The Benefits of an Online Degree in Supply Chain Management

November 17, 2021

The global supply chain discipline touches almost every industry, and the scope of a career in supply chain management is naturally diverse and provides a wealth of broad opportunity. From the technological underpinning of every product we use, as well as the materials we need to build homes and transportation infrastructure, professionals who work in supply chain management hold an important role that drives the way we live and work. Therefore, supply chain managers must be experienced and equipped to deal with the inevitable challenges that partners and end-consumers demand from an ethical, sustainable supply chain.

A global dependence on international suppliers and domestic partners requires a supply chain manager to handle a great deal of complexity and an even higher amount of risk. Luckily, an online master’s in supply chain management prepares graduates with the necessary skills and knowledge to tackle real-world challenges that occur when handling large-scale supply chain logistics. There are many tangible benefits to choosing the best online master’s programs in supply chain management, so be sure to choose carefully to set yourself up for success.

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Types of online degrees for supply chain management

Supply chain management professionals often choose to pursue a master’s degree after having spent some time in their roles and determining which part of the supply chain organization is best suited for them. Supply chain executives might decide to enroll direct reports into an executive MBA with a supply chain management concentration or an integrated supply chain management program. At the same time, a mid-level logistician may choose to enroll themselves in a program with a focus on global logistics. The supply chain management degree you choose is ultimately dependent upon what skills you need to succeed in your next role.

An online master’s in supply chain management provides students with the confidence and expertise to excel in any role in the supply chain discipline. Given that universities administer the program entirely online, students have the flexibility to advance their careers while pursuing higher education from any location. You can complete your master’s degree at your own pace in either a full-time or part-time capacity. Online supply chain management master’s programs are forward-thinking and student-first, maintaining a clear focus on leadership and modern best practices.

What can you do with an online degree in supply chain management?

The career path for someone with a degree in supply chain management is promising and versatile. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, supply chain professionals that work in logistics management have a highly positive career outlook, with nearly 200,000 jobs nationwide and an estimation of over 8,000 jobs to be added over the next decade. The field of supply chain management is diverse, and there are many paths you can follow with a supply chain management degree. The typical career path of someone with a degree in supply chain management depends on their area of focus, such as end-to-end supply chain, operations, logistics, procurement, and warehouse management.

Below are some common careers in supply chain management.

Job TitleAverage Salary*Top SkillsJob Duties
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)$136,216Financial Reporting

Strategic Planning

Senior Financial Management
Oversees a company’s financial operations and provides leadership to financial departments, such as purchasing, pricing, accounting, budgeting, debt management and more. Ensures compliance with applicable laws and policies concerning financial operations.
Chief Operating Officer (COO)$144,494Operations Management


Strategic Planning
Plans and executes daily operations and projects within a company. Creates operational strategies to maximize efficiencies and increase the bottom line. Carries out the mission and vision of a corporation and focuses on productivity and revenue generation.
Chief Procurement Officer$182,471Procurement

Contract Negotiation

Team Leadership
Maintains oversight of purchasing and logistics, including strategic sourcing and oversight of materials. Works closely with purchasing and logistics managers and ensures materials are delivered accurately, on schedule and undamaged.
Logistics Director$100,709Logistics

Operations Management

Oversees and approves logistics activities and tasks and leads groups of individuals to reduce company costs and increase profits. Audits operations and makes necessary changes to logistics processes.
Operations Manager$66,479Operations Management

People Management

Oversees a company’s production of goods and services by managing purchasing, warehousing and manufacturing departments. Ensures products meet or exceed clients’ needs and expectations.
Purchasing Manager$68,229Procurement

Vendor Management

Inventory Management
Handles all aspects of business, including contract negotiation, communication with clients and vendors, supervision of purchasing agents, and the reviewing of new project proposals. Identifies cost savings and works together with marketing and sales teams to propose new strategies.
Supply Chain Manager$83,966Supply Chain

Inventory Management

Oversees and coordinates important elements of the supply chain. Promotes teamwork between departments, develops and maintains policies and procedures and maintains overall inventory based on demand.
Senior Logistics Analyst$75,317Logistics

Data Analysis

Logistics Support Analysis
Collects data on business operations related to logistics, including researching existing systems, procedures and models. Uses modeling to generate reports and feedback about how to optimize current practices.
*this does not include compensation

Types of online classes required for a supply chain management degree

The format of an online master’s degree in supply chain management, particularly at the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is designed to bring the classroom to you with an extensive curriculum. As a Haslam student, you’d receive the same degree and access to resources as students who attend courses on-campus. Students participate in synchronous classes online, and virtual faculty office hours are open for students to schedule at their convenience. Students can also access other on-campus benefits, such as coaching, tutoring and career assistance.

