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The 7 Hardest Engineering Majors of All Time

When you think about it, engineering sets the tone for many aspects of life. One of them includes the device you’re using to read this great article about the hardest engineering majors you could come across.

For a fact, engineering is a complex yet fascinating field. Engineers use maths, physics, and many other subjects to solve societal problems.

There are so many different specializations in engineering, though. While some are simpler than others, the same can’t be said of others, especially those requiring a hands-on learning experience.

However, it’s up to you to choose which suits your skills and academic abilities more. You might be interested in building infrastructure, software, or hardware parts.

Here are the hardest engineering majors and some outlook on what makes them so hard.

What Makes a Major Harder than Others?

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Before heading into the list, it’s important to understand the factors that make a major hard or harder than others. Here are some of them:

The level of abstraction refers to things that aren’t naturally grasped or understood by the brain. For example, advanced maths and physics are often the most challenging for aspiring engineers.

There are many things to learn, but not enough people understand them. Besides, engineering deals with abstract concepts, so it’s only natural that it gets harder at certain levels, especially when you go higher.

What you work with or handle: This factor relates to the materials and environment you work in and their impact on your job. For example, civil engineers work with common materials, so the results of combining such materials are predictable.

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On the flip side, consider a mechanical engineer and what it takes to get those machines moving according to plan. That’s more complex and tasking than civil engineering.

Where your work will be applied: The location matters and contributes to the challenges posed by different engineering majors; for example, environmental engineers won’t have too many demands placed on their jobs since they will mostly deal with known quantities. They know what waste disposal and other environmental issues are and how to handle them with their expertise.

Contrast that with aerospace engineering, which sounds cool but probably has more complex areas than environmental engineering. Space is a different animal and involves serious physics with many time-bound results.

Your interest in engineering: Your passion matters. With engineering majors, there’s no sitting on the fence. Why would you want to spend time solving equations and serious academic problems without an actual interest? If you don’t care about the engineering major, you will struggle to complete it. Even geniuses must put in some shifts, especially in complex engineering majors.

Hardest Engineering Majors

1. Electrical Engineering

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It took some doing to discover electrical power, so don’t expect anything remotely close to being easy. Electrical engineering deals with many abstract concepts with electricity at the forefront.

It’s a major that prepares you with extremely advanced maths, physics, and other science subjects. Critical and creative thinking are needed in this field to develop further and expose them.

Electrical engineering is very difficult, thanks to its level of abstraction. Generally, humans can’t see or visualize electricity or figure out what will happen through inputs. Also, you don’t see magnetic fields and how they react, or even waves and currents. These concepts and more are some of the things students learn on a theoretical level before applying them to their work.

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Like other majors, you can specialize or focus on a subcategory of electrical engineering, but don’t expect it to get any easier. Electrical engineering takes a lot of hard work, but you can cope if you have a genuine interest and the brilliance to follow through. What’s more, electrical engineers are some of the most in-demand professionals in the United States.

2. Computer Engineering

Computer engineering shares some similarities with electrical engineering but focuses on developing computer hardware and software while ensuring they communicate correctly.

Computer engineers work on many interesting projects, including personal computers and their parts. So the next time you come across a motherboard or processor, give them some credit. These guys are necessary virtually everywhere, thanks to a fast-paced world that can’t do without their systems.

The hard bits of computer engineering include quantum computing, which is difficult to perform. Add firmware and other electronics to the mix, and you get a major you’d have to be serious enough even to consider. Your knowledge of maths must be excellent and your interest far above average.

3. Aerospace Engineering

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From the name, it’s a way to figure out where aerospace engineers fit in and why this major presents a challenge. These engineers specialize in creating machines that fly.

You’re probably familiar with movies about space rockets and adventures. Well, they do much of that and more, so it’s no wonder the complexities are more than you can imagine. Getting an object flying around the earth or moon takes a lot.

