An online supply chain management degree provides learners a foundational understanding of the flow of goods and services within business operations. Students learn to effectively and efficiently ensure the delivery of products to the consumer. Supply chain management—or SCM—is an overarching concept that focuses on boosting efficiency, producing value for the end consumer, and achieving competitive advantage. A capable supply chain drives business success, economic growth, and development overall. According to an executive survey by accounting firm Deloitte, 79% of organizations with superior supply chain capabilities achieve significantly above average revenue growth. Conversely, only about 8% of organizations with lower-performing supply chains expect that rate of growth.
Companies are continuously working to gain an edge in the marketplace, and that often means locating the right talent to manage their supply chains. Professionals who can deal with new SCM factors, such as advanced technologies and globalization, are among the most desirable and well-compensated individuals in the field. In fact, SCM careers like logisticians, purchasing managers, and distribution managers are among the higher-paying jobs in the US.
In order to qualify for most SCM positions, individuals must possess at least a bachelor’s degree. Earning a supply chain management degree online awards students the same degree as their on-campus counterparts, and it can provide working professionals the flexibility to complete coursework while balancing personal or professional responsibilities. Read on for more information about this online degree, as well as some of the most common career possibilities.
David Batts is an Associate Professor in the Department of Technology Systems and the Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology (BSIT) Program Coordinator at East Carolina University’s (ECU) College of Engineering and Technology. His research interests include workforce development, degree completion programs, distance education, and online instruction.
Online Bachelor’s in Supply Chain & Logistics Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected these degree programs based on their quality and range of courses provided as well as their awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Bachelor’s in Supply Chain & Logistics Programs
1. University of Massachusetts – Amherst
The picturesque city of Amherst is home to the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts. In recent years, UMass’s Isenberg School of Management has made its programs accessible to students outside of the Commonwealth. As a result of this process, the school’s bachelor’s in business administration degree—which includes an emphasis in operations and information management (OIM)—is now available completely online, with no visits to Amherst required. The curriculum includes a 12-course business core, including studies in corporate finance, management, and marketing, and an 8-course OIM core, which includes coursework in quality management, information and project management, and business intelligence and analytics. The curriculum does not include a capstone experience.
UMass delivers its coursework using its own online platform, which combines synchronous and asynchronous elements to maximize meaningful interaction between students and professors. Though UMass’s OIM degree is a broader option than many comparable supply chain management offerings, many of the program’s graduates go on to work in supply chain logistics management careers.
All applicants to the program should note that UMass’s OIM degree is a completion program. As such, applicants must have completed at least 27 credits of college coursework (typically general education requirements) with a minimum GPA of 3.0. However, once students are accepted, UMass aims to provide them with as much support as possible. The school offers academic advising and encourages membership in relevant professional organizations. In addition, all online students receive the same per-credit tuition rate at UMass regardless of their state residency.
The University of Massachusetts is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE).
2. Athens State University
Based in Athens, Alabama—located just outside of the larger city of Huntsville—Athens State University is primarily a two-year senior college, offering completion programs and graduate programs in three areas: education, arts and sciences, and business. As such, students who apply to the 124-credit BS program in logistics and supply chain management must have already earned certain general education credits and prerequisite business credits in accounting and statistics. Once enrolled at Athens State, students complete 65 credits of business and supply chain management coursework, including studies in operations management, management of change, and enterprise systems. The program’s curriculum does not include a capstone experience or any in-person requirements.
Upon graduating, students can work as global logistics managers, materials planners, or supply chain managers. This logistics and supply chain management program is regionally accredited by the Accreditation Council of Business Schools and Programs. As Athens State is a senior college and the logistics and supply chain management degree is a completion program, all applicants must have completed either an associate degree or 59 credits of college coursework with a minimum GPA of 2.0. As the school strives to make college affordable for as many students as possible, students enrolled in online programs at Athens State are able to pay the same tuition rate as Alabama residents, regardless of their location.
