Logistics Degrees by Degree Program Level
Logistics incorporates a wide range of activities, including material handling, transportation, and warehousing. Professionals who have logistics expertise are required at all levels of business. An undergraduate degree can prepare students for entry-level employment and mid-level management positions, such as terminal manager. Graduate degree programs are for individuals seeking careers in upper management, consulting, or academia.
Associate of Applied Science in Logistics
An associate's degree program in logistics prepares students for careers in purchasing, inventory control, and distribution. Business management skills, such as problem-solving, record-keeping, and communication, are also emphasized. Most community colleges and technical schools require potential students to have a high school diploma or the equivalent.
Coursework in a logistics associate's degree program gives students a solid foundation in the various sectors of the logistics field and teaches fundamentals in business management. Subjects may include:
- Economics of distribution & transportation
- Material handling
- Warehouse & distribution center management
- U.S. customs & importing
- Business negotiation skills
Graduates with an associate's degree in logistics have a number of career options in this wide-ranging field, including the following:
- Cargo operations specialist
- Transportation broker
- Warehouse supervisor
Bachelor of Science in Logistics & Supply Chain Management
A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Logistics and Supply Chain Management degree program introduces students to the theories, concepts, and practices of logistics and supply chain management, including modes of transport, import and export regulations, and inventory management. Business fundamentals, such as accounting and business law, are also covered. There are no special prerequisites for majoring in logistics and supply chain management.
The logistics bachelor's degree curriculum typically includes core courses in the humanities, social sciences, and empirical sciences, as well as major courses in:
- Logistics management
- Supply chain management
- Strategic procurement
- Transportation systems
- Warehouse and terminal management
Because all businesses require some form of logistics services, graduates with a logistics bachelor's degree have many options. These include:
- Contract manager
- Inventory control specialist
- Procurement manager
Graduates with a bachelor's degree can advance to one of the master's degree programs described below. Graduates who go on to work in the logistics field can advance their careers with professional certifications, such as the American Society of Transportation and Logistics' (ASTL) Certification in Transportation and Logistics (CTL) or the Association for Operations Management's (APICS) Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) designation.
Master of Science in Logistics
The Master of Science in Logistics program is geared toward experienced managers and professional engineers. It prepares students for leadership roles in planning, developing, and managing logistics and supply chain operations in the private and public sector, which includes the military. The curriculum emphasizes managerial leadership, technology, and global business practices.
A bachelor's degree in a physical science, math, or engineering is usually required, although substantial work experience in the logistics field combined with a bachelor's degree in any discipline may be acceptable. Applicants must also have GRE scores that meet admissions standards.
Courses in a master's degree program cover the technical and business aspects of logistics and supply chain management. Subjects include:
- Analytic decision-making for logistics managers
- Logistics distribution systems design
- Logistics information systems
- Supply chain strategic planning
- Transportation management
Graduates with master's degrees are prepared for top managerial positions in any of the various sectors of logistics. Options include:
- Fleet operations manager
- Loss prevention manager
- Operations and systems analyst
Master of Business Administration in Logistics & Supply Chain Management
This MBA program is for business professionals seeking high-level management positions in logistics and supply chain management. Emphasizing the practical application of logistics principles to real-world situations, the program gives students the skills needed to plan, implement, and manage the efficient flow of goods and services. It also examines the interrelationship of production, procurement, and distribution in logistics operations.
Applicants must have a college degree and acceptable GMAT scores to enter an MBA program. In addition, most admissions committees look for a record of work experience that reflects leadership potential and a strong teamwork ethos.
The curriculum covers the fundamentals of logistics and supply chain management, inventory management, procurement, and distribution. Course topics include:
- Model-based decision making
- 'Six Sigma' principles
- Strategic cost accounting
- Strategic design of operations and logistics systems
- Supply chain relationships
MBA graduates typically seek senior management positions such as the following:
- Director of purchasing
- Import-export manager
- Operations manager
Ph.D. in Logistics & Supply Chain Management
The Ph.D. program is designed for students hoping to work in teaching or academic research. Students examine the foundations of logistics, operations and supply chain management, economics, marketing, and information technologies. The ultimate goal is to produce an original research paper that is worthy of publication.
Applicants to a Ph.D. program should have at least a bachelor's degree in a relevant field (although a master's degree is preferable), an above-average academic record, substantial work experience, and GRE or GMAT scores that meet the school's admissions requirements.
The typical curriculum includes courses in the major field, supporting fields such as economics and research methodologies. Course subjects include:
- Supply chain management
- Supply chain & marketing models
- Microeconomic theory
- Probability and statistics
Most graduates of Ph.D. programs work as professors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) has projected employment for postsecondary instructors to increase by 17% between the years 2010 and 2020. However, a significant portion of the jobs are likely to be part-time or non-tenure-track positions. The BLS reported the median annual salary earned by business teachers instructing at postsecondary education institutions as $73,660 in May 2012. The ten percent of teachers earning the most money earned more than $152,400 a year (BLS, May 2012).
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