By OADP Staff
Welcome to our ranking of the top online Master’s in Supply Chain Management degrees.
What – and who – does it take to run a business? Some of the answers are obvious; just about every company needs the help of accountants, marketing professionals, IT experts, and customer relations specialists. But large corporations that conduct business in multiple locations across the country – or around the world – are also crucially dependent on operations and logistics managers.
According to an article on TechTarget, these in-demand professionals oversee everything from products and materials to finances and information as goods flow through the supply chain, moving from supplier to manufacturer to retailer and finally, to the consumer. And as businesses have become more complex and online shopping has allowed even small companies to ship their products to far away places, the demand for experts in this field has become stronger than ever.
Ranking the 15 Best Operations and Supply Chain Management Master’s Degrees Online: Methodology
First, we used College Navigator to find schools that offer online master’s degrees in logistics, supply chain management (SCM), and operations. To rank the top online logistics degree programs, we then looked at three factors:
- Emphasis on Logistics: Many supply chain management programs are actually MBA or management degrees, and even the ones that aren’t tend to put a strong emphasis on business. While some students might prefer that, for this article we assumed that applicants would be looking for programs that can provide plenty of in-depth knowledge specifically in logistics and operations. Therefore, we judged each program based on the percentage of its courses that focus on operations/logistics/supply chain topics.
- Experiential/Synthesis Learning: The best business programs help students synthesize their knowledge and apply what they’ve learned in the real world – usually through an internship, practicum, capstone, or other similar requirement. So to make it on this list, each school had to provide at least one such opportunity, while the programs that incorporate multiple or let students choose from different options earned extra points.
- Degree Customization: For this category, we looked at the number of concentrations available within the program. Unfortunately, most programs do not offer areas of specialization, but the handful that do provide a unique way for students to develop a niche – and hopefully stand out in front of employers.
See descriptions of the 15 top logistics and supply chain management online master’s degrees below. When two programs tied, we gave the higher ranking to the school with the lower tuition rate. The tuition rates are listed as a cost-per-credit and are approximations of the average tuition and fees based on the information available on the colleges’ websites. Of course, it’s always a smart idea for students to speak directly with an admissions representative at the school they plan to attend to find out exactly how much their education will cost.
With six start dates per year and relatively few admission requirements (no fee and no GRE or GMAT required), Florida Tech’s Master of Science in Supply Chain Management stands out as one of the most accessible options on this list. The program requires 10 classes to complete, and most students finish in two years. You’ll round off your accredited online master’s in supply chain management degree with the Applied Management Project, which focuses on the techniques you’ll need to evaluate research studies and proposals. This three-credit capstone gives you experience carrying out and presenting research, an essential skill for your post-grad career.
Tuition: $777 per credit
14. Kettering University: Online MS in Operations Management (Supply Chain & Enterprise Resource Planning)
At Kettering, you’ll find a top online logistics degree program with a comprehensive set of concentrations in relevant, career-focused topics. You can choose from four areas of emphasis, each of which leads to a graduate certificate in that particular field. One option is the Global Leadership concentration, which offers a broad overview of various management and organizational behavior theories. Or you can narrow your focus by earning the Healthcare Management certificate, which will prepare you for work in a patient-centric healthcare environment. If those don’t sound appealing, consider the Operations Management or Supply Chain and Enterprise Resource Planning concentration. But no matter which you choose, you’ll cement your knowledge in a final capstone course on organizational strategy.
Tuition: $857 per credit
Operations and supply chain management students at UW-Stout can expect their coursework to fall into three categories: Professional Core, Leadership, and Research. Each category addresses crucial topics in the field, ensuring that this affordable online MS in supply chain management provides a well-rounded education. You can then refine your studies by choosing one of three concentrations (Quality Management, Operations Management, or Project Management). And thanks to the school’s “hands-on, minds-on” active learning philosophy, you’ll work on lots of in-depth projects that let you think through challenging real-world problems.
Tuition: $447 per credit (Resident) / $874 per credit (Non-resident)
12. University of Maryland University College: Online MS in Management (Acquisition & Supply Chain Management)
UMUC’s top logistics and supply chain management online master’s degree is actually a specialization of its MS in Management. Even so, the school offers a robust set of supply chain management-specific courses, many of which give you real-world experience as you conduct case studies and carry out cost analysis calculations. You’ll also have access to UMUC’s Business and Management Club, a networking and discussion-based group for students and teachers. And at the end of your studies, you’ll complete a capstone in strategic management that provides a deep-dive into how strategic implementation touches various aspects of an organization’s structure.
Tuition: $458 per credit (Resident) / $659 per credit (Non-resident)
Earning an accredited operations and supply chain management master’s degree online through Embry-Riddle requires 30 total credits. Although the program doesn’t offer concentrations or specializations, you can choose electives from various departments (think Business Administration and Technical Management) to give your studies a little more focus. You’ll also be required to take “Production and Procurement in the Aviation and Aerospace Industry,” a course that gives a nod to the school’s focus on aeronautics. Thanks to this unique spin on a traditional supply chain management degree, you’ll graduate from Embry-Riddle with specialized knowledge that could give you a leg up as you seek employment.
Tuition: $640 per credit
10. University of Alabama Huntsville: Online Master’s Degree in Supply Chain and Logistics Management
The top online MS in supply chain management at UA-Huntsville strives to be an egalitarian program. Relatively few prerequisite classes means more students are eligible to apply, while the diverse coursework attracts applicants from myriad educational backgrounds and professional experiences. This spirit of inclusivity even extends to the program’s capstone, which lets you choose how to earn those final credits. Complete the traditional team-based practicum or write a thesis report under the direction of a faculty member – a great choice if you prefer to work individually and enjoy writing longer papers.
