7 answers

What are the most difficult classes that engineering students are required to take?

Asked South Lyon, Michigan

I hear that the required classes for an engineering degree are rigorous. I have a calculus class right now, and I am doing fine, but how much harder are the classes in college compared to high school? And, what advice should I take with me prior to going to college in order to pursue an engineering degree? #engineering #engineer #mechanical-engineering #civil-engineering #electrical-engineering #chemical-engineering #industrial-engineering

7 answers

Peter’s Answer

Updated Kent, Washington

For me, the prerequisite calculus courses were the hardest part of the degree path. Some of the introductory engineering courses - structural, electrical - may also be challenging. But hang in there. Your upper division courses should be more satisfying and fun.

Good luck, Pete Sturtevant

DAVID’s Answer

Updated Saint Petersburg, Florida

most difficult=chemistry,physics,calculus classes are large most not use to 500 kids in one class room good preparation to succeed=take all the advance HS courses in chemistry, physics, calculus good exposure in HS reduces the shock and you actually find you are prepared since the info repeats and you can do it colleges use the first year as weed out time, but as I told my daughter dig your heals in, go the the help sessions, work with other students and guess what she passed with super grades and did not give up remember the goal is to pass not to get all A's, the fun engineering courses come your last two years because your taking calculus in HS you will do fine advise=don't give up early in the game, all the students are in the same boat

Good to know. Thanks Mr. Weber!

Edward’s Answer


Depends on your major, but like others have said Calculus, Physics and Chemistry. Make yourself as familiar as you can with these subjects, since they may be similar to those you will face in college, college level Calculus, Physics and Chem are more intense. Don't be intimidated, and always ask questions! Calculus, Physics and Chemistry classes are the building blocks of 3rd and 4th year engineering classes. These 3rd and 4th year courses are generally applications of Calc, Physics and Chemistry. Good luck!

Your answer is great Edward, thanks so much for sharing your expertise! At this moment there are more than 800 unanswered questions so I wanted to encourage you to keep going! So many students will benefit tremendously from hearing from you. Keep up the great work!

G. Mark’s Answer


You'll likely be getting answers like, "Multivariate Calculus" or "Chemistry", but I'll tell you the fact. The fact is that the most difficult classes will likely be other than those you get all excited about and charged up. You'll find those classes intriguing and fun regardless of how much work they require. So my advice to you is to pay close attention to those classes. You'll want to steer your career into doing those sorts of things as much as possible. The reason is what I tell my students -- you'll enjoy what you're good at and you'll be good at what you enjoy. And that's a win-win for everybody involved.

Now if you want the general answer for everyday folks about engineering, they'd say that the most difficult classes for engineering students are engineering courses, and on average, the easiest tend to be non-engineering courses. But then, that's not why people become engineers. They do it because they'd rather be working hard at that than pretty much anything else.

Andrew’s Answer

Updated Mountain View, California

Check out "Physical Chemistry" aka PChem.

Davina’s Answer

Updated San Jose, California

The most difficult classes at undergraduate level are mathematics, mathematical physics and physics. I would recommend taking as many mathematical and physics courses at school as possible. Calculus is an extremely good one to take, as it is used in engineering classes. Linear Algebra and statistics are two other courses you should focus on.

Davina recommends the following next steps:

  • Research a local university on-line to see what courses they include in their engineering degree. Investigate what their entrance requirements are for their engineering degree.

Justin’s Answer

Hi Allison,

Most of engineering theory courses will be considered difficult because it requires rigorous thinking processes to solve problems. And their difficult level can be more depth than calculus which is general requirement of engineering students to take.

But beyond the engineering courses, I think the most difficult courses engineer students encounter but very often ignore is English composition classes.

Majority of the time, engineers spend 50% of time writing emails and reports from their daily tasks. If your English writing is lack, your career will not get further. And the most difficult of English composition course is that engineer students don’t contribute enough time to study and learn compares their engineering courses.

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