Athens State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
3. Murray State University
A regional university that primarily serves the southwest portion of Kentucky and its surroundings, Murray State University also offers a number of distance learning programs. These online degree options include the school’s bachelor of science in business program, which includes an area in logistics and supply chain management. This particular logistics and supply chain management degree requires students to complete 120 credits, including 20 credits of business courses and 27 credits of supply chain and logistics management courses. These courses include studies in broad areas such as business ethics and statistics in addition to more specific disciplines such as international transportation and process management. The program primarily uses interactive television to deliver this coursework synchronously. Though online students may take courses at Murray State’s regional campuses, there are no official in-person requirements in the curriculum. The program—including both the on-campus and online versions—is nationally accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
All applicants who wish to earn their online bachelor’s degree in logistics and supply chain management at Murray State should note that the degree is a completion program. As such, online students must complete their general education requirements and prerequisite courses—such as basic accounting and business principles—elsewhere and apply to transfer to Murray State. Students must have earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.25 in these prerequisite courses to earn admission to Murray State. Once accepted, students can complete the business and supply chain management cores and earn their degree in three semesters.
Murray State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
4. Northern Arizona University
Originally a regional university primarily serving the cities of Flagstaff and Yuma, Northern Arizona University now serves students nationwide through its distance learning programs. NAU’s online bachelor of business administration program includes a number of different emphasis areas, including logistics and supply chain management. The program requires students to complete a total of 120 credits, which most students finish in four years—or eight semesters—of full-time study. The curriculum consists of a 36-credit business core, including studies in management, marketing, and effective business communication, in addition to 24 credits of supply chain management courses, such as green logistics and global finance. The curriculum also includes a mandatory fieldwork/internship experience, which serves as a capstone project. Students may complete the degree without ever setting foot in Arizona, but locally-based students may also complete the program through the blended learning option.
NAU’s program is nationally accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. The program is particularly transfer-friendly, as students need only complete 30 credits of NAU courses. Students may transfer the remaining credits from other accredited institutions. The program is also flexible, as coursework in the program is offered asynchronously using the BbLearn platform. In addition, the program is affordable, offering the same per-credit tuition rate to online students whether they reside in Arizona. Once accepted, online students gain access to a number of resources to aid in their success in the online classroom, including online library resources, tech support, and tutoring.
Northern Arizona University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
5. Saint Leo University Online
Saint Leo, Florida
A Catholic-affiliated school based in the eponymous city of Saint Leo, Florida, Saint Leo University has a long history of effective distance education. In fact, the liberal arts-oriented university offered programs to military members during the Vietnam War. Nowadays, one of the school’s strongest online programs is its BA degree in business administration, which includes a specialization in logistics. The program requires students to complete a total of 120 credits, which most students complete in four years. The curriculum includes a 24-credit logistics core, featuring coursework in project management, transportation and distribution management, and quality improvement. Students must also compile a logistical portfolio of case studies as a capstone experience, which concludes in an executive presentation. Students can earn certain general education credits by taking exams instead of completing courses.
Perhaps the most unique element of studying logistics and supply chain management at Saint Leo is the school’s Catholic affiliation. The curriculum includes core courses with titles such as
The Creative Life,
The Human Mosaic,
The Reflective and Spiritual Life, and
Is Evolution True? Your Inner Fish. Though Saint Leo does not hide its Catholic orientation, the school also strives to allow students to make up their own minds, serving students of all faiths and offering coursework in world religions.
Saint Leo’s logistics program is primarily offered asynchronously. The program is nationally accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. All students in the program pay the exact same per-credit tuition rate regardless of location.
Saint Leo University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
6. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide
Daytona Beach, Florida
Arguably the preeminent space and aviation university in the nation, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University also offers a strong variety of business programs. One such program is the school’s bachelor of science degree in logistics and supply chain management, which requires students to complete a total of 120 credits. ERAU operates physical campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida and Prescott, Arizona, but the school offers the bachelor’s in logistics and supply chain management completely online. As such, students never have to visit a physical campus.
