Plan of Study

Below is a typical plan of study for the MS in Technology Leadership and Innovation with an area of interest in Industrial Distribution. Some classes may change when you enter the program—we're always evaluating and updating our curriculum to make sure it's relevant for you.

Semester 1 (fall)

  • Metrics & Evaluation for the Distribution Industry: An introduction to measurement strategies in industrial, technical and human resource development environments. Students will study various data and scale types, the application and interpretation of descriptive and inferential statistics for research designs, and the use of software to compute statistical analysis. (3 credits)
  • Global Supply Chain Management: The objective of this course is to provide in-depth knowledge of global supply chain management. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge of supply chain management terminology, issues and models; construct supply chain models and identify advantages and limitations; critically evaluate supply chain management techniques in applied case studies; and independently develop in-depth knowledge of a supply chain and present the findings in a coherent and informative manner. (3 credits)
  • Competitive Intelligence Gathering; Research & Writing for Business & Industry: Exploration of tools and techniques for gathering, analyzing and communicating data from external primary and secondary sources to assist in maintaining or developing a competitive advantage. Includes a study of utilization and writing practices using the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. (2 credits)

Semester 2 (spring)

  • Operations Systems Technology for the Distribution Environment: An information technology study of methods to build both a managerial and technical understanding of automatic data collection applications in distribution environments with comprehension in project design, evaluation and implementation. Examines biometrics technology as it relates to security, access control and the authentication of individuals. The course will examine biometric technologies including iris, face, finger, hand geometry, dynamic signature verification, skin print analysis and voice recognition. The course also includes modules on warehousing technologies, operations, physical and logistical security, and government regulations. (3 credits)
  • Analysis of Research in Industry & Technology: This course provides a balanced presentation of fundamental research concepts and practical applications of research methodologies in distribution environments. The course is designed to follow the typical path of research projects to allow students to develop a methodology for a research project during the course. Such projects are designed with a focus on managerial decisions, emphasizing the need for sound reasoning, problem identification and formulation, and testing. The course places a strong emphasis on understanding the application of fundamental statistical methods in research design, as well as the interpretation of research findings in industrial, technical and human resource development environments. (3 credits)
  • Problems in Business & Industry; Emerging Opportunities for Competitive Advantage: Study of the systems models and mechanisms by which organizations gain a competitive advantage over rivals within the distribution arena. Investigates the importance of integrating business strategy and strategic information technology for competitive advantage. (2 credits)
  • NOTE: The final session will include a one-hour evening or lunch session with a one-hour introduction to the summer course and the Distribution Finance Prep.


  • Directed MS Capstone Proposal: A formal investigation of a particular problem under the guidance of the advisory committee. Enrollment during at least two consecutive terms for a total of three credits is required. (1 credit)
  • Prework for Distribution Finance: Read book on finance for non-financial managers and take pre-test until receiving a passing grade.

Semester 3 (fall)

  • Financial Management for Distribution: Financial analysis and business valuation for the distribution industry. Explores how financial statements are prepared and analyzed and how key financial ratios and industry trends are used in managerial decision-making. Builds on key financial terms and calculations such as NPV, cash flow, inflation, rate of return, currency, etc. for use in making good economic decisions, merger and acquisition opportunity analysis, and project analysis. (3 credits)
  • Sales Management & Negotiation for the Distribution Industry: This course focuses on business-to-business sales management, including exposure to practical interpersonal skills involving group presentations, negotiations and sales, and social media. It covers areas of sales management with a focus on the relationship between the functions of marketing and sales within organizations and the effect on corporate performance. The learning goals are to evaluate different business situations and select appropriate selling approaches; apply key elements of sales management, personal selling and negotiation theory specific to business relationships; and recommend appropriate sales management strategies for recruitment, selection, development, supervision, motivation and evaluation of salespeople. (3 credits)
  • Project Management: The factors influencing decisions during the initiation, implementation and termination of distribution projects are examined. Students work as project teams, using project management tools and software to develop implementation strategies. (2 credits)

Semester 4 (spring)

  • Lean & Six Sigma Applications: Examines the contemporary issues of continuous improvement in quality and productivity in the distribution industry. Includes a close examination of the evolving philosophies' bearing on the scope, implementation, improvement and costs of quality assurance programs in industry and technology. Heavy emphasis on Six Sigma Quality and Lean Distribution concepts. (3 credits)
  • Strategic Policy Management for the Distribution Industry: Examines concepts, models and methods useful for developing strategic initiatives in industrial business environments. Focuses on planning concepts including industry structure, strategic mission, organizational structures, competitor analysis and technological forecasting magnitude. Includes modules on corporate governance and leadership as well. (3 credits)
  • Directed MS Capstone Course: Opportunity to study specific problems in the field of supervision and personnel under the guidance of a qualified faculty member within the department. (2 credits)