The Easiest and Hardest Engineering Majors (2023)

If you’re thinking of studying some form of engineering during college, you’ve made an excellent choice. Engineers are the ones responsible for the world’s buildings, bridges, robots, chemical products, and much more. However, achieving an engineering degree is no easy task. It requires a lot of technical prowess, a strong foundation in mathematics and science, and a strong work ethic to tackle the challenging curriculum.

That being said, not all engineering majors created equal? Are there some engineering majors that are easier than others? Read on to discover what are considered the easiest and hardest engineering majors that you can pursue in college.

Looking for the best colleges to pursue an engineering degree? See our list of the top colleges for engineering.

5 Factors To Consider When Choosing An Engineering Major

Rarely will you find a college that offers a generic “Engineering” major. More likely than not, you will have to choose from a number of different specialties – Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and more. They all tend to have the same foundational courses, but they quickly splinter off into their own specializations. So when you choose “Engineering,” you will need to do some soul searching to figure out which type of engineering, in particular, you want to pursue. Here are some guiding questions to help you narrow down your choices:

1. What are your personal interests and goals?

Specifically, what got you interested in becoming an engineer, besides the large paycheck? Were you interested in the idea of building a skyscraper, or was it robotics that piqued your interest? Try to think about what you would be trying to achieve after getting that engineering degree, and that might help you figure out which type of engineering you should be pursuing.

(Video) Hardest Engineering Majors: The Ultimate Guide

2. What are your strengths?

Don’t become a chemical engineer if you hated AP Chemistry. Definitely think about aerospace engineering if concepts like aerodynamics and thermodynamics come easily to you. The great thing about each of the engineering disciplines is that they are specific enough that you should be able to tailor your major to study what you are good at, with minimal interaction with subjects you don’t excel at.

3. What are the course requirements for each major?

While each engineering major has a strong basis in mathematics and physics, the rest of the course load tends to vary based on the major. So it’s worth your time to take a look at the sample curriculum of each engineering major and see which one has courses that you would be most interested in.

4. What is the Return on Investment (ROI) to pursuing each major?

While most engineering majors come with a nice salary, some engineering careers pay slightly more than others. Some degrees will also cost more than others, depending on the college you go to. Weight your costs against potential earnings, especially if you expect to need loans for college.

5. Which field best suits your lifestyle?

It’s also worth considering the lifestyle choices you’ll have to make by pursuing each major. Many engineering majors require you to work long hours without any semblance of overtime, and some of them require you to be on your feet for many hours in the day. Consider these lifestyle choices as you decide which major to pursue.

How We Made This List

Similarly to how you should consider many different factors when choosing your college major, we have considered many different factors when compiling our list of the hardest and easiest engineering majors.

First things first, we want to remind you that every engineering major is difficult. Compared to other majors in the humanities and social sciences, engineering majors are far more technical and require tons of study time. So if you are looking for an easier major that will give you a good study-life balance during college, engineering is not right for you.

(Video) Ranking Engineering Courses from Easiest to Hardest

That being said, when ranking each of the different engineering majors, we took the following factors into consideration:

  • General Reputation: Some engineering majors are known for being “tougher” than others
  • Course Requirements: We’ve taken into consideration how much math, physics, and other advanced content is involved with each engineering major
  • Study Time: Engineering majors all require a great deal of studying time, but some majors require more time for studying and other projects than others

Of course, these factors all differ depending on which school you’re attending and what academic program you’re in. So if you want the most realistic picture of how hard each engineering major is going to be for you, you should talk to your school’s engineering faculty or people at your school who are in the major.

Hardest Engineering Majors

1. Electrical Engineering

Electrical Engineers are primarily focused on the physics and mathematics of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. They use this skill set to work on and improve every set of electrical equipment there is.

Students consider electrical engineering to be the toughest major mostly because of the abstract thinking involved. With majors like civil engineering, you can visually see the effect of what you’re designing. However, you can’t physically see electrical currents and circuits, so an electrical engineer’s job involves a lot of creative thinking and theoretical application.

(Video) Ranking The Top 10 Engineering Degrees (Salary, Growth, & More!)

