Supply Chain Management Graduate Degree Programs

Oct 19, 2019

Supply chain management, also known as logistics, deals with the transport of goods and services. Graduate study in this field at the master's and doctoral levels can lead to management and executive positions in the industry, as well as to research and college teaching positions.

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Essential Information

There are several types of master's degree programs that cover advanced study in supply chain management, including a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Most programs are aimed at helping graduates attain professional certification. The curriculum combines classroom work, seminars and hands-on experience.

Students need at least a bachelor's degree to pursue doctoral studies, but a master's degree is often preferred, as well as prerequisite coursework in mathematics, statistics, business or computing. Doctoral programs include core classes and seminars, and students spend a great portion of the program researching and compiling a dissertation. Many schools require students to work as teaching assistants as well.


Master's Degree in Supply Chain Management

Education in supply chain management can involve many different academic divisions and departments, but most degree programs, such as the Master of Science (M.S.) in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Master of Science in Global Supply Chain Management or Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Supply Chain Management, are offered through a college or university's business school. Master's degree programs in this field provide an intensive look at the many different aspects involved in the flow of goods or materials, and also the communication needed to make the physical flow happen.

Most schools tailor their programs to meet the needs of people who want to pursue a Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) designation from the Institute for Supply Management (www.ism.ws). Many schools, particularly the ones that offer the MBA with supply chain management emphasis, will also offer a shorter certificate program, either for credit or non-degree credit, for business professionals who want to focus on supply chain management careers.

A typical supply chain management master's program covers advanced supply chain systems topics through classes, seminars and practicum experience. The program may also include a thesis project and coursework similar to the following:

  • Logistics systems
  • Information technology tools
  • Supply chain risk management
  • Negotiations and conflict management
  • Advanced operations strategy

Doctorate Degree in Supply Chain Management

Doctorate degree program in supply chain management, including the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Supply Chain Management, Ph.D. in Business Administration with a supply chain management emphasis or Ph.D. in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, will focus on researching and analyzing all of the aspects of moving of goods, services and information from one organization to another. It is geared toward individuals who want to pursue careers in research, either in the public or private sector, or college-level teaching. To help provide that experience in teaching and research, students typically have the opportunity to be graduate teaching assistants.

The course of study in a Ph.D. program in supply chain management involves seminars, a dissertation and independent study. Some class or seminar titles include:

  • Principles of supply chain and information systems
  • Introduction to business research
  • Information systems research methods
  • Optimization research methods
  • Economic research methods

Popular Career Options

There are many career opportunities available for graduates with a master's degree in supply chain management. Some examples are:

  • Purchasing manager
  • Purchasing agent
  • Operations analyst
  • Production manager
  • Management consultant
  • General manager

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

One possible job title for the graduates with a Ph.D. in Supply Chain Management is operations research analyst. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job openings in this area are expected to grow 26% for the years 2018 through 2028 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also stated that the median annual salary in 2018 for these workers was $83,390.

Professional Certification Information

The Institute for Supply Management, a large professional organization, offers a Certified Professional in Supply Management designation. It generally requires at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, three years of full-time professional supply management work experience and successful passage of three national exams. For recertification, a candidate must pass the organization's Bridge Exam.

Students interested in supply chain management graduate degree programs can choose from courses at both master's and doctorate levels. By learning key industry skills, from logistics systems to economic research methods, students will be prepared for a career within the field.

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