Logistics Graduate Schools: How to Choose

Graduate programs in logistics prepare individuals to manage the complexities of global supply chains, such as movement of goods, services, information and money. Students learn how to leverage these systems to boost a company's strategic advantage. Programs range from nine months to two years and are designed for students with experience in the business world.

Logistics programs tend to be offered through graduate schools at 4-year colleges and universities. Many schools strongly encourage only students with logistics work experience to apply and some only accept students with a science, math or engineering background, while others offer part-time programs aimed at students with corporate experience and a Master of Business Administration degree.

10 Logistics Schools

Here's a list of institutions with applicable programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition 2015-2016*
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's, doctorate $46,400
Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan 4-year, public Master's, doctorate In-state $16,122 Out-of-state $31,674
Arizona State University Tempe, Arizona 4-year, Public Master's, doctorate In-state $10,610 Out-of-state $22,580
Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio 4-year, public Master's, doctorate In-state $11,560 Out-of-state $31,032
Pennsylvania State University University Park, Pennsylvania 4-year, public Master's, doctorate, certificate In-state $19,328 Out-of-state $33,142
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 4-year, private not-for-profit Doctorate $40,625
Stanford University Stanford, California 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's doctorate, certificate $45,729
University of Tennessee-Knoxville Knoxville, Tennessee 4-year, public Master's doctorate In-state $10,618 Out-of-state $28,806
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, Michigan 4-year, public Master's In-state $20,638 Out-of-state $41,688
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's doctorate $31,068

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

When trying to select a graduate school for logistics, students should consider the following:

  • Students should consider how much time they have to devote to a logistics graduate program, since most schools only offer full-time weekday programs and only a few have night classes or online options.
  • Students might want to check a school's website for scholarship programs because there are many corporate-sponsored and school-sponsored financial scholarships for study in the logistics field.
  • Students should look for schools that have their own logistics research organizations or centers of excellence, as valuable experience can be gained working for these organizations while pursuing a degree. Students can make high-level contacts at client corporations, as well as be hired for full-time positions at school-sponsored organizations.
  • Students should also look into existing alumni associations to see what networking opportunities exist to help find a position after graduation.

Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management

The basics of logistics and supply chain management are covered in this 18-credit program. This certificate is often granted in conjunction with a master's degree in business or engineering. Depending on the school, students may be able to focus their studies in international logistics, logistics software, e-commerce, quality or operations.

Master of Science in Logistics

Geared towards working professionals, this program teaches students how to leverage the supply chain to gain a competitive edge. A master's thesis is required for graduation.

Ph.D. in Business: Logistics

A strong focus on analytics and international management forms the core of this program. Doctoral candidates are usually required to complete 1-2 years of student teaching at the degree-granting school. Along with completing a dissertation, students are often required to present one or more papers at a national logistics conference approved by the dissertation committee.

In graduate-level logistics programs, students receive an advanced education in supply chain operations and often get to choose a concentration. When selecting a school, students should research the existence of networking opportunities and financial aid programs.


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