Transportation Degree Programs with Course Descriptions

Oct 20, 2021

Essential Information

For individuals wanting a degree in transportation, or logistics management, they may chose to earn a two-year associate's degree, four-year bachelor's degree, master's degree and even a doctorate degree in the field. Students in associate's and bachelor's degree programs complete general education courses as well as core courses in logistics fundamentals.

Master's-level programs usually offer a broad overview of the field of logistics, with courses in procurement, supply chain design and innovations in logistics. Students can customize the program through their choice of elective courses. A thesis is generally required.

Doctoral programs are research-oriented, and students usually are allowed to design their own plans of study that suit their interests. A dissertation that involves an original research project is generally required.

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Logistics

An associate's degree program in logistics provides a general overview of the transportation industry and presents common issues related to inventory control, cost and the global supply chain. Common logistics management problems, material transportation regulations, proper record keeping and warehousing options are all covered in the program. Problem-solving skills that can help prevent supply chain disruption are also taught. Some associate's degree programs may allow students to specialize in particular areas of logistics such as warehousing.

A high school diploma is required for admission into an associate's degree program in logistics and transportation management. Some community colleges may also require that applicants submit ACT scores. The first year of enrollment in transportation school is primarily spent completing general education courses. The final year consists of classes that focus on transportation management and logistics. Some possible courses include the following:

  • Inventory management
  • Warehousing
  • Business law
  • Exporting
  • Importing
  • Distribution and transportation

Bachelor of Science Degree in Transportation and Logistics Technology

A bachelor's degree program in transportation and logistics technology often allow candidates to choose an area of concentration. For example, a school may offer concentrations in transportation systems or operations. Students who concentrate their studies in operations receive instruction on international marketing and sales strategies. The transportation systems track focuses on strategic logistics planning, data analysis and transportation management. Before a student can begin a degree concentration, however, he or she must first complete core courses that cover topics such as productivity, inventory management, transportation services, logistics information flow and procurement.

An application package for entrance into a bachelor's degree program in logistics requires that prospective students have high school diplomas or equivalent. Universities may also request scores for a standardized assessment exam, such as the SAT or ACT. Transfer applicants should submit all post-secondary educational transcripts. Coursework includes both core and elective or concentration courses. Some possible classes include:

  • Distribution channels
  • Consumer and industrial sales
  • Intermediaries in global trade
  • Maritime operations
  • Logistics technology
  • Transportation law

Master of Science in Transportation and Logistics Management

The master's degree program in transportation and logistics management prepares graduates for advanced leadership positions within the logistics industry. Some graduate degree programs in transportation management may offer concentrations, but most programs are general in scope and cover various aspects of the field. Core courses introduce topics such as procurement, supply chain design, distribution and new logistics innovations. Elective courses are available, giving students the flexibility to support their individual research interests.

A bachelor's degree is required before entering a graduate program in transportation management. A statement of purpose and two to three letters of recommendation are also required. A prospective student may also need to submit GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) and GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores. Several core concepts in logistics and transportation management are covered. Students then select electives that support their research and professional interests. Some courses could include:

  • Corporate finance
  • Distribution management
  • Asset management
  • Cost analysis
  • Logistics and systems support management
  • Traffic management

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Logistics

A doctorate degree in logistics is a research-based degree that allows students to design their own program of study. Courses cover topics such as relationship management, logistics strategy, demand forecasting, integration of reverse and forward logistics and logistics modeling. Some concentration areas include capacity planning and transportation infrastructure, logistics and supply chain systems, and transportation regulation and economics. Many logistics doctoral programs require that candidates be proficient in statistical modeling because of the highly quantitative nature of the coursework.

An undergraduate degree with some emphasis on transportation management, business, industrial engineering or logistics is required for admission into a doctoral logistics degree program. If a student has completed a research project at either the undergraduate or graduate degree level, then his or her chances of admission are higher. Universities may also request scores for either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). A resume, a personal statement and some recommendation letters are also likely to be requested.

The program depends in large part upon the student's area of interest. Some core classes will be taken to introduce relevant topics in logistics and transportation management during the first year. Some possible courses include:

  • Management of international logistics
  • Advances in logistics
  • Logistics and military case studies
  • Research methods in logistics
  • Transportation systems
  • Freight transportation

Popular Career Options

Entry-level logistics and transportation industry positions are typically filled by graduates with an associate's degree in transportation. They often acquire positions as a warehouse packaging assistant, an inventory control assistant or a logistics documentation assistant. Employment opportunities for individuals with bachelor's degrees exist with consulting firms, government agencies, manufacturing companies, third-party logistics organizations and many others.

Many graduates of Ph.D. degree programs in logistics enter academia and spend the majority of time teaching, publishing papers and conducting research. Graduates with transportation degrees can obtain jobs in transportation analysis, manufacturing, selling and buying. Some possible job titles include the following:

  • Warehouse manager
  • Supply chain analyst
  • Inventory manager
  • Sales specialist
  • Transportation manager
  • Logistics systems analyst

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( reported that the hiring of logisticians is expected to increase by 4% for the 2019-2029 decade. The median annual wage for logisticians, also reported by the BLS, was $74,750 in 2019.

Undergraduate degrees in transportation or logistics management prepare graduates for entry-level employment, while graduate degrees help professionals advance in the career. Employment prospects in this field are expected to change little according to the BLS.

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