The Best Online Master’s in Supply Chain Management Programs

Supply chain management (SCM) is the oversight of materials, information and finances as they move from supplier to consumer. SCM professionals essentially manage the entire lifecycle of a product: how it’s acquired, distributed, allocated and delivered.

Employment of logisticians in government and contracting firms is expected to jump 22% by 2022, according to the BLS.

Many major industries, retail, tech, manufacturing, and even the federal government, have a need for qualified supply management experts, making it one of the most in-demand jobs in the marketplace today. Opportunities range from day-to-day, on-site management of people and product flows to office-type positions in charge of supply management, demand forecasting and inventory control. Professionals who thrive in an ever-changing environment and are looking for a rewarding career shift will feel at home in this position. An online master’s in supply management will give prospects a major boost in the marketplace and allow them to command a high starting salary (and negotiate a big signing bonus).

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Enrolled Online Location Description
1

University of Southern California

77.934/513%Los Angeles, CA

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At USC, the Marshall School of Business has been at the forefront of emerging business trends, entrepreneurship, and globalization for decades. The school's master of science in global supply chain management (MSGSCM) is a 27-unit, part-time program that can be completed in 16 months. Graduates leave school prepared to excel in a rapidly-changing business environment.

Armed with an online master's in supply chain management, USC graduates have the competitive foundation they need to pursue careers in logistics, demand planning, procurement, and more. The MSGSCM features a rigorous academic curriculum grounded in practical schoolwork. All coursework can be completed entirely online, although the program does require students to participate in two week-long experiential modules on global supply chain management: one in Los Angeles, the other in Singapore.

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2

University of Maryland – College Park

69.993/56%College Park, MD

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UMCP offers an M.S. in management with a specialization in acquisition and supply chain management. Designed for mid-career professionals -- but also open to more traditional students -- the 36-credit program covers the strategic and operational aspects of the supply chain, with case studies and simulations included to provide students with practical experience.

Pursuing a master's in supply chain management online allows students to take courses in a flexible format where they can consume lectures and complete assignments at their convenience. Select classes are also available on-site or in a hybrid format, which combines both virtual learning and classroom sessions in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington D.C. For those looking to network, UCMC undergraduates and graduates are welcome to join the Business and Management Club, which gives members the chance to meet each other and interact more with faculty.

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3

University of Washington

66.273/58%Seattle, WA

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Founded in 1861, the University of Washington now offers 275 separate programs and more than 500 degrees. The school's master of supply chain transportation and logistics covers the impact of globalization, and highlights the demands of an evolving, shifting economy and the need to reach every customer, whether next door or across the ocean.

This two-year online supply chain management master's degree helps graduate students develop the analytical skills and abilities needed to navigate the industrial, governmental, and local challenges facing those in the field today. Comprised of nine courses totaling 43 credits, the program can be completed almost entirely online. The first course in the sequence, logistics & analysis, requires students to complete a one-week residency on the UW campus in Seattle.

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4

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide

60.623/589%Daytona Beach, FL

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In 1971, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University became one of only 20 universities to offer distance education programs, and the school remains a global leader in virtual education. Named by U.S. News & World Report in 2016 as one of the nation's top online educators for a third year in a row, ERAU Worldwide serves more than 22,000 students online.

The school's master of science in logistics & supply chain management equips students with the knowledge and skills they need to effectively manage a supply chain, from planning to delivery. Comprised of 36 credits, including 24 core/major requirements and six electives, ERAU's supply chain management master's degree online program also prepares graduates to earn CSCP, CPL, and CPSM certifications. Every student accepted into the M.S. program is assigned an academic advisor who can answer questions and help distance learners navigate their academic journey.

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5

Georgia College & State University

58.833/523%Milledgeville, GA

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Georgia College in Milledgeville is home to the Peach State's oldest logistics program and the school now offers the degree online. The master of logistics & supply chain management (MLSCM) is a cohort-based program taught entirely online in a lock-step sequence; students must take two courses each semester.

The 30-hour supply chain management online master's degree is one of 25 graduate programs offered by USG. Logistics and transportation are growing industries, and Georgia College responded to expected demand by offering the supply chain management degree and founding the university's outreach arm in the Institute of Logistics and Transportation Studies.

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6

Michigan State University

55.383/518%East Lansing, MI

MSU's supply chain management offering is a blended graduate program designed to teach students how to manage a supply chain. The 36-credit program can be completed in two years. Students looking to earn their master's degree in logistics and supply chain management online receive most of their instruction asynchronously, though all distance elearners are required to attend four three-day weekend sessions on campus in East Lansing. The widely renowned curriculum covers enterprise strategy, analytical methods, and information technology.

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7

Florida Institute of Technology

55.884/59%Melbourne, FL

Founded in 1958 in Melbourne, the Florida Institute of Technology offers a variety of degree and certificate programs on campus, off-site, and online. The school offers a master's in supply chain management online through Florida Tech Online, and on campus in Orlando and Titusville.

