Hardest Engineering Majors: Is it worth studying [2022 Guide]

Hardest Engineering Majors: Is it worth studying [2022 Guide]

This list includes some of the hardest engineering majors.

Although studying engineering is not easy but some majors are more difficult than others. But the major focus of this article is to discuss whether these hardest engineering majors are worth studying.

When selecting a major to study, you should ask yourself the following.

  • What is your passion?
  • What are the job opportunities?
  • What will be the salary?

Also check our other guides:

Hardest Engineering Majors: Study Hours

Here is the list of hardest engineering majors and number of hours to study.

Hardest Engineering Major

Average Study Hours Per Week

Architectural engineering

22

Chemical Engineering

19.66

Astronautical Engineering

19.24

Biomedical Engineering

18.82

Bioengineering

18.43

Petroleum Engineering

18.41

Mechanical Engineering

18.11

Materials Engineering

17.9

Electronical or electronic engineering

17.7

Civil Engineering

17.4

Engineering (General)

17.17

Computer Engineering

16.46

Industrial Engineering

15.68

Marine Engineering

15.72

Environmental Engineering

15.3

The number of hours below represent the average time spent in a week preparing for class – studying, reading, writing, and doing homework or lab work. The averages include freshmen and seniors.

Hardest Engineering Majors: List

Aerospace engineering

Aerospace engineering is the study of everything that flies through the air both on the planet in the atmosphere or outside of the planet as well.

So you’re going to be studying planes, jets, helicopters, etc but also satellites and rockets.

In terms of the pay, this one is one of the higher-paying engineering degrees on the list.

However, one big issue with aerospace engineering is it’s not nearly as flexible as some of the other ones like mechanical engineering.

So you do want to make sure if you want to get an aeronautical engineering degree, do your due diligence. Figure out exactly what career you’re trying to go into. And figure out if that degree is the best option for you.


Architectural engineering

Architectural engineering is a combination of an architect and an engineer. It focuses on the design, implementation, building, and construction as well as the technology behind what needs to be in a building.

So in terms of the numbers, this one looks pretty decent if you can compare it to all other degrees. But when you’re putting it side by side with other engineering degrees it’s not quite as good.

So pay is pretty good but there’s not as much job demand.

Also, architectural engineering is not as flexible as you’d probably want it to be. 

Chemical engineering

Chemical engineering is one that has the reputation of being one of the hardest engineering majors.

Now in terms of the statistics for this one very good pay. You’re going to make amazing money if you become a chemical engineer.

Unfortunately, a lot of the jobs for chemical engineers are going to require you to move. This is not one of those degrees where there are going to be jobs in every city. And so the demand for this one is good.

Now if you become a chemical engineer and then you go into the natural gas industry which is a common career path.

A lot of the time that’s going to be fluctuating quite a bit. Sometimes there’s a ton of jobs in the national gas industry. And then a lot of the time, there is not going to be any jobs at all.

So any type of energy-related industry oftentimes is going to fluctuate.

Civil engineering

Civil engineering is similar to architectural engineering but there’s more of an emphasis on roads, bridges, dams, etc.

You’re gonna make a decent salary with a civil engineering degree. There’s a decent amount of demand out there.

It’s relatively flexible. So it’s pretty good.

If you’re someone who’s passionate about civil engineering then definitely go into it.

Computer engineering

Computer engineering is fantastic.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that technology is taking over the world. Automation is coming and computers and technology are just getting better and better.

Now the software side of things is fantastic but let’s not forget the hardware side of things as well. This is what computer engineers generally focus on.

This one is just really good in every single category. You make incredibly good money. It’s very flexible. You can work in all kinds of different jobs.

For instance, you could get a computer engineering degree, and then you could become a software developer.

Every industry out there is in need of people who have computer engineering expertise. So it’s a very flexible degree. There’s tons of demand. It pays really well.

Also, if you go into the technology industry, businesses tend to treat you better. So there’s going to be higher job satisfaction.

Electrical engineering

Now electrical has a lot of the upsides that computer engineering has but it’s even more flexible. So you’re not going to be making quite as much as a computer engineer.

Although it is one of the hardest engineering major but you’re going to have access to a lot of the same jobs. And it’s even more flexible.

You’re basically going to be designing and creating products any type of product that uses electricity. However, a lot of electrical engineers end up working in the technology industry.

If you’re not 100% sure what you want to do, this one might be a slightly better option for you.

Environmental engineering

And this is exactly what it sounds like it’s going to be. Engineering that involves helping the environment.

An environmental engineer might try to create a machine that turns plastic into oil or maybe a machine that gets rid of some of the CO2 in the atmosphere. So really cool degree.

A lot of people are passionate about this obviously. But unfortunately when you compare to some of the other engineering degrees. I have to be fair here, the numbers just are not as good.

This one just is not as good as some of the other engineering degrees. That doesn’t mean that you can’t go into it. That’s awesome if you know you’re passionate about it and you want to go into it.

But when it comes to the numbers it’s just not as good. Maybe it will be better in the future that would be awesome. 

Marine engineering

Marine engineering focuses on vessels that float in the water. Not just ones that float like boats and oil rigs but also submarines. It can be considered one of the hardest engineering major.

Now Marine engineering has decent stats when it comes to how much you make. But I will say that this one does suffer when it comes to the job opportunities out there.

The big problem with Marine engineering is a lot of the time jobs that can be done by a marine engineer can also be done by a mechanical engineer. However, mechanical engineers, have tons of other options.

When it comes to the stats comparing Marine engineering to other types of engineering degrees, it’s not amazing if you compare it to all degrees out there. It’s still relatively decent.

If you’re someone who is super passionate about submarines and ships and stuff like that still go into it.

Mechanical engineering

Mechanical engineering is the perfect degree if you’re not 100% sure what you want to do. Because it’s the most flexible engineering degree there are. So many different directions you can go with a mechanical engineering degree.

If you do your due diligence you. Do your research and you know exactly what career you’re going to go into some of these other degrees are better.

However, if you’re not 100% sure, mechanical engineering is a really good go-to engineering degree.

This one has relatively solid numbers. Pretty much across the board and it’s also very flexible.

Network engineering

Network engineering is a combination of information technology and engineering. So you’re basically going to be working on different networks in order to store and transfer information.

Now after hearing that, you probably think this sounds fantastic. But after doing some research on Network engineering, it’s just not as good as a lot of the other engineering degrees.

And I think one of the big reasons for that is because of the fact that you’re basically competing against different information technology degrees.

There’s already plenty of people who are very very good at that. So it’s a bit of a redundant degree. In many cases, you’re going to be competing against a big pool of people who are very experienced in information technology.

Nuclear engineering

Nuclear engineering is another energy-related engineering degree and as I said before all of the energy-related degrees are going to be very volatile.

So whether it’s petroleum engineering, environmental engineering, nuclear engineering all of them are extremely volatile. All these degrees are not easy and considered hardest engineering majors.

There are so many different things that could happen in the world. War could break out, a new politician, a global pandemic, and all of a sudden you go from having a fantastic job to pretty much all of the employees getting laid off.

But then a few years later it might reverse and you can get your job right back.

Now I’m personally a huge fan of nuclear engineering. I think it’s a fantastic way of collecting and storing energy.  Although pay is good but it is not very flexible.

With this, we conclude the list of some hardest engineering majors in the world.

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