Hardest Undergraduate Degrees in Science

Top 10 Hardest Undergraduate Degrees in Science

You will agree with me that there are so many challenging and daunting science degrees to pursue in school. While obtaining any of these degrees can yield numerous opportunities and open doors they can be extremely difficult to study even for the most brilliant student.

Science is a broad field with several specialties and some of these specialties are difficult than others. So, with that in mind, I will share the top 10 hardest undergraduate degrees in science to help you make informed decisions on which fits your intellectual capabilities.


Without a doubt, Physics holds the record for being the hardest undergraduate degree to obtain in any university among all other science courses. Do you want to know why? You can ask your friends who are pursuing a career in physics and they will tell you. Trust me, this isn’t a facade!

Unlike many other subjects, Physics is difficult to learn by the rote method. You have to learn the concepts and understand them, instead of memorizing them. There is a lot of logic involved. A lot of Maths. In fact, many of the concepts in Maths were developed for use in Physics.

Of course, there will always be certain parts that you may have to memorize. But, if you can learn the concepts well, understand them, and apply them, Physics is much easier to learn. But the question is how many students can proudly say physics is a simple subject for them?


Most science students perceive chemistry as a tough course and yes, they may be right. I understand that subject difficulty can vary from person to person so for some people Chemistry might be easy but it ranks as one of the hardest undergraduate degrees for a few reasons.

Chemistry involves understanding intricate concepts like atomic structure, molecular interactions, chemical reactions, etc. These ideas can be challenging to visualize for the average student. It also makes use of specialized terminology and symbols which can feel overwhelming.

Secondly, Chemistry often requires mathematical calculations, especially in topics like stoichiometry, equilibrium, and thermodynamics. If someone struggles with math, it can make chemistry seem even more difficult and complex. For these reasons, most students opt for other simpler alternatives.


If you want to pursue a career in Astronomy you need to be as tough as the course itself. An Astronomy degree requires you to study one of the most advanced branches of physics. If you think physics is difficult to learn you don’t want to know what it feels like studying Astrophysics.

Astronomy being a hard degree for students can be quite understandable because it covers a wide range of advanced physics concepts like gravity, relativity, quantum mechanics, astrochemistry, and cosmology. These concepts can take time and effort to grasp fully even for the brightest student.

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Moreover, unlike other sciences, astronomers cannot easily perform experiments on celestial objects. Most of their knowledge comes from observation. Also, new astronomical discoveries are being made all the time, requiring learners to continually absorb new information and revise older theories.

Computer Science

Why is Computer Science so hard? This is one of the most frequently asked questions about the subject on the internet. Of a truth, Computer Science is a difficult science degree to obtain because of how time-intensive it can be. In other words, it’s not the usual kind of logic that you see a lot in college.

Theoretical questions on graph theory, automata, theory of algorithms, etc, can be abstract and force you to use your imagination to come up with an answer. In addition, it takes a lot of practice, continuous learning, debugging skills, writing proofs, and the skill of solving difficult problems to make them simpler.

There will be times when you might not understand how to tackle a problem at all or spend hours upon hours trying to find a small, careless bug in your code. Unlike your usual science courses, Computer Science requires you to tackle problems in creative ways and requires tenacity.


While most people believe that no subject is too difficult or too easy as it all depends on one’s perception, let’s not ignore the fact that a course such as Biology is nowhere an easy one. A degree in Biology in itself is wonderful and opens your mind to the beauty of nature and life around you.

As a relatively broad science course, covering everything from cells to ecosystems can be difficult to master. Biology requires that you learn a lot of conceptual things including memorizing the botanical names of plants and animals. This can be a deal breaker for some students as it involves long learning hours.

Many Biology courses require lab work, which can be time-consuming and challenging. However, since Biology is mostly a memory-based subject where you need to memorize many things while some topics are indeed difficult, most are interesting and can be fun to learn especially the ones that involve experiments.


Neuroscience is a “hard” degree to obtain in science and I believe there are several students who will agree with me. Neuroscience majors typically include a bunch of very hard-core classes, including calculus, general chemistry, general biology, psychology, and in some curricula, organic chemistry, and physics.

