The course

Full-time, Part-time, Per course
Course type
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MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management is the fully-accredited flagship masters degree from Heriot-Watt’s Logistics and Supply Chain Management department - a globally recognised centre for excellence in the subject across both research and teaching.



MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management is the fully-accredited flagship masters degree from Heriot-Watt’s Logistics and Supply Chain Management department - a globally recognised centre for excellence in the subject across both research and teaching.

This fully accredited Logistics and Supply Chain Management masters degree calls upon our sector-leading research and direct links to industry to equip students with cutting-edge expertise across all areas of this increasingly crucial discipline.

Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, this Logistics and Supply Chain Management MSc produces graduates of the highest calibre.

This programme will give you direct access to the expertise of world-leading researchers and practitioners and allow you to gain professional insights from industry leading organisations.

A dynamic mix of research-led, industry-focussed learning offer the ideal preparation to build a successful career in the ever-advancing world of Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

You will develop expertise across key areas of this discipline which is becoming more and more crucial to modern organisations, including:

  • Procurement
  • Supplier Management
  • Inventory and material management
  • Forecasting
  • Freight transport
  • Maritime economics and logistics
  • Risk and resilience management
  • Sustainability
  • Quality management

Transferrable skills for industry

In addition to offering specialist academic excellence in Logistics and Supply Chain Management this programme will equip you with the ability to think critically, identify problems, evaluate options and communicate solutions.

These crucial, transferable skills will allow you to effectively implement your specialist knowledge and adapt to any logistical problem you may face in your future career.

With this unique mind-set, knowledge and expertise at your disposal, you will be equipped to manage any organisation’s logistical processes and be an excellent candidate for roles such as Supply Chain Consultant, Supply Chain Manager, Logistics Manager, Procurement Specialist, and Distribution Manager across an ever-growing number of industries.

Graduates from our MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management have gone on to work for organisations such as DHL, Diageo, BP Chemicals, IKEA, Coca-Cola, Tesco, Argos, Amazon, Scotland Excel, Heineken, Proctor and Gamble, Unilever, Maersk, Gist, Sky, Rolls Royce and BAE Systems.

A programme grounded in world-changing research

Our teaching in Logistics and Supply Chain Management is grounded in the cutting-edge, world-changing research of our Logistics Research Centre (LRC) which directly impacts the UK Government’s carbon policy and the logistics operations of organisations such as:

  • Tesco
  • Coca-Cola
  • John Lewis
  • DHL
  • Sainsbury’s

The Logistics Research Centre at Heriot-Watt University stands at the forefront of logistics research and specialises in the study of management, integration, reform, impact and modelling of logistics activity, particularly from an environmental and sustainability perspective.

The work of the LRC provides government, industry, commercial and other sectors with insight into logistical trends, transport benchmarking and road use throughout the UK and Europe. Much of our research output is transformed into practical management guides, tools and techniques.

Sustainable Road Freight: collaboration with Cambridge University

The Logistics Research Centre at Heriot-Watt University has teamed up with engineers from the University of Cambridge to form the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight, a collaboration with a major 5-year funding grant whose purpose is to research engineering and organizational solutions to make road freight economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

The Centre for SRF will look to develop innovative technical and operational solutions to road freight transport challenges in order to meet Government emissions reduction targets for the road freight sector, mapping out ways to provide an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions due to road freight transport by 2050.

Networking opportunities

When you study on our MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management you will find yourself in the enviable position of gaining networking opportunities with global leaders in the field at a number of events throughout the year.

As they are organised by the Heriot-Watt University Logistics Research Centre, you will be invited to attend some of Europe’s leading logistics conferences such as the International Symposium on Logistics Conference, the Logistics Research Network Conference and the European Operations Management Association Conference.

Through our connection with the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, you will also have the opportunity to attend their Young Professionals Forum which is held in Edinburgh every year to provide opportunities for professional development and networking.

Programme duration

Mode of Study MSc PG Diploma
Full-time 12 months 9 months
Part-time 24 months 21 months


Industry continues to look to individuals who can demonstrate their continued commitment to acquiring industry specific knowledge. Membership of internationally recognised professional bodies is therefore an important consideration in building a successful career.

Two important industry bodies, the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (UK) (CILT), and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) have accredited our MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management programme.

