Supply Chain and Operations Management MSc


Fact file

MSc Supply Chain and Operations Management
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
2.1 (or international equivalent) in a business, engineering or science-related discipline
Other requirements
Personal statement and a list of modules being studied in the final year (for applicants who have not yet completed their undergraduate degree)
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
Jubilee Campus
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.


This course explores the decisions made to tackle management problems in business, industry and the public sector, with a focus on supply chains and operations.
Read full overview

The Business School offers four closely-related MSc courses in the field of operations management:

These courses look at methods, models and techniques that are used to resolve organisational difficulties, integrating management techniques and technologies they control.

These courses will suit you if you have qualitative and quantitative skills and are a graduate in management, computer science, engineering or a related discipline and want to pursue a career in operations management. You will also need an ability to analyse problems in a structured way.

Such is the demand from employers for graduates with analytical skills who can apply critical thinking to problem resolution, you can expect to enter a career in management science and/or operations and supply chain management.

Your concluding dissertation, which is undertaken during the summer, demonstrates your integrated knowledge, methodology and practical skills.

Presessional English for Academic Purposes

The Centre for English Language Education (CELE) runs 10-week and 5-week business and management English language and study skills courses. These courses are designed in collaboration with Nottingham University Business School and prepare students going on to programmes in business and management.

If you are close to the English language level you need to go on to the Business School's MSc course and you meet the entry requirements for the relevant CELE course, you may be eligible for a joint offer. This means that:

  • you only need one TIER 4 visa and CAS
  • you take a 10 or 5-week English Language and Academic Skills preparation course, and then go onto your MSc course
  • you have a guaranteed place on the MSc course
  • your progression to the MSc is automatic, provided you attend and complete all the coursework

For more details, please visit the CELE website

Students who enter via the CELE route are exempt from paying the school's £1,000 reservation fee. For more details, please contact us.

Key facts

  • The Business School, across all three campuses (UK, China and Malaysia), is EQUIS accredited by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) - one of the world's leading accrediting bodies for business schools
  • In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) we ranked 6th for research power out of 101 UK business and management institutions
  • We are ranked 12th in the UK for business and management studies in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016 (top 100 worldwide)

Course details

You must accumulate 180 credits to qualify for the award of MSc; 120 from modules taught and examined during two 15-week semesters.

Each taught module typically consists of ten 2-3 hour sessions. Assessment is a combination of individual essays or group projects and written exams.

The remaining 60 credits of this course are allocated to a 12,000-15,000-word individual dissertation on an approved, relevant subject, which is completed over the summer period for submission in September.



Semester one


Management Science for Decision Support

The emphasis in this module is on formulating (modelling) and solving models with spreadsheets. The topics covered include: modelling principles, optimisation and linear programming, network models, introduction to integer programming, key concepts of probability and uncertainty, decision theory, queuing systems and simulation.

Managing Contemporary Operations: Fundamentals and Challenges

Contemporary operations management is introduced through the vehicle of lectures and case studies. Topics include:

  • fundamentals of operations management: operations as a transformation process, the context of operation strategy, how operations add value and enable businesses to compete and/or deliver effective services, differences between services and goods and the goods-service continuum, the role of operations management (strategic, tactical, operational)
  • performance measures: developing performance measures for operations and benchmarking (including customer facing)
  • types of production (ETO, ATO, MTO, MTS), P:D ratios, role of inventory within operations and supply chain, process design including standardisation, order fulfilment processes and their management
  • managing key operations variables: defining capacity and capability, reconciling demand and capacity, handling variety, mass customisation and postponement, service quality vs. cost trade-offs
  • 'push' vs. 'pull systems', theory of constraints, JIT, including Toyota production system (TPS)
  • detection and elimination of waste and the lean philosophy, practices and techniques
  • quality and quality initiatives, unconditional service guarantee
  • Step and continuous improvements, issues associated with implementing initiatives and change in general

A factory visit will be organised early on in the module to provide you with some exposure to industrial operations.

