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Supply chain management professionals oversee the entire lifecycle of products, from sourcing raw materials to distribution. Supply chains contain many links, and those links often have their own additional sublinks. The result is a complex economic web requiring competent, experienced managers. Supply chain professionals play a critical role in managing the infrastructure that moves goods to consumers.
Like in any field, specialized training can boost a worker's career options and increase their earning potential. Earning an on-campus or online master's in supply chain management provides graduates with practical and theoretical supply chain knowledge. Having a strong grasp of abstract economic principles and the ability to use practical supply chain management software are essential to succeed in this role.
What Are the Best Online Master's in Supply Chain Management Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:
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|1||University of Southern California||Los Angeles, CA|
|2||University of Washington||Seattle, WA|
|3||Boston University||Boston, MA|
|4||University of Maryland, College Park||College Park, MD|
|5||Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey||New Brunswick, NJ|
|6||Georgia College and State University||Milledgeville, GA|
|7||Michigan State University||East Lansing, MI|
|8||Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University||Daytona Beach, FL|
|9||Indiana University Bloomington||Bloomington, IN|
|10||University of St. Francis||Joliet, IL|
- How We Rank Schools
At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students. Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology here. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.
2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Supply Chain Management Programs
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University of Southern California
|Los Angeles, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 92%||
USC delivers several online programs through the Blackboard platform, including an online master of science in global supply chain management. Most students complete this part-time, 30-credit program in 16 months. Program graduates can find work in logistics, procurement, and demand planning.
Program coursework covers topics like enterprise-wide information systems, sourcing and supplier management, and applications of Lean Sigma Six. Students also learn to create sustainable supply chains in an ever-changing international economy. To earn their online master's degree in supply chain management, distance learners must complete two experiential modules in Los Angeles and Singapore.
Applicants should have a competitive GPA and three years of full-time work experience. Online students do not need to submit standardized test scores for admission.
University of Washington
|Seattle, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 84%||
UW provides career-focused certificates and degrees through its Professional and Continuing Education platform, including an online master's in supply chain transportation and logistics that part-time students can earn in two years. Throughout the program's 43-quarter-credit curriculum, learners gain the analytical and quantitative skills needed to succeed as commodity managers, sustainability analysts, and import/export agents.
Required courses in the program include inventory management and freight transport. Students also learn to use IT systems to evaluate organizational performance and cut costs. This online master's program requires students to attend a one-week residency at the school's Seattle campus.
UW admits a cohort of about 30 students each fall. In addition to a minimum 3.0 GPA, applicants should have 3-5 years of relevant work experience. The university does not require GMAT or GRE scores for admission.
|Boston, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 88%||
BU has offered award-winning online academic programs since 2002. Today, the institution serves approximately 3,200 distance learners through flexible programs like an online master of science in supply chain management.
Students can complete BU's 40-credit supply chain management program in 18 months, choosing from a fully online curriculum or a hybrid learning experience. Required courses in the program include financial concepts, operations management, and strategic decision-making. Students take advanced classes in one of three concentrations: global business, quantitative approaches, or logistics management.
BU accepts applications on a rolling basis. Students interested in earning this master's in supply chain management must submit transcripts, a personal statement, a resume or CV, and three recommendation letters. The university charges competitive tuition rates and offers a variety of scholarships, grants, and graduate assistantships.
University of Maryland, College Park
|College Park, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 86%||
The flagship institution for the state's university system, UMD serves approximately 41,000 students. The school's graduate offerings include an online master of science in supply chain management. Students complete the program in 1-2 years, gaining the specialized skills needed to work as corporate buyers, key account specialists, and logistics officers.
The program's 30-credit, non-thesis curriculum covers topics like project management in dynamic environments, data-driven decision-making, strategic negotiation, and risk assessment. Participants can obtain the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt designation from the International Association for Six Sigma Certification.
This master's in supply chain management program only admits students for the fall semester. Applicants should submit a personal essay, one letter of recommendation, and a current resume. UMD also recommends that applicants submit GMAT or GRE scores. UMD's supply chain management program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
|New Brunswick, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 80%||
Rutgers uses the Canvas platform to deliver 17 fully online undergraduate and graduate degrees, including an online master of science in supply chain management that students can earn within one year. By completing this 30-credit program, graduates gain transferable leadership and technical skills that allow them to work in a variety of industries.
Program coursework covers topics like global procurement, business-to-business marketing, and Lean Sigma Six. Students also examine the key roles enterprise resource planning systems play in business endeavors. Students can choose to attend a "mini-MBA" residency to expand their professional network and earn a digital supply chain management certificate.
Students can enter the program at one of three start dates per year. The program prefers applicants with a minimum 3.0 GPA and reasonable experience with supply chain concepts. However, applicants do not need to submit standardized test scores.
