Updated December 2016
Attending a logistics management program online can provide a strong understanding of business processes not only within one company, but between multiple organizations. Most importantly, it can provide students with the skills they need to solve complex problems on the job, like how to best track inventory or the most efficient way to ship and store products overseas. And by pursuing a degree online, it is possible to get a high-quality education without sacrificing work or time with family.
Ranking the 15 Top Online Logistics Degrees 2016
To rank the best online supply chain management bachelor's degrees in the country, we looked for programs that provide a full four-year curriculum (no degree completion programs allowed) and are available 100% online. We also created a tuition cut-off line from data available on College Navigator, only considering colleges with an approximate annual tuition rate (average of resident/non-resident for public colleges) of less than $23k a year.
Next, we compared the eligible programs in three categories (We considered each category equally in determining the top online logistics and supply chain management degree programs):
- Emphasis on Logistics: How much of the coursework specifically addresses topics relevant to supply chain management, operations, transportation, etc? This category was particularly important given the number of business degrees with concentrations in logistics. The more classes required within the concentration area (and the more logistics-related coursework present overall in the curriculum), the better*.
- Experiential/Synthesis Learning: Does the curriculum include a comprehensive capstone course or internship opportunity? Although some of these programs specifically cater to students who already have multiple years of work experience, it is usually preferable to have some requirement for students to synthesize their learning and apply their skills in new ways. Capstone and seminar courses, for example, often focus heavily on case-studies, formal reports, and cumulative projects.
- Appeal & Effectiveness: Are students regularly attending (and earning degrees from) these online programs? Using College Navigator data on the number of business logistics/operations management degrees** conferred in the 2014-15 school year, we were able to ascertain how active each program has been recently in attracting new students - and successfully graduating them, too.
*On average, the programs listed below have seven required courses in a concentration.
**In some cases, the school only reported the total number of degrees they awarded to undergraduate business majors. In these cases, we calculated a rough estimate of the number of students who specifically chose the logistics/supply chain management concentration by dividing the total by the number of concentrations available within the business degree at that school.
Based on its name, it would be easy to assume that Embry-Riddle is a school for astronauts-in-training. And while the university does offer more than a few programs in aviation and aeronautics, its full list of majors and minors is surprisingly diverse. ERAU's broader focus on technology and engineering even extends to its online logistics and supply chain management degree program, which applies analytical models and high-tech processes to business operations. Students learn how to use metrics to track and improve supply chain performance; implement digital solutions for distribution, warehousing, and inventory management; and generally hone their problem-solving skills.
Tuition: $365.00 per credit
Like most of the online operations management and supply chain management degrees on this list, Ohio Christian University's program is part of a larger business curriculum. Undergraduates at OCU who major in business have the option to concentrate in one of eleven areas - one of which is logistics management. This degree in particular will appeal to students who want to acquire a solid foundation in business principles, as the curriculum is mostly devoted to general management topics like "Financial Management" and "Business Law." Even so, the four-course specialization - not to mention a challenging business capstone class - will do plenty to prepare majors for a career in the field of supply chains, transportation, and logistics.
Tuition: $565.00 per credit (Full-time enrollment)
At the University of Wisconsin Platteville, undergrads can take advantage of a business administration degree with plenty of unique concentration options. One of these is the 16-credit "Integrated Supply Chain Management" emphasis, which consolidates the most essential aspects of a top online logistics degree into a tight six-course sequence. In addition to mandatory classes like "Intro to ERP" and "Production Planning and Control," students can fulfill their emphasis requirement by picking from options like "Quality Assurance," "Purchasing Management," and "Work Measurement and Human Factors." But the best part? All these classes are available completely online, along with web-based resources like the Distance Learning Center (DLC) Help Desk and the Desire2Learn (D2L) course management system.
Tuition: $370.00 per credit
Compared to other programs on this affordable online operations management and supply chain management degrees ranking, Johnson & Wales has some unusual requirements for distance learners hoping to earn their BBA. That is, in order to qualify, applicants must have accrued at least two years of full-time work experience after finishing high school. While this might render some eager undergrads ineligible, the benefit is that all those admitted to the program share a similar professional background and appreciation for hard work. And even with this background, program members won't escape a rigorous, management-based curriculum that emphasizes topical issues in the field - and includes a "Senior Business Capstone" to boot.
Tuition: $366.00 per credit
With more than 40,000 undergraduates enrolled at its flagship campus, Arizona State University is easily one of the largest colleges in the country. Its extensive array of affordable - and practical - online programs only broadens its reach to dedicated learners all across the country. And the BA in Global Logistics Management is a great example; students can earn all four years of coursework through the reputable WP Carey School of Business, accessing effective, career-relevant lessons along the way. Although there is no capstone or synthesis class, the curriculum still requires all the challenging upper-level coursework that one would expect from a top online supply chain management bachelor's degree.
Tuition: $600.00 per credit
This 100% online logistics and supply chain management degree program doesn't only impart knowledge about the complex world of international shipping - it also teaches students how to leverage their knowledge to make businesses more efficient. But first, all BBA majors at Florida International University must develop a robust toolkit of basic business practices. Core courses in operations management, quantitative methods, and information systems provide undergrads with an intimate understanding of corporate functioning. But it's the 21-credit LSCM specialization area that probably means the most to readers of this ranking. While the concentration is average in course quantity, it is expansive in scope, covering everything from technology and databases to decision-making and negotiations in just seven classes.