Furthermore, electrical engineering involves heavy use of some abstract mathematical concepts like partial differential equations. So if you are the kind of person who enjoys discrete mathematics, electrical engineering concepts may prove challenging for you.

2. Chemical Engineering

The difficult thing about chemical engineering is that it combines complex engineering fundamentals and applies it with chemistry concepts, a completely different field. So, it is truly a multidisciplinary major.

Chemical engineers are the link between manufacturing and science. They are the experts in transforming raw materials into the goods that we use in our everyday lives. You’ll often see chemical engineers take on the role of Chemical Technologist, Pharmaceutical Engineer, and Plant or Chemical Process Engineer.

Overall, chemical engineering is a very lucrative major, but it becomes complex extremely quickly as it is an intersection between chemistry, mathematics, and physics. So if this is the major for you, simply be prepared to spend several hours studying a wide array of subjects.

3. Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace Engineering is very similar to Mechanical Engineering in terms of the concepts it covers; however, aerospace engineers put a special emphasis on designing and maintaining machines that fly. This type of major is well suited for someone who wants to work in National Defense or for NASA, though aerospace engineers are also useful in the private sectors, particularly in automotive manufacturing.

Like mechanical engineering, aerospace engineers have a heavy course load in mathematics, with several complex concepts that you will have to call upon quickly and often. Moreover, aerospace engineers also need to learn the complex concept of fluid dynamics, a branch of science that deals with the study of liquids and glasses.

(Video) HARDEST DEGREE TO GET Comparison : Is YOUR Degree On This List?

What are the best schools for engineering? Check out our video to learn more!

Easiest Engineering Majors

1. Environmental Engineering

Environmental Engineers are focused on developing machines and structures that will have minimal harm on the environment. As the intersection of Environmental Science and Engineering fundamentals, Environmental Engineering is certainly not an easy major. It’s considered one of the easier engineering majors that you can study though, because it’s not as focused on advanced math and physics.

When you study Environmental Engineering in college, you do study both fundamental engineering concepts in mathematics and physics, but you also blend in the study of ecology and other environmental concepts. Students in this major also work on a lot of design projects and research papers. So if you are interested in solving problems that could impact the Earth, this major is for you.

2. Industrial Engineering

Industrial Engineering is the intersection between engineering and social science concepts like business and economics. These engineers are focused on designing new concepts for companies, hospitals, factories, and any other organizational structures. They are responsible for eliminating any wastefulness in the production process.

Industrial Engineering is definitely a more technical major than a typical business degree, but it is definitely less focused on concepts in physics and more focused on concepts in business and industrial organization. So if you’re interested in perfecting the organizational workplace, this career is best for you.

3. Architectural Engineering

Architectural Engineering is a really interesting major where you learn to build, maintain, and create buildings and structures that are effective and structurally sound. While Architectural engineers are very heavily involved in the actual construction and maintenance of other structures, there is also a slight design aspect to it. Some architectural engineering students even have to take business courses with their major. These less technical courses bring down the difficulty of this major overall.

(Video) Top 3 Easiest Engineering Degrees | Rankings

If you become an architectural engineer, you will likely be heavily involved in construction projects. Expect to spend time working with architecture firms and supervising the development of various structures.

As you consider your prospective engineering career, you may also be considering what your chances are of getting into the best schools for engineering. To help you answer those tough questions, CollegeVine offers a free Chancing Engine that lets you know your chances of acceptance at the schools of your choice, plus how to improve your profile. Sign up for a free CollegeVine account to get started today.


What is the easiest and hardest engineering major? ›

But according to the data I've collected, students who took Chemical Engineering classes rated their major as hardest, followed by Aerospace Engineering in 2nd, and Electrical Engineering in third. Ranking easiest is Engineering Technology, followed by industrial engineering, and civil engineering.

Which is the easiest engineering major? ›

Easiest Engineering Degrees
  • Structural Engineering.
  • Applied Engineering.
  • Chemical engineering.
  • Mechanical Engineering.
  • Software Engineering.
  • Civil Engineering.
  • Computer Engineering.
  • Biomedical Engineering.

