Top 10 Hardest Undergraduate Degrees In The World

Filed in Articles by on 3rd May 2021


What are the hardest undergraduate degrees in the world? This is one question that a lot of people ask, especially when you are trying to choose a major at the university. In this article, I have outlined and explained the hardest undergraduate degrees in the world, according to how many hours required each week in preparation.

Hardest Undergraduate degrees – Photo by Steven Aguilar on Unsplash

What factors determine a hard degree is?

This is a relatively tough question as there is no particular criterion that will determine what makes the hardest undergraduate degrees. Furthermore, the uniqueness of individual is a very important concept in defining levels of difficulty. What do I mean? What I find difficult might be relatively easy for you. For instance, I could excel very well in literatures while calculations give me nightmares. While on the other hand, you could be a natural at calculations and would need to put in a lot of work towards learning work with a lot of grammatical explanations.

Consequently, any degree could be among the hardest, depending on what your definitions of ‘difficult’ and ‘easy’ are. So, I have made this list based on the number of hours put in for the course; this includes all class works, home works, studies, and reading.

What you should consider when choosing a major?

There are some factors that are very important when you are choosing an undergraduate degree.

Interests and passions

This is one major factor that will determine how you perform in your career. When you have checked the list of things that interest you, it is wise to choose a career in that part. There are some days when you need more than just ‘duty’ to get you to work. On those days, you find out that ‘passion’ is what will drive you to get your work done. It relatively makes hard times easier if it is what you enjoy doing. For instance, it is not wise to go for medicine when you have a strong aversion for blood and open wounds.

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Capabilities and talents

In addition to the direction of your passion, your talent and your abilities are other important factor to consider in choosing an undergraduate degree. You cannot exactly accomplish much if your abilities do not align with what you are aiming for. This would result in a high level of difficulty for what you are pursuing. For example; it would not be advisable for you to go for a degree in STEM if science and technology are a field that you struggle with. However, I must note you could always learn and the ability. It would only require more time, dedication, and consistency.

Career interests

After you have considered the relationship between where your passion lies and your abilities, the next thing you should consider, then, is your career interest. College fees are too expensive to take a degree that will neither aid nor reflect in your prospective career. For instance, you should not study mass communication if your career interest lies with the technologies.

Top 10 hardest undergraduate Degrees in the world

1.      Architecture. 22.50hrs/week

This course makes the 1st hardest undergraduate degree in the world, according to my list, based on the number of hours put into preparation for classes. Architectural students will learn how to make designs and build structures. They will also learn the theories and history behind the major. For architecture, you will need courses like design processes, physics, engineering drawing, calculus, history of architecture and arts, design theory, and urban design.

2.      Chemical engineering .19.66hrs/week

A chemical engineering student will study the design, production, the use, nad transportation of different chemicals. In addition, you will study the operation of chemical plants. You will need courses like chemistry, physics, kinetics, material science, transport processes, calculus, and biology.

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3.      Aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. 19.50hrs/week

This degree is a combination of two types of aerospace engineering: astronautical and aeronautical engineering. The aeronautical engineering major is the study of the development of aircraft for use within the earth, while the astronautical engineering degree is the study for the development of spacecraft for use outside the earth. 

4.      Biomedical engineering. 18.90hrs/week

The biomedical engineering comprises using principles of biology and engineering to develop products for medical and health care uses. The courses to be taken here are chemistry, biology, physics, thermodynamics, engineering design, statistics, electric circuits, and calculus.

5.      Cell and molecular biology. 18.70hrs/week

The cell and molecular biology is an interdisciplinary field that is a combination of biology and chemistry for the analysis of cellular processes and the understanding of the function and structure of the forms of life. For this course, you would take courses in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, mathematics, immunology, marine molecular ecology, and ecology.

6.      Physics. 18.70hrs/week

A physics student will study the properties and movement of matter through space and time. They will also learn the concepts of energy and force. For physics, the courses you would need are electricity, quantum physics, materials science, magnetism, waves and vibrations, gravity, and thermodynamics.

7.      Astronomy. 18.60hrs/week

Under astrology, you will be studying celestial bodies like the stars, asteroids, and planets, and other related portents like the black hole and supernova. For this major, you will take classes in calculus, physics, astrophysics, computer science, planetary geology, and cosmology.

8.      Biochemistry and biophysics. 18.50hrs/week

Biochemistry studies the chemical processes and the substances living in organisms. While biophysics study organisms and biological singularities. The courses you will have to take here are cell biology, neurobiology, computing, evolutionary biology, and genetics.

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9.      Bio engineering. 18.45hrs/week

Bioengineering or biological engineering is a combination of engineering and biological principles aimed at creating products for use like medical devices and other diagnostic equipment. The courses you will take here are chemistry, statistics, computer programming, biology, the science of materials, and chemistry.

10.  Petroleum engineering. 18.45hrs/week

This makes the 10th hardest undergraduate degree in the world, according to my list, based on the number of hours put into preparation for classes. The petroleum engineering students will study all about the extraction and production of oils and natural gasses. In this major, you will need courses like energy and environment, petroleum fluids, calculus, physics, chemistry, petro-physics, geology, and reservoir geomechanics.


You should not be terrified because you heard an undergraduate degree is hard. If your abilities, passion, and career path definition align with any of the courses, don’t fear to go for it. Face them squarely, and you’ll win.

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