Master of Science in Supply Chain Management

Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) and approved by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), the web-based Master of Science in Supply Chain Management (MS-SCM) is designed for high-performing managers and executives who have an established track-record of success in one or more of the functions included in supply chain management. Participants gain advanced expertise needed to help their sponsoring firms progress to world-class supply chain management status, with significant improvement in their firms’ profitability.

At the completion of this program, students who have mastered the curriculum will be able to:

  • Demonstrate mastery of the principles of world-class supply chain management;
  • Identify gaps between their organization’s processes and world-class processes;
  • Apply project management practices to one or more such gaps;
  • Demonstrate success as an ethical leader in supply chain management; and,
  • Demonstrate teamwork and team leadership skills.

The 36-unit MS-SCM program is offered online in a lock-step, cohort-based format and requires approximately 25 months for completion. The delivery format employs a blended approach to learning, whereby students spend 3-4 interactive days on campus at the beginning of each semester, completing the remainder of the instruction via online learning. The regular online interaction makes it possible for students to interact with their instructors and fellow students in a user friendly manner. Students often make deeper connections with their online colleagues than in a bricks-and-mortar classroom.

The first six courses integrate the three legs of supply chain management: supply management, logistics and operations, supported by courses in finance, project management and cost management. The remaining seven courses expand on these principles adding emphasis in negotiations, law and ethics, leadership and change management, sustainability in the supply chain and value network management. The entire curriculum is designed to blend proven concepts with contemporary best practices found in successful businesses and governments throughout the world.

Advanced Integrative Project

The custom focused project is the cornerstone of the program. The project completed in second half of the program requires students to apply knowledge gained from their coursework in supply management, operational processes, project management, leadership, change management and ethics to a real-world gap between world-class practices and the student's current organization's practices.

The project is the vehicle for applied learning and provides the link between theoretical and applied learning. In addition to the learning resulting from successful project completion, organizations receive a positive financial return on their tuition investment. Individuals who do not have internal executive-level support for an internal project are afforded an opportunity to undertake a project at a nearby organization. The subject organization, together with the course instructor(s), facilitates these students in fulfilling the requirement of the Advanced Integrative Project course.

Online Delivery

All courses are web-based and delivered via Blackboard, the learning management system used by the University of San Diego. Students have access to all the necessary course and program information 24/7. Regular asynchronous discussions allow students to participate in courses at a time that is convenient for them, often increasing the incident and depth of involvement with their classmates and instructors. 

The online format allows organizations to sponsor participants from multiple locations and reduce time lost going to and from physical classes. The face-to-face benefit of education is also achieved with the onsite 3-4 day resident sessions conducted on the USD campus each semester. The online format is designed specifically to meet the needs of working professionals and their organizations. The format also reflects the evolution in the workplace towards virtual teamwork and collaborative learning, which are critical to the success of the project. 

Admission Requirements

Basic admission requirements include:

  • minimum two years work experience in a relevant supply chain management position;
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university;
  • additional screening related to the assessment of academic competence is typical of that found for entry into most business graduate degree programs;
  • applicants who do not meet the minimum two years work experience requirement, or have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or less, may be required to submit a GMAT score.

In addition, candidates will be expected to provide:

  • two letters of recommendation from the applicant’s supervisor, a colleague, direct report, or university professor;
  • Statement of Purpose–a short essay reflecting the applicant’s personal and professional objectives and expectations for the program;
  • résumé describing work experience to date;
  • college or university transcripts (officially sealed) from each college or university attended;
  • International students who possess an L-1 (business visa) may apply.

Additional Requirements for Admission

Master of Science in Supply Chain Management

See here for basic admission requirements.

Entrance Semesters Fall and Spring
Application Deadline May 1 and Oct. 1
Applications will be considered on a space-available basis
Minimum Grade Point Average 3.0 (4.0 scale)
Standardized Admission Test GMAT (optional dependent on GPA)
Required Coursework No specific undergraduate coursework required
Required License/Credentials None
Additional Requirements for MS-SCM Two professional letters of recommendation. At least two years of full-time work experience is expected for admission to the program. Additional consideration may be given to candidates with substantial business experience. Applicants who received their bachelor’s degree from a non-US educational institution must have their transcripts evaluated by the International Education Research Foundation (IERF) or World Education Services, Inc. (WES).

There are 36 units required in the MSSCM Program

Course Requirements

MSCM 561Supply Chain Strategy and Design3
MSCM 562Operational Processes3
MSCM 563Supply Management3
MSCM 564Strategic Cost Management3
MSCM 565Finance and Risk Management2
MSCM 566Project Management Principles3
MSCM 581International Negotiations1-3
MSCM 582Distribution and Logistics Management2
MSCM 583Leadership and Change Management for Supply Chain Managers3
MSCM 584Law, Ethics and Contracts for Supply Chain Management3
MSCM 585Sustainable Global Supply Chain Management2-3
MSCM 586Value Network Management3
MSCM 599Advanced Integrative Project1-3



Units: 3

Introduces the concept of a supply chain as a complete system that begins with raw materials and delivers value to the end customer. The student will learn to use a variety of conceptual models to describe and classify supply chains In terms of how they are designed and configured to maximize that value, with the emphasis always being on the entire system rather than any individual component. The objective is to recognize and correct supply chain designs that are mismatched to their environments and to direct attention to the critical elements that must be managed. Discusses current trends in Supply Chain Management in terms of how they contribute to maximizing customer value.


Units: 3

Examines operational processes of the supply chain from acquisition of materials through conversion to physical distribution of goods and services. Topics include workflow systems, inventory systems, quality systems, production systems, logistics systems, cost estimation, optimization and continuous improvement. Common business processes and business skills addressed include: production planning, workflow scheduling, cost estimation, resource allocation, work methods design, inventory management and continuous improvement methods.


