Purchasing Courses and Classes Overview

Purchasing is the process of acquiring supplies and services of the best quality for the best price. These classes can be found as part of certificate or associate degree programs in purchasing, procurement or supply chain management. However, standalone purchasing classes are available, too. Find out some of the most common classes in purchasing by reading this article.

Essential Information

Courses in purchasing explain how to manage inventory, find sources and negotiate prices. Individuals can find purchasing courses and programs in community colleges, universities and even online. Along with new students, purchasing classes are open to experienced professionals looking to meet continuing education units, those who want to increase their knowledge of the field, and individuals preparing for certification. Here are some of the subjects you can expect to find in courses on purchasing:

  • Fundamental purchasing principles
  • Economic factors
  • Supply chains and logistics
  • Negotiation and pricing
  • Contractual law

List of Purchasing Courses

Introduction to Purchasing

One of the first courses a purchasing student takes is an introductory course that covers the skills and knowledge needed to become a buyer or purchasing manager. The class explains how purchasing fits into the overall structure of an organization and its importance in maintaining efficiency. It goes on to show how local and foreign economies, environmental factors and material shortages can affect the availability and pricing of goods. Students learn how purchasing managers keep stock of inventory, work with vendors and evaluate the quality of goods.


A big part of a purchasing manager's job is negotiating with vendors and other businesses to secure deals for supplies. This course demonstrates skills for successful negotiation, such as creating mutual benefit and avoiding deadlocks. Students gain an understanding of human behavior and principles of verbal and non-verbal communication. Lectures in this class are supplemented by mock negotiations held between students.

Supply Chain

Purchasing is one element of the supply chain, a series of connections that begins with raw material and ends with a finished product being delivered to consumers. Many purchasing programs include an overview class that explains this process and the role of purchasing within it. Students learn skills for establishing an efficient, sustainable and consistent flow of resources and goods.

Cost Analysis

Much of a company's production cost is directly affected by the cost of supplies and procurement. As a result, purchasing managers need to constantly evaluate purchasing operations to determine where money can be saved and how the process can be made more efficient. A cost analysis class teaches skills in cost research, market monitoring and price comparison. The course explores the circumstances that affect the choice to outsource or buy items rather than make them.

Legal Aspects in Purchasing

This class reviews the laws and regulations that relate to purchasing. Because purchasing managers make many legally binding agreements with vendors, contract law is emphasized. Students learn about different types of contracts, enforcement of warranties and options for legal recourse in disputes with suppliers.

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