What are the Hardest College Majors

Hardest College Majors

One of the first big decisions that you have to make that relates to college is your major. Picking your major is very important because it has a large factor in determining your career.

You may want to know what is the hardest college majors to help you in the decision process? The hardest is going to be majors in science, mathematics, engineering, or medical. These majors have some tough classes that you will need to study a ton to pass.

We will look at the hardest majors to get a degree in below.  

You need to figure out what is your passion to help figure out a major then career.

Another important thing to investigate is the course load and salaries. If you are interested in having a higher salary once you graduate and are in a fulltime career, usually harder majors lead to higher salaries.

You will need to understand that harder majors tend to have a lot harder course load. 

A lot of times people with harder majors will have to spend a lot more time on classwork and homework. This is all very important when it comes to choosing a major.

If you know that you are someone who cannot handle a heavy course load, then you may not want to choose a hard major.

On the other hand, if you are someone who wants to make a ton of money after graduation then investigate high paying professions. The high paying profession will often equate to the harder majors.

Let’s look at the tough majors.

#1 Chemistry

Chemistry is a popular major within the groups of students interested in attending medical school. Majoring in chemistry is also a great idea if you are interested in being a professor or being involved with research during or after graduation.

Chemistry is known as the central science. It focuses on composition, structure, and matter.

Students in chemistry have to take several math courses including Calculus one and two, and also take several other science classes like physics and biology. Chemistry students take a lot of different lab courses and take many levels of chemistry including organic chemistry.

Pros of Chemistry

  • There is a wide range of career options after graduation and most of them end with high salaries.
  • Increase critical thinking and research skills
  • Many different fields to go into such as biochemists, chemical technicians, environmental science, physicists, hydrologists, plus much more

Cons of Chemistry

  • Time commitment
  • Hard and rigorous classes
  • Most students with chemistry majors will have to go to graduate school because career choices become limited

There is a wide range of end goals and careers that go along with majoring in chemistry. You could go on to graduate school, law school, medical school, physician’s assistant school, etc.

Top chemistry colleges include:

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Loyola University
  • Yale University
  • Duke University
  • William and Mary

However, the potential salary of chemistry majors who end up being scientists ranges from $70,000 to $90,000.

#2 Mathematics

A math degree is a popular decision for people who are interested in going into actuarial, statistician, academia, and teaching careers. As a math major, you will take all the top-level math courses in school.

If you are interested in being a teacher, you can even minor in education. If you do not plan on teaching, the popular option is usually graduate school.

Many math majors add minors that correlate to the career they are interested in most. This can range from business to science.

Pros of Mathematics

  • High salaries depending on your career path
  • Math majors the jobs they get are high salaries and they have many options

Cons of Mathematics

  • Some of the career options require more schooling
  • The course load that goes along with being a math major is a lot of time commitment

It is hard to gather an exact average salary for this major saying because of the varying jobs and pay.

Some people end up teaching in middle schools and others end up being professors at universities.

The average salary can range anywhere from $55,000 to $90,000.

#3 Computer Science Engineering

Engineering has recently become a more popular major. If you are interested in computers and coding, then computer science is definitely the way for you to go.

You can go to graduate school for engineering, but most students have no problem getting a great job right out of undergrad. You will take a lot of math, engineering, and coding classes with this major.

Pros of Computer Science Engineering

  • This major you can work at a wide range of companies
  • You will always have a good stable job
  • Great salary

Cons of Computer Science Engineering

  • Time commitment
  • Hard class schedule that you will have to endure during your undergraduate career

The average salary for a computer science engineer is around $80,000 to $100,000.

#4 Economics

Economics is a good choice for anyone interested in being an economist, economic consultant, or lawyer. It is usually one of the most popular undergraduate majors for students applying to law schools.

If you are interested in choosing this major, you will a bunch of economics classes and business classes. You may be required to take language classes as well.

Pros of Economics

  • There are usually not as many required classes for the actual major
  • You have a lot of room when deciding for a career
  • You can get a major in economics through a Bachelor of Arts program or a Bachelor of Science program

Cons of Economics

  • The con is that some of the career options require grad school

The average salary of an economics major can range anywhere from $70,000 to $100,000.

