Hardest Engineering Major: A Guide For Aspiring Engineers

Engineering is a field with numerous career opportunities and great benefits. However, it is a complex and challenging major with mathematics and science at its core.

In addition to the need for proficiency in math and science, you must be able to grasp technical concepts quickly and reason critically to excel in engineering.

If you’re aspiring to be an engineer, you’ll probably seek to know the hardest engineering majors before making your final decision. Frankly, difficulty levels are subjective and depend on factors such as strengths, weaknesses, and interests.

However, given the amount of math, physics, and technical content in a discipline, it may require more study time than other courses.

That said, this article highlights ten engineering majors that are considered the hardest, with a focus on what they are and what makes them difficult.

Top 10 hardest engineering major

1. Mechanical engineering

Mechanical engineering is a broad discipline that spans many other Engr. fields.  At the foundation stage, students learn the principles and laws of force, motion, and energy-related to physical properties.

Generally, it involves the study of fundamental concepts such as thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, electricity, dynamics, machine design and control, metallurgy, and solid mechanics.

Mechanical Engr. students are knowledgeable in other related fields and are therefore able to work in different specializations.

Due to the diversity of the field, it can be really demanding and tough with heavy coursework. You also have to memorize and understand a lot of math equations because it’s very math-focused.

SEE: Is Mechanical Engr. Hard

2. Aerospace engineering

Aerospace engineering studies the physics and mathematics of aircraft, spacecraft, and other related equipment. With their knowledge, they are able to design, develop, test, and produce aerospace products.

Like mechanical Engr., aerospace Engr. relies heavily on mathematics and physics. But with fluid dynamics, a highly complex field of science as well as specialized courses like aero-aerodynamics, aeronautics may be even more difficult.

3. Robotics engineering

Robotics engineering is the branch that deals with the design, development, and operation of robots. These robots are able to imitate human movements and perform human-related activities.

Successfully building a robot requires a lot of effort, research, and a lot of testing. Robotics Engr. involves courses like robotics design, artificial intelligence, mechatronics, and machine kinematics. 

The profession is also largely based on practical work and applications and can take years before the successful completion of a project.

4. Mechatronics engineering

Mechatronics is one of the hardest engineering majors because it combines mechanics, electronics, robotics, and other Engr. disciplines.

It involves the integration of multiple Engr. domains to produce simpler and more reliable systems. A good example of a mechatronic system is an industrial robot, which uses mechanical, electronic, and computational aspects to perform routine operations.

Mechatronics majors will take courses like engineering mathematics, electrical and electronics, mechanicals, computer and systems engineering, and robotics.

5. Chemical engineering

Chemical engineering uses the principles of chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology, and economics to efficiently design, produce, use, transport, and convert energy and materials.

The fact that it is multidisciplinary, with branches in five technical disciplines, makes it a very complex one. Students must master these subjects to gain a solid understanding of the course.

This can be difficult because students tend to be more gifted in one subject compared to others. Furthermore, it is difficult to find students who have a knack for all of these subjects at the same time.

Therefore, chemical Engr. students need to invest a lot of time and effort to achieve excellent results. Students may have to spend extra time studying on weekends or even when others are having fun.

However, it is a lucrative and enjoyable field.  Chemical engineers transform raw materials into valuables needed in everyday life. They produce food, medicines, beverages, fertilizers, fuel and energy, and more.

SEE: Is Chemical Engr. Hard

6. Biomedical engineering

It is a discipline that combines medicine and engineering. Biomedical engineers use their engineering knowledge to design and manufacture products that improve human health and the healthcare industry as a whole.

Medicine itself is a complex field with high coursework, practicals, and studies. Combining it with engineering makes it more difficult.

Students will encounter courses in the fields of mechanical, chemical, and computer Engr., including life sciences and medical concepts, especially biology.

7. Nanoengineering

This field of engineering involves the research, development, and refining of materials on a small scale.  Simply put, it is the practical application of nanoscience.

Nanoengineers manufacture nanomaterials through a variety of techniques such as electron beam lithography and micromachining. They use matter at the atomic and molecular levels for industrial purposes.

