Supply Chain Management Graduate Programs

Supply Chain Management Graduate Programs address how to to supervise the process of transforming and transporting raw material into finished goods that are ready for the end user. Supply chain professionals draw on business analytics to inform decisions, make plans, and solve problems. Many programs thus highlight instruction in the operations and administrative skills required to turn a concept into a deliverable. Enrolled students study design, production, marketing and distribution.

written by Rana Waxman

Supply Chain Management Graduate Programs: Overview

Supply Chain Management Graduate Programs may lead to a Masters or Doctorate degree. Certificates are perhaps less common, but some supply chain management schools might offer them as well. Students could choose a business administration or logistics and supply chain management degree based on career goals and other interests.

What Is Supply Chain Management?

Supply chain management (SCM) is the administration of materials, information, and finances as they move in a process. The steps usually go from supplier to manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer. Graduate students who pursue a SCM degree could therefore study a myriad of topics to develop a comprehensive skill set. Some of these abilities might include analysis, forecasting, and a solid grasp of the information systems needed to coordinate these activities.

While each program may not cover all the topics listed below, supply chain management usually involves the coordination and integration of physical movement as well as data flows.To enable the efficiency of SCM systems, some supply chain management graduate programs may provide coursework in the computer software and technology used by logisticians as well.

  • Acquisitions and purchasing
  • Inventory control
  • Storage and handling
  • Just-in-time manufacturing
  • Logistics planning
  • Shipping and delivery management
  • Transportation
  • Quality control
  • Resource estimation and allocation
  • Budgeting

When surveyed, 19% of Global Supply Chain VPs reported they had a Masters degree (according to O*NET).

Master in Supply Chain Management Programs

Master in Supply Chain Management programs could lead to a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science (MS), or Master of Professional Studies (MPS). Each type of program could entail different requirements. Admission to a Masters program typically presumes an applicant has earned a Bachelors degree. Some schools may require applicants to furnish GRE and or GMAT scores. Along with transcripts, students usually include letters of reference, a personal essay, and a resume with their application form.

Popular Supply Chain Masters Programs


Degree Awarded


Master of Science in Supply Chain Management



Master of Business Administration Supply Chain Management & Logistics



Supply Chain Management Track



Master of Management & Manufacturing



Global Logistics



MBA in Global Supply Chain Management

An MBA with a Global Supply Chain Management (GSCM) concentration may provide students with broad supply chain management skills and knowledge. Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs typically cover a wide range of functional business courses in their central core. Also, the MBA tends to cover theory but with an eye to application. Students could thus develop their ability to critically analyze and think through issues with a view to solve problems based on their studies.

Curriculums might present field-related theories, models, and industry practices. Core business topics might discuss financial accounting, finance tools, strategic operations, sales, marketing and data analysis. Students could also take a course in global leadership to help them develop professionally. GSCM courses may round this education out with courses that explore management from a systems theory point of view. Often in an MBA program, this is done through an analysis of case studies. See below for some examples of other course topics, and refer to individual schools for details.

  • Global strategic resourcing
  • Demand forecasting
  • Integrated logistics
  • Personnel and customer service

To earn their MBA in Global Supply Chain Management, students may have to successfully complete an application-based business project.

MS in Supply Chain Management

A Master of Science (MS) in Supply Chain Management could have a stricter focus on the issues that face the global business environment. MS in SCM programs might, for instance, explore multiple business practices and strategies that aim to shed light on all aspects of logistics and supply chain management.

Curriculums could broadly cover foundation courses in business analytics and supply chain strategies along with core and professional development (enrichment) courses. Core topics in a MS in SCM program could discuss global sourcing, procurement and negotiations. Other courses might cover the following topics.

  • Operations analysis
  • Logistics management
  • Demand and revenue
  • Global supply chain finance

Enrichment courses could help students navigate things like how to effectively plan, execute, and manage projects. A course in IT applications could examine SCM systems and technologies to help students learn about purchasing, customer service, and supplier relations. Some schools might also offer a course that combines Six-Sigma ideas with environmental sustainability.

MPS in Supply Chain Management

A Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree in Supply Chain Management typically melds the same type of coursework found in a MS program with industry-relevant skills. Students might therefore study a mix of proven theory, industry practices and current technologies in SCM.

Often planned-out in a two-year format, first year courses could study topics such as ethical conduct, SCM strategy and performance methods. Also, students might take courses in inventory and forecasting and could learn how to manage manufacturing and service operations. Second-year could add supervised research projects. Also, students may take several courses oriented to provide them with methods and tools to translate theories and principles into management of operations and global manufacturing. Other possible MPS in SCM courses could include the following topics.

  • Distribution and transportation
  • Sourcing and supplier management
  • Information analysis
  • Supply Chain Design

Through their program, graduates might take away the ability to assess key dimensions of logistics strategy, innovation, transformation, and organizational leadership.

What Is the Difference Between Logistics and Supply Chain Management?