Completion times in the program vary widely, as each student collaborates with the school to create a personalized online degree plan. Courses are primarily offered asynchronously, and each student receives one-on-one academic support and advising. The curriculum includes studies in areas such as business modeling, inventory management, and purchasing. Students complete both a 33-credit business core and a 21-credit supply chain management and logistics core in addition to general education requirements. The curriculum does not include a capstone experience. Each course lasts nine weeks. Upon graduating, students can pursue a master’s degree in supply chain management or sit for possible certification exams, including the following: Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD), Institute for Supply Management Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM), and International Society of Logistics Certified Professional Logistician (CPL).
Transfer students meet one-on-one with an advisor to determine which credits are transferable. Students in bachelor’s programs must earn their last 30 credits at ERAU and may earn a maximum of 18 credits from different institutions once enrolled at ERAU. Applicants must have earned a minimum high school GPA of 2.5, and submitting ACT or SAT scores is highly recommended, but not required.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
7. Bellevue University
Named for the city in which it is located (Bellevue, Nebraska), Bellevue University has always focused on providing professional education to working adults in the community. Distance education is a logical extension of that goal, and Bellevue now operates numerous online programs. One of the school’s strongest online programs is its BS degree in supply chain, transportation, and logistics management. Bellevue’s offering is a completion program, accepting only students who have already earned an associate degree or 60 college credits. However, Bellevue’s program is unique in that it runs on an accelerated cohort model. Those students—who, ideally, have additional shared experience in supply chain management—progress together through 49 credits of courses in 72 weeks. Those 49 credits include studies in decision making, global logistics, and fiscal management, in addition to a capstone course that includes a public research presentation. Students enrolled in the online accelerated cohort program never need to visit campus in Nebraska, although students have the option to participate in an on-campus accelerated cohort if they wish.
All students in Bellevue’s supply chain, transportation, and logistics management program receive the same per-credit tuition rate, even if they reside outside of the state of Nebraska. There are no minimum GPA or standardized test requirements for admission to the bachelor’s degree in logistics and supply chain management program, as students need only have completed an associate degree or 60 credits.
Bellevue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
8. Florida State College at Jacksonville
A member of the Florida College System, Florida State College at Jacksonville operates four physical campuses throughout Florida’s First Coast region. Originally a community college, FSCJ now offers enough four-year bachelor’s degree programs to earn the
state college designation. One such program is its online bachelor of applied science degree in logistics, which students nationwide can complete without ever setting foot in the Sunshine State.
FSCJ’s bachelor’s degree in logistics and supply chain management is unique for three primary reasons: it is a completion program, it is accelerated, and the degree that students earn is a bachelor’s in applied science (BAS). Since the program awards a completion degree, applicants must have already earned an associate degree or 60 credits of college coursework with a minimum GPA of 2.0 to earn consideration for admission. Since the program is accelerated, students can earn their degree within 20 months—or five terms—of full-time study. The 78-credit supply chain management curriculum, which includes coursework in industry standard areas such as inventory management, transportation, and logistics technology, is fairly similar to curricula in other supply chain management and logistics programs, despite its BSA designation. Including prerequisites and general education coursework that students transfer to the program, the curriculum consists of a total of 120 credits.
Though out-of-state online students at FSCJ pay a higher per-credit tuition rate than Florida residents, they still receive a discount from typical non-resident tuition rates.
Florida State College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
9. Park University
Based in the outskirts of Kansas City in Parkville, Missouri, Park University has offered distance learning programs for over twenty years. In addition to its central campus, the school operates satellite centers in Phoenix, Oklahoma City, and 41 other cities nationwide. While students have the option of taking courses at any of Park’s campuses, they can complete the school’s bachelor of science in logistics program online, with no in-person classes required.
