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  October 16th, 2015 | Written by

A New Path to an MIT Supply Chain Management Master’s Degree

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  • MIT prof: Combination of online courses and residential semester will open SCM program to more learners.
  • The SCM degree pilot will feature a new process for admission to a master’s program at MIT.
  • MIT will continue to offer traditional SCM program, a 10-month master’s for early-career professionals.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced a pilot program allowing students a new way to earn a master’s degree in supply-chain management (SCM).

Learners can take a semester’s worth of courses in the one-year program completely online, then complete the degree by spending a single semester on campus.

The pilot will be led by Professor Sanjay Sarma, MIT’s dean of digital learning, and Professor Yossi Sheffi and Dr. Chris Caplice, who run the SCM program and its online offerings.

“The new combination of online courses and one residential semester will open the SCM program to many more learners,” said Sheffi. “The 50-some corporate members of the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, who are deeply involved with SCM students, enthusiastically embraced this effort, owing to the worldwide talent shortage in this field.”

The pilot will feature a new way of structuring admissions to a professional master’s program at MIT. Learners worldwide with access to edX, an internet-based learning platform, can take any of the first semester’s worth of courses online. Those who do well in each course, and then score well on a subsequent comprehensive proctored examination, have a good chance of being accepted to the full master’s program, which they can then complete in a single semester on campus.

This inverted admission process “has the potential to disrupt traditional modes of access to higher education,” says Sarma. “We’re democratizing access to a master’s program for learners worldwide.”

MIT’s master’s program in supply chain management is already global in its outlook. Its 36 to 40 students each year generally come to Cambridge from more than a dozen nations on five continents. In reputational rankings, SCM is generally regarded as the No. 1 offering in supply-chain management and logistics in the U.S.

MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics, which Sheffi also leads, has already developed and launched international programs in Colombia, Spain, and Malaysia, each offering local master’s degrees but working in concert with SCM.

The traditional SCM program—which MIT will continue to offer—is a 10-month master’s degree program designed for early-career professionals who want to return to school for advanced training in supply-chain management. It draws applicants with careers in finance, information technology, management, marketing, and sales, among other fields. Students in the program generally have three to eight years of professional experience.