CILT accreditation

Students who successfully graduate from the above degrees will receive an exemption from the academic requirements for membership at either Chartered Member or Member level of the CILT. There may also be a reduction in the length of experience that they would require.

Find out more about CILT accreditation and membership.

CIPS accreditation

Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS)

Whilst you are studying you can join as a Student Member becoming an Affiliate Member and then Member (MCIPS).

Find out more about CIPS accreditation and membership.

Course content

   Detailed course guide
Semester 1 (Sep - Dec) Semester 2 (Jan - April)
Strategies for Managing Supply Chains Demand and Inventory Planning
Global Purchasing and Supply Supply Network Design and Optimisation
Freight Transport and Warehouse Management Research Philosophy and Practice

One from:

  • Shipping and Port Operations
  • Fundamentals of Lean Six Sigma
  • Measuring and Managing Performance
  • Supply Chain Risk and Adaptation

One from:

  • Maritime Business and Economics
  • Quality Management and Engineering
  • System Thinking and Analysis
  • Green and Sustainable Logistics

A dissertation is then completed between May and August.

Strategies for Managing Supply Chains

Semester 1 (mandatory)

This course sets out the evolution of supply chain thinking and identifies the challenges faced by organisations. The nature and means of formulating business strategy is first identified before looking at the scope of supply chain strategic planning and the different perspectives of producers, retailers and logistics service providers.

Global Purchasing and Supply

Semester 1 (mandatory)

Purchasing processes and activities; theory and the make or buy decision; category management and supplier sourcing; supplier performance and relationship management; supplier development and the role that purchasing plays in New Product Development (NPD); procuring complex performance; partnership; ethics and social responsibility.

Freight Transport and Warehouse Management

Semester 1 (mandatory)

This course examines the activities, resources and processes used in freight transport and warehousing including the foundations of multi-modal freight (road, rail, air-freight, sea-freight, pipeline); the change from warehouse (storage) to a distribution centre and value adding activates; foundations of warehouse management (storage systems, handling systems, order picking systems, equipment choices and selection); and freight and distribution centre interface and implications.

Demand and Inventory Planning

Semester 2 (mandatory)

This course develops in depth knowledge and understanding of relevant demand and inventory management concepts; an awareness of the impact of forecasting and inventory on supply chain performance; and critical appreciation of the complexities and dynamics of managing inventories in multi-echelon network.

Supply Network Design and Optimisation

Semester 2 (mandatory)

Examines the key issues that companies must address in designing a supply network and the theories underpinning this; the practice of supply network design and optimisation; as well as awareness of the trade-offs involved in the optimization of logistical networks.

Research Philosophy and Practice

Semester 2 (mandatory)

Provides an understanding of the social science research process, as well as theory and approaches to research. Develops practical skills (i.e. quantitative and qualitative techniques) in data analysis to transform the raw data into information that guides marketing management valuations.


A dissertation on a related topic is then completed over the summer months.

Teaching team: Research and industry expertise

Guest lectures: a dynamic approach to learning

On this programme you will learn as much through experience as you will from the textbook.

You with have weekly lectures and seminars with our globally respected academics and researchers, receive guest lectures from leading industry practitioners, go on industrial visits to international organisations, manage supply chain simulations, and attend workshops held annually by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in Edinburgh.

During the most recent academic year, our MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management students received unparalleled industry insights through industrial visits to world-leading organisations such as Amazon, Tesco and Grangemouth Port.

In addition to industrial visits, this programme offers regular guest speakers from highly-experienced practitioners. This year we have enjoyed guest lectures from:

  • Emeritus Professor Alan MacKinnon, global leader in Green Logistics.
  • Innis Cameron, Director of Clarkson Port Services and Chairman of Aberdeen Port Users Association
  • Directors of Shipping 360, a London Based Shipping Company
  • Turkish Ambassador to Scotland, expert on Disaster Management on Supply Chain Strategy.
  • Professor Gyongyi Kovacs, a world leader in Humanitarian Logistics
  • Peter Kidd, Deputy Head Commercial for Defence Infrastructure Organisation
  • Martin Elgood from Zupplychain, expert on warehouse space for the online marketplace

You will have the opportunity to take part in team-building and leadership events during the first few weeks of the programme. View our Team Building 2015 photo gallery.