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Top 10 Hardest bachelors degree programs in the US

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Hardest bachelor degree programs in the US
Hardest bachelor degree programs in the US

What are the hardest bachelors degree programs in the US? You might think it’s all those complex STEM programs, and you might not be wrong. The hardest bachelor’s degree programs are often the ones with the biggest payoff for graduates!

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Yes, these degree programs will present challenges. You might put in long hours in the lab evaluating data and compiling reports, take the toughest classes in math and sciences, and just generally work hard for your degree, but graduates from these degree programs often earn enough money to make it worth it.

In this article, we will look at the several factors normally used to determine whether a particular bachelor degree program is hard before going over the 10 most difficult majors based on how many hours students naturally spend each week preparing for classes. We will also give you a few tips on how to find the right major for you.

Without much further ado, these are the hardest bachelor degree program in the U.S and believe us you can never guess number one rightly on your first try.

Hardest bachelors degree programs in the US

10. Geology

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Starting our list is Geology. Geologists explore the history of our planet and use their knowledge to make helpful predictions about future floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. They are also useful for planning where and how to build highways or structures, or lay pipelines for natural gas or oil.

Coursework includes geology, paleoecology, paleontology, and mineralogy, along with more general courses in math and science.
This degree also entails a lot of fieldwork in the great outdoors, dealing with environmental protection through erosion control and water maintenance.

The activity is calculated and complicated, which puts geology among the hardest bachelor degree program in the US, but it provides great rewards!

Geology Jobs

Job Title Potential Salary

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Mining / Geological Engineer $93,800
Geoscientist $93,580
Hydrologist $84,040
Environmental Scientist / Specialist $73,230
Geological / Hydrologic Technician $50,630
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

9. Finance

You will need your left brain and right brain for this profession! Finance requires you to have skills in math, formulating strategies, analyzing data, and communicating well. People with skills in all these areas are hard to come by! It might not look much but Finance is really a hard bachelor’s degree program. If you think otherwise, just sit beside a financial analyst and watch him/her work and you will know why this degree is included on our list.

The great thing about Finance is that regardless of the economy, financial and accounting services will always be in high demand.

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As a graduate with a degree in Finance, you can find employment anywhere. Every business needs an accountant or financial analyst to keep the numbers in check and in green. You can work in government, international trade, business, and beyond.

Finance Jobs

Job Title Potential Salary

Personal Financial Advisors $89,330
Management Analysts $87,660
Financial Analysts $83,660
Financial Examiners $81,430
Logisticians $76,270
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

8. Mathematics

Some people say math is a language all its own. We all dread maths, so it is no surprise that it is on our list. A bachelor’s in math may seem generic, but it is actually quite flexible.

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Employers everywhere are seeking individuals who think creatively, independently, and critically, and math students do exactly that. They also do well in and algebra classes, of course.

Courses typically include single and multivariable calculus, statistics, linear and abstract algebra, real analysis, probability, and, often, computer science.

Some math majors focus on applied and computational math, while others focus on pure and theoretical math. Regardless of which path you follow, both avenues are very challenging due to the intense level of mathematical thinking and reasoning.

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With a degree in Mathematics, you can work in patent law, animation, software development, financial analysis, cybersecurity, economics, market research, astronomy, or any number of fields.

Mathematics Jobs

Job Title Potential Salary

Actuary $111,030
Mathematician / Statistician $93,290
Operations Research Analyst $86,200
Financial Analyst $83,660
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

7. Neuroscience

A Neuroscience student spends an average of 18 hours each week preparing for class and sometimes slightly more than chemistry students spend.

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This academic field is all about the human nervous system, including its development, structure, and role, with emphasis given to the brain and its cognitive properties. As a neuroscience student, you can expect to take classes in psychology, calculus, neurobiology, chemistry, physics, and cognitive science. If you have a passion for both psychology and the hard sciences, neuroscience could be a great opportunity for you to combine them.

Neuroscience students also have the opportunity to further their education and pursue research in the later years of their program.

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Neuroscience Jobs

Job Title Potential Salary

Neuroscience Data Scientist $103,935
Electrophysiology Neuroscience $84,159
Contract Neuroscientist $83,839
International Neuroscientist $82,868
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

6. Astronomy

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Astronomy involves the study of celestial objects such as planets, stars, asteroids, and related phenomena like supernovae and black holes.

Many universities combine astronomy with astrophysics. As an astronomy student, you can expect to study quantum mechanics, physics, astrophysics, computer science, cosmology, electricity and magnetism, calculus, planetary geology, and thermodynamics to help you understand space science and the universe as a whole.

This major is so challenging because it covers so much: outer space is huge and filled with mysteries. Plus you get to also do more physics as well. So, you will be studying two majors with more focus on Astronomy buy with physics on the side. This is why Astronomers are well conversant in physics-related issues.

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Those who choose to study astronomy should be prepared to study objects millions of light-years away.

Astronomy Jobs

Job Title Potential Salary

Physics Lecturer $64,852
Faculty Physics $64,753
Adjunct Physics $62,740
Physics Instructor $62,265
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

5. Physics

Studying physics covers everything from the universe and the largest galaxies to the smallest subatomic particles. Students learn about the movement and properties of matter through time and space, coupled with the concepts of force and energy. Common topics covered in classes are electricity, quantum physics, vibrations and waves, thermodynamics, magnetism, and gravity.