#5 Mechanical Engineering

As I said earlier, engineering majors are becoming more and more popular. The most popular engineering major is mechanical engineering.

Mechanical engineering is a broader form of engineering that allows you to choose between multiple different career paths.

Mechanical engineering applies engineering, physics, mathematics, and materials science ideas to design, manufacture, and maintain different types of mechanical systems.

This will be one of the hardest college majors so make sure you are ready to study.

If you choose this major, you will take classes like chemistry, physics, calculus 1-3, linear algebra, and a range of engineering courses.

Pros of Mechanical Engineering

  • Job prospects once graduating is really high
  • Great starting salary
  • A large gap in graduates to jobs, so demand is high
  • Global opportunities to work
  • You are at the head of new technology

Cons of Mechanical Engineering

  • The con is that management opportunities require a graduate degree
  • You have to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam

The average salary of an economics major can average $84,700.

#6 Physics

Physics is kind of similar to the path of majoring in chemistry. Many students go in assuming they will go to some sort of professional school. As a physics major, you will take many top-level math and science courses including linear algebra, differential equations, calculus 1-3, chemistry, biology, etc.

The number is around 40% that join the workforce after getting a bachelor of a physics degree.

Pros of Physics

  • Opens many doors for research and academic careers
  • A great stepping stone to lead you to multiple different successful career choices such as a physics teacher, lab assistant, accelerator operator, optical engineer, etc.

Cons of Physics

  • Most of the time it requires a graduate degree and that the coursework while in school is very heavy
  • Every semester you will be taking upper-level science and math courses
  • You may also be required or encouraged to get involved in undergraduate research as well which is more time and work

The average salary for a physics major is around $50,000 to $80,000.

#7 Nursing

If you are interested in the medical field but do not want to go to medical or professional school, nursing is the right option for you. Nursing programs tend to be hard to get into, so your first year of undergraduate will be spent studying to make sure you get into the program.

You will take several science courses and be required to complete a certain number of clinical hours to get your degree.

Pros of Nursing

  • You only need a bachelors to get a job unless you want to specialize and
  • Job availability is excellent
  • Hospitals are looking for nurses so you can work anywhere
  • You get to help people with medical issues
  • Very flexible schedules, I know people that can take a month off or only work 3 days a week
  • Casual work clothes

Cons of Nursing

  • You may not get into the nursing school program that you want
  • There are clinicals you will have to do in school
  • May get burned out
  • Exposure to viruses and diseases

The average salary of a nurse is $70,000.

#8 Finance/ Accounting

If you are more interested in the business field, finance or accounting is the way to go. Financial planners and accountants make the most among the people in the business world and have the most leniency to switch potions and careers.

You will take many business courses including economics, accounting, finance, marketing, logistics, operations, business law, etc. You will be highly encouraged to get internships and stay involved on campus.

Pros of Finance/Accounting

  • A business major for finance you only need a bachelor’s degree 
  • Getting a business degree in finance/accounting will allow you to easily switch career paths
  • High salary ceiling
  • The jobs are in high demand

Cons of Finance/Accounting

  • You will have a tough course load
  • Will have to graduate with 150 credit hours if you want to be an accountant (that is almost 30 more credit hours than other majors)
  • May be boring
  • Can be a stressful career

The average salary for a finance or accounting major is around $80,000.

#9 Architecture

Architecture focuses on the process and the product of designing, planning, and then constructing buildings or other types of structures. Architecture majors spend most of their days in the studio working on projects.

Pros of Architecture

  • An architecture degree you normally only need a bachelor’s degree
  • High salary
  • You will not get bored
  • Very respected field

Cons of Architecture

  • A big con is the number of hours you will have to put into the studying and career
  • You will need to go through a ton of training
  • Getting a job depends on how good the economy is doing, buildings are not built if the economy is not doing well

The average salary of an architect is around $80,000.


Many college majors will lead you to success. It is simply important to know what the course load is like and you can handle it.

It is also good to know how much you may be earning once you get out of school, especially if you have debt. Just take the time to put in the research and figure out what is best for you.

The hardest college majors can help you land a solid job making good money.

You may want to check out the easiest college degrees.

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