Manufacturing and shipping a product requires the coordination of inventory, raw materials, production and distribution into a unified system. Known as supply chain management (SCM), the successful execution of this procedure can drastically affect a business’s expenditures. As companies are forced to interact with an increasingly globalized economy, managing a business’s supply chains has become an art of its own. Many variations, including online master’s in supply chain management degrees, have sprung up in recent years to address the growing need for experts in the discipline.
Graduates of online supply chain management master’s programs are commonly required to have a minimum amount of professional experience in order to be accepted, meaning the majority of prospective students are already working adults. Online education has given businesses the opportunity to improve their SCM practices by sponsoring full-time employees to get an online degree while continuing in their current role. Additionally, with so much of the work in supply chain management conducted via digital interaction across thousands of miles, students earning their degree online will find they are incredibly well prepared for the likely online work environment.
In the ranked list below, we look at the best online master’s in supply chain management programs being offered in 2016, profiling each in great detail. In their own way, every one of the seven programs on this list is breaking new ground in supply chain management education.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
University of San Diego
|San Diego||$$$$$||5998 Alcala Park|
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
The online master's in supply chain management at USD is intended for seasoned professionals with a proven record of success in at least one element of the SCM field. Graduates should be able to transform a highly profitable supply chain system into one that is truly world-class. Applicants for the online supply chain management master's program are expected to have a minimum of two years professional experience with recommendation letters that testify to excellence in the workplace. Coursework develops the skills and abilities necessary to identify gaps in supply chain processes, apply the proper management practices and overcome obstacles with ethical leadership. Divided into two years, the first half of the program focuses on the development of theory, while the second half comprises an "advanced integrative project" that applies the student's classroom knowledge to a business.
The virtual classroom is hosted on the Blackboard platform. Save for a 19 day on-campus intensive unit, the master's in supply chain management online program is completed entirely online. Asynchronous communication is the preferred method of interaction in the program, allowing students maximum flexibility to fit their studies around their professional and personal lives.
Michigan State University
|East Lansing||$$$$$|| |
East Lansing, MI 48824-1046
Two concentrations are offered in Michigan State's 36-credit online online master's in supply chain management: Distinct Integrated SCM and Value Chain Creation. The integrated SCM track focuses on traditional supply chain coursework, such as logistics, operations and procurement. The online supply chain management master's program, created in tandem with Dow Chemical and Dow Corning, focuses on food safety, packaging, engineering and criminal justice. All students are taught real-world supply management strategies by industry professionals with years of professional experience. Emphases of the program include value creation, environmental and social responsibility and risk management.
Consisting of three-day, on-campus sessions and eight weeks of online modules, the curriculum in MSU's program is designed to blend the best qualities of campus learning with the flexibility afforded by an online classroom. Distance2Learn host all online interaction, providing students with the means to submit assignments, post questions and engage with peers and professors. Applicants are required to have a minimum of two years professional experience in supply chain management.
|Bethlehem||$$$$$||27 Memorial Drive West|
Bethlehem, PA 18015
At Lehigh, students interested in a master's in supply chain management online can pursue their MBA with a concentration in supply chain management. Focusing on emerging topics at the forefront of the industry, the curriculum provides students with the necessary background to apply cultural intelligence, ethical decision-making, crisis-management and sustainability to increase profitability. Applicants are not required to commit to a concentration, and once accepted, students may change their focus to any one of the program's six tracks. The MBA with an SCM focus requires nine credits.
Flexibility is a key part of Lehigh's graduate curriculum. Students can choose between online and on-campus courses in whatever ratio best fits their schedule. Distance learning is conducted both synchronously and asynchronously through multiple platforms. ClassroomLIVE provides the platform through which students attend streaming lectures as they happen on-campus. While students do not have to be in-person for these sessions, they will need to adjust their schedules to be able to watch them in a distraction-free environment. Classroom Online hosts the program's asynchronous lectures, which are recorded in a studio and then made available for students to stream. Professors with recorded lectures will interact with students through discussion boards, web conferencing, phone or email, depending on preference.
|Saint Louis||$$$$$||6800 Wydown Blvd|
Saint Louis, MO 63105-3098
Understanding the critical role supply chain management plays in managing the logistics of today's globalized business climate, Fontbonne had developed their MS in supply chain management to focus on turning international challenges into local solutions. The curriculum addresses the entire supply chain lifecycle, from sourcing raw material to customer delivery. Graduates leave with the ability to develop value, quality, efficiency and economy within the processes of any business.
