Some majors may be easy for some students and hard for others. Throughout the years, the hardest college majors have evolved. Some of the hardest college majors remain the same, while some new majors have emerged. Check out our data driven findings for 2021 below.
There is no such thing as an easy major in college, but there are most definitely hard college majors. Check out our findings below.
What We Cover:
Hardest College Majors
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|wdt_ID||Rank||College Major||Average GPA||Average Retention Rate|
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One of the biggest factors in determining which majors will be hard and easy for a college student are the skills that student excels in. If someone is good with math, an engineering major will not be one of the hardest majors for them versus someone who struggles with math.
Students should determine their best skills before picking a college major and see how those skills align with their interests.
Students who are interested in something they are studying will do better in their major and will find their time in college more enjoyable. It is a lot easier to study for something that you are interested in versus something that you have no interest in. Students that can combine their skills and passions will be the best off in college.
There are definitely some majors that tend to be harder and require more work than other majors. These “hard” majors most often have better career opportunities post-grad and pay better in the long run.
Students who put in the work for these hardest college majors tend to be well-off after graduation and have successful careers. Want something a little easier to study in college? Check out our list of easiest college majors.
Hardest College Majors
Have you been wondering what the hardest college majors are? We ranked the hardest college majors for 2021. Coming in at number one is athletic training. This major combines principles from health related sciences and sports.
Athletic training majors should have good time management as they will have to balance a ton of tasks within this major.
Most athletic training majors will need to get practical experience throughout their college career. Most students will end up being paired with a team on campus or a local team in the area. These practical hours are a great way to gain real world experience.
The combination of classroom material and real-world material make athletic training one of the most difficult college majors.
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||16%|
Computer Science Major
Computer science is the study of computers and various programming languages and is one of the most difficult majors. A computer science major will vary depending on the program offered by your school.
This field is always changing. New programming languages are being used every year, best practices are always changing, and new technologies are popping up left and right.
Computer science is one of the hottest majors right now. Students will have numerous job opportunities post-graduation with a computer science major. Students may end up working for big tech companies, fortune 500 companies, or small businesses.
Every business has the need for computer science majors because of the evolution of technology. If students can struggle through this major and graduate, they will be set.
|Job Outlook (2018-2028)||21%|
Nursing is a very popular college major – but despite the popularity, it still remains one of the most challenging college majors out there. Nursing students will be spending their days between classes and labs.
Students who decide to major in nursing should have a passion for helping others and have good communication skills.
Most nursing majors will be required to have clinical hours as part of their major. Clinical hours consist of students being placed in a real-life environment where they can gain actual nursing experience.
The clinical hours usually take place in a hospital setting, but may take place in a nursing home, doctors office, or any other medical setting.
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||7%|
Nutrition science majors will study dietary concerns and health issues regarding food, eating, and medicine. Nutrition science is a tricky major because it involves many different fields of study.
Some of the different fields it involves include chemistry, biology, and various social sciences.
As a nutrition science major, you will have a couple of different areas you can specialize in – wellness, community nutrition, exercise science, and nutrition education.
Nutrition science is always changing as new trends become popular. People are starting to become more health conscious, so the major is increasing with popularity. Dieticians and nutritionists are starting to become more sought-after jobs because of people becoming more health conscious.
|Dietitians and Nutritionists|||
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||8%|
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Geology consists of studying the Earth’s physical structure. This may include substances on the Earth, the best way to use the Earth’s resources, and the history of various things on the Earth – like rocks.
Geology majors will use different types of sciences in their major including chemistry, biology, physics, and math.
Students who major in Geology should have a passion for the outdoors or the environment – you will be doing a lot of field work upon graduation. Some skills that geology majors will learn include data analysis, observation, and problem-solving.
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||5%|
Mathematics is typically a major selected by people who are logical thinkers and like problem solving. Individuals who decide to pursue a math major love learning about math and enjoying learning how to apply them to real world problems.
Math majors often continue their careers in patent law, software engineering, computer science, economics and financial analysis, biotechnology, national security, space exploration, and so on – there are many possibilities associated with majoring in math.
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||33%|
Everyone knows that engineering are some of the hardest majors in college. Civil engineering is one of the oldest engineering majors. Civil engineers are very important people who design and help build city infrastructure. Some infrastructure they design include roads, buildings, tunnels, and bridges.
Civil engineers are valuable to many people including city and state governments, construction companies, and contractors.
Civil engineering includes a lot of math and science. Typically, students working towards a civil engineering degree will study a lot of real-world problems and cases so they can be prepared when entering the real world.
Civil engineers should be comfortable working with geometry, trigonometry, calculus, and chemistry.
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||2%|
Psychology is the study of the conscious and unconscious occurrences, as well as what we feel and think. Psychology is the science that looks at our behavior and mind. Psychology is a very vast field and students can choose to enter into a specific concentration of psychology.
Some of these fields include social psychology, quantitative psychology, developmental psychology, and clinical psychology.
Psychology is such a vast field, there are many opportunities for students post-graduation. Some students may even choose to get their master and doctorates in psychology after they complete their undergrad years.
