What Is a Master in Supply Chain Management Degree?
Master's degree programs in supply chain management help train students on how to oversee supply chains in the global economy. Students in these programs develop their strategic problem-solving skills and usually receive some hands-on training in the field through various projects and learning opportunities. These master's programs are available as Master of Supply Chain Management degrees, as well as Master of Science (MS), Master of Professional Studies, Master of Applied Science, Master of Engineering, and Master of Business Administration degrees in the field. Some of these programs even carry a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) designation. Graduates of these master's degree programs are prepared for advanced positions leading the business side of supply chains and coordinating activities. Learn more about these master's degree programs here.
The Best Masters Degrees in Supply Chain Management
|School||Tuition*||Acceptance Rate||Graduation Rate||Financial Aid %||Placement Services||Career Services||Accepts|
|1||San Jose State University||$9286||64%||64%||73%||Yes||Yes||AP / NCCRS Credits|
|2||Michigan State University||$18858||71%||81%||70%||Yes||Yes||AP / ACE Credits|
|3||University of Houston||$9372||65%||61%||87%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|4||University of Wisconsin-Platteville||$8845||85%||56%||86%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|5||The University of Tennessee-Knoxville||$13380||79%||72%||91%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|6||Worcester Polytechnic Institute||$28248||49%||89%||99%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|7||Portland State University||$9992||60%||82%||65%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|8||University of Michigan-Dearborn||$13570||62%||56%||96%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|9||Lehigh University||$27130||32%||90%||69%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|10||Virginia Commonwealth University||$15086||87%||67%||81%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|11||Bryant University||$26832||71%||81%||97%||Yes||Yes||AP / NCCRS Credits|
|12||University of Toledo||$15809||96%||50%||95%||Yes||Yes||AP / ACE Credits|
|13||Old Dominion University||$13128||89%||53%||94%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|14||University of Akron Main Campus||$9711||73%||46%||96%||Yes||Yes||AP / NCCRS Credits|
|15||DePaul University||$19974||68%||74%||98%||Yes||Yes||AP / NCCRS Credits|
|16||Texas Christian University||$30828||47%||83%||83%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|17||Saint Louis University||$21534||58%||79%||97%||Yes||Yes||AP / ACE Credits|
|18||Loyola University Chicago||$19498||67%||74%||99%||Yes||Yes||AP / ACE Credits|
|19||Florida Institute of Technology||$22588||66%||59%||93%||Yes||Yes||AP / ACE Credits|
|20||Suffolk University||$39477||84%||58%||95%||Yes||Yes||AP / NCCRS Credits|
|21||Boston University||$55502||19%||88%||55%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|22||Eastern Michigan University||$19012||74%||46%||96%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|23||Lindenwood University||$18100||88%||50%||100%||Yes||Yes||AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits|
|24||Spring Hill College||$9270||50%||56%||100%||Yes||Yes||AP / NCCRS Credits|
|25||Niagara University||$14525||89%||73%||99%||Yes||Yes||AP / NCCRS Credits|
To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit our 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 Supply Chain Management
Applicants to master's degree programs in supply chain management can hold a degree in any field. Any prerequisite courses for these master's programs are usually math-based courses that can be included in any number of fields of study. However, there are bachelor's degree programs available in supply chain management or logistics and supply chain management. These and other business-related programs can help provide students with a foundational understanding of the field before entering more advanced coursework for the master's program.
Admissions Requirements for Supply Chain Management Master's Programs
Students need to investigate the specific admissions standards for the school(s) they wish to apply to, as requirements vary. Applicants to these master's programs are usually expected to hold a bachelor's degree, and some programs have a minimum GPA requirement, typically around a 3.0. Several master's programs in supply chain management do not require the GRE or GMAT exams or make these exams optional. There are some supply chain management programs that prefer applicants to have some prior work experience and/or require students to have prior coursework in areas such as statistics, calculus, and probability. Some common application materials for these programs include transcripts, a resume, a statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation. There are some programs that include an interview process, which may be conducted through video.
Why Should I Get a Supply Chain Management Master's Degree?
Students who are interested in both business and logistics can pursue a degree in the field of supply chain management to combine these interests. Earning a master's degree typically makes these professionals more competitive in the job market and can help them stand out to employers. Earning a master's degree can also help professionals earn more income. According to PayScale.com, the median annual salary for an MS in Supply Chain Management is $76,032, as of March 2021.
