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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

FAQs

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? ›

The hardest degree subjects are Chemistry, Medicine, Architecture, Physics, Biomedical Science, Law, Neuroscience, Fine Arts, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Economics, Education, Computer Science and Philosophy. Let's dive right in, and look at why these subjects are the hardest degree subjects.

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? ›

Here are the best engineering branches and courses for the future:
  • Aerospace Engineering.
  • Chemical Engineering.
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
  • Petroleum Engineering.
  • Telecommunication Engineering.
  • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
  • Robotics Engineering.
  • Biochemical Engineering.

Which engineering is easy and highest salary? ›

Petroleum engineering, aerospace engineers, computer science engineering are few of the highest paying engineering branches 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.

What engineering uses the least math? ›

Mostly all the engineering streams have maths in it. But among them computer science has it the least that I can think of. Electrical, electronics, mechanical and civil requires good knowledge on maths.

Which engineering does not require maths? ›

CHENNAI: Maths in Class XII is no longer mandatory to apply for one-third of engineering courses, including architecture, biotechnology and fashion technology, the All India Council for Technical Education announced on Tuesday.

Which engineering branch is most difficult? ›

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

What is the hardest 4 year degree? ›

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

Is engineering harder than medicine? ›

Is Engineering harder than Medicine to study? (Explained) Medicine is much harder than Engineering. Not only is it much harder to get into Medical School, but the volume of study at Medical School is also a lot greater than in Engineering.

What is the highest paid engineer? ›

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

What is the hardest 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

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 engineering should I choose? ›

Some of the most lucrative streams offered by top Engineering Colleges: Computer Science Engineering. Electronics & Communications Engineering. Mechanical Engineering.

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 job has highest salary in world? ›

The Top 6 Highest Paying Jobs in the World
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • General Surgeon.
  • Senior Software Engineer.
  • Investment Banker.
  • Data Scientist.
  • IT Systems Manager.
4 Oct 2022

Do engineers earn more than doctors? ›

In Indian culture, being a doctor is considered the highest achievement, followed by an engineer as number two. Why is becoming a doctor or an engineer so highly valued?
...
Doctor vs Engineer: Quick Facts.
ParametersDoctorEngineer
Average salaryINR 14,00,000 – 41,00,000 per yearINR 14,00,000 – 30,00,000 per year
4 more rows
8 Jul 2022

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.

What type of engineering is most fun? ›

Here are five exciting engineering fields of study, which will lead to excellent careers you won't want to miss.
  • Structural engineering. ...
  • Robotics engineering. ...
  • Environmental engineer. ...
  • Petroleum engineer. ...
  • Aerospace engineer.
23 Jun 2019

What is the most fun engineering job? ›

8 Exciting Careers You Can Have with an Engineering Degree
  • 3D printing engineer. ...
  • Smart cities engineer. ...
  • Sports engineer. ...
  • Motorsport engineer. ...
  • Rollercoaster engineer. ...
  • Pyrotechnic engineer. ...
  • Nuclear engineer. ...
  • Aerospace engineer.

Can I do engineering If I fail in maths? ›

Can I study engineering if I fail my extra math? Highly unlikely. Unfortunately, Engineering and Science degrees alike all depend heavily on mathematical ability.

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.

Can I do engineering if my maths is weak? ›

You can easily crack those engineering maths with practice. For engineering, there are 4 mathematics papers in the first four semesters. Remaining some subjects are maths oriented, but it is not that tough. So don't worry about that.

Which engineering has less physics? ›

CSE have least physics. But it also have least math. Whereas mechanical have most of everything.

Can I do engineering without physics? ›

If you want to take a degree in engineering you need an A level (or equivalent) in maths. In many cases you also need physics. Some chemical engineering degrees ask for maths and chemistry instead; some ask for maths and physics; and some ask for all three.

Can I do engineering without chemistry? ›

As of now, physics, chemistry and mathematics in class 12 are mandatory for studying engineering. Admission to engineering colleges across the country is based on their Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) scores and their marks in class 12 board exams in these three subjects.

What is the hardest 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

Which engineering has the most math? ›

Electrical? Electrical engineering is the most math heavy of the engineering disciplines. You rely heavily on differential equations when dealing with advanced circuit analysis and electromagnetism is basically a physics and math course. In a close second is mechanical engineering, which uses dynamics a lot.

Is industrial engineering the easiest? ›

Yes, industrial engineering is hard, but it is one of the easier engineering degrees. This is because industrial engineering is less based on pure math and more about understanding how businesses and machines function in the best way possible.

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? ›

The reality is that the classes are tough, and they require more time and attention than the average degree. BUT, being an engineer is not an easy title to hold, and finishing the program is impressive because of the difficult classes and hours of studying that back the degree.

Which is harder medicine or engineering? ›

Engineering is easily the hardest because of a central focus on high level mathematics and potentially physics, depending on your focus. These problems require a fluency in understanding how to think mathematically which is certainly easier than simple memory recall in medicine.

Which engineer is in most 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 engineer has highest salary? ›

10 Highest Paying Engineering Jobs
  • Civil Engineer. ...
  • Mechanical Engineer. ...
  • Industrial Engineer. ...
  • Biomedical Engineer. ...
  • Electrical Engineer. ...
  • Chemical Engineer. ...
  • Software Engineer. ...
  • Computer Engineer.
21 Jun 2022

Which engineering does not require maths? ›

CHENNAI: Maths in Class XII is no longer mandatory to apply for one-third of engineering courses, including architecture, biotechnology and fashion technology, the All India Council for Technical Education announced on Tuesday.

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

Can I do engineering if my maths is weak? ›

You can easily crack those engineering maths with practice. For engineering, there are 4 mathematics papers in the first four semesters. Remaining some subjects are maths oriented, but it is not that tough. So don't worry about that.

Which engineering has more physics? ›

but If you are interested in physics then it is best to choose an mechanical branch in your engineering. The major subjects like strength of materials , thermodynamics , thermal engineering and heat transfer which are all part of physics are studied in the mechanical branch.

Which is the easiest engineering branch? ›

1) CSE/ISE - Computer Science engineering or Information science engineering : One of the most demandable and most preffererd engg in the country. From Health care to banking , in each and every fireld the computers are put into use, so the software developers, web developers are required for every field.

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

Is Civil Engineering easy? ›

Civil Engineering is surely a diverse and difficult branch in general. But, compared to other core branches in Indian colleges, it is considered to be one of the easiest and less hectic branchs.

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