Study Master's in Operations and Supply-Chain Management

Oct 20, 2021

What Is a Master's in Operations Management Degree?

Operations management is a field that works to ensure that processes are both efficient and effective, achieving the desired goals of an organization through careful planning and supervising. An operations manager can be employed in almost any industry, including production, manufacture, and services. Their main focus lies in supply chain management and the logistics required for the exchange of products and the ultimate delivery of goods and services to the consumer.

In a master's degree program in operations management, students become well-versed in matters of project management, risk assessment, productivity, and quality control. Professionals who have earned their master's degree can more easily respond to the challenges that an ever more interconnected world poses for companies.

The Best Masters Degree Programs in Operations Management

School Tuition* Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
1 Lincoln Memorial University $18123 50% 55% 94% Yes Yes AP Credits
2 University of Mary $17694 74% 60% 98% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.

*Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Common Undergraduate Degrees for Operations Management

A master's in operations management will center around statistical models, project management, financial analysis, and supply chain management. Students who enroll in such a program should already possess working knowledge of calculus and database management. Some of the most common undergraduate degrees that students possess when enrolling in an Operations Management master's program.

  • Operations Management
  • Systems engineering
  • Business
  • Finance
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Mathematics

Universities are often interested in candidates from diverse fields and may give them admission provided they take extra foundational courses.

Admissions Requirements for Operations Management Master's Programs

To be granted admission into a graduate program, a student must have completed a four-year bachelor's program from an accredited university. Some universities may require students to have taken specific courses to ensure a shared foundational knowledge. Listed below are some of the most common admissions requirements students are asked to provide. Be sure to review the full list with each school before applying.

Why Should I Get an Operations Management Master's Degree?

As global trade expands and supply chains become more interconnected, companies find themselves having to rely on experts to ensure that their products meet customers' high demands. Operations managers excel at increasing productivity while maintaining or even reducing the cost of operating a business, making them highly desirable in almost any industry. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between the years 2019 and 2029, the employment of operations managers will grow at an astounding rate of 25%, more than six times faster than the average for all occupations in the United States.

How to Choose a Master's in Operations Management Program

One of the most fundamental choices a prospective student will have to make before applying for a master's program in Operations Management is what type of degree they wish to obtain. Operations management as a field is most commonly offered as either a Master of Science (MS) or a Master of Business Administration (MBA). An MBA in Operations Management usually studies operations management as a tool for business, contextualizing it as a way to foster leadership and entrepreneurship. Subjects concerned with operations management will be available as a concentration or learning track. An MS program will typically impart more technical knowledge and a higher degree of specialization. Courses focus squarely on operations management, with subjects like data analytics, decision-making models, and supply-chain management taking center stage. The choice is therefore between a more academically flexible program and a robust program offering more technical know-how.

Operations Management Master's Degree Courses

The curriculum of an operations management master's program usually comprises both core and elective subjects. Core subjects serve as the foundation for the entire program and are therefore required for all students. In the case of operations management, common foundational courses include risk analysis, productivity, supply chain management, and other similar topics. To round off the coursework, students can choose from a variety of elective courses. These offer students the chance to learn more about the topics that interest them the most or relate more closely to the career path they are interested in pursuing upon graduation. As a culminating experience, many master's programs offer a thesis project, a practical design experiment, or additional courses.

Operations Management Foundational Courses

The following are some of the most common foundational courses in an operations management master's program.

  • Project Management: This course presents the challenges of project management and its intricacies, including project life cycles, integrated systems, estimating, and scheduling. Students become familiar with the tools required for leading a team project.
  • Risk Analysis: Courses like these introduce students to the tools designed to assess and mitigate operational risks that may compromise functionality, safety, and profitability.
  • Supply Chain Management: Supply chain management is concerned with the analysis of activities involved in the exchange between supplier and consumer. This course covers topics such as planning, storage, distribution logistics, and supply procurement.
  • Quality and Productivity: This course covers techniques for quality and productivity control and how operations managers inspect processes to maintain quality standards.

Operations Management Specialist & Elective Courses

In choosing their own elective courses, students have an opportunity to delve into topics that interest them the most. They can also be a good opportunity to explore potential career paths and the particular skill sets they require. Many universities encourage students to work closely with a faculty career advisor to arrive at a study plan tailored to their goals. The following is a small sample of the types of elective courses typically offered in an Operations Management master's program.

  • Data Science for Analytics
  • Statistical Models
  • Decision Theory
  • Digital Markets and Entrepreneurship
  • Quality Controls
  • Revenue Management

Licensure & Certification in Operations Management

To find work in the field of operations management, a license is not required. However, there are several certifications available to elevate your profile and stand out among other job applicants.

The Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) offers three certifications relevant to the field of operations management: Certified in Planning and Inventory Management (CPIM), Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), and Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD). Each certification focuses on a specific facet of operations management, allowing for more specialization. Each one is obtained after passing an exam administered by the ASCM.

The American Institute for Business Management and Communication (AIBMC) administers the Certified Operations Manager (COM) program, through which a professional can demonstrate their skills supply chain and operations management. Those interested must pass an exam and recertify every 4 years to ensure they are up to date with the latest industry standards.

