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, nearly twice the median pay for all other occupations. Students who use their doctorate in 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.
Choosing a 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 conduct original research in preparation for writing and defending a dissertation. If you instead pursue a doctorate of business administration (DBA), you may only need to complete a capstone project, which 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, though DBA students often earn their degree in as few as three years.
For career information, skip down:
- Supply Chain & Logistics Doctorate Program Curriculum
- Supply Chain & Logistics Careers with a Doctorate
Supply Chain & Logistics Doctorate Program Curriculum
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 others 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. Topics covered 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 to frame research questions, generate a hypothesis, and 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 era. 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, with a particular focus on the relationships between a business and its clients, vendors, affiliates, and government authorities.
Supply Chain & Logistics Careers with a Doctorate
With an online doctorate in supply chain and logistics management, you can enter many different careers. You may want to work as a logistician or rise through the ranks at your company to take on a leadership role like chief operating officer. Some graduates pursue teaching or research jobs in academia.
Regardless of the path you take, careers in this field require exceptional communication, critical thinking, and organizational and problem-solving skills.
Logistician: Logisticians coordinate their organizations' supply chains, from acquiring raw materials to delivering a finished product. They also analyze these supply chains to ensure safety and improve efficiency. While a bachelor's degree and 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%
Chief Operating Officer: Chief operating officers oversee all aspects of their company's operations, including 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, though a doctorate in logistics may lead to higher salary.
Median Annual Salary: $104,700
Projected Growth Rate: 8%
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%