Georgia College and State University
|Milledgeville, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
Georgia College is a public liberal arts institution that provides academic programs to approximately 7,000 students. The college's graduate programs include a fully online master of logistics and supply chain management. Participants gain the business and technological skills needed to implement enterprise strategies that can enhance organizational performance.
This master's in supply chain management program operates a cohort-based format in which all students take two classes each semester in a lockstep sequence. The 30-credit curriculum includes courses in international trade environment, distribution and inventory control, and purchasing and materials management. Learners can use the program's three required electives to pursue their own professional interests.
Georgia College grants GMAT/GRE waivers to applicants with a minimum 3.15 undergraduate GPA and a bachelor's degree from a school accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The program accepts new students in the fall.
Michigan State University
|East Lansing, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 80%||
MSU delivers 10 online certificates and degrees through the Desire2Learn platform. Graduate students may enroll in a flexible master of science in supply chain management program. Throughout the program's 31-credit curriculum, students develop the analytical and IT competencies necessary to implement integrated enterprise strategies.
Required courses in the program include distribution fulfillment, strategic sourcing, and logistics operations methods and systems. This supply chain management program uses a hybrid format and requires learners to attend three collaborative weekend residencies at the school's East Lansing campus. The program culminates in a research project.
Prospective students need a minimum 3.0 GPA and two years of professional supply chain experience. Admission requirements include a detailed resume, three recommendation letters, and two personal statements. The program does not accept transfer credits.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
|Daytona Beach, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 19%||
Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, Embry-Riddle serves more than 14,000 students through its Worldwide Campus. The university offers an entirely online master of science in logistics and supply chain management that delivers all coursework asynchronously through the Canvas platform.
Core courses in the program include transportation management, global logistics, and information analysis and visualization in decision-making. The curriculum includes a unique focus on production and procurement in the aviation/aerospace industry. Graduates are prepared to pursue professional certification from organizations like the Association for Operations Management.
Applicants must submit a statement of objectives, three recommendation letters, an up-to-date resume, and GMAT or GRE scores. Embry-Riddle supports distance learners by offering several financial aid opportunities and a generous transfer credit policy. This supply chain management program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
Indiana University Bloomington
|Bloomington, IN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 78%||
IU offers over 140 online certificates and degrees to distance learners, including a fully online master of science in global supply chain management. This program prepares students to pursue careers as purchasing agents, production managers, and logistics analysts.
The program's 30-credit curriculum includes required courses like sustainable operations, inventory management and system distribution, and strategic marketing. Students also examine the entire project cycle, learning best practices in sourcing and enterprise planning. IU also offers a dual-degree track that allows students to earn online master's degrees in supply chain management and business management concurrently.
Applicants must submit GMAT or GRE scores, a 500-word personal statement, a resume, and three recommendations. Prospective students must also complete an interview. IU provides a tuition discount to Indiana residents.
University of St. Francis
|Joliet, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 62%||
Located in Joliet, Illinois, USF offers 20 flexible graduate programs, including an online master of science in management with a supply chain management concentration. Full-time students can graduate in 15 months. Learners may complete a fully online curriculum or engage in hybrid learning by taking some classes on campus.
The program's 36-credit curriculum includes courses like performance measurement, leading continuous improvement, and applied research and evaluation. As part of their concentration, students learn to apply logistics analysis principles to implement sustainable supply chains across international markets.
USF maintains fall, spring, and summer start dates. Applicants need a minimum 2.75 GPA and two years of relevant work experience. This program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Supply Chain Management Program?
For learners interested in a career in supply chain management, a master's degree can boost career options and increase earning potential.
For learners interested in a career in supply chain management, a master's degree can boost career options and increase earning potential. Business-minded students and professionals often excel at the intricate business elements of supply chain management.
Many of these master's programs support business professionals already working in the field, allowing students to gain new competencies while sharpening existing skills. Learners cover topics such as financial concepts, operations management, and strategic decision-making.
Master's in supply chain management programs typically feature 30-45 credits and take about two years to complete. In addition to standard supply chain coursework, students may have the opportunity to select a specialized concentration, such as supply chain operations, global supply chain management, or logistics.
Many of these programs culminate in a capstone project, during which students apply their knowledge to solve a practical problem in supply chain management.
Admission Requirements for Online Master's in Supply Chain Management Programs
While admission requirements vary from school to school, most institutions maintain similar guidelines. Traditionally, most colleges and universities require applicants to have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Many supply chain management programs also look for prospective students who have at least a few years of professional experience in the field.
Applicants should submit official undergraduate transcripts, a resume, and letters of recommendation. Some programs also request standardized test scores from exams like the GRE or GMAT.
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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Supply Chain Management Program?
