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A doctorate in supply chain and logistics can open the door to lucrative careers in business and academia. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), logisticians earned a median salary of $74,590 in 2017, which is nearly twice the median pay for all other occupations. Students who use their doctorate for teaching and research jobs at a college or university can potentially earn even more. The BLS estimates that the median postsecondary business teacher earned $80,300 in 2017. If you enjoy logistics and want to advance your career without leaving your current job, consider earning your doctorate in supply chain management online.

Featured Online Supply Chain and Logistics Doctoral Programs

The Best Online Doctorate in Supply Chain and Logistics Programs

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Online Doctorate in Information Systems Degree Program Ranking Guidelines:
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings and reputation.

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The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school’s/program’s characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.

To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):

1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]

  • Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
  • Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
  • Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
  • Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
  • Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
  • Considers range of electives within that discipline
  • Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline

2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]

  • Considers education background of the faculty
  • Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
  • Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
  • Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
  • Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources

3. Reputation [weight = 20%]

  • Considers a school’s reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
    • Faculty
    • Curriculum
    • “Freshness” of academic knowledge
    • Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
    • Suitability of graduates for the workplace

4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]

  • Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
  • Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid such as scholarships and grants

5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]

  • Considers range of degree levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and professional
  • Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers & technology, education & teaching, criminal justice, and business

6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]

  • Considers the following of the online classes:
    • Types of online technology used to deliver content
    • Pedagogy style: asynchronous, synchronous, or both (depending on the degree)
    • Extent and quality of the online, community learning environment, including options for communication, interactivity, and collaboration between students and also between students and instructors
    • Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework, and its support, including project options and online tutoring
  • Considers the following of instructors:
    • Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
    • Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
    • Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to ensure suitability of instructional materials for achieving desired skills
    • Ratio to number of students in a class
  • Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees

Because students tend to review a variety of information when choosing a school, the weight a student gives any one criterion will vary. For instance, it’s not enough to offer a carefully constructed ranking of great schools if many are too expensive or too difficult to get into.

To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:

  • Accreditation
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  • State
  • City

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If you have any questions about our ranking methodology, please contact us.

Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to's underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article "Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS." Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department's publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At, we keep track of such social and peer validation: "Making Sense of College Rankings." For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!

The Best Online Doctorate in Supply Chain and Logistics Programs

Liberty University View School Profile Lynchburg, VA Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Liberty University is a private, non-profit Christian research university that was founded in 1971 by Jerry Falwell. Liberty enrolls a massive student population of over 75,000 students in a full selection of undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Among its numerous offerings, Liberty offers an online doctor of business administration in supply chain management and logistics.

The online DBA program consists of 60 credit hours, which includes a blend of core courses, specialization courses and dissertation work. The curriculum covers key topics, such as:

  • supply chain management
  • logistics
  • quality management
  • operations management

Students develop the ability to successfully occupy leadership roles in supply chain and logistics management.

Capella University View School Profile Minneapolis, MN Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Capella University, an online, for-profit university established in 1993, offers a range of fully-online degrees. This includes an online doctor of business administration with a specialization in global operations and supply chain management.

The online DBA program requires 82 credit hours for completion, which includes eight core courses, four specialization courses, two brief on-campus residencies, and a doctoral research project. Students develop advanced knowledge and skills in the field through online courses covering key topics, such as:

  • designing global operations and a supply chain networks
  • supply chain transformation through innovation
  • supplier relationship management
  • global supply chain design

Through in-depth research, advanced theory and practical approaches to the field, students emerge prepared to pursue a variety of leadership roles.

Walden University View School Profile Minneapolis, MN Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Walden University, an online for-profit university established in 1970, offers numerous online degree programs. For students seeking advanced positions as leaders in supply chain management, Walden offers an online doctor of business administration with a specialization in global supply chain management.

The online DBA program consists of 49 credit hours, which includes nine hours of specialization courses and 12 hours of research courses. Students engage with both fundamental and advanced online courses, which cover key topics like global supply chain management, employing information technology for a competitive advantage, and multicultural management. Students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue advanced leadership roles in global supply chain management. In addition to coursework, students must complete a doctoral writing project and two four-day on-campus residencies.