With the increase in mental health awareness, psychologists can expect to see an increase in job opportunities.
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||3%|
Biochemistry is the combination of biology and chemistry. Students who major in biochemistry will focus on looking at the molecular level of life. This is a great major for anyone who wants a broad knowledge base in science.
Students who major in biochemistry can go to graduate school, medical school, dental school, or start a very lucrative career. Students can land jobs in research, medicine, biotech, and pharmaceuticals.
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||4%|
Another one of the hardest majors in college is a different engineering major. Chemical engineering major teaches students how to combine mathematics and scientific principles to design, develop and implement chemical processes.
Some chemical processes that students may learn about include kinetic systems, heat transfer systems, and energy conservation processes.
Just like civil engineering, a chemical engineer will work a lot with math and science. Some common classes a civil engineering major will take include calculus, chemistry, mechanics, and engineering statistics. Chemical engineers solve very technical problems and create innovations that alter our everyday lives.
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||4%|
Choosing a Major
There are many different things to consider when deciding on a college major. One of the most important things you can do is choose something that is interesting to you. This will make the major you choose a lot easier – because you are interested in it.
Check out our guide to college majors for an in-depth guide. 4 important things to consider when choosing a college major are:
This is the most important factor. You will want to enjoy what you are learning, and eventually what you will do in the real world. Narrowing down what interests you will help you choose your best fit college major. Something that interests you will be significantly easier versus something you have no interest in.
Students may not always be thinking about life after college, but it is definitely something to consider. Most college majors will allow students many job opportunities after they graduate.
With that being said, some majors will allow more opportunities than others. View some college major trends to help you become more informed on various college majors.
This is something else that not many students may be thinking of. Try to look into what kind of income and time commitment your major will allow you after you graduate. Will the college major you choose allow you to work a standard 9-5 job or will you have to work hard, long hours to earn a living.
This consideration can be tied into the job prospects consideration we talked about above. More informed students will be able to make better decisions regarding their college majors – it is important to consider everything.
View a complete list of college majors to help think of some ideas.
Finding Schools With A Certain Major
Finding schools that meet all of your criteria and offer your college major can be a hassle. We decided to create a tool to solve this problem. Our FREE college finder tool helps students save time and energy while easily comparing schools that offer their desired college major.
Use our free tool to compare schools based on different factors that you choose. Students can filter schools by size, location, college majors, institution type, tuition, and test scores.
This tool is a great way to easily find every school in the United States that offers your specific college major. No more wasting time trying to find if a certain school offers a certain college major. Use the college finder tool here.
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Business is one of the most popular college majors out there, see what the hardest business college majors are. Are you really smart and want to challenge yourself – try one of these challenging engineering majors.
Hardest Degrees to Get
The above majors are our hardest college majors based on several factors. Every major in college will require work and dedication to complete. While these are the hardest majors based on our findings, some of these majors may be easier for some students depending on their skills and interests.
Most of all, it is important for students to choose a major they are passionate about.
When looking at different college majors, try to imagine yourself doing work in that field after you graduate. If you can see yourself doing that job post-graduation, and you would be happy about it, consider majoring in that topic.
Do not let a major being considered “hard” deter you from not pursuing it. If there is something you truly want to pursue, and you are truly passionate about it, do it!
Hardest College Majors FAQS
There are a ton of difficult college majors out there. A lot of what makes a college major difficult depends on what kind of person you are. If you hate math, then engineering majors will be the hardest majors for you.
In general, we found that athletic training was the hardest major out there. Students who were athletic training majors had a lower retention rate and GPA when compared to other college majors.
College Total’s Top 10 Hardest Majors:
1. Athletic Training. Average GPA: 2.86
2. Computer Science. Average GPA: 2.88
3. Nursing. Average GPA: 2.97
4. Nutrition. Average GPA: 2.97
5. Geology. Average GPA: 3.03
6. Mathematics. Average GPA: 3.10
7. Civil Engineering. Average GPA: 3.17
8. Psychology. Average GPA: 3.13
9. Biochemistry. Average GPA: 3.19
10. Chemical Engineering. Average GPA: 3.23
After looking at hundreds of college majors and different statistics for each of those college majors, we found that music composition was the easiest college major.
While music composition may be the easiest college major, there will still be a ton of work and dedication needed to graduate. All college majors will require hard work and dedication. Check out our list of the easiest college majors here.
In order to find and rank the hardest college majors, we used a couple of different factors. We used retention rates for college students based on majors – these retention rates indicated to us what percentage of students remained in their declared major or decided to change their major.
We determined this would be a good indication of how easy or hard a major was.
After determining retention rates, we paired those specific majors with the average GPA’s for each major. GPA is a great indicator of how easy or hard a major is. We then assigned a weight to each factor and scored the majors using both criteria.
We realize that GPA’s can vary from school to school so some GPA’s may be higher or lower depending on the school you are looking at. There is no perfect system for finding the hardest college majors but we decided this would be the best way.