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        Graduate Programs, Supply Chain Management

        Auburn establishes new supply chain management doctoral degree program

        November 7, 2023 By Laura Schmitt

        All News


        Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business has formally launched a doctoral degree in supply chain management, making it the fourth Ph.D. program in the college.

        The doctorate in business, supply chain management (SCM) trains candidates to generate new knowledge through innovative research conducted closely with Harbert faculty—a group that ranks among the top 10 in the world for empirical supply chain management research productivity. In addition, the degree program prepares students for fulfilling careers as tenure-track faculty.

        Shashank Rao

        Professor Shashank Rao, director of the Supply Chain Management Ph.D. program.

        "We are building colleagues and that’s how we treat [the students] from day one,” said Jim W. Thompson Professor Shashank Rao, director of the SCM Ph.D. program.

        According to Rao, the generous doctoral stipend, collaboration opportunities with Auburn’s world-class RFID Lab, ability to select a topic of one’s choice, and an expectation of publishing research results in a top-tier journal prior to graduation are four ways that differentiate the Auburn SCM Ph.D. degree from other top programs nationwide.

        The students receive generous stipends that are more competitive than other SCM Ph.D. programs. “We worked on providing funding from the start and wanted to be better than anyone else,” said Rao, referring to the candidates currently enrolled in the program.

        Consistently ranked among the best university SCM departments in the country, the Auburn research and education programs and faculty are highly regarded across a broad range of topics.

        “Students can focus on anything that interests them within the broader supply chain umbrella,” said Rao, noting that current doctoral students are conducting research on food transportation security, crowdfunding and crowdsourcing, and risk and resilience related to operational preparedness among other topics. “We can provide support in almost any area because we have a really strong [faculty].”

        Before they graduate, Rao said, every student is expected to have at least one article published in an elite journal.

        “We practically require it and will provide every resource necessary to help make it happen,” he said. “There are also opportunities for students to work with the RFID Lab on campus, where they can access tons of data from leading businesses like Dillard’s and Walmart. That’s not something you’d get elsewhere.”

        Candidates accepted to the SCM doctoral program typically take four years to complete the degree, rather than the five years it takes at many other schools, Rao said.

        The foundation for Auburn’s SCM doctorate

        Up until this year, the SCM Ph.D. program had been thriving as a specialty area within the college’s information systems doctoral program, said Harbert Eminent Scholar Glenn Richey, the former chair of the SCM department who laid the groundwork for creating an independent SCM doctoral program five years ago.

        “Today, our success is not a mere accident; it is the result of unwavering commitment and relentless pursuit of academic and industry excellence,” said Richey. “Our faculty provide research leadership as editors of top-tier journals, many of our professors have a wealth of industry experience, we have invaluable industry sponsors and an interdisciplinary approach to learning, and an extensive trail of research contributions in the top journals.”

        The industry sponsors largely engage with the department through the Center for Supply Chain Innovation, which was established as part of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert’s transformational $40 million naming gift.

        The success Richey cites is evident in the career paths of earlier doctoral graduates who are now tenure-track faculty at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Iowa State University, Mississippi State University, and the University of Tennessee, as well through the national rankings of SCM programs.

        For example, the department is ranked:

        “We invite candidates to join this remarkable journey, one that transcends older thinking in supply chain management and pushes the boundaries of knowledge generation for industry,” said Richey. “Join us in shaping the future of supply chain management and making a lasting impact for the betterment of the world.”

        Applications for the SCM Ph.D. program are due February 1 for admission to the fall semester.

        Learn more about the Auburn SCM Ph.D. program.


        The Harbert College of Business which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert's transformational naming gift, is a nationally ranked hub of undergraduate, graduate and continuing business education that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders. Our world-class faculty deliver unparalleled academic rigor in the classroom, while our research-driven scholarship advances thought leadership and best practice across business disciplines. The largest college on Auburn's campus, Harbert enrolls more than 6,900 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.