Students in the program must complete a total of 120 credits to earn their logistics and supply chain management degree. This usually takes students about four years to accomplish. Of those 120 credits, 66 are major credits, mixing foundational business courses in accounting, economics, and statistics with more specifically logistics-related coursework in quality control, transportation management, and purchasing. The curriculum does not include a capstone experience. Park personalizes each degree path for each student, and the school delivers most coursework asynchronously.
Upon graduating, students are prepared to pursue various industry standard supply chain management/logistics certificates from various professional organizations, including American Production and Inventory Control Society, Institute for Supply Management, and American Society of Transportation and Logistics. In order to earn admission to Park, students need only have completed a high school education. Transfer students must have earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in their college coursework. All online students pay the same tuition rate whether they reside in Missouri.
Park University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission HLC).
10. Ohio Christian University
Affiliated with the Churches of Christ in Christian Union, Ohio Christian University has evolved from a small, regional Bible college to a major distance education provider. The school has seen rapid growth in recent years. This growth is directly tied to distance education, as 63% of the school’s undergraduate students and 75% of the school’s graduate students are enrolled in distance education courses only.
One of the school’s strongest online offerings is its bachelor’s in business program with a concentration in logistics management. The program requires students to complete a total of 120 credits. The curriculum consists of a business core—which includes coursework in industry standard areas like financial management, business law, and ethics—in addition to the four-course logistics management concentration, which includes coursework in transportation systems, warehousing, and strategic procurement. The curriculum does not include a capstone, and OCU delivers its online coursework asynchronously. Each online course lasts five weeks.
One unique aspect of taking online courses at OCU is the school’s Christian orientation. In addition to the business core and logistics management concentration, students earning their degree at OCU must complete a core of Bible/Christian worldview coursework. As such, students who attend OCU should be cognizant of the fact that they will be studying more than supply chain management and logistics.
In-state and out-of-state students enrolled at OCU pay the same tuition rate, regardless of their residency status.
Ohio Christian University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The Advantages of a Supply Chain Management and Logistics Education
Most careers in SCM require a bachelor’s degree. An associate degree may qualify a candidate for entry-level logistician roles, such as a supply, customer service, or logistics clerk. However, given the complexity of today’s logistics and supply chains, most companies prefer hiring candidates with a bachelor’s degree or higher. For example, a logistician manages the movement, storage, and flow of goods and services for an organization, and most companies expect applicants to this position to hold at least a four-year degree.
An online supply chain management degree opens doors to senior positions within SCM and with that, the potential for higher pay. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates transportation, storage, and distribution managers earn a mean annual wage of nearly $98,000. Meanwhile, the highest 10% of logisticians earn above $120,000 a year. By pursuing a logistics and supply chain management degree online, students can also continue their career, and build real-world experience to boost their resume once their job search commences.
Supply Chain Management and Logistics Degree Salary Information
The job requirements for supply chain management and logistics professionals vary depending on the industry and the specific career track. However, the foundational expertise required to oversee such operations is similar for each. An online supply chain management degree prepares graduates to be skilled in SCM, logistical principles, and best practices in order to manage the creation and delivery of goods and services. Professionals in SCM and logistics are effective problem-solvers, organized, and able to apply critical and analytical thinking.
Logisticians oversee the movement, storage, and flow of goods, services, and information for an organization. Logistics managers handle both inbound and outbound logistics, and a bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement.
Supply Chain Manager:
Supply chain managers direct the SCM process and determine the most effective and efficient way to run operations. The supply chain manager must collaborate with every group tasked with keeping a supply chain running optimally.
An operations manager is responsible for an organization’s overall operations, which includes the production, pricing, sales, and distribution of products. As a manager, they evaluate performance and determine ways to improve productivity, reduce costs, and maintain quality.
Also called purchasing analysts, agents, or managers, procurement analysts deal with suppliers, wholesale distributors, and manufacturers. They vet vendors based on price, quality, and the promise of delivery; negotiate contracts; and present any potential deals to those who make decisions.