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To excel in this area, you need to be good in math, English, different sciences, problem-solving, and teamwork.

The coursework is very demanding, but comes with a versatile degree, providing you job opportunities in scientific research, business, technology, and engineering. Physics students must pay attention to their writing in order to deliver professional-level findings.

Physics Jobs

Job Title Potential Salary

Physicist / Astronomer $129,850
Aerospace Engineer
$118,610
Nuclear Engineer $116,140
Chemist / Materials Scientist $79,300
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

4. Computer Science

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Computer scientists are more and more in high demand, but you must be ready to commit to an intense degree program if you want to pursue computer science!

Computer science students spend a lot of time troubleshooting and problem-solving, rather than learning a specific set of curriculum that you might find in the hard sciences.

Students studying computer science learn the theory and application of computers, and also the computational methods, from informatics to systems.

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Typical coursework for computer science includes algorithms, computer architecture, and discrete structures. This is in addition to programming courses that cover many languages – C, C++, Java, Python, and many more (depending on your program).

Computer Science Jobs

Job Title Potential Salary

Computer and Information Systems Manager $151,150
Hardware Engineer $119,560
Network Architect $116,780
Software Developer $110,140
Information Security Analyst $103,590
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

3. Architecture

Architecture might seem like an outlier on this list, but architecture programs are extremely challenging. Architecture students study math, engineering principles, physics, art, calculus, design processes, urban design, design theory, and computer science.

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Naturally, architecture students cover most degree fields in their studies. You got to understand engineering, art, physics, and computer science. That’s a four-degree program rolled up in one.

Then the long hours are also a factor, architecture students spend a whopping 22 hours a week on average preparing for classes—that’s two hours more each week than engineering students spend or any discipline for that matter.

Architecture students learn how to design and build structures in addition to studying the history and theory behind architecture.

Architecture Jobs

Job Title Potential Salary

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Platform Architect $158,263
Network Solution Architect $156,092
IT Solution Architect $154,113
Senior Principal Architect $152,460
Remote Solutions Architect $163,999
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

2. Engineering

If you are a STEM prodigy, then an engineering program might just be the thing for you! Engineering is undoubtedly one of the hardest bachelor’s degree programs, and not just in the U.S alone but in the world.

Engineering itself is really broad and within it, there are branches you can choose from. We have Mechanical, Civil, Chemical, Electrical, Management, and Geotechnical – and even under these branches are hundreds of degrees you can choose from. And it doesn’t matter what degree program you choose, as long as it has engineering attached to it, you will put in hard work.

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The usual classes required for the degree program include Chemistry, Statistics, Calculus, Physics, and other subjects, and to be honest even smart students struggle to pass.

The advantage that engineering has over most degree programs is that you as an engineer will always be in need, which means getting a good job won’t be hard. And there are literally hundreds of career paths you could choose from.

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Engineering Jobs

Job Title Potential Salary

Petroleum Engineer $137,330
Computer Hardware Engineer $119,560
Aerospace Engineer $118,610
Nuclear Engineer $116,140
Chemical Engineer $108,540
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

1. Chemistry

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I know it’s weird. You might be wondering why chemistry is number one. Chemistry is actually harder than you think. Chemists are usually at the vanguard of developing new processes and materials for understanding chemical processes.

A chemistry student spends an average of 18 hours each week and two and half hours per day preparing for class.

Chemistry overlaps slightly with biology, but chemistry goes further beyond living things. Chemistry concentrates more on the composition of matter, including all structures, properties, and reactions. You will undoubtedly spend a lot of time in the lab testing and re-testing theories. The usual classes required for the degree program include general chemistry, physics, organic chemistry, biology, calculus, and statistics.

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The good thing about studying this course is that Chemistry graduates can choose from several career paths, including education, medicine, research, pharmaceuticals, forensic, nursing, and even law. Some students further their education in the field by pursuing a graduate degree, where they can develop their writing and speaking skills for presenting their findings.

Chemistry Jobs

Job Title Potential Salary

Biochemist / Biophysicist $94,270
Chemist / Materials Scientist $79,300
Environmental Scientist / Specialist $73,230
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to Find the Right Bachelor Degree Program for You

These are the hardest bachelor’s programs based on the amount of preparation they typically require and their average GPA. The real question now is this: which one should you choose?
So how can you make sure you are choosing the right degree program for you?

  • Your interests and passions: If you are not genuinely interested in the degree program you have chosen, you will likely lack the drive to keep up with your studies. Pick a degree that excites you.
  • Your abilities: Ability matters as well, because if you can’t do something at all or do it well enough to be successful in it, then the degree program is likely not the one for you. For example, it wouldn’t be in your best interest to pursue a career in Architecture if you have no experience drawing or are not particularly skilled at it.
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These are the main factors to consider before you commit to any degree program in college.

Note that it’s OK if you are still undecided on what to study when you start college—not all schools require you to declare a major in your application right away. Still, you should absolutely take some time to explore your options to help you discover what your ideal course of study might be.

Conclusion

It is important to know that your experience will differ depending on your interests and the school you attend. All school requirements are not the same, and some can be more tasking than the others, either way, the general consensus is that, as long as you ask for help when you need it and use your resources, any of these programs are achievable.

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Most importantly, don’t let the fact that a major is “hard” discourage you from pursuing something you are passionate about studying.

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