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.

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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.

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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 are the easiest and hardest engineering majors? ›

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.

What's the easiest engineering major? ›

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

What engineering major is the hardest? ›

Chemical engineering

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

What is the most useful engineering degree? ›

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 branch of engineering is easiest? ›

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.

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 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.

What is the highest paid engineer? ›

The Highest Paying Engineering Degrees In 2021
  • Petroleum Engineers. Engineer Salary: $114,080 to $166,400 (annually) ...
  • Nuclear Engineers. Engineer Salary: $99,920 to $142,290 (annually) ...
  • Aerospace Engineers. ...
  • Software Engineers. ...
  • Engineering Managers. ...
  • Chemical Engineers. ...
  • Electrical Engineers. ...
  • Biomedical Engineers.
24 Sept 2021

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 is the best? ›

What are the top 7 Engineering courses?
  1. Aeronautical Engineering. ...
  2. Chemical Engineering. ...
  3. Civil Engineering. ...
  4. Computer Engineering. ...
  5. Electrical Engineering. ...
  6. Industrial Engineering. ...
  7. Mechanical Engineering.
13 Sept 2022

Which engineering has the most math? ›

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.

Which is the toughest semester in engineering? ›

i think 1st and 2nd semesters are the hardest one because they are first step of engg. and there is nothing related to computer science and there are subjects like basic mechanical engineering ,engineering mechanics ,basic civil engineering and this kind of other subjects ;we don't use these in future ever..

Is mechanical or civil engineering harder? ›

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.

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 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 is most hands on? ›

Mechanical engineering is usually more hands-on than other types of engineering, and roles for mechanical engineers appear in most technology fields.

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 the most interesting engineering branch? ›

Here are 6 of the most exciting engineering fields that will be growing for years to come.
  • Environmental Engineering. ...
  • Aerospace Engineering and Space Travel. ...
  • Healthcare. ...
  • Robotics. ...
  • 3D Printing. ...
  • Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.

What is the #1 Happiest job? ›

Engineers have the happiest job in the world, closely followed by teachers and nurses, according to analysis carried out by the Guardian.

What is the happiest job on earth? ›

The 10 Happiest and Most Satisfying Jobs
  • Dental Hygienist.
  • Physical Therapist.
  • Radiation Therapist.
  • Optometrist.
  • Human Resources Manager.

What are the highest stress jobs? ›

Based on these factors, the ten most high-stress jobs in the world, according to research from the US News Best Jobs database, are:
  • Mental health counsellor. ...
  • Anesthesiologist. ...
  • Patrol officer. ...
  • IT manager. ...
  • Construction manager. ...
  • Physician. ...
  • Lawyer. ...
  • Financial manager.
17 Jun 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.

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

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 $25 an hour good? ›

Is 25 dollars an hour good pay? Yes, making $25 per hour is a good way to start off your career, knowing full well that the majority of Americans make just $10 to $20 per hour. Nevertheless, keep in mind that the more money you make, the more taxes you'll have to pay.

Where are engineers paid the most? ›

Our research found that New Hampshire is the best state for engineers, while New Hampshire and Massachusetts are ranked highest in terms of median salary. New Hampshire has a median salary of $97,046 and New Hampshire has the highest median salary among all 50 states for engineers.

What job makes the most money? ›

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.

Which engineering is best for future? ›

List Of The Best Engineering Courses For Future
  • Aerospace Engineering.
  • Chemical Engineering.
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
  • Petroleum Engineering.
  • Telecommunication Engineering.
  • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
  • Robotics Engineering.
  • Biochemical Engineering.
26 Apr 2022

Is engineering harder than nursing? ›

Which Major Is Harder Nursing or Engineering? Engineering degrees are more difficult to obtain than nursing degrees because they demand a thorough grasp of sophisticated algebra, chemistry, physics, and technical prerequisites, making them more difficult to obtain.

Which engineering has the most math? ›

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.

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

Is it harder to be an engineer or a lawyer? ›

Law is difficult because it requires learning a vast amount of material. An engineering degree is difficult because it requires solving complex problems using maths, physics, and sciences. What one person finds difficult with being different from another person.

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 engineering has bright future? ›

Answer. Computer science engineering, electrical communication engineering , mechanical engineering , civil engineering , eee , agricultural engineering so these are best engineering branches has more scope in future in India. So you can choose any engineering you can get a good job .

What branch of engineering should I choose? ›

Choice majorly depends on the interest of the candidate. Suppose a candidate has an interest in aircraft. In that case, he/she can be an aerospace engineer. On the other hand, if machines fascinate an engineering aspirant, then mechanical engineering is what he/she is seeking for.

Do engineers make more than doctors? ›

Despite a starting salary of more than 3 times that of an engineer, specialist doctors only surpass engineers in lifetime earnings at the age of 43. That's right: from the age of 22 to 42, engineers are in a more favorable financial position than even specialist physicians.

Who gets paid more nurses or engineers? ›

Do Nurses Make More Money Than Engineers? In most cases, engineers earn slightly more on average than nurses. However, some nursing jobs pay almost the same rates (sometimes even higher) as engineering. These include certified nurse anesthetists, legal nurse practitioners, and certified nurse-midwife.

Is it hard to get a engineering degree? ›

Engineering degrees are challenging since they need a lot of physics and math, and you may struggle with this degree if you are not familiar with these disciplines. An Engineering Degree has a lot of complex material that many can find very challenging, but the overall difficulty depends on your passion for the field.

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.

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

Which engineering uses the most physics? ›

Mechanical engineering uses knowledge of physics and materials to create things like engines, manufacturing equipment and vehicles. This can be a bit more hands-on than other disciplines, as you're working with things you can see moving and interact with directly.

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