If you’re planning to study some type of engineering during college, you’ve made a great choice. In our modern world, engineers are respected and accountable for the world’s excellent infrastructure, robots, chemical products, and much more. However, completing an engineering degree is no easy task. It takes a lot of technical abilities, an excellent foundation in mathematics and science, and the ability to put lots of effort into tackling the challenging curriculum.
Besides that, not all engineering majors are created equal? There some engineering majors that are easier than others. Check out our article to discover what is considered the most accessible and most complex engineering majors that you can pursue in college.
Check out our article on “5 Best Engineering Schools Worldwide.”
Essential Factors To Consider When Choosing An Engineering Major
It is not easy to find a college that offers a generic “Engineering” major. Like most students, you will have to choose from several different specialties – Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and more. They all have the same foundational courses, but they quickly split off into their specializations.
So when it is time to choose “Engineering,” you will need to do some in-depth searching to figure out which type of engineering you want to pursue, which eventually decides your future. Let’s have a look at some guiding questions to help you narrow down your choices:
What drives you, and what are your goals?
In a clear way, what got you interested in pursuing engineering besides the big fat salary? Did you wanted to build the tallest building in the world, or was it robotics that piqued your interest? Or you wanted to create an Artificial Intelligence that able to work like the human mind.
Contemplate what you would be trying to achieve after obtaining that engineering degree, and that might help you find out which type of engineering you should be pursuing.
What are your strengths?
You don’t have to become a chemical engineer if you hated AP Chemistry. Also, think deeply about aerospace engineering if concepts like aerodynamics and thermodynamics come quickly to you. The best part about each of the engineering disciplines is that they are specific enough that you can easily tailor your major to study where your strength lies, with minimal interaction with subjects you are not good at.
What are the course requirements for each major?
Almost every engineering major has a strong emphasis on mathematics and physics. The rest of the course structure tends to vary based on the major. So you have to take the time out and look at the sample curriculum of each engineering major and see which one has courses that you would be most interested in.
What is the Return on Investment (ROI)?
Usually, most engineering majors come with a good package, and some engineering careers pay more than others. There are some degrees which also cost more than others, depending on the college you go to. You have to weigh your costs against potential earnings, especially if you need college loans.
Which major best suits your lifestyle?
It’s also essential to consider the lifestyle you want to choose by pursuing each major. Many engineering majors require you to work long hours without any resemblance of overtime, and some even need you to be on your feet for many hours in the day. Contemplate these lifestyle choices as you decide which major to pursue.
How We Created This List
Just like how you consider many different factors when choosing your college major, we have also examined many various factors when compiling our list of the hardest and easiest engineering majors.
Remember one essential thing, that every engineering major is difficult. Compared to other majors like history, literature, performing arts, and social sciences, engineering majors, are far more technical and require lots of study time and high analytical abilities. So if you are looking for an easier major that will give you a good study-life balance during college, engineering might not be the perfect choice for you.
Besides that, when ranking each of the different engineering majors, we considered the below-mentioned factors:
- General Reputation: Some engineering majors are quite“tougher” than others
- Course Requirements: We’ve examined how much math, physics, and other advanced content is involved with each engineering major
- Study Time: Engineering majors all require a significant amount of studying time, but some majors require more time for learning and other projects than others
Of course, these factors all vary depending on which school you’re attending and what academic program you choose. So if you want a more clear picture of how hard each engineering major is going to be for you, you should contact your school’s engineering faculty or alumni who have completed the course or people at your school who are currently pursuing the major.
Hardest Engineering Majors
1. Electrical Engineering
Electrical Engineers are essentially focused on the physics and mathematics of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. They use this ability to work on and improve every set of electrical equipment there is.
Many students consider electrical engineering to be a challenging major primarily because of the abstract thinking involved. In the case of 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 much active thinking and theoretical applications.
Also, 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 most complex thing about chemical engineering is that it combines complex engineering principles and applies them with chemistry concepts, a completely different field. So, it is truly a multidisciplinary major.
You can say that chemical engineers are the link between manufacturing and science. They are specialists in transforming raw materials into the final consumable products that we use in our everyday lives. You’ll often see chemical engineers take on the role of Chemical Process Engineer, Chemical Technologist, Pharmaceutical Engineer, and Plant.
Overall, chemical engineering is a very profitable major, but it becomes complex very quickly as there is involvement between chemistry, mathematics, and physics. So if you want to choose this major for you, simply be prepared to spend several hours studying a wide array of subjects.
3. Aerospace Engineering
Aerospace Engineering is quite similar to Mechanical Engineering in terms of the concepts it covers; however, aerospace engineers emphasize training machines that fly. You can pursue Aerospace Engineering if you want to work in National Defense or for NASA, though aerospace engineers are also functional in the private sectors, especially 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 problematic idea of fluid dynamics, a branch of science that deals with the study of liquids and glasses.
Easiest Engineering Majors
1. Environmental Engineering
Environmental Engineers’ primary focus is on developing machines and structures that will have minimal harm to the environment. Environmental Engineering combines Environmental Science and Engineering fundamentals, Environmental Engineering. It’s considered one of the easier engineering majors because it’s not focused on advanced math and physics.
While pursuing Environmental Engineering in college, you need to understand fundamental engineering concepts in mathematics and physics. Still, you also mix in the study of ecology and other environmental theories. You have to work on a lot of design projects and research papers if you choose this major. So if you love solving problems that could impact the Earth, this major is for you.
2. Industrial Engineering
Industrial Engineering combines engineering and social science concepts like business and economics. In this major, you have to design new ideas for factories, corporates, hospitals, and any other organizational structures. You are also for eliminating any wastefulness in the production process.
Industrial Engineering is without any doubt a more technical major than a typical business degree. Still, it is also less focused on concepts in physics and more focused on ideas in business and industrial organization. So if you’re interested in improving the corporate workplace, this career is best for you.
3. Architectural Engineering
Architectural Engineering is a fascinating major where you learn to create, maintain, and develop buildings and structures that are effective and structurally sound. While Architectural engineers are very heavily involved in the actual construction and maintenance of other networks, there is also a tiny design aspect. Some architectural engineering students even have to take business courses with their major. These more miniature technical courses bring down the difficulty of this significance overall.
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.