Logistics and Supply Chain Management MSc

  • Delivery: Full Time, Part Time, Per course
  • Programme type: Taught Programme
  • Study location: Edinburgh
  • Entry date: September


Logistics is the term widely used in business for the range of activities associated with the movement, storage and handling of materials. The management of logistics has been revolutionised over the past 30 years and has come to be regarded as a key determinant of business competitiveness. Companies have substantially improved their performance not only by overhauling their internal logistics, but also by managing more effectively their external links with suppliers. This has become known as supply chain management. These developments have created a healthy demand for well-qualified logistics and supply chain managers in most sectors of the economy.

Our MSc Logistics programme examines current practices, trends and issues in logistics and supply chain management and we have a full programme of courses, site visits and guest speakers that provides a rich and fulfilling experience for you over the academic year.  

Programme duration

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

Professional recognition

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
  • Scott Logic

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.

For further details of CILT accreditation and membership visit www.ciltuk.org.uk

CIPS accreditation

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

For further details of CIPS accreditation and membership visit www.cips.org

Programme content

Semester 1 (Sep - Dec)Semester 2 (Jan - April)
Strategies for Managing Supply ChainsDemand and Inventory Planning
Global Purchasing & SupplySupply Network Design & Optimisation
Freight Transport and Warehouse ManagementResearch Philosophy and Practice

One from:

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

One from:

  • Maritime Business and Economics
  • Quality Management & Engineering
  • System Thinking & Analysis
  • Green & 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 & 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 & 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.

Your career

  • Video 1

Graduate profiles

Emma Ross

  • Degree MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management
  • Present jobGraduate Management Trainee with Tesco

Emma graduated in 2012 and is currently working for Tesco based in Livingston, a 1,000,000 sq ft warehouse with over 3,000 deliveries to stores a week.

"I am on the distribution graduate scheme aiming to become a senior team manager. The scheme gives me great experience across distribution in warehouse, transport and personnel.

I am currently on placement in the Transport department. The planning of routes to stores from Livingston (using road, rail, sea and air!) can be very complex, and a significant part of our job in Transport is to ensure we use as little ‘road miles’ as possible.  The green agenda is of high importance to us and investments in bio-fuels and improving partnerships with suppliers in order to reduce CO2 is an on-going agenda. With the changing face of retail and more multi-channel shopping than ever before the challenge of keeping costs and CO2 low is only going to get harder, and being part of that battle is very rewarding.

The courses offered at Heriot-Watt are what made the university stand out to me. The variety of modules mixed with the ‘real world’ experience of the lectures made studying towards my MSc at Heriot-Watt a very rewarding experience. The facilities on campus allowed group work or silent study with a variety of spaces to book or use freely. In particular the top floor of the postgraduate building was a great place to work on projects together.

The knowledge I gained whilst on the MSc has certainly given me an edge in my field as I was already familiar
with the concepts and theories behind logistics and supply chain management. To be able to understand and add value to the day to day activities has really helped me so far on my placements in Tesco.

Study what you enjoy! The great thing about some of the courses at Heriot-Watt is the flexibility and variety.
Many of my classmates were studying business with a specialty in logistics or fashion marketing. That ability to choose the postgraduate course that is right for you is important.

I would also advise to get involved in as many of the extra-curricular activities for postgraduates as possible. Many of the friends I made had never been to the UK and the groups available for them to join really helped them transition into Scottish life!

Industry links

Many of the guest speakers on the programme are senior executives with wide experience of logistics and give an insight into current approaches, practices and techniques being applied in the logistics sector.

In addition there is a series of site visits, mainly to distribution centres, which give students the opportunity to see best practice in action and to have useful discussions with professional logistics practitioners.

Career opportunities

Students graduating in previous years have taken up logistics management posts with an impressive list of companies including DHL, Diageo, BP Chemicals, IKEA, Coca-Cola, Proctor and Gamble, Unilever, Maersk, Tesco and Rolls Royce.

Entry requirements

A good Honours degree (first or second class), or its non-UK equivalent, in a relevant subject from a recognised British or overseas university.

Work or project experience in a logistics-related field will be of further advantage.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we’ll need to see evidence of your English language ability.

The minimum English language requirement for entry to this programme is IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component lower than 6.0.

If you do not have IELTS 6.5, we offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement for this programme prior to commencing your studies:

  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills)
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading & writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking & listening)
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum 5.5 in all skills)


Tuition fees

Tuition fees for 2016 entry (by residency status)
Status*Full-timePart-timePer Course
Scotland / Non-UK EU£7800£975
England/Northern Ireland/Wales£7800£975

* If you are unsure which category you fall in to, you should complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess your fees.

Scholarships & bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate taught scholarships and postgraduate research scholarships.