Other things these engineers work on include weapons like missiles and assault helicopters. That makes them a steady part of military organizations. Aerospace engineering also involves a vast amount of information to get correctly at different turns. Some of this information and knowledge are obscure and complex for the normal brain to grasp.

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Get set to learn about fluids and how they interact with certain materials and about dynamics. That’s not all, but you get the picture – you must be brilliant and interested in aerospace engineering.

4. Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineering might have the distinction of being the hardest on this list. That’s because it combines engineering’s most complex knowledge with chemistry. It’s a vast field with many specialties under it, so you can choose your area of interest and get working.

For example, you can use your expertise here to develop new medicine with pharmaceuticals. Also, you can work on improving packages by specializing in plastics and similar materials.

Chemical engineers also find a niche in the food industry since they conduct research and create pesticides that make plants healthy. Their impact is felt everywhere, so they’re in demand in different spheres of society.

Chemical engineering also has a combination of abstraction and theoretical knowledge necessary to perform your job. A background in engineering fundamentals like maths, physics, and chemistry is essential.

5. Biomedical Engineering

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Biomedical engineering is a combination of medic engineering, so it normally made this list of the hardest engineering majors.

You see those complex, strange-looking machines in hospitals that save so many lives; biomedical engineers have a large role in creating them. Those machines are complicated enough and explain how difficult it is to study this major. Think about all those artificial limbs and organs, and it’s easy to appreciate the experts.

In addition, biomedical engineering is challenging because it mixes complex maths with biology. They are stuff that seems to defy the laws of nature. That’s why they need to know how the human body works and what happens when it doesn’t. This way, they know how to get it up and run again.

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Since humans are involved, it makes it more difficult, so you can’t afford to get things wrong, especially when a life depends on it. Like chemical engineering, biomedical engineering is hard, thanks to the combination of many different things together. Further, it’s not as exact as the others, so prepare to master a couple of subjects or areas simultaneously.

6. Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear engineering is an engineering major that deals with the science and application of nuclear and radiation processes. As a course, expect it to be difficult and challenging simultaneously. Calculations, theories, and more suggests that you’d struggle without a solid background in mathematics and physics. Those two are strong requirements if you must study nuclear engineering.

The coursework covers reactor engineering, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, reactor physics, thermal hydraulics, materials science, plasma physics, radiation detection, measurement, etc.

Nuclear engineers can work with the armed forces, nuclear plants, power plants, and much more. They help hospitals with radiation equipment to diagnose and offer treatment. That makes them an essential part of multiple areas of society, almost indispensable.

7. Robotics Engineering

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Robotics engineering deals with the design, construction, and operation of robots and almost every bit of machine replicating human actions. If you’re pursuing a major in this discipline, get ready to put your head down and grind with a lot of work.

Building a robot requires so much work and involves a grounded knowledge of mathematics, electronics, mechanics, programming, and computer science. That’s a lot!

Some courses you’re expected to take in robotics include pneumatics and hydraulics, artificial intelligence, computer programming, robotics designing, machine kinematics, etc. Completing a degree in the course takes about 3 to 5 years, and when you’re done, these career paths await Robotics Engineer, CAD Designer, Automation Engineer, and Mechatronics Technician.

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These are the hardest engineering majors you might decide to study. While nothing good comes easy, you must go the extra mile to get a degree in any of the abovementioned majors.

All 7 require an advanced level of understanding, even for undergraduate students. Under these engineering majors, subjects like physics, chemistry, and maths already present a difficult proposition.

Suppose you finish any of these hard majors. In that case, you won’t stay long out of a job, thanks to a demand for these professionals that cut across different areas of society, including medicine, sciences, infrastructure, and more. Ensure you meet the academic requirements and have enough personal interest in any of these courses before proceeding.

Now that you know which engineering majors are the hardest, the factors that make them challenging, and other information, you can plan your future career accordingly. Whichever of these majors you eventually choose will demand a higher focus, time, and dedication from you. Don’t forget your academic skill set as well.

About Martin Vernon

A lifelong learner, educator, and advocate for education as a means for individual and social change. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great day!

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