Earning a supply chain degree online or on campus prepares graduates to work as a storage or distribution manager. This position directs a warehouse’s operations, hiring, safety, and security.
Salary by Experience for Supply Chain Management and Logistics Careers
|Job Title||5–5 Years||1–10 Years||10–20 Years||20+ Years|
|Supply Chain Manager||$65,000||$83,000||$92,000||$93,000|
Choosing an Online Supply Chain Management and Logistics Degree Program
Although supply chain and logistics programs vary in their specific requirements, they share many similarities. Most programs consist of 120 credits and can usually be completed within four years of full-time study. The curriculum includes a number of general core courses designed to reinforce the analytical thinking, communication, and language skills applicable to any field. Logistics programs also explore global business principles, economics, management, and aviation’s impact on the global supply chain.
As you consider which program fits your personal and professional goals, it’s important to consider some key differences. This includes the number of available electives, and whether you would like to earn a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science. Some supply chain logistics management programs also require students to take logistics-related electives, while others allow for electives from any discipline. If there are non-logistics-related areas that you hope to explore during your college career, the latter may be a better choice. Also consider whether you prefer an education that emphasizes hands-on study or academic concepts; for example, bachelor of science programs often end with a hands-on capstone project.
Accreditation for Online Supply Chain Management and Logistics Degrees
When researching online supply chain management degrees, it’s important to review a school or program’s accreditation. There are two primary types of accreditation you should look for: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation means a university is accredited by one of the primary accrediting bodies recognized by the Department of Education (ED). Conversely, programmatic accreditation is granted to specific departments or programs within an institution.
Applying for accreditation is a voluntary, yet rigorous, process. Accreditors only review schools that request it, and a school’s accreditation status comes under review again within a set number of years. For example, schools with national accreditation must allow a review every 3–5 years.
The ED recognizes six regional accrediting bodies and numerous national accrediting organizations. To confirm your prospective school’s institutional or programmatic accreditation, you can search the accreditation database from the ED’s Office of Postsecondary Education.
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) also lists accredited schools recognized by either CHEA or ED. The list includes more than 8,500 accredited institutions and 25,000 programs. At a minimum, students should ensure their school or program appears in one or both databases. Note that eligibility for federal financial aid depends on a school’s accreditation status; to qualify, students must attend a school or enroll in a program listed in the ED database. Also, many schools will only accept transfer credit if the student completes courses at a regionally accredited institution.
Supply Chain Management and Logistics Concentrations
Program concentrations or specializations allow students to focus their online supply chain management degree to better prepare for specific career paths. Since there are numerous parts to a supply chain, there are nearly as many areas of focus to choose from. Not only does a concentration demonstrate one’s expertise, it can also make them more competitive in the job market.
Students learn to navigate international business, including building partnerships, forging business agreements, and handling complex negotiations. The concentration takes the principles and best practices of SCM and applies them to the international market, which presents new challenges to purchasing, inventory, storage, shipment, and distribution. Students learn about trade regulations, business ethics, and international trade management.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: Logistician, supply chain manager, purchasing manager
In the transportation concentration of a supply chain management bachelor’s degree online program, students focus on the principles, policies, and trends of transportation today, including air, maritime, and ground. This concentration also introduces global supply chains and work in various industries like business, the military, and government.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: Distribution manager, transportation coordinator, logistics analyst
In the project management concentration of supply chain management online degree programs, students learn to design and operate the complex management systems used in SCM and logistics. Learners acquire management skills to develop and lead projects, manage critical components of a supply chain, and coordinate procurement and delivery systems.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: Purchasing manager, procurement buyer
With a warehouse concentration, students strengthen their business skills and gain technical skills to manage the distribution and storage of warehouse inventory. Students explore topics like customer service, inventory forecasts, material handling, cost negotiations, and logistics and analysis.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: Warehouse manager, logistics manager, inventory control specialist
Students learn the fundamental techniques of production and operations management. Production managers plan, coordinate, and control the manufacturing process. Topics include resource allocation, workloads, creating schedules, and production flow, and typical courses include quality management, materials resource planning, and production activity control.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: Production manager, operations manager
How Long Does It Take to Get a Degree in Supply Chain Management and Logistics?