Tuition: $212.71 per credit (Resident) / $329.77 per credit (Non-resident)
Some might think that all business administration degrees are essentially alike - they take the same "core" classes and combine them with concentrations in a few typical areas - and even these don't change much from school to school. But these individuals underestimate many colleges' dedication to providing a unique - and engaging - academic experience. At Park University, this mission is evident from the curriculum, which combines logistics-specific classes like "Purchasing and Vendor Management" with coursework from every area of the business school. Each semester brings a different combination of classes from diverse disciplines, making for an affordable online logistics and supply chain management degree program that is sure to keep students interested.
Tuition: $391.00 per credit
A small HBCU located in rural Oklahoma, it's probably safe to surmise that most readers haven't heard of Langston University. And yet, Langston is home to one of the best online logistics and supply chain management degree programs nationwide. Of course, the school also graduates fewer BBA majors than most of its competitors on this ranking, but that does little to detract from its overall quality. Most notably, Langston's online BBA curriculum is one of the few to actually require an internship. This factor might make the school less appealing to students who want to earn their entire degree from the couch, but it also demonstrates the program's commitment to making sure majors are well-prepared for life after college.
Tuition: $5,522 per semester (Full-time Resident) / $12,850 per semester (Full-time Non-resident)
There are a few key features of the logistics program at Florida State College that help it stand out from the crowd - and make it one of the best online operations management and supply chain management degrees in the country. Most notably, this is not a business degree; it's a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) that focuses much more on the technical/practical side of logistics than the managerial. In addition, instruction in logistics extends far beyond the typical four-to-seven class concentration; students take everything from "Logistics Technology" to "Strategic Transportation Management" to "Principles of Logistics," and much more.
Tuition: $116.52 per credit (Resident) / $399.27 per credit (Non-resident)
6. Oregon State University: Online BA/BS in Business Administration (Supply Chain & Logistics Management)
There's a lot to love about the affordable online logistics and supply chain management degree program at Oregon State University (and not just its low cost-per-credit). For one, its BA/BS in Business Administration is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). It's also only available online and not at OSU's main campus in Corvallis. What's more, this program is practically tailor-made for students interested in a career in transportation and operations management, because the only specialization available online is in Supply Chain and Logistics Management! As an added bonus, OSU's eCampus provides plenty of minors and certificates to complement a major in logistics; particularly relevant choices include Geographic Information Science, Business and Entrepreneurship, and Leadership.
Tuition: $300.00 per credit
Saint Leo University is no stranger to online education; in fact, in 2015 the school graduated over 500 business majors from the distance learning program alone! This type of experience translates to numerous benefits for students, who can take advantage of free resources like a downloadable "Online Learning Toolkit." Undergrads also have access to professional academic advisers who are trained specifically in the needs of adult and working students. But when it comes to attending a top logistics management program online, the quality of the curriculum is still the most important consideration. Fortunately, Saint Leo's BA in Business Administration not only comes with a comprehensive, 24-credit Logistics specialization, but it's also IACBE-accredited!
Tuition: $470.00 per credit
At Athens State University, they know there are plenty of other supply chain and operations management programs out there, and many of them offer similar courses. But according to the College of Business, ASU's program is distinct for its devoted faculty and supportive environment. Online learners also benefit from the three pillars of value that the university uses to attract students: "quality, affordability, [and] convenience." And when it comes to the curriculum, ASU's logistics degree is about as robust as it gets and features a hefty 62-credit "professional course requirement" that blends the managerial, operational, and technical aspects of the industry all into one.
Tuition: $274.00 per credit
Like Saint Leo, Colorado Technical University has spent several decades developing considerable expertise in online education. For CTU, this commitment manifests itself in degree programs that are convenient, compact, and comprehensive all at once. And the online bachelor of business administration is even more reputable, thanks to accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and a top online program ranking from U.S. News and World Report. But what really makes CTU home to one of the best online logistics and supply chain management degree programs is its focus on synthesis courses; students must complete both a general "Business Capstone" and a specialized "Logistics/Supply Chain Management Capstone" before graduating.
Tuition: $325.00 per credit
The University of Massachusetts Amherst stands out on this ranking of the best online operations management and supply chain management degrees in one fundamental way: curriculum. The program, which leads to a BA in Business Administration with a concentration in Operations and Information Management, isn't all about warehouses and transportation. Rather, it takes a broader approach to the study of logistics by addressing one essential question: how can businesses make themselves more effective and efficient? As such, online learners at UMass Amherst take standard classes in operations and project management alongside ones that emphasize critical thinking, such as "Business Intelligence and Analytics" and "High Performance Organization."
Tuition: $525.00 per credit
According to our ranking, Franklin University is home to the top online logistics and supply chain management degree program nationwide. Its undergraduate program has a little of everything, from a solid selection of logistics-focused coursework to a final capstone that challenges students to synthesize and apply their knowledge to new projects. Other required courses include "Business Modeling," "Quantitative and Qualitative Methods for Decision Making," and "Integrated Project Management." It's no wonder Franklin has become such a popular choice for online learners; just last year its distance program awarded 70 degrees in operations management and supervision (as reported on College Navigator).
Tuition: $494.00 per credit
Already earned your online supply chain management bachelor's degree? Check out our ranking of graduate programs here.
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