Florida Tech's online master's degree in supply chain management covers purchasing, manufacturing, transportation, consulting, strategic planning, and management. The program takes two years to complete and consists of 10 classes, each of which is eight weeks long. All graduate students can access the university's digital library materials.

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8

Pennsylvania State University

51.134/5100%University Park, PA

Penn State offers a master of professional studies in supply chain management (MPS/SCM) program, a two-year, 30-credit online degree that prepares graduates to oversee supply chain life cycles. From analytical skill development to global strategic thinking, students learn how to design, map, and synchronize the flow of products, information, and funds for an organization.

Penn State's online master's in logistics and supply chain management is taught in an asynchronous format, which is convenient for students who work full time or distance learners with other obligations. The university is one of the nation's distance education pioneers; PSU's first distance course was offered in 1892. In 1998, PSU became one of the first major accredited universities to deliver online education.

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9

University of Wisconsin – Platteville

50.063/516%Platteville, WI

Wisconsin-Platteville's master of science in integrated supply chain management is a 30-33 credit program offered entirely online through D2L. Students accepted into the program are asked to choose from six areas of emphasis to round out their degrees, ranging from customer relationship management to logistics to purchasing. Students with certifications, such as a CPSM or CPSD, can apply them toward their degree.

The online master's in supply chain management at UW-Platteville is one of the school's six distance-learning graduate programs. Full-time students can graduate in two years, and part-timers can finish in three or four. While no campus visits are required to complete the degree, all graduating students are invited to attend commencement ceremonies with their fellow Pioneers.

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10

Portland State University

43.773/519%OR

Consisting of 52 credits, Portland State's master of science in global supply chain management is one of only 13 programs approved by the Institute for Supply Management -- and is the only approved program offered online. Students can graduate in 21 months. The curriculum emphasizes the importance of emerging technologies and covers all aspects and challenges of globalization.

Portland State's master's in supply chain management online degree requires its students to complete a two-week field study in Asia at the end of their coursework. The experience is designed to cap a student's time at PSU with a practical look at how supply chain management functions in the field. The school features a student-to-faculty ratio of 19:1, and is one of the most diverse colleges in Oregon.

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In order to maximize efficiency while minimizing cost, businesses need increasingly complex supply and distribution systems. Effective supply chain management allows companies to compete in a global market. Therefore, an SCM professional’s skills directly affect a company’s profitability.

With the global market expanding, employment for highly-trained professionals is expected to grow rapidly as companies need to move products efficiently, solve problems and identify areas for improvement.

The courses online master’s in supply chain management students can expect to take include: International Supply Chain Management, Management Decision Analysis, Taguchi Method of Designing Experiments, and Customer Synchronization. Some colleges and universities offer specializations that prepare students for specific positions or industries, like the nonprofit sector.

All students can expect to graduate with improved teamwork, communication, decision making, problem solving and analytical skills. They will be able to approach any issue in any industry from a logical angle and figure out what’s best for the company and the customer.

Some examples of jobs awaiting master’s graduates include the Logistics Manager for the Oshkosh company, a Supply Line Manager for Intel, a Supply Chain Manager for Reyes Beverage Group or a Program Manager for Nordstrom. The possibilities across all industries are limitless.

Employment Outlook for Supply Chain Management Graduates

However, while there are opportunities in every industry, the largest concentration of jobs are in manufacturing, followed by the Federal Government. In third place is the military, as planning for and moving military supplies and personnel requires a lot of logistical work.

Employment of logisticians in government and contracting firms will continue to grow to meet their needs. In fact, employment is expected to jump 22% by 2022, much faster than other industries. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that demand will far outweigh the supply by 2016.

Supply Chain Management Salaries

According to Indeed.com, the average salary for a supply chain manager is $82,000, increasing considerably depending on amount of experience and education, as well as location; for instance, senior supply managers are reported to make an average of $122,000.

Here is how Indeed breaks down the wages of management positions in some of the industries most relevant to professionals holding a supply chain management master’s:

IndustryAvg. Salary in Management Positions
Electronics and High Tech$170,000
Medical Device Manufacturing$136,000
Metal Manufacturing$124,000
Warehouse Distribution$96,000

No matter the location or industry, a graduate degree always equals more money. The Supply Chain Salary Survey shows that those with a master’s degree earn $120,000 – $148,000 per year, while 4-year college grads earn on average $104,000.

Despite the high wages, salary is not the most enticing part of this career to experienced workers. According to the same survey, 24% of supply chain managers are in it for the job security. And 78% of them are either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their job.

No matter the path, a master’s degree in supply chain management will position any professional to land a high-paying job in a rewarding field. They’ll enjoy job security and be consistently challenged and rewarded for the duration of their career.

Best Online Master's in Supply Chain Management in 2016
Rank School Location
1 Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, FL
2 Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA
3 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach, FL
4 Georgia College & State University Milledgeville, GA
5 Fontbonne University Saint Louis, MO
6 Air Force Institute of Technology Wright-Patterson AFB, OH
7 University of Wisconsin - Platteville Platteville, WI