An online supply chain management degree typically requires a minimum of 120 credits to complete. Students on a full-time schedule can usually finish all degree requirements in four years, while part-time students take, on average, an additional two years.
Several factors influence the pace of a student’s degree. In addition to either a part- or full-time course load, the learning format also makes a difference. A self-paced program allows students to progress as quickly or as slowly as they like, while a cohort model keeps students together as they proceed through coursework. Cohort learning fosters collaboration and peer-support, but the format also prevents students from accelerating through a program and finishing requirements more quickly.
Transfer credit and the number of terms per year also factor into program length. Some programs allow students to transfer up to 90 credits into a four-year program, which can reduce the time needed to complete the remaining credits to one year. Some schools also offer four, five, or six start dates per year, allowing students to take more classes overall and ultimately finish their degree sooner.
Courses in an Online Bachelor’s in Supply Chain Management and Logistics Program
Supply Chain Fundamentals:
This course covers the basic SCM principles and introduces the methods used to examine and analyze logistics systems. Students analyze topics like inventory management, warehousing and distribution, and facility location. This core course also touches upon all aspects of SCM, including sourcing, operations, and project management.
Supply Chain Strategy:
A course on supply chain strategy teaches the best practices for improving supply chain performance. Students explore supply chain and e-business integration, strategic partnering, outsourcing, and the latest trends in supply chain strategy.
Principles of Purchasing:
This course introduces topics like inventory control, vendor selection, and price determination. Students review the role of procurement professionals, as well as their responsibilities for any product or service in a supply chain, including how to minimize cost and create sustainable competitive advantages.
Lean Inbound Logistics:
Inbound logistics relates to activities that obtain materials and handle, store, and transport them for manufacturing. This advanced course introduces lean principles into the process, with the objective of balancing inventory and transportation costs and designing a better network. Students learn about strategic supplier management and the benefit of better synchronization between transportation, suppliers, and materials.
International Supply Chain Management:
In this course, learners apply SCM concepts and principles to the international arena. In addition to studying SCM models and SCM practical applications, students take a closer look at cultural differences among international carriers and transport intermediaries. Topics include global sourcing and distribution, taxes, duties, quotas, trade agreements, and the offshore procurement process.
Supply Chain Management and Logistics Membership Associations
The benefits of joining a professional organization include networking, career services, and the opportunity for continued professional development and growth. Professional organizations are also reliable ways to access the latest news and resources to stay up-to-date with trends, laws, and regulations that impact the SCM field and profession.
Association for Supply Chain Management:
In January 2019, ASCM took over the 60-year mission of APICS to represent supply-chain professionals around the world. ASCM serves over 45,000 supply-chain professionals, and provides learning and development, career resources such as a job board and mentor center, local networking, and learning from peers.
Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals:
Formed in 1963, CSCMP provides networking, career development, and educational opportunities to logistics and SCM professionals. Benefits for the more than 6,000 members include access to industry leaders and subject matter experts, hands-on learning through local chapters, the annual EDGE conference, and professional development and training.
International Warehouse Logistics Association:
In 1997, the Canadian Association of Warehousing and Distribution Services merged with the American Warehouse Association to create the IWLA. This organization provides members a host of products and services, including a career center, eLearning, ISO certification, and legal, office, and staffing services.
Institute for Supply Management:
ISM supports the supply management and purchasing profession through education, certification, leadership development, and research. ISM also hosts an annual conference; specialty conferences focused on topics like trends, research, diversity, and strategy; and seminars around the country.
Material Handling Industry of America:
With nearly 1,000 members, MHI is the nation’s largest material handling association. MHI offers education, networking, and solution sourcing for members; sponsors two trade expos; and organizes membership meetings and executive conferences. The learning center covers careers, industry standards, and resources.