Supply Chain Planning and Management

Module content is divided into four parts:

  1. Supply chain concepts: Classification of supply chains and networks. The importance of supply chain management. The procurement function. Supply chain dynamics. Supply Chain competition.
  2. Supply chain network design and planning. Buyer-supplier relationships and decisions. Sourcing decisions and lean procurement. Inventory positioning. Coordination and integration. Collaborative forecasting, planning and replenishment. Extended enterprise.
  3. Logistics management: The relationship between logistics and SCM - scope of the logistics function. Transport and distribution management. Technologies for logistics and SC management. Outsourcing the Logistics function - 3PL and 4PL.
  4. Supply chain and reverse logistics strategies. Performance, costs, agility and robustness in SCM and Logistics. Strategic planning for integrated SCM and logistics solutions. Sustainable Supply Chains.


Choose one module from the following list:

Fundamentals of Management Information Systems

The module covers the following:

  • Fundamentals IS concepts: definitions and typology
  • Historical context, including the evolution of the internet
  • Why IT matters to the modern business
  • Key technologies; Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Systems (ERP), the Cloud, Knowledge Management
  • Digital Business Models
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Digital Business Ecosystems
  • Law and IT
  • Technology adoption
  • Management of IT: insourcing, outsourcing, maturity models
Project Management

The module covers the following:

  • Definitions and classifications of projects
  • Objectives in project management - time, costs, quality
  • Activity identification
  • Resources and resource management
  • Critical Path Method, programme evaluation and review technique, and resource scheduling
  • Performance measurement and costs
  • Project lifecycles and models
  • Project teams and leadership in project management
  • Managing risk in projects
  • Critical Chain Planning Method
  • Analysis of project success and failure
  • Monte Carlo Simulation
  • Project management software

Semester two


Quality Management and Quality Techniques

There are two main divisions of the material:

Quality management
Historical introduction to the development of quality management thinking. The need for quality, definitions, ideas and concepts of quality. Quality gurus: Deming, Juran, Crosby, Taguchi, etc. Variation and quality improvement, problem-solving tools, Kaizen, Six Sigma. Culture change for Total Quality Management (TQM); empowerment, team-building, motivation. Business excellence awards (MBNQA, EFQM). Quality Management Systems (ISO 9000); auditing and certification. Quality economics, quality performance measures, benchmarking. Supply chain quality. Service quality.

Quality techniques
Process capability: Variation Risk Management, loss functions, capability assessment. PCIs, non-normality, Six Sigma approaches. SPC charts: Shewhart charts for attributes and variables. CUSUM, EWMA. Acceptance sampling for attributes and variables. Advanced quality planning - QFD and FMEA. Quality Data management. Taguchi Statistical Robust Design. Total Preventative Maintenance.

Procurement and Purchasing

The module covers the following:

  • Sourcing strategies and structures
  • Supplier selection and segmentation
  • Services procurement
  • Retail buying
  • Negotiation
  • Supplier involvement
  • Public sector procurement
  • Sustainable procurement
Supply Chain and Operations Strategy in Practice

Module content is divided into three major parts:

  1. Strategy, Context of supply chain and operations strategy. The range of strategic decisions within and between operations. The impact of competition on operations and supply chains. Supply chain strategies for coordination and integration. Collaborative forecasting, planning and replenishment. Strategic perspectives of operations in the virtual and extended enterprises.
  2. Performance measurement, Concept and importance of performance measurement within supply chain and operations management. Financial, non-financial, single and multi-factor measures. Approaches and techniques for developing customer facing and internal measures including Balanced Scorecard and Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model. Selection and application of key performance indicators. Importance of intra and inter-organisational benchmarking and approaches to target setting.
  3. Current Practice, Current supply chain management, logistics, and operations management approaches in specific industries/sectors. Pertinent issues and drivers of change in practicing supply chain and operations management.