How to Choose a Master's in Supply Chain Management Program
When choosing a master's degree in supply chain management, students first have to compare the different types of degree programs and select the one that is the best fit for their career goals. For instance, an MBA vs. a Master's in Supply Chain Management will usually be more business-heavy and less focused specifically on supply chain management but may give students more flexibility in the types of business-related jobs they can apply for. Another factor to consider when choosing a master's program in the field is the format of a program. Many programs provide flexible formats, such as full-time and part-time, hybrid or online formats, and evening courses to fit students' schedules. The cost and location of a program may also play a role in students' decisions.
Supply Chain Management Master's Degree Courses
Master's degree programs in supply chain management may require between 33 and 44 credits of coursework, depending on the program. Some of these programs can be completed in as little as 10 to 12 months, while others may allow students two to five years to complete the program in a part-time format. Typically, students take some core supply chain management courses and one or more elective courses. These courses are designed to give students advanced knowledge of how supply chains work, as well as further develop their management and leadership skills. Several of these master's degree programs conclude with a culminating experience or project to help prepare students for their careers after graduation. Explore the curriculum for these programs below.
Supply Chain Management Foundational Courses
The majority of the curriculum for supply chain management master's programs consists of core courses. These courses are usually in the field of supply chain management or other business-related areas that help equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge for a future job. Some programs break their core courses up into several different emphasis areas, but students still take courses in each area, such as logistics and fulfillment management, planning, and procurement management. Several master's programs conclude with a final research project, capstone project, or thesis that requires students to apply what they have learned to a particular problem or topic in the field. Other core courses include topics in:
- Supply chain design
- Project management
- Operations management and process analysis
- Lean management
- Planning and production
- Transportation and logistics
- Communications for supply chain management
- Modeling with machine learning
Supply Chain Management Specialist & Elective Courses
Students in master's programs in supply chain management can usually choose one or more elective courses that meet their personal interests in the field. Many programs provide students with an approved list of electives that explore different topics in greater depth and can potentially help prepare students for specific careers after graduation. Programs that include emphasis areas in the core curriculum may also offer electives in these different emphasis areas. Although electives vary by program and students may be allowed to choose from courses in various subject areas, some examples of electives include:
- Global supply chain management
- Humanitarian logistics
- Innovation and technology in supply chain management
- Advanced data analytics
- Digital marketing
- Negotiations and conflict management
Licensure & Certification in Supply Chain Management
While not typically required, professionals working in supply chain management can pursue several different professional certifications that can help demonstrate their expertise and make them more competitive in the market. Some of the most common certifications in supply chain management are part of APICS training programs that are offered through the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM). Students can choose from the ASCM's Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CLTD), or Certified in Planning and Inventory Management (CPIM) certifications. Professionals select the certification that best aligns with their career or career goals, complete the training and review program, and pass an exam. There are also additional groups that offer related certifications, such as the Certified Master Logistician (CML) or Certified Professional Logistician (CPL) certifications from the International Society of Logistics (SOLE).
Post-Graduate Options After Master's in Supply Chain Management
Graduates with their master's who wish to continue their studies in supply chain management can pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Supply Chain Management. Some of these programs combine topics in logistics and are also available in online formats. Depending on the program, students may be able to finish their degree in three to five years. DBA programs sometimes carry additional program-level accreditation from business-specific organizations, such as the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
Supply Chain Management Professional Organizations
Professional organizations are a great way for professionals in any field to connect with other professionals and take advantage of professional development opportunities. Many of these professional organizations provide professional certifications, training opportunities, and special events to professionals in their designated field. These groups can also connect professionals with resources, such as books, blogs, or current research in the field. A couple of examples of groups specifically for supply chain management professionals include:
- Association for Supply Chain Management- The ASCM offers individual and corporate membership for professionals and organizations in the field of supply chain management. The group also has ASCM communities for professionals to connect with one another and provides certifications, certificate programs, a blog, and other resources. At the corporate level, organizations can take advantage of the group's talent development resources, standards, and benchmarking tools.
- Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals- The CSCMP offers individual membership, as well as a variety of membership benefits, including access to conferences, roundtable events, certification, and professional development events. From its website, the group provides a range of e-learning tools, including webinars, courses, and a case study library.
What Can I Do with a Supply Chain Management Master's Degree?
Graduates with their masters degree in supply chain management are prepared to work in a variety of positions in different settings and industries. Within supply chain management, there is a range of subspecialty areas that students can work in, including contract management, logistics optimization, quality management, risk analysis, supply chain finance, and more. While many professionals in supply chain management work in manufacturing, graduates can work in just about any industry that utilizes supply chains and work for any number of organizations. Graduates with a masters degree are well prepared to jump into leadership-based roles and may begin their careers in management positions, such as working as an assistant supply chain manager or supply chain manager. Other possible career options include, but are not limited to:
- Chief operations officer (COO)
- Procurement manager
- Operations analyst
- Inventory specialist
- Warehouse manager
- Project manager
Job Outlook for a Master's in Supply Chain Management
Overall, the job outlook for graduates with their master's in supply chain management is positive. Graduates will likely qualify for an array of positions, including some upper-level positions in the field, which can increase job prospects. The need for experts in supply chain management is also present in a range of industries, which also increases the chance of finding a career after graduation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that several supply chain management-related careers had positive job outlooks from 2019 to 2029. For instance, the BLS stated that the job outlook for logisticians was 4%, which is as fast as average. The job outlook for top executives as a whole was also 4% from 2019 to 2029, which includes job titles like COOs, operations managers, managing directors, and more.
How to Become a Logistician
Although some logisticians can find positions with only an associate's degree and work experience, most positions usually require at least a bachelor's degree. Typically, these professionals hold a degree in supply chain management, business, systems engineering, or another related field. Work experience can be beneficial and may be earned through time with the military or working logistical support roles. Industry certification is also beneficial but voluntary.
Per the BLS, logisticians made a median annual salary of $76,270 as of 2020. These professionals oversee an organization's supply chain, which requires them to coordinate a product's life cycle from production to the consumer's hands. Logisticians must work closely with suppliers and clients, manage the distribution of supplies and product, analyze the supply chain, and identify areas for increased efficiency or other improvements. These professionals usually need to have some experience with logistical software that is used to manage logistical processes. Other important characteristics for logisticians include organizational, problem-solving, and communication skills.
How to Become a Top Executive
As mentioned, top executive serves as an umbrella term for a wide range of positions, including several that supply chain management graduates may pursue, such as COOs and operations managers. Most of these executives have to have at least a bachelor's degree and work experience, but a master's degree may be required or preferred by different employers. It is common for these executives to move up in the ranks from lower-level management positions over time. This allows them to gain valuable, hands-on experience in the field. Depending on the particular area that they work in and oversee, some top executives may need to have professional certification that is related to that specific area.
Top executives made a median annual salary of $106,180, as of 2020, according to the BLS. Job duties vary greatly by position and the setup of the organization, but in general, top executives help their organizations set and meet goals. This requires them to influence policies and procedures in the organization, supervise financial activities, manage other managers and department heads, and find ways to improve the efficiency of the organization. Responsibilities also vary greatly based on the size of an organization, but typically, these executives help with big picture objectives. Top executives need to have strong leadership, decision-making, and time-management skills.
Master's in Supply Chain Management Program Financial Aid & Scholarship Resources
Many different schools that offer master's degree programs in supply chain management also work closely with students to provide and accept various forms of financial aid to help students pay for their degree. Schools, and even some scholarship programs, typically suggest that students first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to accept any federal or state loans or grants they happen to qualify for. Some schools may then provide tuition discounts, assistantships, or other forms of financial aid to cover the remaining balance. Students are also free to apply to a variety of scholarships offered by outside organizations, but some examples of schools that offer scholarships for supply chain management students include:
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology- Supply chain management master's students at MIT can pursue several different fellowship programs, including the SCM Departmental Fellowships and SCALE Scholars program. Both of these programs give between 5 and 10 awards each year in amounts between $5,000 and $30,000 for students in the residential programs.
- Saint Louis University- Saint Louis University has an MS in Supply Chain Management and automatically considers students for several Chaifetz School Merit Scholarships that vary in amounts from $4,000 to $12,000.