What is the most difficult major in engineering? ›

Introducing the 13 Hardest College Majors
  • #8: Biochemistry or Biophysics. ...
  • #7: Astronomy. ...
  • #6: Physics. ...
  • #5: Cell and Molecular Biology. ...
  • #4: Biomedical Engineering. ...
  • #3: Aero and Astronautical Engineering. ...
  • #2: Chemical Engineering. ...
  • #1: Architecture. Average Hours Spent Preparing for Class Each Week: 22.20.
10 Feb 2021

What are the the top 3 easiest engineering majors? ›

Easiest Engineering Degrees
  • Computer Engineering.
  • Environmental Engineering.
  • Civil Engineering.
  • Mechanical Engineering.
  • Biomedical Engineering.
  • Electrical Engineering.
  • Petroleum Engineering.
  • Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering.
28 Nov 2021

Which engineering degree is most useful? ›

Most Popular Engineering Majors in the US
  • Civil Engineering. ...
  • Computer Engineering (CE) ...
  • Chemical Engineering. ...
  • Biomedical Engineering. ...
  • General Engineering. ...
  • Industrial Engineering (IE) ...
  • Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering. ...
  • Petroleum Engineering.
29 Nov 2020

Which engineering is easy and highest salary? ›

Computer Science and Engineering

A Computer Science Engineer can earn the highest salary is around ₹37 LPA and more in India.

Which engineers are the happiest? ›

Structural engineering

As the chart below shows, of the engineers highlighted in this report, a petroleum engineer not only makes the most money both early and through their mid-career, but they also have the highest satisfaction rate.

Which engineering branch is toughest? ›

The 5 Hardest Engineering Major
  1. Electrical Engineering. Most people agree that electrical engineering is easily among the hardest majors. ...
  2. Computer Engineering. ...
  3. Aerospace Engineering. ...
  4. Chemical Engineering. ...
  5. Biomedical Engineering.
21 Mar 2022

Which engineering uses the least math? ›

How Much Math is REALLY in Engineering? - YouTube

What is the hardest major in the world? ›

List of the hardest degree in the World
  • Psychology.
  • Statistics.
  • Nursing.
  • Physics.
  • Astrophysics.
  • Biomedical Engineering.
  • Astronomy.
  • Dentistry.
11 Mar 2022

Which is harder engineering or medicine? ›

Although Engineering is easier than Medicine it is still rigorous. Those students who enjoy solving problems through the use of mathematics and science, and with an eye for details do well with Engineering.

What are the most stressful majors? ›

10 Most Stressful College Majors
  • Theoretical & Experimental Physics. ...
  • Philosophy. ...
  • Architecture. ...
  • Molecular Biology. ...
  • Electrical Engineering. ...
  • Chemical Engineering. Average studying time per week: 20-24h. ...
  • Medicine & Healthcare. Average studying time per week: 20-25h. ...
  • Law. Average studying time per week: 15-18h.
19 Nov 2021

What is the highest paid engineer? ›

In terms of median pay and growth potential, these are the 10 highest paying engineering jobs to consider.
  • Systems Engineer. ...
  • Electrical Engineer. ...
  • Chemical Engineer. ...
  • Big Data Engineer. ...
  • Nuclear Engineer. ...
  • Aerospace Engineer. ...
  • Computer Hardware Engineer. ...
  • Petroleum Engineer.
24 Mar 2022

What type of engineer is Elon Musk? ›

Elon Musk has no formal engineering degree, but he clearly is industrial engineer by profession. His approach to business and problem solving is typical industrial engineering approach. His actual degrees (BS in both economics and physics) have good overlap with undergraduate curriculum in IE.

Which engineer is most in demand? ›

The Most In-Demand Engineering Jobs
  • Data Science & Machine Learning. ...
  • Automation & Robotics Engineer. ...
  • Petroleum Engineer. ...
  • Civil Engineering. ...
  • Electrical Engineering. ...
  • Alternative Energy Engineer. ...
  • Mining Engineer. ...
  • Project Engineer.

Which engineering is most flexible? ›

That is Mechanical Engineering.

Which engineering has more job opportunities? ›

The branch of engineering with the highest earning potential is computer science engineering. There are many branches within computer science engineering like data engineering and software engineering which also have good earning potential.