The 30-credit program is offered fully online in 8-week courses that can be completed in one year. Students can find all their information through the school's easily accessible online portal, griffinNet. In addition to the host of communication, financial, academic and health and wellness resources offered on the site, students can also access the virtual classroom hosted by Blackboard. For a more personal view, prospective students should check out the school's online programs video.
University of Wisconsin - Stout
|Menomonie||$$$$$||712 S. Broadway St.|
Menomonie, WI 54751
As one of the only programs of its kind in Wisconsin, UW Stout's online Master of Science in Operations and Supply Management offers an advanced business education unparalleled in the region. The curriculum provides the chance for students to further narrow their focus into one of four specialities: quality management, operations management, project management or supply chain management. Regardless of their track, students learn how to apply current and nascent technologies to effectively manage global and technical business systems.
Powered by Desire2Learn, the virtual classroom at UW Stout is known as Learn@UWStout. For those unsure of whether they are prepared for virtual learning, the school offers an online learning assessment called SmarterMeasure. Once enrolled, students have access to a number of support services, including online orientation, library services, career counseling and eTutoring. A textbook rental service provides a cheap and easy way for students to have physical course materials shipped to their homes.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide
|Daytona Beach||$$$$$||600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd.|
Daytona Beach, FL 32114-3900
Two tracks are available in Embry-Riddle's Master of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management: a general track and a transportation & logistics certification track. The general curriculum focuses on the challenges posed by transportation of material and products on a global scale. Graduates of either track are prepared to take on advanced leadership roles in the government, military or private sectors. Those who choose the certification track will qualify for certification from the American Society of Transportation and Logistics without sitting for the six exam process; Embry-Riddle's program is one of the few nationwide that offer this opportunity.
As one of the first 20 universities in the nation to start a distance learning program, Embry-Riddle is well versed in providing for the unique needs of off-campus students. The school's digital experience centers on two platforms: EagleVision and Canvas. Synchronous courses use EagleVision to stream live lectures and provide real-time collaboration tools. Asynchronous elements are hosted on the popular learning management system, Canvas, known for its easy-to-use education tools that streamline the online learning process.
|Syracuse||$$$$$||900 South Crouse Ave.|
Syracuse, NY 13244
Syracuse's Whitman School of Business offers an online supply chain management MBA that teaches students how to effectively manage across silos, while focusing on the specific challenges of supply chain management. Students learn to analyze and understand the relationship between transportation, storage, materials management and inventory in order to develop cost-effective business strategies. Elective courses focus on topics like: global supply chain management, strategic sourcing, management science and Lean Six Sigma.
The virtual campus at Syracuse operates in a manner similar to popular, familiar social media sites. Students attend live streaming lectures, completing coursework asynchronously between classes. The online community offers the chance to be in constant communication with peers and faculty in a way that on-campus programs often don't match. Graduates of Syracuse's master's in supply chain management online degree have reported leaving with a robust professional and social network that rivals or exceeds that of their undergraduate experience.
Openings for supply chain managers, also known as logisticians, are growing at a rate of 22%, much faster than average according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Given that the entry-level requirement for this field is a bachelor’s degree, holding a master’s can set you up to be competitive for top-paying positions. Median salary is $72,780, but with an advanced degree and years of experience, salaries can easily exceed $150,000. Those interested in an SCM position are highly recommended to first have several years of related work experience alongside their undergraduate degree.
Supply chain management graduate programs differ from other degrees, in that they are commonly attended by working adults who are being sponsored by their current employer. If you are sure supply chain management is the field for you, and you haven’t finished your undergraduate yet, be sure to at least get a minor in logistics or a related field. If you already hold your bachelor’s, it is important to work your way into the professional world of SCM before applying for a master’s. The best way to set yourself up for success in the field is to find a company that has an employee education program and apply for a related or lower-level position with solid advancement opportunities.