MSc in Purchasing & Supply Management


Program Description

As a student in Purchasing and Supply Management, you directly benefit from our leading position in research. You will not only get into contact with latest trends in practice but will also be confronted with inspiring research. Studying at the University of Twente enables you to make a difference in firms.

What is Purchasing & Supply Management?

A typical industrial firm in Europe spends about 60% of its turnover on supplies. This figure indicates that Purchasing is important and, to stay competitive, firms need to manage their supply effectively. Effective management of a firm’s supplies is the responsibility of Purchasing and Supply managers: they search, select, contract and eventually manage suppliers to ensure the supply of materials and services that a firm needs.

The importance of Supply Management is greater than ever. In recent years Purchasing has gained considerable importance with firms. As a consequence, adequately trained personnel is required and excellent job prospects for purchasers emerge. The master specialization in Purchasing and Supply management educates such Purchasing managers, preparing students for a future in this promising field. Similarly, it is also an important responsibility of project leaders, production managers, facilities managers et cetera who are partially involved with Purchasing and Supply management.

Typically, the Purchasing department of a firm is divided into the strategic sourcing and the operative procurement groups. The first group being responsible for supplier selection and contracting, the latter for the execution of purchasing orders. Recently, technology-oriented companies started to implement a third group, often called “advanced sourcing” or “procurement engineering”. These groups manage the interface between strategic sourcing and the research & development department. Hence, Purchasing and Supply management is different from “supply chain management” (SCM). SCM is commonly understood as the optimization of logistics processes, ensuring an optimal scheduling, transport, and storage of supplies. PSM and SCM require different skills. The master specialization in Purchasing and Supply management at the University of Twente is one of the few programs dedicated to the training of purchasers.

Why Study PSM?

1. Best job prospects for PSM graduates

Reflecting the growing importance of supply management due to a change in business practices, the relevance of Purchasing is steadily increasing. As a consequence, there is a high demand for academically trained Purchasing professionals. Out of this discrepancies, excellent job prospects for well-educated purchasers arise.

2. International topic

The Purchasing function is very international. Studying in the English language at an international university in a border region prepares you for this opportunity. Next to this, we offer the unique possibility to broaden your international experience by joining our double degree program with our partner university in Lappeenranta, Finland.

3. A job with many interfaces boosting your career

Purchasers are members of many cross-functional teams, typically interfacing with research & development, production, logistics, controlling, but also marketing and others. Within a firm, this unique interconnectedness allows purchasers to build up a good network, which often is a gateway to further managerial responsibilities. Our educational program is oriented towards educating the cross-functionally effective executive in order to support this potential.

Why Study PSM at the University of Twente?

1. Unique offering in Twente

Twente is the only Dutch university to offer a specific Purchasing and Supply management specialisation in the master and one of the few public universities in Europe to offer such courses. Following the unique offering of Twente, you build up a personal competitive advantage.

2. Study at a center of excellence

The University of Twente has excellent Purchasing professors and research groups (in industrial Purchasing, Public Procurement and Supply Management in construction and project business, working together in the UTIPS centre). There is hardly any place with such a concentration of Purchasing know-how. Join this centre of excellence!

3. Combine theory and practice

The master program in Twente allows combining theory and practice already in an early stage of your study. The one year program starts with one-quarter of classes and then, in the second quarter, you can already start with your thesis, just to follow another quarter of courses and finally finish your thesis in the fourth quarter.

4. Inspiring teachers from academia and practice

Our teachers combine academic excellence with practical applicability. For instance, the professors Schiele and Telgen have ten respectively 25 years experience in the industry and consulting. Dr. Loohuis, who offers the course B2B marketing, has worked as key accounter with an automotive supplier before writing his PhD. Dr. Pulles, Dr. Hoffmann and Dr. von Raesfeld-Meier are award-winning researchers. You will also follow courses provided by practitioners, like the expert in health Purchasing Dr. Schotanus or Dr. Horn and Dr. Mohr, who is head “Purchasing Strategy and Systems” in a large firm.

5. Choose a profile: Industrial purchasing or Public procurement

Our specialisations in the supply management department offer you the choice to either prepare for working in an industrial firm or in a public institution like ministries, hospitals, educational institutions or municipalities. Students of the industrial variant profit from studying at a technical university. Next, to Purchasing, the University of Twente is excellent in technology and innovation management studies.

6. Find a job at our recruitment fair

The Purchasing students of Twente regularly organize the only job fair in Europe exclusively dedicated to employer-student bonding in Purchasing and Supply management – the UTPC (University of Twente Purchasing Conference).

Who Should Study PSM?


…with a Purchasing background: If you already have a background in purchasing, either through your previous studies at the university or first job experience, the PSM master is ideal for you. Assuming an understanding of commodity management, the master program provides you with the additional knowledge needed for taking up managerial or staff roles or preparing for special roles such as procurement engineering or public procurement.

…with a general business administration background: If you do not yet have a background in Purchasing, yet, you follow an introductory course in Purchasing management.

…with a technical background: For students with a technical background, PSM offers an excellent opportunity to acquire management skills. Instead of following a general MBA course, PSM offers you an insight into a business by following the general master courses which are part of the MSc in business administration program. On top, you are prepared for a job in Purchasing or Purchasing related / interfacing fields.

Program Structure

The MSc in Business Administration program at the University of Twente is a one year program (60EC). It consists of one interdisciplinary course per semester (10EC) and the specialization in Purchasing and Supply Management of four courses (20EC) and the master thesis (30EC).

You can optionally and separately candidate for a double diploma. In that case, the program will consist of 120EC (two years).

Course Descriptions

The general design of the specialization follows the layout of the Purchasing department of a modern firm: students get acquainted with the groups and tasks covered, including the role of the Chief Purchasing Officer (CPO). Didactically, we blend lectures with group work and the preparation of academic papers with practice assignments and novel teaching forms such as serious gaming. Content-wise, the following three guidelines have been applied when designing the courses:

1. Combining academic excellence with practical relevance

Studying at a leading research university like the University of Twente implies that courses reflect state-of-the-art research. A strong emphasis on academic thinking equips you with skills for problem-solving in the future. At the same time, we have dedicated considerable attention to ensure practical application and exposure to current state-of-the-art research and practice. We selected a mix of academically excellent teachers and those coming from practice.

2. Training for a cross-functional business world

More than most other employees, purchasers interact with members from many other business functions in firms and often join cross-functional teams. Our courses reflect the cross-functional business reality and, for instance, mix Purchasing students with those from the marketing profile as well as those from innovation management.

3. Purchasers as board members

Companies exist by selling, but - nowadays - earn profits by functions as Purchasing. However, not all firms have realized this strategic opportunity yet. The implication is that firms greatly benefit from considering supply issues in their overall strategic positioning. Our master courses follow the approach of the Purchasing function being fully represented at a firm’s board table.

Last updated Sep 2018

About the School

At the University of Twente, we are pioneers AT infusing technology, science, and engineering with social sciences to impact the world around us. Our driving force as students, scientists and educator ... Read More

At the University of Twente, we are pioneers AT infusing technology, science, and engineering with social sciences to impact the world around us. Our driving force as students, scientists and educators is a deep sense of connection with people who share a curious, entrepreneurial spirit. Read less