What is the most successful job in the world? ›

The highest-paying job in the world, in a traditional sense, holds the number one spot in this article: anesthesiologist. They are also the only job listed above $300,000 a year. The list, however, does not take into account mega-CEOs like Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos, who make considerably more than that.

What is the #1 happiest job? ›

Construction workers are the #1 happiest job for a reason—they do what humans are built for! They plan, move and use their bodies, and get to see their creative works come to life.

Why engineers are so smart? ›

Engineers like to think they're smarter than other people, but generally they're born with the same type of brain as all other humans. There are two things that make engineers smart: persistence and focus. And both of those can actually happen accidentally from their environment. They can also happen by choice.

Which branch is king of engineering? ›

Which is the King of Engineering- Explore Highest Paying Branches in India. Mechanical engineering is considered to be the royal branch of engineering as it is the 2nd oldest branch after civil engineering. A mechanical engineer deals with machines and their mechanisms.

Which engineering branch is best? ›

According to the number of undergraduates pursuing them, Computer Science Engineering, Electronics and Communication Engineering, Engineering in Information Technology, Mechanical Engineering, and Civil Engineering are now the top branches.

How many hours a week do Engineers study? ›

Engineering majors spend the most time studying, 19 hours a week, but even among those who exceed 20 hours, nearly a quarter still often show up for class without assignments completed, the report says.

Can I do engineering If I fail in maths? ›

Students who have not studied mathematics or physics in class 12 too can take admission to undergraduate engineering courses like B. Tech and BE. This is because the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has now revised its regulations.

Which engineering is math heavy? ›

Controls engineering is by far the most mathematical of all the engineering disciplines. Systems engineering is the least. The others vary; it just depends on the job. Electrical engineering can be extremely mathematically intense - if you are designing complex high power switching circuits, for instance.

How do you know if engineering is for you? ›

10 Things to Do to Decide if Engineering Is Right for You
  • Do you like to solve problems?
  • Do you like to think of new ways to do things?
  • Do you like puzzles and other mind challenging games?
  • Do you like working with computers?
  • Do you enjoy a challenge?
  • Do you wonder how things work?
9 May 2018

Why is engineering so hard? ›

It's difficult because engineering programs try to prepare their students to enter the workforce. This means teaching them to solve really challenging problems. This requires a lot of studying and perseverance. Usually, it's the math or the workload that students struggle with.

Is being an engineer hard? ›

Engineering has a reputation of being a challenging academic discipline. Earning an engineering degree entails more than taking math and physics classes.

What major has the highest dropout rate? ›

Computing is the major with the highest college dropout rate — 10.7%. The number of dropout college students varies across degrees and majors. After computing, advertising is another field of study that many students give up on — 7.7% of them.

Who earns more engineer or lawyer? ›

The average salary for an engineer may vary from Rs. 3.5 to 5 lakhs per annum while that of a lawyer is around Rs. 5 lakhs per annum.

Are doctors richer than engineers? ›

In a nutshell, the starting salary of a doctor in India at an entry-level position is much higher than that of an engineer.

Who earns more doctor or engineer? ›

That Depends on the position you are in, For example if a doctor is chief surgeon then he gets more salary if a doctor own hospital then he earns way more money. In the same case if a engineer is working in any Company then hell get decent pay, if he owns a company he earns way more money.

What are easy majors that pay well? ›

8 Easy Degrees That Pay Well
  • Business Administration. Business administration is one major that is usually considered “easy.” Some programs will also only take 3 years to finish! ...
  • English. ...
  • Human Resources. ...
  • Criminal Justice. ...
  • Marketing. ...
  • Supply Chain Management. ...
  • Psychology. ...
  • Communication.
6 Jul 2022

Is engineering stressful in college? ›

College majors in the STEM field tend to be the most stressful, such as engineering and architecture. The same is true for many of those in the medical or healthcare field, including nursing and neuroscience. There are also stressful majors from other fields, such as accounting and related areas.

What is the hardest course in college? ›

It shouldn't surprise you that organic chemistry takes the No. 1 spot as the hardest college course. This course is often referred to as the “pre-med killer” because it actually has caused many pre-med majors to switch their major.

