A photo of someone holding a tablet with a picture of boxes sitting on shelves on it.
The VCU School of Business is launching a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management this fall. (Getty Images)

VCU to offer undergraduate degree in supply chain management beginning in fall 2024

The Bachelor of Science program – the first at a public university in Virginia – aims to address a talent shortage that impacts state and national economies.

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Virginia Commonwealth University will begin offering a Bachelor of Science degree in supply chain management this fall, making it the first public university in Virginia to offer this program to undergraduate students.

The new degree program addresses a talent crisis, marked by a shortage of qualified supply chain professionals, that adversely impacts state and national economies.

“The need for a B.S. in supply chain management degree program is evident in the evolving landscape of global commerce and logistics,” said Fotis Sotiropoulos, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at VCU. “As businesses increasingly rely on efficient supply chain operations, there is a growing demand for skilled professionals with specialized knowledge in supply chain management.”

In recent years, supply chain issues have led to disruptions in sectors from electronics manufacturing to food production and distribution. Problems with the supply chain have led to an increase in inflation and a decrease in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

“Given the rising frequency and impact of disruptions, a dedicated program is essential to train a workforce capable of ensuring resilience and sustainability in the supply chain,” Sotiropoulos said.

Offered by the VCU School of Business, the new degree will equip undergraduate students with the foundational principles for making operational decisions in an organization's supply chain, coupled with training in commonly employed quantitative methodologies to inform those decisions. Coursework will provide students with skills and knowledge in areas such as sourcing, logistics and distribution, sustainability, process management, quality management, forecasting and inventory management.

In Virginia, the shortage of qualified supply chain management professionals is partially attributable to the absence of a B.S. degree in the discipline at a public university.

VCU currently offers a master’s degree program and a graduate certificate program in supply chain management, as well as an undergraduate business degree with a concentration in the discipline. By becoming the first public university in the state to offer a B.S. in supply chain management for undergraduates, VCU is establishing itself as a leader in producing trained professionals ready to address industry needs locally and nationally while supporting Virginia’s goal of retaining in-state talent.

Strong job growth and student interest in supply chain management careers led to the new degree program, said Brian P. Brown, Ph.D., interim dean of the School of Business.

“The new degree will give our students an edge in the job market,” he said. “We're offering more targeted courses, a distinct credential and the opportunity to specialize in high-demand areas. Plus, our curriculum calls attention to the global nature of supply chains and collaboration with other disciplines.”

Supply chains are an increasingly complex web of interorganizational connections and data exchanges, said Brett Massimino, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Supply Chain Management and Analytics in the School of Business.

“Graduates will need to be able to quickly make data-based managerial decisions in a rapidly changing environment,” he said. “Prospective students should have an interest in data analysis, business operations, interorganizational trade and the production/delivery of goods and services.”

Massimino added that more specialized interests may include sustainability, product/process innovation, international trade and intermodal transportation.

“Students should be able to apply critical thinking skills to complex and open-ended problems, codify their ideas into work specifications that are easy to digest and transfer across locations and organizations, and manage projects with an attention to detail,” he said.