Units: 3

Examines the challenges of integrating the members of an organization’s supply management system. Such improvements reduce time-to-market and improve quality and the inflow of technology from the firm’s supply base, thereby increasing market share and profitability. These improvements also result in reductions in the total cost of ownership for purchased materials, services and equipment. Addresses supply management’s role in: social responsibilities; buyer-supplier relationships; ethics; cross-functional teams; quality, price and cost analysis; methods of compensation; total cost of ownership; the development of requirements; acquisition of services and equipment; outsourcing; global sourcing; post-award activities; and legal issues.


Units: 3

Investigates the highly dynamic, timely and little understood area of cost management in the supply chain. Promotes cost reduction as a critical tool in competitive business strategy redirecting emphasis from price to the total cost of ownership. Identifies costs throughout the supply chain system and methods of measuring costs and determining cost drivers. Develops written strategies on reducing or managing costs.


Units: 2

Supply Chain Managers require knowledge of finance tenable analysis of projects, the justification for proactive investments and estimation of supply chain costs. Topics addressed include: financial statements analysis, valuation, capital budgeting (net present value, internal rate of return, management of working capital, international financial markets and risk management (options, futures contracts, forward contracts).


Units: 3

The integrative project is a core element of the Master of Science in Supply Chain Management. The ability to apply project management knowledge, tools and principles to the effective execution of process improvement or system implementation projects is central to modern supply chain management. This course provides students with the foundational capabilities required to be effective project managers in a supply chain context. Topics addressed include team formation, team sponsorship and team governance, developing charters, project management, quantifying financial impacts and presentation skills.


Units: 1-3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Addresses the art and science of negotiation with the “science” learned through readings and the “art” learned through experience gained in simulated negotiations. These negotiations frequently are set in a foreign country, exposing participants to nuances of conducting business abroad. These mock or simulated negotiations are conducted both online and during the residence sessions held on campus.


Units: 2

Distribution and logistics management is a critical element of supply chain management because distribution and logistics expenses often represent the largest single category of costs faced by a company and logistics activities touch all aspects of supply chain performance, creating value and competitive differentiation. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of basic distribution and logistics management principles and be able to identify those distribution and logistics issues critical to supply chain managers in today’s business environment and to project their likely impact on overall business performance. Students will become familiar with contemporary concepts and techniques and be able to use these for analyzing and resolving distribution and logistics problems.


Units: 3

This course is designed to assist students in the practice of ethical leadership and management of change. As a result of actively participating in this course, students will understand theories and practices of leadership, the properties of influence and strategies to control internal and external perceptions. Students will begin to map their current and future organizations, suppliers and e involvement in organization change interventions.


Units: 3

Explores the legal context of supply chain management in areas of contract formation, obligations, remedies and dispute resolution in an international setting. Examines the overlapping roles of ethics and regulation in defining socially responsible business enterprise and standards for behavior. Three basic ethical theories are applied to supply chain management, especially purchasing. Current issues of social and environmental justice are introduced as catalysts for proactive policy formation and world-class supply chain performance. Ethics, diversity and legal issues are of paramount concern to organizations that operate in today’s global environment that pits supply chain against supply chain. Proactive companies recognize that striving for diversity and maintaining ethical policies and actions help enable world-class supply chain management. Topics addressed include diversity suppliers, protecting the physical environment, workplace values, ethics in business, contract formation and the legal context of supply chain management.


Units: 2-3

Sustainability and social responsibility are rapidly evolving issues facing supply chain professionals’ organizations in all sectors. Further, global challenges within increasingly extended supply chains means that it is now impossible for an organization to ignore regulatory, economic, environmental and reputational pressures to address the sustainability agenda of ‘people, planet and profits’. The evolving agenda for sustainable practice presents both opportunities and significant risk to upstream and downstream supply chain decision making. The aim of this course is to equip students with a deeper understanding of the CSR agenda, providing them with the wherewithal to have a positive impact on their organization and to raise their awareness of the moral and ethical concerns facing global organizations within this agenda. This course will focus on the nature, definition and evaluation of issues relating to CSR. Students will be introduced to the core issues faced in environmental sustainability from a robust total systems perspective and incorporating a basic review of the scientific evidence pertaining to environmental impact. Students will also be introduced to the social, health and safety risks and remedies available to supply professionals when sourcing internationally, including trends in global regulatory requirements. Further, specific measurement and reporting protocols will be examined in order to provide a proactive compliance strategy.


Units: 3

“Competition does not take place between organizations, but between competing value networks.” This course is concerned with examining the nature and development of strategic advantage through networks of coordinating and collaborating partners. The course serves as a capstone for the MS-SCM and adopts a critical perspective to the fields of strategic management, human relations, behavioral science and innovation. It is intended to both consolidate prior studies and develop strategies for future personal development. This course begins by analyzing contemporary understanding of human behavior within the context of complex network relationship interactions. It addresses the theories and mechanics involved in development and management of dyadic and triadic relationships, including the economics of trust and the various schools of thoughts associated with strategic capabilities. This course also addresses the complex nature of innovation set within networks, specifically exploring the Schumpeterian approach to strategies for collaborative innovation. Students will learn about developing and managing integrated relationships, knowledge and resources, identifying opportunities for strategic improvement and developing their understanding of strategic value network through reflective learning and join problem-solving.


Units: 1-3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

The advanced integrative project is a sponsor-based, supply chain-based project. Projects are approved by management of the sponsoring organization and the director of S CMI and have the potential of contributing significantly to the sponsors’ bottom lines. The projects may be conducted in a team environment if the project value exceeds the combined tuition of the team members. Topics addressed include team formation, developing charters, project management, quantifying financial impacts and presentation skills.