While it is true that no college degree is 'easy', there are certainly some degrees which require an immense amount of work, stamina and determination. Because of the amount of work required, lots of these degrees have high drop-out rates – but for those who can make it across the finish line, jobs acquired as a result of your degree will make it financially worthwhile! Let's have a look at the top ten hardest degrees.
Start Applying to the Hardest Programs
With such a vast and difficult array of subjects on which engineering students are tested (physics, statistics, calculus etc.), this subject has the highest rate of C grades and the lowest rate of A grades. The drop-out rate, perhaps because of this, is as high as 60% in some colleges. For this degree, you will need a minimum SAT Math score of 490 and reading score of 460. Many colleges require higher scores than this, however. Furthermore, not many colleges check your writing score for an Engineering degree. An average starting salary for a qualified engineer is around $54,000.
The most difficult aspect of an architecture degree is the amount of time students must dedicate to their work. Architecture can become a life-commitment! This is reflected in the exceptionally high drop-out rates of up to 82%. However, with an average starting salary of $45,000, this can be a good pay-off with many architects earning $75,000 as their careers progress. The minimum SAT score for entry onto an architecture degree is approximately 1700 and students are required to have compiled a portfolio of work prior to application.[Cannot display listing: You must configure the listing from the admin screen before you can add listings to your page.]
Whilst an interesting degree to study, many students enter onto this path to gain careers in medicine or veterinary sciences. A life sciences degree is only beginning of a qualification in fields such as this and so students often spend a further 7 or 8 years studying after they have acquired their life sciences degree! Despite this, early drop-out rates for this degree are only around 20%. Submitted SAT scores must include one science test and the combined score should be approximately 2300. Starting salaries vary depending on which job field you wish to choose however an average starting salary for those with a Life Sciences degree is around $55,000.
Business & Management
Business & Management degrees can lead to high-powered jobs which can be stressful. Many students can find this degree very challenging due to the workload and the drop-out rate can be as high as 50%. To apply for this degree, many colleges have their own written essays and tests for candidates to submit. Furthermore, you will need a combined SAT score for Math and critical reading of approximately 1200. The starting salary for a manager or business associate is around $50,000 and this salary can increase dramatically throughout your career.
This field includes subjects such as physics, chemistry and geology. Because of the world's move towards cleaner energy, this has meant there are less jobs available in this field and so graduates are finding it difficult to acquire full time work. Despite this, the drop-out rate for Physical Sciences is only 20%! The required SAT score is 1800 with a minimum of 600 in critical reading, Math and writing. Starting salaries for jobs in this field vary between $30,000 and $50,000 depending on the job you choose.[Cannot display listing: You must configure the listing from the admin screen before you can add listings to your page.]
What makes this degree challenging is not the level of work or commitment; its graduates are the 4th lowest in finding full-time work after graduation. Subjects in this field include psychology, sociology and political science. Despite having one of the lowest SAT score requirements (approximately 1000), the drop-out rate is still rather high at around 48%. Furthermore, this degree provides one of the lowest starting salaries of around $37,000.
Philosophy and Religion
This difficult degree requires complete immersion in the subject. Constant work and self-improvement is required and many graduates go on to become priests etc.. A combined SAT score of around 1600 is required for this degree and dropout rates are only 20%. Starting salaries for a career after graduation are around $40,000.[Cannot display listing: You must configure the listing from the admin screen before you can add listings to your page.]
Arts & Humanities
The difficulty in this degree lies in providing a varied portfolio and proving your talent. This degree will be more practical than theoretical however finding fulltime work as an artist after graduation can be extremely difficult. The required SAT scores for admission are around 1500 and drop-out rates are only 20%. Earnings vary greatly depending on job choice after graduation, however expect to begin somewhere around $40,000 for a full time job.
Many students enter into an education degree as they think it will be an easy A. However, education requires a huge amount of studying and theoretical learning; it is not just a practical subject. Therefore, drop-out rates can be quite high at around 40%. The SAT requirements are generally quite low at a score of 1000 and this is reflected in a starting salary after graduation of around $30,000.
Economics degrees require a good aptitude at Math and the constant changing world means you need to be adaptable. The SAT requirement for an Economics degree is a combined score of around 1300 and there is a relatively average drop-out rate of 37%. The starting salary of around $48,500 is an excellent attraction to this field, however.
Because these degrees are difficult, it certainly does not mean that they aren't worth your time and hard work. In fact, investing time and energy into a prestigious degree can pay off immensely in your future with a highly paid and well respected job – as you can see from some of the starting salaries above! If you enjoy the courses you choose then the hard work is never a chore. Don't forget that changing your major is possible; not everyone gets it right the first time and it is not a failure to change your mind. The most important thing to remember is that your future is in your hands and you can carve out whatever career you want so long as you have determination and commitment.