Students currently working in the business field and those who want to work in management positions will find online master's in logistics and supply chain management programs useful. These programs meet online and allow students to work in their assignments and other weekly tasks around their already busy schedules. Many ask that students log in a few times a week to participate in class discussions too.
Many of the top programs focus heavily on supply chain management, which refers to the way in which products move through development. Supply chain management includes the products made in the factories, the way those products move from the factories to stores and even what shops do with those products. This article will look at the most affordable programs in logistics and supply chain management and provide answers to some of the frequently asked questions that prospective students have.
To create a list of the most affordable online master's in logistics and supply chain management programs, we turned to College Navigator because it maintains the most accurate information about colleges today. Though the database included information on 26 different colleges with online programs of this type, we looked at the tuition that students paid to narrow down those schools to the top 10. We used in-state tuition rates, which is the tuition that many colleges charge of online students. Our list features the most affordable schools at the bottom and the less affordable colleges at the top. These schools show that students can enroll in any of the top 10 online master's in logistics and supply chain management programs and pay less than $20,000 a year.
Ranking Low-cost Online Supply Chain & Logistics Master's
10. Rutgers University – Newark
MS in Supply Chain Management
With a tuition rate of under $19,000 a year, it's not surprising that Rutgers University – Newark would make our list of the most affordable programs. U.S. News & World Report ranks this as one of the best online graduate programs, and it also ranks within the top 10 of all supply chain management programs available online. Designed for both students who have more experience and those who have less experience, it takes just one year to finish and features 30 credits of courses. It accepts new students during three different semesters each year, which makes it easy for students to enroll too. The program features just 10 classes like B2B Marketing, Demand Management and Supply Chain Strategies.
9. Portland State University
MS in Global Supply Chain Management
Another program that made the list of the top online graduate programs ranked by U.S. News & World Report is the MS in Global Supply Chain Management that Portland State University offers. This program is a little longer and more in-depth than the last program. Students spend 21 months in the program and take 52 credits of classes. This allows them to learn more about different areas of logistics and management. Portland State allows prospective students to talk with ambassadors to learn more about the program prior to enrolling. This program allows students to gain international business experience through a two-week study abroad program that takes place in a different country every year.
8. Wright State University
MS in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Wright State University offers a Master of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management that ranks among the top online graduate programs in the nation because of its low price and its curriculum. The university designed this as a cohort program that allows students to work with the same group of students as they advance through their studies. It includes three short residency sessions that take place in the fall, spring, and summer, but students can do all their other work online. Wright State offers financial assistance for its online students too. Those students can use the FAFSA to apply for loans and to learn about grants that are available to graduate students.
7. Fontbonne University
M.S. in Supply Chain Management
One of the only online master's in supply chain management and logistics programs that focus on every stage in the supply chain is the M.S. in Supply Chain Management that Fontbonne University offers, which goes all the way back to the ways in which companies find and source raw materials. It features 24 credits of required classes and six credits of electives. The university offers different concentrations for students too in accounting, nonprofit management and management and leadership. These concentrations allow students to learn more about a related subject. Fontbonne University also offers a supply chain management certificate program for students who want to study this topic but do not want to enroll in a full program.
6. University of Alabama in Huntsville
Master of Science in Supply Chain and Logistics Management
The program in supply chain and logistics management that the University of Alabama at Huntsville offers is an MS-SCLM program designed to give students a better understanding of all subjects relating to the topic. UAH accepts new students for the fall, spring and summer semesters to give students the option of when they start. All students must take 30 credits of classes, but the university designed the program for students to finish all those classes in a single year. Though students can choose their own electives, they'll need to take required courses that include Supply Chain Management Systems, Operations Management and Transportation and Logistics.
5. University of Wisconsin – Platteville
MS in Integrated Supply Chain Management
The University of Wisconsin – Platteville provides students with a number of different concentrations that they can choose from after enrolling in this online program. One unique option is a concentration in customer relationship management that allows students to learn more about helping their customers. Other concentrations are available in analysis, management and operations. This accredited program, which ranks among the more affordable options, allows students to transfer in credits from other schools, but students can still graduate in just one year because the program features just 10 courses. The university allows students to pick the electives they would like to take after taking some required classes.
4. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
M.S. in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is one of the only aeronautical colleges in the United States. Its logistics and supply chain management has an aeronautical focus because the university designed it for students working in this industry. This program teaches students how to use the practical skills they developed in their classes in the real world, which can help them make important decisions and work with different types of people. They'll take classes on ethics and regulations to learn more about what they can and cannot do as well as what they should not do. It features courses like Management Science, Transportation Management and Integrated Logistics Management.
3. Georgia College & State University
Logistics and Supply Chain Management (MLSCM)
One of the more affordable options for logistics and supply chain management students is this Georgia College & State University program, which costs less than $7,500 a year. The professors working in this program have decades of professional experience and can pass on their knowledge to their students. Designed to help students with more or less experience, it can help students currently working in the field increase their earnings by more than 15%. Students will need to take nine credits of electives and 21 credits of required classes. Those classes include Supply Chain Management Strategy, Logistics Processes and Management, International Trade and the Logistics Environment and Distribution and Inventory Control.
2. American Public University
Transportation and Logistics Management, M.A.
Students entering the Transportation and Logistics Management at American Public University can transfer in up to 15 credits earned from another accredited college or university, but all other students will need to take 30 credits through APU. This program looks at the relationships that exist between buyers and sellers, which include those between the companies that provide raw materials and manufacturers as well as companies that sell products to customers. This is available as a general program, but students can also pick a concentration in maritime engineering management or reverse logistics management. Courses include RFID in Logistics, Transportation Policy and Planning and Cargo Security Management.
1. Charleston Southern University
M.S. in Supply Chain Management
The most affordable online master's in supply chain management and logistics is the M.S. in Supply Chain Management that Charleston Southern University offers, which costs less than $4,000 a year. This program looks at the relationships that exist between suppliers and all types of customers, including those purchasing raw materials and those buying finished products. This is one of the only online programs with a capstone requirement, which allows students to demonstrate the knowledge they gained. Students will need to complete some prerequisites before taking the capstone. Some of the other classes in this online program include Supply Chain Information Technology, Product and Service Delivery Management, Project Management and Talent Management.
What are the Top Career Options for Those with an Online Master's in Supply Chain and Logistics Degree?
There are a variety of career options open to students who successfully complete a supply chain management and logistics master's online. Those options include working as a business consultant or analyst. Analysts come in and analyze the available date to help business owners make changes to increase profits. Consultants handle some of the same tasks.
Some of the top programs include information technology courses that can prepare students for working in IT positions too. They can work in information technology management and manage the employees who use computers and software. Managers may manage the departments responsible for using that software to design new products or to put products together. Consultants can work in this field too. Companies may hire those with these degrees to work as database administrators and maintain databases also.
Graduates can also find work in purchasing fields. Many companies source raw materials from others and then put those supplies together into a finished product. Purchasing specialists are the ones who keep track of budgets and expenses. They look for ways to cut costs, which can include finding new suppliers. These professionals can also work in the wholesale field and find affordable products for others to sell.
Students can search for jobs in specific supply chain management roles too. Supply chain management looks at where raw materials come from, how companies use those materials to make other items, the ways in which companies transport products to customers and how stores get their products.
How Much Do Professionals Earn in This Field?
It's almost impossible to state exactly how much money someone working in this field can earn, but it's possible for professionals to earn well over $100,000 a year. Managers and administrators typically earn more because they have more duties they do on the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) puts the median wage of those working in logistics at more than $70,000 a year. These professionals look at the total lifespan of a product and manage the way the product moves through that lifespan. The BLS found that the median wage for purchasing agents is a little lower at around $64,000 a year.
What is the Outlook for This Field?
Students often focus too much on how much they can earn in the immediate future without giving thought to what can happen in the years to come. That is why it's so important that these students look at the career outlook for this field in the future. This gives them an idea of whether employers will have a continued need for these professionals or if they may need to make a career change later.
