Logistics education: a look at the current state of the art and science

Heather Lutz (Opus College of Business, University of St Thomas, St Paul, Minnesota, USA)
Laura Birou (Department of Management and Information Systems, College of Business, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana, USA)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Publication date: 11 June 2013



This paper aims to provide the results of a large‐scale survey of courses dedicated to the field of logistics in higher education. This research is unique because it represents the first large‐scale study of both undergraduate and graduate logistics courses.


Content analysis was performed on each syllabus to identify the actual course coverage: requirements, pedagogy and content emphasis. Content analysis is a descriptive approach to categorize data and the results may be limited by the categorizations used in analysis. This aggregated information was utilized to compare historical research findings in this area with the current skills identified as important for career success. These data provide input for gap analysis between offerings in higher education and those needs identified by practitioners.


Data gathering efforts yielded a sample of 118 logistics courses representing 77 schools and six different countries. The aggregate number of topics covered in undergraduate courses totalled 95, while graduate courses covered 81 different topics. The primary evaluation techniques include the traditional exams, projects and homework. Details regarding learning objectives and grading schema are provided along with a gap analysis between the coverage of logistics courses and the needs identified by practitioners.


The goal is to use these data as a means of continuous improvement in the quality and value of the educational experience. The findings are designed to foster information sharing and provide data for benchmarking efforts in the development of logistics courses and curricula in academia as well as training and development by professionals in the field of logistics.



Lutz, H. and Birou, L. (2013), "Logistics education: a look at the current state of the art and science", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 455-467. https://doi.org/10.1108/SCM-08-2012-0269



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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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