cheapest online masters in supply chain management

Supply Chain (SC) has been acknowledged for ages as an important aspect of any business model, but advancing technology has encouraged more colleges than ever to offer graduate programs in SC, even affordable online MS in Supply Chain and Logistics programs. In its 2018 “Top 25 North American Supply Chain Graduate University Programs” article, Gartner found that the number of available Supply Chain Management (SCM) graduate programs has increased by 67 percent in two years.

However, even Gartner’s list of universities offering these programs is not exhaustive. Lucky for you, we’ve collected over 100 and ranked 50 cheap master’s in supply chain and logistics online, hybrid and on-campus programs. These programs come in a variety of forms, so we paid special attention to those that are affordable, high-quality and customizable.

Looking for more information regarding master’s degree programs in supply chain? Check out the FAQ, available career options and other specifics we’ve laid out for you at the bottom of this article.

Research Methodology

As Forbes contributor Willard Dix mentioned in an article concerning college rankings, “the imponderables of college are too great to measure meaningfully.” Plus, every student’s wants and needs concerning college are personal and difficult to quantify, so we’ve kept it simple for you with just three ranking criteria: Cost, Customization and Quality.

We began our research process with a general search and by consulting other reputable college ranking sites (like Forbes, Gartner, Times Higher Education and more) to gather around 100 colleges and universities offering a graduate degree program in Supply Chain. These include specialized master’s degree programs and MBA programs that have concentration options in Supply Chain. We also made it a point to seek out such programs that have yet to be featured on a “Top Supply Chain Programs” ranking.

From there, we utilized the below Rating and Ranking Methodology to whittle the list down to the 50 cheapest Master’s in Supply Chain degree programs. To find the cheapest colleges, we compared each school’s Net Price, as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator Database. NCES describes this cost as being for “Full-time beginning undergraduate students who paid the in-state or in-district tuition rate and were awarded grant or scholarship aid from federal, state or local governments, or the institution (2016-17).” We then ranked that list using all three criteria so that we could highlight those that are the most affordable while offering flexibility, quality and accessibility.
Editor’s Update: Finally, we separated the schools offering affordable online master’s in supply chain and logistics programs from those schools that offer only on-campus supply chain programs, so as to provide you with two distinct resources.

Rating and Ranking Methodology

Net Price (as reported by the NCES):
  • Under $10,000: 5 points
  • Under $12,000: 4 points
  • Under $14,000: 3 points
  • Under $16,000: 2 points
  • Under $18,000: 1 point
Customization Options:
  • Content Customizations (e.g. Minors, Concentrations, Specializations, etc.)—1 Point Each
  • Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, etc.)—1 Point Each
Wow Factor:
  • 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us

5. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Newark and New Brunswick, NJ

Online MS in Supply Chain Management, MS in Supply Chain Analytics or Full-Time/Part-Time MBA Concentration in Supply Chain Management
Top 28 Affordable Online Master's in Supply Chain and Logistics: Rutgers University

Net Price: $12,020 at the Newark Campus; $16016 at New Brunswick ($1,948 per credit for nonresidents)
Grad Student Enrollment: 19,900+
GMAT Score Requirements: “GMAT/GRE is optional, but preferred.” There are no minimum requirements, as the admission committee considers all aspects of the applications. (Average GMAT for MBA students in 2018 was 683)
Points: 18

Highly regarded by other sources for having one of the best master’s in supply chain management degree programs, Rutgers University is one of the country’s leading research universities. It has  more than 70,000 students (50,254 of whom are at the New Brunswick campus). However, the undergraduate student-faculty is just 13:1. With locations around the world, Rutgers offers 29 different schools and colleges, as well as almost 300 research centers and institutes (like the Center for Supply Chain Management). It’s accredited by both the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and AACSB. The Rutgers Business School has a first year retention rate of 90 percent among Master of Supply Chain Management students and a 98 percent retention rate for its Full-Time MBA students.