Master's in supply chain management curricula vary from program to program. Some schools take a deeper dive into the nuances of supply chain logistics, while others take a broader business-focused approach. Program-specific specializations like logistics and global supply chain management also influence available coursework. The list below describes a few common classes that students may encounter while earning a master's in supply chain management.
- Logistics and Analysis
Taking a deep dive into the mathematics of supply chain management, this course examines modeling, data analysis, and software programs that boost logistical efficiency. The class also covers trade, transportation, and the relationship between trade and infrastructure.
- Inventory Management
By providing an understanding of the impact of inventory on a company's finances, this course explores supply/demand problems, inventory forecasting, and strategies for optimizing performance. This course also reviews best practices for inventory management in supply chains.
- IT Systems and Supply Chain Integration
In recognizing the impact of outmoded practices and infrastructure, this course looks at cost-effective IT strategies that benefit evolving supply chain practices. This software-heavy class also explores data exchange between suppliers, distributors, and customers.
- Collaboration Across the Supply Chain
Learners examine how enhanced collaboration through the supply chain boosts sales and reduces costs. This course explores supply chain relationships, as well as the benefits of a healthy corporate culture.
- Freight Transports
For businesses that move physical goods, understanding the nuances of freight transport is essential for maintaining effective supply chain management and increasing company profits. Learners explore techniques and strategies for effective freight movement and analyze freight performance in a global economic context.
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What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Supply Chain Management Degree?
A supply chain has many links, and each of those links needs to be managed by an effective business professional. Some roles require a broader understanding of supply chains, while other roles delve into supply chain minutia and require more specialized training. As automation continues to change roles and responsibilities, software proficiency becomes increasingly critical.
The manufacture and distribution of goods is a relatively stable portion of the economy, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of logisticians to increase by 4% from 2019-2029; this matches the average projected growth rate for all occupations in the U.S.
See where a master's in supply chain management can take you by learning more about supply chain management careers.
Logisticians evaluate and coordinate the entire lifecycle of a product and how it moves from supplier to consumer. These professionals develop relationships between suppliers and clients and build strategies to lower costs and prioritize supply chain efficiency. Logisticians use specialized software systems that manage aspects such as product movement and inventory management.
- Operations Research Analyst
Operations research analysts use software and other mathematical and analytical tools to understand and improve supply chain logistics. These professional problem-solvers gather and synthesize data to optimize performance and solve supply chain issues. Operations research analysts work closely with management, suppliers, and clients to boost efficiency.
- Purchasing Manager
Purchasing managers scrutinize suppliers, negotiate contracts, and play a large role in quality control. As managers, these professionals oversee buyers and purchasing agents while managing their complex place within a supply chain. Purchasing managers also maintain inventories and review product performance.
- Cost Estimator
Working within a specific sector of a supply chain, cost estimators analyze data used to predict the time, money, and labor needed to manufacture, ship, and distribute a certain product. These professionals recommend ways to reduce costs and work with management and sales teams to present cost estimates for clients. Working with client finances, cost estimators consider myriad elements such as shipping delays, labor issues, and wasted material.
- Management Analyst
Often working in a consulting capacity, management analysts synthesize data to recommend organizational changes that can boost efficiency. Management analysts work closely with an organization's management team to increase profitability and reduce costs. These consultants use data to recommend changes in systems and procedures through written reports and presentations.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Supply Chain Management Programs
- Is a master's in supply chain management worth it?
While entry-level positions in supply chain management usually only require an undergraduate diploma, a master's in supply chain management increases candidates' competitiveness and prepares graduates for management positions. As a result, many graduates enjoy more senior-level career options and higher salaries. Master's programs may also allow students to concentrate on a specific element of supply chain management.
- What can I do with a master's in supply chain management?
Students who earn a master's in supply chain management develop comprehensive knowledge of almost every link in the supply chain. As a result, graduates are uniquely prepared for management positions. Degree concentrations also prepare learners for specific roles that require expertise in a certain area.
- Is it better to have an MBA or MS in supply chain management?
This depends on a student's academic and career goals. While an MBA carries a positive reputation, it is a more broad degree that explores many different aspects of business. A master's in supply chain management, on the other hand, explores the complex web of relationships and resource flows that define supply chain logistics and management.
- How much money can I make with a master's in supply chain management?
Salaries differ from role to role and vary based on a worker's experience, location, and industry. According to the BLS, the median salary for logisticians was almost $75,000 in 2019. However, companies often pay graduates with a master's more than their counterparts who only hold a bachelor's degree.
- What are the highest-paying jobs I can get with a master's in supply chain management?
Managerial positions within supply chain management typically pay the most. Supply chain managers, purchasing managers, and operations managers regularly earn $65,000-$85,000, according to PayScale, with many managers earning more than $100,000 annually. While other supply chain-related roles may earn less, most lower-paying positions only require a bachelor's degree. A master's in supply chain management can lead to more job opportunities and higher pay.