Oftentimes, courses in cell and molecular biology, and sometimes other sciences can be encompassing and overwhelming. It also requires some statistics or data analysis classes. At some colleges and universities, many of these classes can be set up as “weed out” classes and can be some of the toughest intro classes for students.

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Another reasonable instance why Neuroscience is perceived as difficult is because of its ambiguity. As a relatively new and developing field, many aspects of the brain are still not fully understood, and there is often more than one way to interpret the data. This ambiguity can make it difficult for students to learn and understand the material.


It is an understatement to say Nursing is “hard.” The course is not only hard but extremely tough and some students either end up quitting after their first year or changing to a different course. Imagine studying other science topics such as chemistry, psychology, anatomy, and physiology as a combination of Nursing.

Many times, Nursing students complain that the coursework is often lengthy, bulky, and extensive because of too much lab work, hospital visits, and patient interaction with medication. It is a degree that requires a great deal of compassion and emotional intelligence. So, you need to be able to effectively work with patients.

Nursing is physically demanding, with long hours and sometimes stressful situations. Having a strong background in science as well as a deep understanding of human anatomy and physiology could be a plus for you to stay grounded in the field. In all, while nursing can be a rewarding career, it is not for everyone.


There is no way Astrophysics won’t be mentioned as one of the hardest undergraduate degrees in science. It is one of the major headaches students who are pursuing a career in sciences face throughout their years in school. Astrophysics is difficult because it involves advanced Mathematics combined with Physics.

If you are not so much into calculation, trust me, this is not a course you should get involved in. As an Astrophysicist you should be ready to do a lot of memorizing, heavy calculations, and late-night studying which is no mean feat for an average student. Of course, only students who know Maths and Physics very well can do this.

While Astrophysics requires a lot of time and effort to master, as it requires understanding complex mathematical concepts and applying them to real-world observations it can lead to a fulfilling and profitable career as a graduate with this degree can work as a physics teacher, astrophysicist, astronomer, and more.


Anyone who says Maths is easy likely has not had enough Mathematics to justify their answer. Unlike other science courses where you have to learn and memorize things you are familiar with, in Maths it is a whole different thing as you will learn abstract topics that are nowhere close to what you experience every day.

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In many science subjects such as physics, chemistry, biology, etc., you can get by with reasonable approximations of an answer. In Mathematics, the reverse is the case. You usually don’t get away with approximations. One thing you need to know for sure is that in Mathematics if you’re wrong, you will know it immediately.

Practical degrees like engineering allow you to often visualize the problems you are working on, but Math is more about theoretical concepts and proofs. This can make it difficult for some people to understand, and it often requires a lot of practice to master, making it to be considered as one of the most highly challenging degrees in science.


Statistics is one of the hardest undergraduate degrees in science for two reasons which I will explain in this section. First, Statistics is abstract. At least at the entry level, you can visualize most concepts in Physics but it could be a tough task to visualize a sample variance. That’s to say, unlike Physics, Statistics is abstract from day one.

Another problem highlighted is that Statistics is complex. Complexity is not necessarily the same as difficulty. Complexity is about dealing with hundreds of variables with uncertainty while difficulty can be there simply because you don’t have the right skill set, knowledge, or even IQ (whatever you wish to call it).

Advanced math/calculus and set theory are necessary to understand most concepts and if you had little to no training in those, it would be quite daunting, especially coupled with the new notations. So, why is statistics difficult? To me, abstraction is tough. Complexity is tougher. But abstract complexity is the height of them all.

Wrap Up

In summary, the top 10 hardest undergraduate degrees in science include the following: Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Computer Science, Biology, Neuroscience, Nursing, Astrophysics, Mathematics, and Statistics. These degrees require a lot of dedication, hard work, and intelligence.

However, they can also be extremely rewarding and lead to fulfilling careers. Many of them are working to improve the lives of others, whether through research, engineering, or direct patient care. The knowledge gained from these degrees can be used to make a real difference in the world.

Whether it’s finding a cure for a disease, designing a new piece of technology, or helping a patient recover from an illness.

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