Everyone knows that getting a college degree can be academically demanding for students. However, not all degree programs are created equal, as some areas of study are far more challenging than others. While you should not choose your college major by the difficulty or the ease of its coursework, you should know what you’re getting into when you choose one.

As you head off for college, one of the most important things you’ll need to decide is what major you’re going to choose. In order to make a well-informed choice, it’s good to know which programs are hardest to complete. Here is a list of five of the most difficult degrees available:

1. Engineering

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Engineering is widely regarded as one of the most difficult college degrees. Typically, engineering majors have a specialty focus, such as biomedical engineering, architectural engineering, or aerospace engineering. Regardless of the specific area of interest, however, one thing is clear: engineering students have to study a lot. According to the National Survey of Student Engagement, engineering majors spend more time studying (19 hours per week) than students in any other degree program!

2. Physical Sciences

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Not surprisingly, students pursuing a degree in the physical sciences also spend a great deal of their time in the library. In fact, physical sciences students claim to spend, on average, 18 hours a week studying and preparing for their classes. As is the case with engineering, physical sciences students choose a specialized area of study, such as chemistry, geology, or physics, all subjects that are heavily mathematics-oriented as well. Given this emphasis on math as well as science, it’s easy to see how majoring in the physical sciences can be challenging for students.

3. Psychology


It’s not just the hard sciences that make for challenging college majors, however, as another recent article lists psychology as a particularly difficult college degree. Psychology majors focus on studying the human mind, how it functions, and how our mental processes are represented in our behavior, all of which takes a great deal of studying to master. Not only is a degree in psychology challenging in its own right, but it also sets up students for getting postgraduate work in both medical school and law school, which are notoriously difficult degrees as well.

4. Business

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Compared to other degrees, such as engineering, business students actually don’t spend that much time hitting the books. However, time spent studying isn’t the only factor in determining the difficulty of a degree. Business students have to spend a lot of time outside the classroom getting real world experience in their fact. In fact, when you combine work with the time they spend studying, business students actually spend the most amount of time on their education. And this makes sense, as it takes a lot of different skills to be successful in the world of business. You have to know how to properly manage workers, keep track of finances, and sell goods and services, just to name a few.

5. Education

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It may come as a surprise given its reputation as an easier major, but education is actually one of the most difficult degrees you can pursue. As is true of business, education majors have to do a lot of work outside of class. According to another recent article, education students not only have to perform numerous hours of student teaching, but they often spend their own personal time coming up with lesson plans and grading assignments, all of which makes the degree more challenging than it may seem on the surface.

College isn’t easy, so no matter what major you choose you’re going to need to put a lot of time and effort into earning your degree. While these may be some of the most difficult degrees to complete, you shouldn’t let that scare you away if you’re interested in pursuing one. Remember that some of the more difficult degrees can lead to some of the highest paying and most rewarding careers.

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