The outlook for this industry is fairly high, and some positions will increase at a faster than average rate. Students working in logistics and certain areas of supply chain management will find that the need for these professionals will increase by more than 10% in the coming years. Purchasing is one of the only fields that will drop in the future. The need for professionals in this field will decrease by around 3% in the coming years. As long as companies continue making and shipping products though, those companies will have a high need for qualified employees that include those with advanced degrees.
What are the Top Disciplines in Supply Chain and Logistics?
Disciplines within the supply chain management field include mapping and risk management. Mapping refers to the ways in which employees map out the ways that products move through this chain. It can start with the raw materials used to make those products or begin when those products leave the factory. Those working in risk management are the ones responsible for identifying any possible risks and weighing those risks against the possible rewards. Risk management professionals often run simulations to get an idea of how those problems could pop up and how those risks impact the bottom line.
Purchasing is another related discipline, which is why many of the top programs require that students take one or more purchasing classes. Purchasers are the ones who source and buy the products that employers need. Spending too much money on those products can reduce profits and even lead to a company filing for bankruptcy because it cannot make enough money to operate.
Students who prefer working with and around others may want to look at jobs in the customer support and acquisition industry. Customer relationship professionals are the ones who work with customers who have complaints to help them feel satisfied with their experiences. They might offer free products or a future discount on a purchase. Customer acquisition deals with finding and acquiring new customers. Those who work in customer support handle calls and emails from customers who have questions or complaints.
What are Some of the Costs Associated with Online Degrees?
Online master's in logistics and supply chain management students should look at some of the costs associated with earning their degrees because this goes beyond simply the tuition that the school charges. Some online programs charge a technology fee for using the online resources available to these students and other fees, but the cost of tuition for online students is often lower than the amount that traditional students pay. Students may need to pay for the textbooks used in their classes and for a computer and other supplies that they use to complete assignments.
What Financial Aid Options are Available for Online Students?
Even students attending a cheap online master's in supply chain management and logistics program will want to get some help paying for their expenses. The best and easiest way for students to find out if they can get financial aid is with the completion of the FAFSA. This is a free form that students can file online. Dependents will need to use their parents' information when filing, but independent students, including those over the age of 25 and married students, can use their own tax information. It looks at the cost of attending the school, the amount that the student or the family can contribute and then finds ways to cover the balance between the two.
Online graduate students usually only qualify for government loans, and these loans are only given to full-time students who take at least nine credits of courses in a semester. Those who drop to part-time level can lose their loans. Government loans are unsubsidized, which means that the loans gather interest while the student is in school. Graduate students can make payments while in school to lower the amount they owe when they graduate.
Other types of loans include both PLUS loans and alternative loans. PLUS loans come from the government and are only given to the parents and guardians of college students. Students can apply for alternative loans on their own or with a co-signer. These loans come from private lenders who base interest rates on the credit score and history of the applicant.
Some schools offer online programs designed for military students and provide those students with extra financial aid. The university may offer a lower tuition for those currently enlisted and those on active duty status, but some online schools provide military students with grants too. Those currently working in the field can ask about tuition reimbursement programs through their employers.
Do Students Need to Do a Residency?
Finding out whether a program has a residency requirement is important for any students who wants to enroll in a master's in supply chain management and logistics online that only takes place online. A residency component is a short program that asks students to spend some time studying on the campus. It may take place over a simple weekend or last for up to two full weeks. Many of these programs do not have a residency requirement, but some programs do give students the chance to gain more experience through a study abroad program or a similar program. Students can actually study and work in one or more foreign countries while in one of these online supply chain management programs.
Programs that do have a residency requirement offer some flexibility in terms of when students complete these requirements. Many schools offer students the chance to do a residency in either the spring or summer based on which session will work around their schedules. Online supply chain management and logistics master's programs may offer an orientation session too. This takes place over a long weekend before classes start and allows students to meet with their classmates and professors before beginning their studies.