Choose one module from the following list:

Advanced Operations Analysis

This module covers the following:

  • More advanced forecasting techniques (including more advanced time series and causal models)
  • Inventory modelling (quantity discount models; joint replenishment; reorder point , lot size systems; periodic review models; news vendor model; (S-1, S) model; multi-warehouse situations)
  • Push/pull/conwip and TOC production systems
  • Shop floor control; buffer management and line balancing
  • Operations scheduling and sequencing
  • Managing variety and variability; Postponement; Mass customisation
  • Managing MRP based planning and control systems
  • Organising the planning and control function, sales and operations planning and operations planning and control software
Business Intelligence and Analytics

This module covers the following:

  • Basic concepts of business intelligence and decision support
  • Data warehousing and ETL online analytical processing (OLAP)
  • Multidimensional data cubes
  • Data, text and web mining
  • BI and business proves improvement
  • Deriving business value from BI: case studies
  • Implementation of BI: management challenges
  • A look at Open Source BI systems (eg Pentaho)
  • Artificial intelligence and expert systems: an overview

The e-Business module is aimed at future managers and business people who want to know how information and communications technologies (ICTs) can help them to be successful in their careers by understanding how companies use these technologies.

International Transport and Logistics

The module focuses on international transport and logistics management within the global business environment. As such, it covers a breadth of operational, technological, economic and regulatory issues relevant to transport and logistics practice.

Specific topics covered include: the modes of transport and their underlying operational and economic characteristics, the nature of regulation and competition in international transport and logistics operations, freight costs and pricing, and relevant trade and customs procedures. Lectures are further underpinned by seminars and group activities.

Management Information Systems: Theory to Practice

The module covers the following:

  • Designing Information Systems: tools of the trade
  • Relational databases and SQL
  • Systems thinking: soft systems and sociotechnical design
  • Alignment of IT and business strategy
  • Data manipulation
  • Technology, organisation and change
  • Business process re-engineering
  • Interface design
Management Science for Decision Support II

In this module, the emphasis is on decision modelling and algorithms for decision making. The topics will include:

  • Simplex algorithm for linear programming
  • Branch and Bound algorithms for integer programming
  • Dynamic programming
  • Non-linear programming
  • Multi-criteria decision-making
  • Combinatorial optimisation and meta heuristics

Examples illustrate the use of these algorithms for decision making.

Service Operations Management

The module covers the following:

  • The role of operations management in services
  • Comparative analysis of similarities and dissimilarities and manufacturing and service operations
  • Unique features of services
  • The development and delivery of a service package
  • Design of service operations
  • Strategies for balancing capacity and demand
  • Strategies for structuring and managing queues in services
  • Understanding and managing customer expectations and perceptions in services and their implications on quality of service provision
  • Tools and techniques for service quality management
  • Strategies for creating, developing and expanding services nationally and globally
  • The role of ICT in enhancing strategic and operational efficiencies of services
  • Service supply chain management

The ideas and concepts will be illustrated and delivered through examples and case studies.


The module covers the following:

  • The simulation approach
  • Discrete event simulation
  • Computer simulation and software
  • Random sampling, experimental design and interpretation of results
  • Agent-based simulation
  • Web-based simulation
  • Continuous system simulation
  • Hands-on work with an appropriate simulation software package and associated assessed exercise


The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



Funding may be available through the Business School. Funding information can also be found on the Graduate School website.

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Applications for 2017 entry scholarships will open in late 2016. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.



Postgraduate careers team

As a postgraduate student in Nottingham University Business School you will have access to our specialist in-house postgraduate careers team to help you develop your career management skills and explore your career options. Through a combination of your academic studies and the careers support on offer you will be in an excellent position to enhance your career prospects.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2015, 97% of postgraduates in the Nottingham University Business School who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £29,221 with the highest being £55,700.*

Career destinations for our graduates include accountants, finance and investment analysts, higher education teaching professionals, investment bankers, IT business analysts, management consultants, marketing professionals, public relations professionals and university researchers.

* Known destinations of full-time home higher degree postgraduates 2014/15. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career prospects and employability

The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential.

Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.

Get in touch
+44 (0)115 951 5559


Nottingham University Business School
Jubilee Campus
Social Science videos

Social Science videos


The Enquiry Centre

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

t: +44 (0) 115 951 5559
f: +44 (0) 115 951 5812
w: Frequently asked questions
Make an enquiry