Connecting both the Newark and New Brunswick campuses, Rutgers Business School offers supply chain management degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate levels. The graduate degree programs in supply chain are housed in the Department of Supply Chain Management, which also offers industry-recognized certificates, hands-on experience and research and real-world industry projects in the Center for Supply Chain Management. The Center offers a certificate program in SCM. The three supply chain master’s degree programs are outlined below:

  • Online MS in Supply Chain Management: This fully-online master’s in supply chain program consists of 30 credits (10 courses) with a curriculum “based on a holistic end-to-end view of SCM” and a maximum class size of 20 students. Applicants should be familiar with SC concepts, but can come from most professional/educational backgrounds. 97 percent of program students work full-time. There are no prerequisites in this curriculum. It offers a residency option through the on-site Mini-MBA: Supply Chain in a Digitized Network certificate program.
  • MS in Supply Chain Analytics: This STEM-designated program consists of 36 credits, and is on-campus in New Brunswick. It combines general SC knowledge with analytical data skills to create data-driven decision makers. Students can enroll full- or part-time, finishing as quickly as one year or in three years (two courses at a time), respectively. While applicants are expected to only have a basic background in mathematics and statistics, admissions does target seasoned supply chain professionals. This program can be tailored to the student’s interests through elective courses (19 options) and industry client projects. It has as many supply chain courses as it does analytics courses.
  • MBA Concentration in Supply Chain Management: This MBA program is available to full-time (60 credits) and part-time (49 credits) students. The Full-time option begins as a cohort in the fall. The part-time track is geared toward the working professional with three start times, as well as evening and online class options. A Customized MBA program option is available upon proposal, but this concentration can be tailored through the Foundation Courses and the Integrative Course Requirement, which includes a Supply Chain Management Industry Project. Those interested in the full-time program must have at least two years of work experience. Within three months of graduation, 100 percent of Rutgers MBA supply chain students were employed.

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4. Arizona State University

Tempe, AZ

Master of Science in Global Logistics (MS-GL) or a Full-Time/Part-Time/Online MBA with a Supply Chain Management Concentration
Top 28 Affordable Online Master's in Supply Chain and Logistics: Arizona State University

Net Price: $12,947 (each program offers specific tuition costs)
Grad Student Enrollment: 7,796 graduate students earned degrees in 2017-18
GMAT Score Requirements: 694 is the class average for MBA students (the MS-GL average is 581, and the MS-BA average is 657)
Points: 19

Known as the most innovative university in the country, Arizona State University has $1 million of prototyping equipment and ideation space for budding innovators. Located in the heart of metropolitan Phoenix, this public research university has four campuses in addition to a plethora of online offerings. The graduate student retention rate in the W.P. Carey School of Business MBA program is 98.7 percent. Nearly 96 percent of MBA students are employed 90 days after graduation. Additionally, the School of Business has 1,523 graduate students in the MBA and specialized master’s programs, as well as 345 total faculty. The School has maintained accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) for 50+ years.  ASU is accredited by the Higher Learning Committee.

ASU’s School of Business has a Department of Supply Chain Management, which offers:

  • a BS in Supply Chain Management
  • a BA in Global Logistics Management
  • an MS-BA in Business Analytics
  • an MS in Global Logistics
  • an MBA with a Concentration in Supply Chain Management
  • a PhD Program in Business Administration with a concentration in SCM

Students in any of these programs can also take advantage of the many supply chain research institutes and collaborative partnerships ASU manages. These include  the Internet Edge Supply Chain Lab and the Supply Chain Executive Consortium (SCEC), which includes corporate leaders like Amazon, Cisco, Intel, Union Pacific and much more. The supply chain degree program options at ASU are broken down as follows:

  • Master of Science in Global Logistics (MS-GL): This nine-month master’s degree program has a curriculum steeped in logistics methods with a focus on cross-cultural management and leadership and global perspectives. It’s offered exclusively at ASU’s West campus, but includes an off-campus trip with real-world experiences. Students in this program will take 11 logistics management courses in a lock-step class format and full-time weekday courses.
  • MBA with a Supply Chain Management Concentration: This program can be completed through online, full-time (21 months) or part-time (2-4 years) enrollment. The program features “eight dynamic experiences,” including learning labs, executive connections and out-of-class opportunities. Beyond choosing concentrations in subjects like SCM and business analytics, this program also offers specializations in:

-global business economics

-health care management

-sports business

-sustainable enterprise.

