Best Online Master’s in Supply Chain Management Programs
Supply chain management professionals oversee the entire lifecycle of products, from sourcing raw materials to distribution. We've ranked the top online master's in supply chain management programs. Compare schools by cost, flexibility, and academic quality.
Published on December 23, 2021 · Updated on April 26, 2022
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Throughout the pandemic, consumers have struggled to find some of the items they've needed — from essential household goods and food to the microchips automotive makers need for building new cars. According to the White House, many businesses continue to struggle with adequate supplies or inventory.
These challenges highlight the role of supply chain managers within companies and organizations, and why people skilled in navigating a global supply market are in demand at businesses across the nation. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) projects 30% growth in employment for logisticians from 2020-2030. These professionals analyze the supply chain and coordinate orders, deliveries, and transportation.
A master's in supply chain management requires 1-2 years to complete, with many schools offering online, accelerated programs. Explore top online schools to find an online master's in supply chain management program that aligns with your needs.
What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Supply Chain Management Program?
Supply chain managers need to understand customer service, economics, communication, business planning, and transportation. A master's in supply chain management builds data analytics, team building, and critical thinking competencies. Coursework develops skills in these areas while also introducing students to industry software and tools.
A college's business school may offer a degree solely focused on supply chain management or provide a supply chain management track within another graduate program, like a master of business administration or master's in leadership. Within a supply chain management program, schools may also offer a specialization like logistics, management, or information systems.
A master's in supply chain management program features a capstone experience. The capstone may include writing a master's thesis, preparing a professional project, and/or completing an internship or practicum. The capstone experience serves as a comprehensive review of the master's curriculum. Students use their new skills and knowledge to complete their project.
A master's degree typically requires around 30-36 credits, though this varies by school. Accelerated class formats offered at some schools allow students to graduate in one year. Many graduate schools also welcome part-time students with asynchronous courses or weekend programs designed for working students.
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Popular Online Master's in Supply Chain Management Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Supply Chain Management Program?
Supply Chain Management Strategies
Supply chain managers must balance an adequate amount of supplies to achieve efficient production and shipping processes. This course discusses how managers balance competing demands to provide a value creation system that delivers cost advantages.
Supply Chain Finance
Supplies make up a significant portion of product cost. Properly managing supplies and inventory can boost company profitability. This course delves into concepts that help supply chain managers understand working capital and how various factors impact supply cost and business decisions.
Understanding supply needs includes proper forecasting of market conditions, managing materials, and calculating order quantity. Contracts, procurement, and supplier evaluations all play a role in demand management. This course also introduces students to digital tools used in the industry.
Purchasing and Supply Management
Students review principles and practices of purchasing and supply management and learn to evaluate processes against financial, environmental, and ethical considerations. The course also discusses risks related to scarcity, cost, climate change, and other environmental concerns.
Global Logistics Management
Most businesses operate in a global environment. This course covers topics related to international markets, commercial documents, packaging, and transportation. Students also learn about order management, inventory control, and distribution channels.
What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Supply Chain Management Program?
Interest in business graduate programs increased dramatically in 2020. A Graduate Management Admission Council survey found 75% of respondents reported an increase in applications to MBA programs this past year. Prospective students said they needed an advanced skill or degree to remain competitive in their field.
That increase in applications could lead to more competitive graduate school admissions processes. Schools consider an applicant's academic background, professional experience, and career goals when making admissions decisions. Read on to learn about common admission requirements for master's in supply chain management programs, but bear in mind that these vary depending on the program. For example, some schools may also require an interview.
A grad school application details your educational and employment history. Many schools use an online application process. If you have questions about this process, you can contact an admission counselor or the program directly.
Admission into a master's in supply chain management may require taking the GMAT, GRE, or MAT entrance exam. Scores on these standardized tests can bolster an application — especially if your undergraduate GPA is lackluster. Some schools may offer waivers for exams if you have several years of business experience.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation allow former professors or supervisors to share information about an applicant's perseverance, dedication, and professionalism. You want to give letter-writers at least two weeks to complete the letter. And make sure they have the information they need to submit the letter on your behalf.
Resume and Work Experience
Your resume brings your educational, professional, and volunteer experience together in one short document. It lets you showcase leadership experience and highlight professional accomplishments. Your resume can complement your transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation, helping you stand out from other applicants.
Essays or personal statements can help admissions counselors understand why you want to pursue a master's in supply chain management. Here, you can outline your professional experiences and your long-term career goals. Schools use the essay to evaluate an applicant's likelihood of success in an academically rigorous program while also ensuring that student goals align with the program's curriculum.
Schools use undergraduate transcripts to verify an applicant's degree completion and GPA and identify any outstanding prerequisite courses, like statistics or quantitative analysis. If you have taken graduate-level work, the school may also consider awarding transfer credit. Graduate schools may only accept a handful of credits.
What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Supply Chain Management Degree?
The BLS projects the creation of 56,400 new jobs in logistics from 2020-2030, which would translate to 30% growth — much faster than the typical field. Much of this career growth is expected to come from businesses looking to find cost savings and increase efficiency in shipping, buying, and selling. As of May 2020, logisticians earned a median salary of $76,270.
Almost every industry benefits from hiring skilled supply chain managers. Logisticians may work in manufacturing, professional or technical services, or company management. Outside of business management careers, individuals earning a master's in supply chain management may also find rewarding opportunities working for government agencies.
Earning a master's in supply chain management builds the problem-solving and analytical skills needed to succeed in the field. The curriculum also builds communication and leadership competencies. These skills can prepare you for related careers in purchasing, operations management, and finance.
See where a master's in supply chain management can take you. Learn more about supply chain management careers.