Tuition: $492 per credit (Resident) / $1,091 per credit (Non-resident)
9. Pennsylvania State University World: Online Master of Professional Studies in Supply Chain Management
For one of the best online logistics degree programs in the country, check out Penn State’s Master of Professional Studies in Supply Chain Management. Not only does the program consistently earn high ratings from both Gartner and U.S. World and News Report, but employers also recognize the high-caliber graduates the program produces. Why is the program so well-regarded? It’s partly thanks to the many opportunities to collaborate with your fellow online learners on small-team projects. Plus, an intensive four-day residency experience gives you access to top faculty members and teaches invaluable report research and writing skills. Note that you can also pair the degree with a 12-credit Graduate Certificate in Supply Chain Management (all credits count toward the MPS).
Tuition: $1082 per credit
If you’re concerned that earning an accredited operations and supply chain management master’s degree online could take years, you might want to consider the program at Rutgers. Because this master’s degree is highly flexible, ambitious students can complete it in as little as 12 months. Using the school’s eCollege platform, you’ll regularly interact with professors and students, mimicking a more traditional on-campus program. In fact, that platform is part of the reason Rutgers earns such high rankings for its online business offerings from U.S. World and News Report. And with three admissions cycles each year, Rutgers makes it easy to start your program whenever it is convenient for you.
Tuition: $1,200 per credit
Founded in the early 20th century with the goal of offering higher education to women, Fontbonne has a storied history of providing services to previously ignored groups. Today, its online programs continue that legacy by helping working adults further their education. Participants in Fontbonne’s top online master’s in supply chain management degree program can enrich their studies by choosing from three concentrations (Accounting, Management and Leadership, or Nonprofit Management) or earning a Supply Chain Management certificate. The Nonprofit Management concentration in particular stands out on this list; its targeted courses let you narrow your course of study and prepare you for rewarding work in the nonprofit sector.
Tuition: $746 per credit
As the least expensive option on this affordable logistics and supply chain management online master’s degrees ranking, Athens State offers a program at a low price. The Alabama-based school provides two tracks within the MS in Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Management and Logistics Information Systems. Both rely on a core series of Logistics classes, giving you a strong foundation as you branch into more specialized study. Athens also makes it relatively easy to apply: You can either take the GMAT or present a professional portfolio that demonstrates competence and experience in relevant fields.
Tuition: $330 per credit
The innovative MS in Supply Chain Management at the University of San Diego has the distinction of being the first U.S.-based program accredited by the Chartered Institute for Purchasing and Supply, a global professional organization that promotes integrity and high standards in the field. One of the top 20 best online logistics degree programs (according to U.S. News), the degree at San Diego relies on case studies and simulations, giving students experiences that easily apply to the real world. Most of the two-year program is completed online, although you’ll spend 20 total days on campus during required residency sessions. These sessions offer a great chance to meet your instructors and connect with your classmates.
Tuition: $1,415 per credit
Although the University of Washington offers its accredited online master’s in supply chain management degree almost entirely through distance education, you’ll start off the program with a required week-long residency on campus. During the residency, you’ll take a “Logistics and Analysis” class that combines traditional lectures with multiple site visits. You’ll also get to know your cohort – the small group of classmates with whom you’ll be taking courses for the next two years. (Because this is a part-time program designed to accommodate working adults, expect to need those full two years to complete your degree.) The program culminates in a practicum that asks you to analyze a real-world logistics or transportation challenge of your choice.
Tuition: $900 per credit
If you’re hesitant about earning an affordable operations and supply chain management master’s degree online because you enjoy spending in-person time with classmates, you might want to consider Wright State. The school’s year-long MS in Logistics and Supply Chain Management requires four residencies (around one every three months) giving you an opportunity to check in with your classmates. This program should also appeal to adults who have relevant experience but don’t want to take a grad school entrance exam: Wright State requires three years of work experience – but no GRE or GMAT scores – for admission.
Tuition: $987 per credit (Resident) / $1,320 per credit (Non-resident)
2. University of Wisconsin Platteville: Online Master of Science in Integrated Supply Chain Management
The MS in Integrated Supply Chain Management at UW Platteville has lots to offer prospective students. First, there’s the low total cost: Platteville provides one of the most affordable logistics and supply chain management online master’s degrees on this list. Platteville also shines in terms of flexibility. With six areas of emphasis, you’re sure to find something that meets your career goals. Plus, some of the concentration areas – like Customer Relationship Management – simply aren’t available in most online programs. Finally, Platteville lets you choose from three ways to prove your competency: a traditional capstone, a seminar-based research paper, or a thesis that you’ll defend in front of a committee.
Tuition: $373 per credit
The accredited online MS in supply chain management from PSU has numerous accolades that speak for its quality. In addition to accreditations and certifications from prestigious trade organizations, PSU earns a spot onU.S. News’ ranking of the 25 best online business programs in the country. As a member of the supply chain management program, you’ll have a unique opportunity to attend a two-week field study in Vietnam and China. And because PSU worked with industry leaders to develop its curriculum, the program reflects current trends in the field—including a strong global focus and a particular interest in sustainability.
Tuition: $961 per credit (Resident) / $1,024 per credit (Non-resident)
Not quite ready to earn your operations and supply chain management master’s degree online? Check out our ranking of undergraduate programs here.