3. University of North Texas

Denton, TX

On-Campus or Online MBA with Concentrations in Logistics & Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain Management or Supply Chain Analytics
Top 28 Affordable Online Master's in Supply Chain and Logistics: University of North Texas

Net Price: $12,053
Grad Student Enrollment: 6,680
GMAT Score Requirements: Average score among applicants is between 520 and 550 (Recommended GRE score is 153 Verbal/154 Quantitative)
Points: 20

The University of North Texas is a Tier-One research university with 38,154 students and campus locations across the region. This university is home to 14 colleges and schools and about 2,500 international students from 141 countries. It’s accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. UNT’s student-faculty ratio is 26:1, and the first-time student retention rate is 78 percent. The College of Business is one of the largest business schools in America with almost 5,800 students and a 180,000-square-foot Business Leadership Building. Its logistics program and Center for Logistics & Supply Chain Management offers a lot of impressive extras for SCM students, like its Center-specific scholarships and the Logistics Student Association.

Students interested in a master’s in supply chain and logistics can benefit from the AACSB-accredited CoB’s strategic location in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. The CoB offers a STEM-designated MS in Business Analytics, as well as an MBA program with multiple supply chain and logistics concentrations and options. Students can enroll part- or full-time, on-campus or online (65 percent of MBA students are part-time). Plus, you can choose to focus on logistics and supply chain management, just supply chain management or supply chain analytics. Out of the 389 MBA students, who come from 73 countries, just 32 were in the logistics and supply chain management track. The breakdown of each program is as follows:

  • MBA with a Concentration in Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Completable within two years, this program is offered by the Department of Marketing and Logistics. Out of the 36 total required credits, 15 are dedicated to concentration courses like Model-Based Business Intelligence and Strategic Logistics Management. Many of these courses are available online, on-campus or at the Frisco campus, depending on the semester. Software Advice ranked this program 3rd for integration of new technology. The Full-Time MBA is an 11-month cohort, daytime program.
  • Accelerated Online MBA with a Concentration in Supply Chain Management: This Accelerated Online Program (AOP) is a fully online master’s in supply chain degree program, offering courses in Channel and Retailing Strategy,Industrial Distribution and Logistics Management and International Management

In the AOPs, you can choose from five different start dates for each eight-week course, and you can take as little as one course at a time.

  • Accelerated Online MBA with a Concentration in Supply Chain Analytics: The AOP in supply chain analytics is also 100 percent online and completable in as few as 14 months. Concentration courses include Harvesting, Storing, and Retrieving Data, Introduction to Data Science and Advanced Supply Chain Management Problems.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA

Master of Applied Science in Supply Chain Management (MASc-SCM), Master of Engineering in Supply Chain Management (MEng-SCM) or MITx MicroMasters Credential in Supply Chain Management
Top 28 Affordable Online Master's in Supply Chain and Logistics: MIT

Net Price: $22,230
Grad Student Enrollment: 6,919
GMAT Score Requirements: Meet/surpass the 75th percentile in the Verbal and Quantitative sections, as well as the 50th percentile in Analytical Writing (waived for those who complete the MicroMasters)
Points: 21

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university founded in 1861 to help accelerate America’s industrial revolution. Its 166-acre riverfront campus is located across the Charles River from Boston’s Back Bay, offering 20+ gardens and green spaces in addition to 60+ research centers and a student-built roller coaster. At MIT, total student enrollment was 11,466 (2017-18), the undergrad student-faculty ratio of 3:1 and a 99 percent student retention rate. Institutionally, MIT is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), and most of its programs received specialized accreditation.