Supply Chain Manager
A supply chain manager maintains an inventory of raw materials and finished products to meet company needs. They carefully study production processes to ensure adequate materials arrive on time for efficient manufacturing or production processes. They also monitor customer demand to ensure products ship on time. These managers work directly with suppliers and must have an understanding of finance and logistics.
Average Annual Salary: $84,180 (December 2021)
Logistics managers plan and coordinate the distribution or storage of materials, supplies, and products to ensure efficient operation of the company. They understand how quickly a warehouse can fill orders, track order accuracy, and look for opportunities to improve efficiencies and overcome challenges. They may oversee one location or manage regional or national logistics programs.
Average Annual Salary: $67,700 (December 2021)
A transportation manager oversees the shipping and receiving of goods with an eye on efficiency and cost management. These managers need to understand logistics to coordinate the movement of products across complex shipping networks, monitor storage or warehouse capacity, and ensure on-time delivery of goods to the end customer. Transportation managers also coordinate with carriers and suppliers.
Average Annual Salary: $66,620 (December 2021)
Purchasing managers ensure a company has the raw materials needed to meet business expectations. They must work with suppliers to ensure adequate supply that meets company specifications at the best cost. These managers need skills in negotiation, business analytics, and finance. Purchasing managers may oversee purchasing analysts and clerks.
Average Annual Salary: $69,950 (December 2021)
Operations managers may work in various departments within an organization to oversee the production of goods or the delivery of services. They help ensure quality products and services, control budgets, and implement safety protocols that comply with company policies and regulatory requirements. These managers need good leadership and interpersonal skills, as well as business skills in budgeting, personnel management, and professional communication.
Average Annual Salary: $67,420 (December 2021)
Supply Chain Management Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.
After completing a master's in supply chain management, some students opt to pursue a doctoral degree. These programs typically require 4-5 years to complete. Doctoral candidates often pursue careers in teaching or research.
The doctoral degree serves students interested in careers in academia. However, individuals interested in the practical application of supply chain management can still advance their education after earning a master's through professional certification. Consider certifications offered by professional organizations such as the Association for Supply Chain Management.
How Do I Choose an Online Master's in Supply Chain Management Program?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, graduate tuition and fees averaged $19,792 during the 2019-20 academic year, though some students paid upwards well over $40,000 each year toward their graduate education.
Public colleges and universities typically charge lower tuition than private colleges. Schools may also charge different tuition for on-campus students compared to students seeking an online master's in supply chain management. When evaluating the true cost of college, consider costs related to tuition, books, transportation, and room and board. Compare the cost of online and on-campus programs to find a school that fits in your budget.
Next, determine if a school's program fits your scheduling needs. If you plan to continue working, can you enroll in the program part time? Some schools offer accelerated online learning, which can speed up your graduation timeline. Also, check if courses have scheduled meeting times or if the school uses asynchronous learning.
While an online master's in supply chain management allows you to study anywhere, you may still consider enrolling at a nearby college. Attending a school close to home can make it easier to attend a combination of online and on-campus sessions or participate in internships organized by the school. Area employers may also be more familiar with the school and its graduates.
Accreditation provides an independent review of a school's academic programs. Institutional accreditation may come from regional or national accrediting organizations. Schools must hold institutional accreditation from a recognized organization to participate in federal student aid programs. Specific programs at a school can also earn specialized accreditation. For example, master's in supply chain management programs may hold recognition from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Student support services help learners succeed in the classroom and after graduation. These services could help you find a mentor through an alumni network or a placement in an internship program. Career services may provide resume reviews, interview prep, and access to exclusive job listings. Check how schools support online students, such as by offering video conferencing appointments for career services or online alumni networking events.
Best Accredited Online Master's in Supply Chain Management Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Supply Chain Management Programs
According to the BLS, workers with an advanced degree earn more than workers with only a bachelor's. Logisticians — a popular career choice for individuals with a master's in supply chain management — earned a median salary of $76,270 in 2020.
Earning a master's degree in supply chain management prepares you for a variety of career paths working in fields like business management, manufacturing, or transportation. Common job titles include purchasing manager, logistics manager, operations manager, logistics analyst, and storage and distribution manager.
Coursework builds on your knowledge of business principles while emphasizing strategic planning, materials management, inventory control, quality control, and purchasing. Supply chain professionals need skills in problem-solving, communication, and data analytics. These skills are in high demand in many industries and in a variety of roles, including emergency and disaster response, e-commerce, and nonprofit operations.
Yes! The BLS projects a 30% growth in employment for logisticians, which would create about 56,400 new jobs, from 2020-2030. Organizations need people to find the best, most efficient methods for getting supplies, storing materials, and shipping products. The BLS projects an average of 24,500 job openings each year as both new jobs become available and workers retire.
While the BLS projects a 4% decline in overall employment of buyers and purchasing agents from 2020-2030 (as many tasks become automated), it still projects about 45,800 job openings each year.
Logisticians earned a median salary of $76,270 in May 2020 — significantly higher than the median salary in the U.S. ($41,950). Logisticians in the top 10th percentile earned more than $122,580 annually.
Several factors impact a worker's salary, including their experience and education, location, and industry. For example, the District of Columbia reports the highest average salary for logisticians ($97,890), while workers in Puerto Rico report the lowest average salary ($49,150).
According to Payscale, an entry-level logistics manager earns an average of $50,250, as of December 2021. This increases to $67,000 for midcareer managers with 5-9 years of experience.
Supply chain managers earn some of the highest wages in the field. The BLS reports a median salary of $96,390 for these workers.
Supply chain managers not only oversee the movement of supplies and goods, but foster communication and teamwork among multiple departments, like sales, transportation, and manufacturing. Skills in program management, process engineering, and financial analysis can also enhance pay and promotion opportunities.
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