Are engineers underpaid? ›

Understanding today's engineers

Additionally, nearly half of engineers (45%) say they're underpaid and only 10% said overpaid--largely due to comparisons to US engineer salaries.

Is electrical engineering hard? ›

Electrical engineering can be a difficult discipline to study but all that hard work can be worth it. If your interests lie in mathematics and its application to everyday needs that solve problems and find solutions for your community, this could be the right career path to explore.

Is civil engineering the easiest? ›

Civil engineering is relatively hard. Consider the amount of work-related skills needed to succeed in this profession. Additionally, since practical experience is valued so highly in this field, you might also have to spend your summers interning just to get your foot in the door.

Is civil engineering easier than mechanical? ›

Civil engineering is not harder than mechanical engineering. Mechanical engineering is slightly more difficult since it has a broader curriculum, tougher courses, and more mathematics involved. Both mechanical and civil engineering are difficult degrees and you must work very hard to succeed in them.

Is mechanical engineering the hardest major? ›

The field of mechanical engineering ranks as one of the hardest majors in part because of its technical requirements. Students must take advanced mathematics and science courses as part of their training.

Which engineer is in most demand? ›

The Most In Demand Engineering Jobs For 2022
  • Automation and robotics engineer. ...
  • Data science & data analytics engineer. ...
  • Project engineer. ...
  • Renewable energy engineer. ...
  • Civil engineer. ...
  • Environmental engineer. ...
  • Biomedical engineer. ...
  • Software systems engineer.
14 Feb 2022

Which engineer has highest salary? ›

Top 10 Highest Paying Engineering Jobs of 2022
  • Systems Engineer. ...
  • Electrical Engineer. ...
  • Chemical Engineer. ...
  • Big Data Engineer. ...
  • Nuclear Engineer. ...
  • Aerospace Engineer. ...
  • Computer Hardware Engineer. ...
  • Petroleum Engineer.
24 Mar 2022

Which engineering has more job opportunities? ›

The branch of engineering with the highest earning potential is computer science engineering. There are many branches within computer science engineering like data engineering and software engineering which also have good earning potential.

Can I do civil engineering if I am weak in maths? ›

Nope! Maths is very important for civil engineering. If you study civil engineering withot maths then its difficult to get job in this field in the future.

Which is harder medicine or engineering? ›

Although Engineering is easier than Medicine it is still rigorous. Those students who enjoy solving problems through the use of mathematics and science, and with an eye for details do well with Engineering.

Which is harder computer science or civil engineering? ›

If you have a stronger natural interest in computers and their components, you will find civil engineering difficult.

Is civil engineering math heavy? ›

Math is not just solving number problems — it is also needed for physics, chemistry and engineering! Civil engineers, like the ones at ADOT, use nearly every form of math at one point in time to do their job. It's important to have a good foundation of math, especially if you are interested in a career as an engineer.

Which engineering course is best for average student? ›

If you are student with good aptitude and iq, then any branch in engineering should be good for you. If computers interest you then pick cse and if working in the field of construction intrugues you, then choose civil engineering.

Is electrical engineering hard? ›

Electrical engineering can be a difficult discipline to study but all that hard work can be worth it. If your interests lie in mathematics and its application to everyday needs that solve problems and find solutions for your community, this could be the right career path to explore.

Which year is toughest in engineering? ›

Sophomore year may be considered the most difficult at your school because that is likely the year you begin taking "real engineering" classes and not just math, science, and other general requirements.

What is the most difficult major? ›

What Are the 10 Most Difficult College Majors?
  • Economics – 2.95.
  • Biology – 3.02.
  • Geology – 3.03.
  • Philosophy – 3.08.
  • Finance – 3.08.
  • Physics – 3.10.
  • Computer Science – 3.13.
  • Mechanical Engineering – 3.17.
17 Sept 2022

Is electrical or mechanical engineering harder? ›

Mechanical Engineering vs Electrical Engineering: Which is Harder? Electrical engineering is a challenging discipline to master. It is thought to be the most challenging type of engineering since it requires so much abstract reasoning.


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