To get a graduate degree in supply chain management at MIT, there are two paths: the traditional 10-month residential program or the new blended format. The latter combines five rigorous online courses in supply chain with just over one full semester of on-campus courses and projects. Both of these pathways, offered by the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics, can lead to either:

  • a Master of Applied Science in Supply Chain Management (for students preparing to enter the industry)
  • a Master of Engineering in Supply Chain Management (more research-focused for those planning to continue on to the PhD)

Regardless of the degree type or program, you’ll move as a cohort of 30-40 students through a total of 90 credits, including a unit thesis or capstone project. Students work directly with researchers and industry experts, as well as personal career coaches. They can benefit from university centers and labs like the MIT Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab or the MIT Responsible Supply Chain Lab. These programs offer an engineering focus (rather than strictly business), and they require applicants to have at least two years of work experience.

Before applying to the blended format pathway, students must complete the MITx MicroMasters Credential in Supply Chain Management. This is a fully-online “certificate” program, which offers five free online courses in SCM (you must pay to receive the credential upon completion of the courses). This can stand on its own like a graduate certificate or operate as the beginning of the low-cost online master’s in supply chain and logistics. To complete the blended master’s degree, you’ll follow up the MicroMasters with 36 credits of on-campus classwork. Once you’ve reached the required 90 credits, you can take additional courses for free. For those looking to only complete the credential, you are not required to have any specific academic background (even an undergraduate degree), and you don’t have to be admitted to MIT. Master’s degree students can complete the residency portion of the blended program in Spain, Malaysia, Luxembourg, China or Latin America, thanks to the MIT Global Supply Chain and Logistics Excellence (SCALE) Network.

*Editor’s Note: We deducted one point because MIT is priced slightly above our top 50 cheapest colleges, but its offerings were too good not to include.

1. Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

Hybrid On-Campus/Online MS in Supply Chain Management (MSSCM) or Full-Time MBA with a Concentration in Supply Chain Management
Top 28 Affordable Online Master's in Supply Chain and Logistics: Michigan State University

Net Price: $16,684 (Cost per credit hour for online students is $1,700)
Grad Student Enrollment: 10,928
GMAT Score Requirements: A GMAT score “may be required” in addition to a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, a minimum of two years as a working supply chain professional and three recommendations by professionals. (Average GMAT score among MBA students is 668 for 2020)
Points: 27

Michigan State University is known as one of the top research universities in the world. Its 5,200-acre campus is just three miles east of the state’s capital. It has 17 degree-granting colleges and over 50,000 students. It has one of the largest single-campus housing systems in the country and almost an additional 20,000 acres throughout Michigan. MSU had a 91 percent student retention rate in 2017. It has a 16:1 student-faculty ratio. MSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Michigan State is highlighted as a top runner in almost every college ranking out there for having the best business school and the best master’s degree program in supply chain management. Through its Department of Supply Chain Management, you’ll find:

  • a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management (the first in America)
  • an MS in SCM (another first)
  • an MBA (with concentrations in Logistics Management, Operations Management or Procurement/Sourcing Strategy)
  • two doctoral programs in Logistics or Operations and Sourcing Management
  • nine different SC-related certificate programs.

The MSSCM is a 31-credit untraditional hybrid program for working professionals that can be completed in two years. The curriculum combines e-learning segments with three-day in-class sessions (nine days total). Here,  students receive one-on-one attention and networking opportunities. Students in the Full-Time MBA program can tailor their program beyond the SCM concentration with a Career Path in either Corporate SCM or SCM Consulting. There are also   nine different Areas of Interest like:

  • Global Business
  • Talent Development
  • Strategic Performance Measurement.

We were especially “wowed” by the Department’s host of supply chain resources students have to learn and network with, such as:

  • The Axia Institute
  • Global strategic relationships with institutions in the UK, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and India, involving supply chain management research, executive education or service
  • Michigan State University Supply Chain Management Association
  • Supply Chain Management Corporate and Student Relations Office (CSRO)
  • Supply Chain Management Council

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