Masters Degree in Purchasing: Program Overviews

Master's degree programs in purchasing, whether they lead to a Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Science (M.S.), or Master of Science in Management (MSM), focus on management practices and generally target purchasing professionals responsible for larger-volume purchases.

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Essential Information

Master's degree programs in purchasing emphasize the purchasing management practices for businesses, such as those that have supply contracts with the federal government. Master's degree programs typically require the completion of 33-36 credits and hone students' leadership abilities and negotiating skills. Degree concentrations include procurement, acquisition management and contract management. Voluntary certifications can be pursued by graduates of these programs.

Prerequisites for the master's program can include a bachelor's degree in business administration and GRE or GMAT scores. Students with a bachelor's degree in another field may need to take prerequisite coursework.

Master's Degree in Purchasing

The curriculum of a master's degree in purchasing covers advance supply chain management, logistics, and contracts. Students typically complete a senior project. Core purchasing classes include:

  • Legalities affecting purchasing practices
  • Negotiation techniques
  • Project management
  • Analyzing cost versus price
  • Calculating financial returns on investments
  • Corporate culture

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Employment of purchasing managers was expected to grow 1% from 2014-2024, noted the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Salaries depend on specific job titles with purchasing managers earning a median salary of $108,120 in 2015, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education

Government-employed purchasers can earn the Certified Professional Public Buyer credential, which is offered through the Universal Public Purchasing Certification Council. Voluntary professional certifications, such as the Certified Purchasing Professional and the Certified Professional Purchasing Manager, are also available through the American Purchasing Society. To qualify, applicants must meet minimum education and work experience requirements and pass an exam.

In summary, students looking to earn a master's degree in purchasing may take courses in negotiation techniques, project management, and cost-versus-price analysis. Some programs can prepare students for voluntary purchasing certification. While the job outlook for purchasing managers is slower than average, median earnings are generally higher than average.

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