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Featured Online Supply Chain and Logistics Doctoral Programs

Choosing a Doctorate in Supply Chain & Logistics Program

Many schools offer online doctorate degrees in supply chain management, so choose a program that meets your needs.

Most programs in this area begin with foundational coursework in areas like global operations, financial decision making and supply chain design. Students can further customize their course of study through electives such as human resource development, micro and macroeconomic theory, and the intersection of supply chains and information technology.

You should also expect to take a series of courses in research design and methods. If you pursue a Ph.D. in supply chain management, you must first conduct original research and then write and defend your dissertation. If you instead pursue a doctorate of business administration (DBA), you may only need to complete a capstone project; this allows you to apply your learning to a practical business challenge.

Students planning to work in academia should consider earning their Ph.D., whereas students interested in management and leadership roles may prefer to earn a DBA. Most students graduate from Ph.D. programs in four to seven years, while DBA students often earn their degree in as few as three years.

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What Else Can I Expect From an Online Supply Chain & Logistics Doctorate Program?

Students in both Ph.D. and DBA supply chain and logistics programs explore similar subjects, such as advanced mathematics, quality management and organizational theory. However, the exact nature of your course of study depends largely on the program you choose. For example, some programs require their students to participate in a field experience, while other programs feature exclusively online coursework.

Curriculum for an Online Doctoral Degree in Supply Chain and Logistics

  • Fundamentals of Logistics and Supply Chain Management:
    This course provides doctoral students with an overview of key issues. Covered topics include inventory control, forecasting, procurement and the growing role of information technology in logistics and supply chain management.
  • Microeconomic Theory:
    In this course, students explore subjects such as general equilibrium, welfare economics, duality, game theory and choice under uncertainty. Students with prior graduate-level coursework in this area can often test out of this requirement.
  • Supply Chain Management Research:
    Particularly valuable for students without a master’s degree, this course introduces the basics of research design and methodology. Students learn how to frame research questions and generate a hypothesis as well as how to properly collect, analyze and interpret data.
  • Theory in Supply Chain Management:
    This course traces the development of supply chain management theory from the dawn of assembly lines to today’s highly globalized marketplace. Students also examine theories from related business fields such as strategic management and marketing.
  • Behavioral Supply Chain Management:
    Students in this course study the role of human behavior in supply chain management. The course particularly focuses on the relationships between a business and its clients, vendors, affiliates and government authorities.
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Careers With a Supply Chain & Logistics Doctorate

With an online doctorate in supply chain and logistics management, you can enter many different careers. You may work as a logistician, or you may rise through the ranks of your company to take on a leadership role like chief operating officer. Some graduates pursue academic teaching or research jobs.

Regardless of the path you take, careers in this field require exceptional communication, critical thinking, organizational and problem-solving skills.

  1. Logistician:
    Logisticians coordinate their organizations’ supply chains, from the acquisition of raw materials to the delivery of a finished product. They also analyze these supply chains in order to ensure safety and improve efficiency. While a bachelor’s degree or certification can qualify you for most of these roles, a doctorate signals advanced expertise and can give you a competitive edge.
    • Median Annual Salary: $74,590
    • Projected Growth Rate: 7%
  2. Chief Operating Officer:
    Chief operating officers oversee all aspects of their company’s operations, which include the distribution of goods and services to clients, maintenance of facilities, and the hiring and training of staff. At large corporations, chief operating officers often hold a master’s in business administration. However, a doctorate in logistics may lead to higher salary.
    • Median Annual Salary: $104,700
    • Projected Growth Rate: 8%
  3. Postsecondary Business Teacher:
    Postsecondary teachers instruct students and conduct research at colleges and universities. They must also take on a wide range of administrative responsibilities, such as mentoring students or designing curricula for doctorate in supply chain management programs. Generally speaking, you must hold a doctorate to teach at this level.
    • Median Annual Salary: $80,300
    • Projected Growth Rate: 15%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Featured Online Supply Chain and Logistics Doctoral Programs

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