The Online MS SCM: A Curriculum Informed by the Supply Chain Industry

May 7, 2020

On Wednesday, March 25th, Shay Scott, Executive Director of the University of Tennessee’s online MS in Supply Chain Management (MS SCM), hosted a live webinar about the online program. Excited to be speaking on behalf of the pioneering institution, Scott began the webinar by addressing the “Why UT?” question. “For us, supply chain management is all about how you leverage the idea of end-to-end supply chain to deliver to the overall business.”

Scott highlighted the end-to-end vantage point provided by UT Haslam’s 10-course, 30-credit-hour online MS SCM program.

curriculum sequence
Online MS SCM Curriculum

By taking an end-to-end approach to SCM, Scott explained, “we provide a holistic, system-based approach.” Addressing the program’s carefully crafted curriculum, Scott explained “this program is really all about understanding supply chains, and helping you drive that understanding in your organization.”

Scott further illuminated the program’s relevance (ranked #4 graduate supply chain program among public institutions, U.S. News & World Report, 2020 Best Business Schools and #1 globally for supply chain research, Transportation Journal, 2018) reporting that, when designing the curriculum, professors and administrators consulted some of the nation’s leaders in supply chain—companies like Amazon, Walmart and Johnson & Johnson, Dell, Caterpillar—asking them, “What do we need to be teaching? How do we cover what’s most relevant to you and your business?” Based on these answers, the online MS SCM was shaped.

At the end of the panel, there was an open forum where potential applicants had the opportunity to get their questions answered. One applicant, a 34-year-old who had been working, full-time, for over a decade, inquired about what it would be like to go back to school after a significant hiatus from academia. Scott confirmed that the average age of a student in the SCM program is 32. He further explained that most enrolled students have been out of school for an extended time, driving home the point that UT values applicants who have relevant careers and applicable experience that can be shared in the classroom. Scott also confirmed that there are resources to assist students during classes like Data Modelling and Analysis, where familiarity with subjects like calculus and statistics can be helpful.

Scott then alluded to another proud staple of the program, the community discussion board. An online tool (“almost like Facebook”), the discussion board is built to allow students to interact with each other and their professors. On this digital platform, a regular stream of discussions is held about a variety of topics where SCM-related questions are answered, case studies are unpacked and real-world examples are used to illustrate or question various theories.

In response to a question about the return on investment (ROI) of the program, Scott stated that one way to think of ROI is ”as the skillsets you learn from the program that allows you to perform more highly in your job.” According to Scott, another ROI of this program is that it positions you better for promotion. “Supply chain management is a fast-growing field with lots of opportunity,” Scott reminded webinar attendees. “The degree can provide you with a platform for really differentiating yourself from other candidates out there.”

Scott also drew attention to the program’s career services that can aid students hoping to change employers or apply for interviews. UT’s Supply Chain Forum, which is held annually, connects students with 75 different companies, and is another fantastic resource for MS SCM – Online Students.

When asked about the duration of the program, Britta Svoboda, the Program Manager, noted that the length of the program is one of its most unique features, as it is entirely up to each student how quickly they complete their online MS SCM. “Students have up to five years to complete the program once they begin,” confirmed Svoboda, “but you can finish it as quickly as 20 months (five consecutive semesters) if you’d like.”

If you think you might be interested in applying to UT Haslam’s online MS SCM program, learn more about the application process here, or contact an Enrollment Advisor for next steps by emailing or calling (865) 322 9978.