One of the reasons why nanotechnology is difficult is that it involves high levels of mathematics, chemistry, physics, and biology.

It’s also a field where students would need to conduct extensive research, ranging from topics such as condensed matter theory to advanced materials like photovoltaics.

8. Electrical engineering

Electrical engineering is the study of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism.  They use their knowledge to design equipment, devices, and systems that utilize electricity and determine its applications.

It is one of the hardest Engr. majors due to the degree of abstract thinking involved. Electric currents, radio transmissions, and magnetic and electric fields are some of the things you can’t see but must study and understand.

Therefore, it relies heavily on theoretical application and creative thinking. It also involves abstract mathematics such as partial differential equations that prove difficult for many students.

SEE: Are Electrical Engineers in Demand

9. Nuclear engineering

Nuclear engineering involves the application of nuclear and radiation processes. They make weapons for the military and develop techniques for diagnosing and treating disease through radiation.

They also oversee the construction, operation, and maintenance of power plants in the energy business.

The major involves courses such as fluid mechanics, heat transfer, hydrodynamics, reactor physics, materials science, and more most of which are maths and physics intensive.

10. Computer engineering

Computer engineering combines electrical engineering with computer science. That is, it involves the design, development, and maintenance of computer hardware, as well as software-related programming and operational activities.

Since computer Engr. comes from electrical Engr., they share a common foundational curriculum.

Mathematics, physics, algorithms, and abstractions, such as electronics and linear circuits, are some of the challenging subjects in this major.

SEE: Does Computer Science Require Math

Factors to consider when choosing an engineering major

Choosing a career path based on difficulty level is not enough. Instead, you should try to answer some introspective questions before deciding what engineering career to pursue.

Here are some things you should consider:

1. What are you interested in?

Before choosing a career, it is crucial to determine exactly what your motivations are.  An engineering activity likely piqued your interest before you decided to go for it.

Are you fascinated by the idea of ​​building skyscrapers, or do you love breaking down, designing, and assembling materials? Once you identify your motivation, it’s easy to choose a path to follow.

SEE: Profitable Careers in Applied Mathematics

2. What are your strengths?

Choosing an engineering major based on your strengths can save you a lot of trouble in college. For instance, you might want to be a chemical engineer but lack chemistry.

Therefore, your best bet is to consider the subjects you are best at or concepts you think are easy to understand before choosing a major. If you already love coding and find math easy, then computer Engr. may be good for you.

SEE: How To Know Your Aptitudes

3. What are the course requirements for each major?

All engineering majors require a solid foundation in mathematics and physics but vary in course volume and curriculum. For example, chemical Engr. includes mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and economics.

Therefore, it may have larger coursework compared to environmental engineering majors. Before finally choosing one, you can review the courses in each major to see which one interests you.

4. Which area best fits the lifestyle you want?

Each engineering field has its own needs.  For example, civil engineers are required to work on-site for long hours and sometimes in distant places, far away from family and friends.

However, computer engineering can give you the opportunity to work remotely as a software engineer in a tech company. So, before choosing a major, make sure it will guarantee you the life you want.

SEE: What to Do with a Degree in Computer Science

FAQs

Which undergraduate engineering year is the hardest?

Most engineering majors are hardest in their sophomore year because that’s when you take the core courses relevant to your field.

Which engineer is the most demanding?

With the rise of artificial intelligence and automation, robotic engineers are in increasing demand.

How many years do you study engineering?

Undergraduate engineering studies basically last 4 to 5 years. While the postgraduate study may last from 3 to 7 years.

Conclusion

The truth is, no engineering major is a walk in the park. Each of them requires a lot of study, discipline, focus, and hard work to be successful.

Trying to choose a major based on difficulty level is a bad idea and probably won’t work.  Instead, you should consider your interests and course requirements before considering them.

If you are still confused about which engineering major to specialize in, choose mechanical Engr. as it covers other fields such as electronics and chemistry, and allows you to delve into them.

Finally, find out if engineering is a good career in this article.

I hope this article helps.  Thanks for reading.