enrolled in a supply chain management program, and must maintain a 3.5 GPA.
SME Education Foundation Graduate Scholarships Varies
Scholarship Deadline: Varies (check the SME Education Foundation’s website for latest updates).
Eligibility Requirements: Student must be enrolled in one of the programs listed above, and must maintain a 2.5 or 3.0 GPA (depending on the scholarship). Certain scholarships are only available to residents of Michigan, Kansas, and Indiana. See the organization’s website for details.