Post-Graduate Options After Master's in Operations Management

After earning an operations management master's degree, individuals have the option of pursuing a Ph.D. to continue their education. A doctoral program in operations management allows candidates to delve deeper into innovative concepts in supply chain management, information systems, and organizational behavior through extensive research. With the guidance of an assigned faculty advisor, doctoral candidates arrive at new concepts and theories that can be put through the test through rigorous investigation. Obtaining a Ph.D. in operations management prepares individuals for life in academia and research.

Operations Management Professional Organizations

There are several professional organizations and non-profit institutions devoted to operations management at a national and international level. By bringing together professionals from around the world, these organizations provide structure, standards and connectivity to the field. Many host professional gatherings and conferences, provide ongoing education, and networking opportunities. The following are two of the most prominent.

  • Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) : The ASCM is a worldwide, non-profit organization that brings together professionals from the field of operations management for organizational transformation and innovation. Formerly known as APICS, the association is the leading certifying body in the profession, pushing industry standards towards excellence. Members enjoy several discounts and have access to continuing education opportunities and events.
  • Production and Operations Management Society (POMS) : POMS works with operations managers worldwide, representing their interests and promoting high standards in both educational and professional environments. POMS organizes conferences around the world to bring together like-minded individuals and offer a platform for new ideas.

What Can I Do with an Operations Management Master's Degree?

Earning an operations management master's degree can propel a professional's career in a variety of directions, equipping them with the necessary technical knowledge to excel in the industry. The following are some examples of the careers commonly pursued in the field of operations management.

  • Operations Research Analyst: Employing complex mathematical models, operations research analysts help companies make decisions based on profitability and productivity. They use statistical analysis to assess areas of opportunity and possible solutions.
  • Logistics Manager: A logistics manager coordinates a company's supply line, ensuring all processes run smoothly to efficiently deliver a product to consumers.
  • Director of Operations: A director of operations ensures that a company grows and remains profitable. They supervise departments in charge of purchasing, budgeting, and logistics and coordinate their efforts.
  • Distribution Center Operations Manager : Products are received, stored, and shipped in a distribution center. A distribution center operations manager oversees the teams that perform those tasks.

Job Outlook for a Master's in Operations Management

Companies now have access to a wealth of data they can use to reduce waste, and those equipped with a master's in operations management are particularly well-suited to sift through it and put it to good use. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that employment in operations management will grow at a rate of 25% between the years of 2019 and 2029. That far outpaces the average for all occupations, currently placed at 4%.

How to Become an Operations Research Analyst

An operations research analyst typically begins their career by getting a bachelor's degree with significant coursework in mathematics. After all, operations analysis employs complex mathematical and statistical models. These could include operations management, engineering, mathematics, or computer science. Upon graduation, individuals can find entry-level positions in finance, insurance, or manufacturing companies.

Earning a master's degree in operations management can be very helpful when looking for work in managerial positions as an operations research analyst. Companies will be more interested in candidates with broader experience and technical skills. Some individuals may be interested in working with the federal government, which would entail further specialization or certification.

The BLS estimates an operations research analyst's median salary to be between $85,320 and $113,940. Some of the industries that most commonly employ operations research analysts are manufacturing, technical and professional services, finance, and insurance, among others. Given the versatility an operations research analyst can offer, they can find work in many more sectors, aiding in key decision-making processes within companies of any persuasion.

How to Become a Logistics Manager

In the path to becoming a logistics manager, many begin by getting a four-year bachelor's degree in supply-chain management, systems engineering, business, or finances. A logistics manager must be well-versed in statistics and database management. After completing a bachelor's degree, an individual can find an entry-level position in a manufacturing or distribution company.

Those looking to advance their career and become eligible for higher-paying managerial positions should consider studying for a master's degree in Operations Management. During their studies, students become more familiar with the requirements of a logistics company and the skills to coordinate multi-step supply chains. Employers may be more interested in candidates who also possess additional certification.

The BLS places a logistics manager's median salary at $74,750. The jobs for logistics managers are expected to grow at a rate of 4% between the years 2019 and 2029, following the average for all occupations closely. The states with the highest levels of employment for logistics managers are California, Texas, and Illinois.

Master's in Operations Management Program Financial Aid & Scholarship Resources

To anyone interested in receiving financial aid to study for a master's degree in operations management, it is advisable to complete the application at the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). By answering the questionnaire and completing the application, students can see what federal and state programs they are eligible for.

Scholarships are an additional option, allowing thousands of students to achieve their career goals every year. While some scholarships can be used to study in any university in the country, others are specific to particular colleges. Make sure to check what options are open to you once you are sure of which university you will be attending. The following are some examples of scholarships you might find.

  • Chad Jones Memorial Scholarship Program : For those interested in studying for a graduate program in supply chain management, logistics, or operations management, this scholarship offers up to $1,000.
  • Morgan Stanley MBA Fellowship Program : Morgan Stanley offers this grant to minority students in their first year of an MBA program.
  • Forté MBA Fellowships : Forté is an organization working to increase women's participation and visibility in the world of business. Their MBA Fellowship grants funds for women with a promising profile interested in studying an MBA.
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