Materials and Operations Management Degrees by Program Level

Academic programs dealing with the efficient delivery of products and services are most often referred to as operations management programs. They can be found at the bachelor's and master's degree levels.

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Essential Information

There are a number of different degree programs in the materials and operations management field. Programs at the baccalaureate level focus on material distribution, marketing and strategic management. They prepare students to become managers or systems analysts. Students of graduate degree programs must have completed undergraduate education, and some prerequisites may be necessary for applicants who don't have a business background.

Certifications and continuing education courses are available through the Association for Operations Management. Doctoral degree programs exist for candidates who want to eventually conduct research or teach in academia.

Program length varies by level, though student's can expect to spend 4 years before achieving a bachelor's degree. Some programs may be offered entirely or partially online, which may be convenient for some students. To gain admission into undergraduate programs, students should be able to submit high school transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation, as well as an admissions essay. For graduate programs, undergraduate transcripts along with GRE scores, resumes, and letters of recommendation, are required.


Bachelor's Degree in Operations Management

These programs are designed to train individuals for entry-level management positions in business and industry. Degree candidates learn how to analyze costs and control quality as well as how to make arrangements for materials, staffing and equipment. Upon completing the program, graduates will know how to provide the best product to the widest audience in the most profitable manner. These programs usually take four years to complete and can be found in both online and traditional classroom settings. Some programs may require a separate application process for admission to the business school.

The curriculum of these programs is generally comprised of a set of core business courses along with a set of core operations management courses. Degree candidates round out their coursework with a number of liberal arts or humanities electives. Below are listed some sample core operations management courses.

  • Material distribution
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Operation design and control
  • Marketing
  • Strategic management
  • Finance

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Actuarial Sciences
  • Business and Commerce, General
  • Business Statistics
  • Customer Service Management
  • eCommerce
  • Logistics, Distribution, and Materials Management
  • Management Science
  • Office Management
  • Operations Management
  • Public and Nonprofit Organizational Management
  • Purchases, Acquisitions, and Contracts Management
  • Transportation Management

Master's Degree in Operations Management

Master's degree programs in operations management are designed to prepare individuals for senior leadership and executive positions in a wide array of settings, including business, education and government. Degree candidates learn how to use quantitative and qualitative tools to design and implement efficient and effective business operations. These programs are usually offered in the Master of Science degree format, although Master of Business Administration programs are also available. Many programs are designed with the working professional in mind and offer evening, weekend and online classes.

There is usually no specific major required for the undergraduate degree. However, some programs may require non-business majors to take supplemental coursework before enrolling in the operations management program.

These programs are content specific with few or no other elective requirements. Below are listed some sample core course titles.

  • Business law and ethics
  • Supply chain and materials management
  • Human resources management
  • Operational logistics
  • Product research and development

Popular Career Options

While some leadership positions may require graduate education, there are still plenty of employment opportunities for those who have an operations management bachelor's degree. Below are listed some sample job titles.

  • Logistics manager
  • Inventory systems analyst
  • Quality assurance supervisor

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

A master's degree in operations management can lead to any number of business or corporate career opportunities. One example would be that of a purchasing manager. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for purchasing managers are expected to increase 1% from 2014-2024, and the median salary for this position in May 2015 was $108,120. Another possible career would be an administrative services manager. Job opportunities for this position are expected to increase 8% between 2014 and 2024, and the median salary in May 2015 was $86,110 (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education Information

For students who want to continue their education beyond the master's degree level, there are doctoral programs in operations management. These programs are often offered under the name of Information and Operations Management. The academic purpose of these programs is to train scholars and researchers, working on the business issues of today as well as tomorrow.

For the working operations management professional, there are industry-standard certifications available. The Association for Operations Management (APICS) offers two different levels of certification, designed to provide evidence of knowledge and experience. APICS also offers continuing education courses and networking opportunities (www.apics.org).

The field of materials and operations managements offers a wide variety of careers opportunities, especially if a student has achieved a degree in the discipline. Degree programs prepare students for myriad positions, including careers in human resources management, product research, and logistics management.

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