Hardest College Majors

Hardest College Majors

Explore the most difficult majors and why they are so challenging.

No one ever said college was easy. The hardest college majors can intensify this notion.

Focus, effort and plenty of dedication are required to earn a degree. While some schools have reputations as being party schools and others have reputations for being difficult, every college has tough majors.


Still, some majors tend to be harder than others, either from the difficulty of getting good grades or the amount of time required.

Common Hardest College Majors

While the difficulty of classes often varies by college, some majors are found to be hard at any school. A recent study by an economics professor at Wake Forest University looked at the average grade distribution for 20 different college degree majors over a 10-year span (1997-2007) at an unnamed “elite” liberal arts college.

Measured by GPA, the 10 hardest college majors are:

  • Chemistry
  • Math
  • Economics
  • Psychology
  • Biology
  • Geology
  • Philosophy
  • Geography
  • Physics
  • Political science

In general, math and science degrees tend to be harder than liberal arts degrees. However, there are some exceptions.

Different Schools = Different Hard Majors

Of course, different schools may have different difficult majors. Some liberal arts schools may have a reputation for difficulty in a particular field. If a school is well-known for its English program, that major is probably going to be more challenging than other majors at that school and other English programs at different schools.

Although some schools have reputations for being academically challenging across the board, other difficult majors vary by school. Also, a particular department may have a lot of tough graders or a demanding senior thesis requirement. Naturally, being interested in your major can make classes easier than they would be otherwise.

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