Logistics Degrees: Master's, PhD & Online Training Info

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Master's and PhD programs in logistics can lead to careers in private business or academia. Get the truth about the requirements, courses and online options, and find out what you can do with your degree.
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Study Logistics: Degrees at a Glance

Logistics is the management and coordination of resources. This can encompass supply chain systems that include warehousing and transportation. A master's degree in logistics can prepare you to manage supply chain processes and the people who work in them. Because supply chains can be found in many industries, a degree in logistics can be versatile and open up a number of career fields. If you would rather perform logistical research, then you might consider PhD programs.

Two careers related to logistics are operations research analyst and industrial production manager, both of which were expected to see an increase in job opportunities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for operations research analysts were expected to increase 15% from 2010-2020. Over the same time period, the BLS predicted that the employment of industrial production managers would grow by nine percent. The projections were lower for industrial production managers because of the decline of some U.S. industries.

Master's PhD
Who is this degree for? Individuals who want to manage in a logistics position Individuals who want to teach or research at the university level
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary or range) - Operations research analyst*** ($72,000)*
- Industrial production manager*** ($88,000)*
- Logistics supervisor ***($35,000 - $73,000)**
- Logistics analyst ($33,000 - $71,000)**
- Logistics manager ***($37,000 - $96,000)**
- Supply chain manager*** ($50,000 - $125,000)**
(In addition to the careers available with a master's degree)
- Postsecondary school business teacher ($75,000)*
Time to Completion Two years full-time 3-5 years full-time beyond master's degree
Common Graduation Requirements - Around 30 semester credits of graduate coursework
- Master's thesis
- Advanced coursework
- Oral and written exams
- Doctoral dissertation and defense
Prerequisites - Bachelor's degree
- GRE or GMAT scores
- Bachelor's or master's degree
- GRE or GMAT scores
Online Availability Yes No

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures), **Payscale.com (October 2012 figures, 10th-90th percentile). ***Position may require experience in addition to a degree.

Master's Degree Programs

Master's programs in logistics are typically offered as Master of Science programs, although some Master of Arts programs are available. Some relevant programs may be offered as 'supply chain management.' These programs combine advanced coursework with opportunities for professional development, such as networking with industries and workshops. While some of these programs are designed for specific careers and may not be applicable to your interests, other programs could offer relevant concentrations.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Concentrations within a logistics master's degree program are available
  • May be offered with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program
  • Programs offer opportunities for professional development

Cons

  • Bachelor's degree in an area such as industrial engineering may be preferred for some jobs
  • Employers may still require experience for some positions
  • Some programs are geared toward specific careers such as engineering

Coursework and Requirements

While some theoretical courses may be included, a significant portion of these curricula involve practical topics. In addition to the coursework required, you may need to complete a thesis. Some of the courses you may take include:

  • Supply chain leadership
  • Logistics systems
  • Analytical methods for supply chain management
  • Supply chain finance
  • Global logistics

Online Programs

Master's programs in logistics are offered in an online format. Similar to traditional programs, concentrations may be available. You should check to ensure that an online program is properly accredited (accreditation should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education) and that it suits your professional interests.

How to Get Ahead with This Degree

You may also consider earning a professional logistics certification. Organizations offer certifications for general logistics and specific disciplines, such as transportation. The requirements for certification may include a fee, possession of a degree, experience and a passing score on a certifying exam. You may also want to familiarize yourself with industry-specific logistics software such as RedPrairie.

PhD Programs

PhD programs prepare you for a research or teaching career at the postsecondary-level, although other career options may be available. Similar to master's programs, PhD programs may specialize in a certain logistical area. As a PhD student, you will have the flexibility within your program to choose electives and your primary research area with the assistance of your graduate advisors and committee.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Prepare you for a teaching or research career in academia
  • Specializations are available
  • Opportunities to perform advanced research through papers and projects

Cons

  • May not be necessary for management careers
  • May be more research based than practical
  • Must complete oral and written exams to advance in a program

Coursework and Requirements

PhD programs typically have examination requirements that may come in both written and oral forms. Student teaching is offered and may be a requirement in some programs. The capstone requirement for a PhD program is the completion of a dissertation and the defense of it. Some of the courses you may take include:

  • Logistic systems theory
  • Simulation methods
  • Logistics management
  • Statistical research methods
  • Applied regression models

Online Programs

Due to the extensive research and residency requirements, PhD programs specific to logistics were not available online as of October 2012. Some related programs, such as business, are offered online.

How to Get Ahead with This Degree

To set yourself apart from other PhD holders, you may consider focusing your research on an area of logistics that can be applied across different businesses. To do this,you could choose PhD programs that can be applied to a variety of industries. You may also want to maintain your skills in mathematical programming and statistical software.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Purdue University Global

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    2. Colorado State University Global

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      • MS - Management
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      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership-Management
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    4. Louisiana State University Shreveport

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      • Master of Business Administration with a General Business Specialization
      • Master of Business Administration - Project Management Concentration
      • Master of Business Administration - Project Management Specialization
      • Master of Business Administration - Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise Concentration
      • Master of Business Administration - Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise Specialization
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    5. Grand Canyon University

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      • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management
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    6. Full Sail University

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    10. American University

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Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • Master : Business Admin

Which subject are you interested in?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Management
  • MS - Organizational Leadership
  • Master of Project Management

What is your highest level of education?

Brenau University

  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership-Management
  • Masters in Business Administration - Management
  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership-Project Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Louisiana State University Shreveport

  • Master of Business Administration with a General Business Specialization
  • Master of Business Administration - Project Management Concentration
  • Master of Business Administration - Project Management Specialization

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management
  • MBA
  • Master of Science in Business Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • M.S. - Entertainment Business

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Joseph's University

  • MS in Organizational Development and Leadership

What is your highest level of education completed?

Georgetown University

  • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?