Top 5 hardest college degrees to study in the US

Friday, July 1, 2022

When choosing a bachelor’s degree and a college major, it is important to assess the level of difficulty. We share hardest college degrees to study in the U.S.

Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions in life, a choice that can completely transform your path.

Choosing a university degree is only the beginning of the very unique life experiences you will have at university, the people you will meet and even the professional career you will one day develop.

Selecting one that best suits your current academic abilities, interests, and future goals is possible if we take into account important factors such as difficulty.

In this article you will find the most difficult college degrees to study in the U.S, and gain a more realistic idea of ​​how challenging some of these college majors can be.

One of the trends you will notice here is that each of the world's most difficult courses offers many job opportunities and the potential for significant growth.

What are the most difficult college degrees to study?

According to a World Scholar Hub, among the most difficult higher education programs are Aeronautical Engineering, Architecture, Chemistry, Medicine and Physics.

1. Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace engineering is a discipline that focuses on aircraft and spacecraft design.

Understand the technical operation of engines, the ability to be able to solve quick calculations, developing observation skills as well as learning about projection, expert opinion, certification, opinions, report writing, technical advice on tasks related to Aeronautical Engineering, and more... All of these tasks represent aerospace technical positions!

Aeronautical engineering is closely related to astronautical engineering, in fact they overlap.

You can check more college majors related to aerospace here: 3 online Masters in Space Study offered by USC

Aerospace Engineering is focused on the design and analysis of rocket engines, spacecraft, their systems and all of their component systems that allow a vehicle to be able to traverse the atmosphere into space. If you decide to venture here are the best options in the US:


2. Architecture

Many wish architecture was easier than it is. Designing a structure as complex as a building is something that many would like but few can make possible.

As a college major, architecture is so challenging that it is often compared to majors such as engineering and medicine because of the length and intensity of the curriculum.

It’s not surprising this bachelor's degree tops the lists of the most difficult to study and to graduate. In fact, they were the most sleep deprived students in the United States until very recently according to a survey by The Tab,  which confirmed that architects to be are among those who work the most but also sleep less.

The skills of a future architect should focus on having sufficient knowledge of geometry, trigonometry, and algebra to plan the dimensions, quantities, volumes, and building areas.

Plus there are plenty of other careers you can use an Architecture degree for, even if you choose not to become a Chartered Architect, including a Building Control Surveyor, Urban Designer, or Interior Designer.

Although these factors may seem daunting for some students, if you have a true passion for architecture this will help you to have a better idea if you decide to study in these options:

In fact, applying sustainable and biodegradable materials and processes requires the sharpest and most considerate minds to put them into practice.


3. Chemistry

Chemistry is famous for being one of the most difficult subjects in existence, so it is not surprising that graduating from university as a chemist is quite a challenge. Even if you take just Chemistry as a topic (for example, organic chemistry) it is incredibly complex, including over 15 million compounds and an infinite number of organic chemical reactions to investigate.

Chemistry is an ever-evolving field of study with multiple topics, like organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry (which involves learning about molecular orbital theory, acids, and atomic structure) and physical chemistry (which needs to be a mathematical genius to understand) to name a few.

In institutions like the prestigious Oxford University the weekly schedule would include: 12 hours of laboratory, 10 hours of lectures, 1 Chemistry tutorial and Mathematics, Biochemistry or Physics tutorials.

If you struggle with mathematical and logical thinking, chemistry may be a difficult career path to adapt to, requiring advanced knowledge of math and physics. Here’s some of the best bachelor's degrees in the U.S:

4. Medicine

If there’s an adjective that will never be used to describe studying a medical degree, it’s “simple”. Medical Sciences has always been in the most difficult careers.

Truth is there is nothing a medical student can skip because everything they learn is essential, regardless of the specialty they choose once they finish their degree.

In addition, each vacancy or quota is super competitive, more people has applied to study Medicine as a career since COVID 19 affected healthcare worldwide.

As this is a lengthy training process, to become a doctor you will need the ability and dedication to complete a five-year bachelor's degree in medicine, a two-year basic general training course, two or three years of basic medical training and four to seven years of specialized training, depending on the area of ​​medicine in which you want to work.

You’ll have to deal with a lot of medical information that you have to assimilate, which takes years, while being responsible for people's lives.

A future doctor must understand the complex science behind medicine and disease and memorize enough medical data to last several lifetimes, but must also acquire excellent clinical skills to be able to work with patients. In the U.S  you can apply for these options:

7. Pharmacy

Although they belong to the same industry, medicine and pharmacy are very different, thanks to the structure and effort required to graduate, and it is ranked among the most difficult courses in the world.

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Pharmacy, Diploma of Pharmacy, or Doctor of Pharmacy must be very familiarized with Chemistry and Biology as a whole, which can be intimidating to some.

Not only will you be immersed in the complex science and composition of medicines, but you will also have to spend many hours in clinical practice to learn how to become an experienced healthcare professional. Pharmacy is not only a great intellectual challenge but it is also a very practical course.

It is one of the most difficult careers because it covers practically all parts of science: you need to understand inorganic and organic chemistry, as well as biology to understand human anatomy and how drugs interact with it.

Each of these degree courses is fascinating, challenging, and rewarding, so if you have the skills and passion to study them, you're sure to have a rewarding college experience.

Please complete our registration form on the right side of the page. An academic advisor will contact you to provide more details about your future career. You can also explore our website,, to learn more about other types of traditional and online degrees available for you.

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