The types of online classes required for a supply chain management degree vary depending on the program. However, standard graduate-level courses in supply chain management include:

  • Supply Chain Strategy
  • Supply Chain Finance
  • Supply Chain Data Modeling and Analysis
  • Supply Chain Information Management
  • Supply Chain Planning and Analysis
  • Strategic Supply and Cost Management
  • Supply Chain Operations
  • Distribution, Logistics, and Network Management

Best supply chain management degree programs online

Finding the best online supply chain management degree program can be challenging because there are so many personal and professional variables you need to consider. Attending a competitive graduate school requires significant time and resources, so it’s essential to find an online program that will meet your needs and provide a valuable return on your investment.

There are many factors to consider when choosing a supply chain management master’s degree program. Here are some important features you should consider when making a list of preferred supply chain management graduate programs:

Faculty: Expert faculty who have extensive experience working in various supply chain organizations bring real-world experience to the classroom. Supply chain graduate professors have the hands-on experience to share their expertise with students during the program and continue to act as mentors beyond graduation. Faculty members who served as consultants or supply chain leaders in previous companies provide a wealth of information and networking opportunities for students who engage.

Program Relevance: Supply chain management is a rapidly evolving industry, so a graduate degree within this discipline should have a focus on emerging technology. A graduate student is best served in a program that plays an industry leadership role within the global supply chain management field. Gaining direct knowledge of the latest industry trends better equips students to transform the processes and efficiencies on their companies’ supply chain management teams.

Curriculum: A comprehensive curriculum prepares students for the most complex supply chain management issues. Graduates should leave the program with a strong foundation in supply chain management concepts, functions, and enablers. The best online supply chain management curriculums provide students with critical thinking skills to utilize past business cases and strategy to solve future business problems. Frameworks to create lean supply chains and realize enormous cost-savings for companies struggling with rising costs are particularly important. A capstone project is also valuable, as the project allows students to address the challenges inside actual supply chain companies while earning credits toward graduation from their master’s degree program.

Rankings: While there are certainly limitations to rankings, they are a great way to gain additional insight into a supply chain management master’s program. Rankings also allow prospective students to see which programs might be the best fit for what they value. This helps a student determine how they are personally weighing various program features. U.S. News & World ReportGartner, and The Economist are all valuable resources when considering graduate school rankings of supply chain management programs.

How You Can Benefit from a Master of Science in Supply Chain Management Online at Haslam

The Master of Science in Supply Chain Management Online at the Haslam College of Business is designed to grow future supply chain professionals and develop a network of reliable business leaders. Students gain deep supply chain knowledge from a proven curriculum and truly own how their supply chain management processes can create value for an organization. Online courses are offered synchronously, and students are given participation and collaboration tools that allow asynchronous video and audio review. The MS SCM – Online focuses on:

Supply Chain Concepts: Master how supply chain management can best be used to deliver impactful results to a company.

Supply Chain Functions: Utilize knowledge of supply chain functions such as planning, sourcing, manufacturing, and logistics to support overall supply chain concepts.

Supply Chain Enablers: Learn how to employ critical levers such as emerging technology and international trade to benefit the end-to-end supply chain.

With the MS SCM – Online and the Executive MBA in Global Supply Chain, you experience a new level of flexibility without relocating or putting a successful career on hold. Moreover, our faculty is ranked #1 for global supply chain research and provide students access to subject matter experts and resources within the Global Supply Chain Institute. Meet with an MS SCM – Online admissions counselor and become a leader equipped for the future of supply chain management.