Logistics management is a focused area within the broader area of SCM. It deals primarily with the management process that integrates the movement of goods, services, information, and capital, from the sourcing of raw material, until it reaches its end consumer.

While inseparable from supply chain, logistics tends to refer to the flow and storage of goods inside and outside one firm. By contrast supply chain management refers to a variety of activities that could involve multiple organizations.

MBA in Logistics

A Master of Business Administration in Logistics analyzes the managerial supply chain philosophy and logistics concepts as well as how to adapt and implement these principles into a manufacturing environment.

MBA core courses cover things such as applied managerial accounting, economics and finance as well as other key business topics. They are designed to help students develop leadership qualities, and the ability to navigate personnel, marketing and operations strategies.

For the logistics emphasis, students may have a choice of government, military or private sector logistics. Each of these could entail very distinct courses.

Government logistics courses are oriented to global processes, legal implications and integrated SCM processes. Topics of study might also explore Logistics Support Services in Impaired or Hazardous Environments.

Military logistics courses discuss issues of transportation in various environments and conditions. Course topics might also include security as it relates to transportation.

Private Sector logistics cover topics such as inventory process management, control and finances.

These various tracks of study provide students an opportunity to customize their SCM logistics degree to help them prepare for their next step.

Doctor of Supply Chain Management Programs

Doctor of Supply Chain Management students can earn either a research-focused PhD or a practice-focused doctorate such as the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). Either program seeks to enable individuals to reach their maximum professional potential in their current or new business environment. Applicants may need a Master’s degree from an accredited institution to qualify. Also, some programs might require an academic background in business administration or management and experience in a global business setting.

DBA in Supply Chain Management

A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) could help students integrate and apply theory and scholarly research to global operations and supply chain management issues.

Learners might engage in a broad core curriculum that might highlight quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, strategy, marketing innovation, and ethics and social responsibility in global operations.

Core DBA courses might also enable students to build coaching skills and the ability to make sound financial decisions. Students might also learn how to leverage the effects of the supply chain to boost organizational performance.

The emphasis courses in a DBA in SCM curriculum could discuss key elements of operations and supply chain management (OSCM). For instance, learners might study network design of OCSM from a strategic and tactical point of view. Students may also learn to apply introductory methods of optimization and statistics in quality assurance and control, inventory management, and demand planning. Further course topics might include the following.

  • Innovation and new technology
  • Supplier relationship management
  • Global supply chain design

Beyond the coursework, candidates typically conduct professional research focused on contemporary global operations and supply chain management problems.

PhD in Supply Chain Management

A PhD in Supply Chain Management is a terminal research degree program that may help students develop breadth of knowledge in SCM in tandem with depth of knowledge in a specific aspect of the discipline. In contrast with a DBA degree, PhD students might be required to teach at least one course before they complete their degree. Also, to earn their PhD, students typically need to come up with a novel approach, theory or insight that addresses a topic they want to research in depth. This is written up in a dissertation.

Some PhD in SCM programs may start students with foundation and methodology courses. These classes could introduce students to a variety of research methods, statistical linear models, probability and supply chain-marketing interface. For a major in SCM, students might also study topics such as the ones listed below.

  • Business ethics
  • Econometrics
  • Game theory
  • Cross-border management

Qualifying exams may follow coursework, after which PhD students typically concentrate on their dissertation.

Supply Chain Management Graduate Certificate

A Graduate Certificate in Supply Chain Management could enable students to build foundational skills. Admission requirements vary. Some schools might require applicants to have a Bachelors degree in business or a related field, along with some SCM or closely allied work experience.

Sometimes SCM certificate courses might draw from the more extensive Masters program, but students may only need to take about 12 credits to earn their certificate. As a result, it may take less time than earning a full degree.

Coursework could provide a general framework in performance metrics, financial analysis and an overview of supply chain management. For instance, topics could cover systems analysis and may orient students to processes at the individual-firm level and from the point of view of collaborative relationships. Students might also learn how to fulfill demands, and engage in ethical business practices.


Students could find Supply Chain Management Graduate Programs at regionally accredited universities. Some individual programs may also be professionally approved. This may be through an agency such as The Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP) or The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Campus or Online SCM Degree?

Some Supply Chain Management Graduate Programs may be available on campus and online. An online SCM degree might appeal to at-work professionals who want to work to add managerial skills without any extra commute. That said, many traditional universities may offer programs with evening or weekend schedules that could be walkable from work, or at convenient times. Whatever your preference, use it to filter your choices.

Potential Career Outlook

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of logisticians is projected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026. Growth is predicted since companies continue to need logisticians to move products more efficiently, solve problems, and identify areas for improvement. Related occupations include cost estimators, industrial production managers, operations research analysts, or management analysts (according to Offers 27 Operations Management Programs – Programs

With many great Supply Chain Management Graduate Programs to choose from, you can compare degrees at the Masters and Doctoral levels. Then, easily apply to the sponsored schools with the on-page form.

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