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The goal of this interdisciplinary program is to develop both research and teaching skills, preparing its graduates for a successful academic career. Under the guidance of nationally recognized faculty, Ph.D. students in supply chain management explore the foundations of economics, operations management, logistics, marketing, information technology, with the goal of producing a publishable research paper by the end of their second year of study.

Whitman's supply chain management program is the first in the nation, established in 1919. The program is ranked 17th in Business Week (2010) and 15th in Princeton Review (2009). AMR Research (2009) ranks our program 9th overall and at the top in risk management.

General information about the Ph.D. program in Business Administration at Syracuse University, including application requirements and procedures, can be found here.

Program of Study

The structure of the Ph.D. program at the Whitman School of Management is comprised of major field coursework, supporting field coursework, and research methodology courses.

I. Major Field

Students take the following four seminar courses. Additional advanced graduate courses may be required, depending on the student's background.

  • SCM 960 - Supply Chain Management Seminar I
  • SCM 960 - Supply Chain Management Seminar II
  • SCM 962 - Marketing and Supply Chain Models (cross-listed as MAR 962)
  • SCM 972 - Seminar on Distribution Channels (cross-listed as MAR 972)

II. Supporting Field

A minimum of nine credit hours of Ph.D. level coursework in a related supporting field is required. Students typically select economics as a supporting field. Example courses are listed below:

  • MAR 960 - Marketing Seminar I
  • MAR 960 - Marketing Seminar II
  • ECN 601 - Survey of Microeconomic Theory
  • ECN 611 - Microeconomics I (price theory)
  • ECN 612 - Microeconomics II (game theory)
  • ECN 621 - Econometrics I
  • ECN 622 - Econometrics II

III. Research Methods

A minimum of 12 credit hours of advanced graduate level research methods courses must be completed. These will be determined in consultation with the major advisor. However, most students are advised to take the following two courses for six credits:

  • MAT 651 - Probability and Statistics I (may benefit from MAT 521 and MAT 526 first)
  • MAT 652 - Probability and Statistics II

In addition to the above two courses, students in consultation with the major advisor typically choose to emphasize either mathematical modeling or empirical/behavioral research methods. Examples of courses aligned with each area of emphasis are listed below.

Mathematical Modeling Emphasis

  • ECN 605 - Mathematics for Economists
  • MAT 645 - Graph Theory
  • MAT 683 - Methods of Numerical Analysis
  • MAT 687 - Introduction to Applied Mathematics
  • MAT 704 - Differential Equations
  • MFE 629 - Modeling and Optimization Techniques
  • SCM 702 - Principles of Management Science

Empirical/Behavioral Emphasis

  • MAS 766 - Linear Statistical Models I
  • MAS 767 - Linear Statistical Models II
  • MAS 777 - Time Series Modeling and Analysis
  • PSY 679 - Introduction to Research Methods in Social Psychology
  • PSY 730 - Seminar in Experimental Psychology
  • PSY 757 - Multiple Correlation and Regression
  • PSY 857 - Multivariate Analysis

To develop greater insights into their chosen specialty, some students complete additional graduate courses offered through the Whitman School of Management, L.C. Smith College of Engineering, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, the School of Information Studies, and other academic units within the University. Examples of courses taken for additional breadth include:

Whitman School of Management

  • SCM 701 - Logistics and Supply Chain Management
  • SCM 721 - Supply Chain Systems

L.C. Smith College of Engineering

  • CIS 554 - Object-Oriented Programming in C++
  • CIS 685 - Simulation and Modeling
  • CIS 686 - Discrete Event Systems (Markov chains / queuing models)
  • MFE 635 - Manufacturing Systems
  • MFE 600/CIS 685 - Manufacturing Simulation
  • MFE 700 - Enterprise Systems Modeling and Configuration

A complete list of graduate courses offered at Syracuse University can be found in the Graduate Catalog.

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive exam is normally taken after two years of coursework.


Summer Research Project

Ph.D. students in supply chain management begin a six credit hour summer research project during the summer following their first year in the program, and complete it by the end of the second year. The project is directed by a faculty mentor, with the aim of producing a paper of publishable quality. The final project is evaluated by the faculty mentor and one other faculty member in the major area. Completed papers must be presented in a departmental colloquium or a national conference. The theme you choose will be influenced by your critical assessment of the literature.


Students are required to form a five-person dissertation committee no later than two months after completing their comprehensive exams. An oral defense of the written proposal must be made before the dissertation committee. The written proposal must be on file in the Ph.D. Program Office at least two weeks before the defense, and the proposal defense must be open to the school's faculty and Ph.D. students. The proposal must be approved by the dissertation committee by the beginning of the fourth year in the program.

Research Resources

H.H. Franklin Center for Supply Chain Management and R.H. Brethen Institute for Operations Management are the two major research centers promoting studies in the field of Supply Chain Management at Syracuse University. You also can look for support from one or more of Whitman's other research centers.

In laboratories such as the new $1.2 million Central New York Enterprise Systems Laboratory, you may collaborate with practitioners on projects that explore ways to exploit the competitive advantages of commercial enterprise resource planning systems such as SAP/R3.

Classroom Skills and Teaching Responsibilities

Admitted Ph.D. students participate in Syracuse University's acclaimed TA Training Program and are encouraged to participate in the Future Professoriate Program, which helps perfect the skills needed to assure success in the classroom. All Ph.D. students must demonstrate teaching competency during their program. However, Ph.D. students may not teach more than the equivalent of two three-credit semester courses in any academic year. Furthermore, Ph.D. students rarely teach during their first year in the program.

Financial Aid and Benefits

Students admitted to this program are usually eligible for tuition and health care benefits, an academic-year stipend, summer research support, travel, and other benefits. Supply Chain Management Ph.D. students often join ongoing faculty research projects and, as paid summertime Research Assistants, they gain valuable insight into the process of research in the field while earning a stipend. Additional information on scholarships and other financial awards can be found at the Graduate School's online directory of financial support for Syracuse University graduate students.

Nearing a century of excellence in logistics education