Top 20 Hardest Engineering Courses in the World

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Engineering courses are tough. And it is not so much because of the fact that it requires students to be adept at mathematics and science to succeed.

Engineering courses are also tough because it is a highly competitive industry, generally. 9 out of 10 kids grow up telling their parents they want to become engineers, lawyers, or doctors. And at least 4 out of those 9 kids actually make it into engineering programs.

Engineering is a popular discipline that is as old as man’s first invention. As a result, it has gained widespread popularity since then. If you’re interested in becoming an engineer—any kind at all—then you must’ve read by now that, “engineering courses are hard.”

But is that really true? Well, if you’re considering how tough it is to study advanced math and science courses for four years, then yes, engineering courses are hard.

But people make it out of engineering programs yearly; and in hordes, too. So, that shouldn’t scare you.

In this article, we’ll go through the hardest engineering courses in the world.

So, if you have the decision to make on what kind of engineer you want to become, keep reading to find out which of these courses best appeals to you.


A statistic revealed the declining rate at which students are opting to study engineering programs. One of the reasons for this is the heavy coursework involved in many engineering programs.

However, engineering courses are some of the few courses that give you the opportunity to partake in creating solutions that change the world. In addition, engineers are well-compensated for the trouble with the average engineer making $94,382 (Indeed). So, if you’re looking to become an engineer, it is definitely a good choice.

Some of the top engineering courses students apply to are mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and electrical engineering.

Why Study Engineering?

If you’re looking for a rewarding and prestigious career, engineering is your best bet. Engineering is a growing profession; over the next 10 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be 32,300 new positions created in the field of engineering by 2026.

There are many types of engineers out there—from aerospace to biomedical—so no matter what kind of work you’re interested in doing, there’s an engineering degree that fits your needs.

Engineering provides many job opportunities as well; if you want to spend some time outside or travel frequently, consider becoming an environmental engineer for example.

These are engineering professionals who clean polluted waterways and build sustainable homes with low energy consumption to drive a cleaner, greener community.

On the other hand, if you prefer working tooth-and-nail on electronic systems and bending over circuit boards, you may consider becoming an electrical engineer who designs these circuit boards for computers and mobile devices, as well as other electronic systems. There are also several levels within each type of engineering course, so pick which area interests you most before choosing which path would be best suited based on your personal interests, skillset, and experience level.

How Much Do Engineers Make?

If you’re thinking of becoming an engineer, there’s no reason to think about the salary. You’ll make a lot of money, guaranteed. Engineers make a lot of money; typically in six-dollar figures.

But the lowest average salary for engineers is $80,000 per year (entry-level graduates) in the United States. But if you want to become an aerospace engineer or a petroleum engineer—the two highest-paying jobs in this field—it’s going to take some work and dedication.

That said, these careers also require advanced degrees and certifications which can translate to more years of training in addition to your bachelor’s degree.

So, before you jump into one of those high-paying fields, ask yourself if that kind of commitment is worth it for your career goals.

Are Engineering Degrees as Tough as They Say?

If you’ve made up your mind to become an Engineer—any kind of engineer at all—then it must be clear to you that you need to work hard.

Engineering courses are considered one of the toughest programs in the world because of their high technicality, complex problem-solving, analytical and critical thinking.

Skills Needed to Become an Engineer

Some skills you need to excel as an Engineer are:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Communication skills
  • Teamwork skills
  • Time management and organization skills
  • Ability to work under pressure and stress tolerance

The List of Top 20 Hardest Engineering Courses in the World

Below is a list of the hardest engineering courses in the world:

Top 15 Hardest Engineering Courses in the World

Let’s learn about the following engineering disciplines:

1. Aerospace Engineering

The aerospace engineering program is typically a five-year course of study.

Aerospace engineers are known for building prototypes for all kinds of aircraft and spacecraft.

Some aerospace engineers typically study mechanical engineering after which they study a major in aerospace or aeronautical engineering. While others prefer to opt in for an aerospace engineering program directly.

This discipline relies heavily on mathematics, science and technology, aerodynamics, thermodynamics, and space technology; which are considered difficult engineering concepts.

Terms of demand, aerospace engineers are in high demand, as it is not typically a popular engineering course of study.

Aerospace engineers can work in several organizations that focus on space and aircraft technology; typically, NASA, is the biggest employer of aerospace engineers.

2. Architectural Engineering

Architectural engineering is a branch of engineering that focuses on building construction and designs. The word “architecture” was derived from a Greek word called the “arkhitekton” which simply means “Master Builder”. The houses, industries, hotels, sky crappers, companies, and other amazing buildings that have been admired were crafted out of the minds of outstanding architectural Engineers

It is one of the 20 hardest engineering courses in the world that requires concentration and a creative mindset. An architectural Engineer has an average pay rate of $95,556 in the United States of America.

3. Computer Engineering

Computer engineering is the branch of computer science technology that involves studying computer hardware and software systems and building technologies that advance computer technology.

Computer engineers are well sought for. Their discipline typically involves having strong knowledge of computers, microprocessors, hardware, and software engineering.

4. Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineering is a branch of Engineering that focuses primarily on fluid systems and how they work.

It is considered one of the hardest engineering courses in the world because of the number of software applications that these engineers must learn how to use.

Students need to have a master’s knowledge of chemistry and mathematics to be able to succeed as chemical engineers.

5. Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineering is a field of engineering that applies engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to medicine and healthcare.

Biomedical Engineers are trained to use technology to advance biology applications in medicine. They typically work in medical and healthcare facilities.

6. Materials Science and Engineering

Materials science and engineering, also known as material and metallurgical engineering involve the study of properties and molecules in materials and how they form to shape various kinds of products used in manufacturing.

7. Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is one of the hardest engineering degrees in the world and it needs no Introduction. The discipline of mechanics and engineering is as old as man’s. And some people even referred to it as the “bedrock of engineering.”

Mechanical engineers are expected to maintain excellent academic standing throughout their years of study. It also requires that you are very knowledgeable in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, dynamics, kinematics, and many other core science areas.

Along with petroleum engineering, mechanical engineers are one of the highest-paid engineering professionals in the world.

8. Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism.

It is the most popular engineering discipline.

9. Environmental Engineering

Environmental Engineering is a field of engineering that is concerned about the activities or events that affect the environment either positively or negatively. It is a course that is studied for the main purpose of finding a way to minimize air, water, and soil pollution.

Deforestation, oil spillage, and toxic gas released have caused harm to the environment and human health. We have heard of global warming which is a major catastrophe that has killed so many lives and soils. Environmental engineers are to discover a means that will help solve these problems.

10. Industrial Engineering

Engineers who specialize in industrial engineering work to increase production and efficiency across a range of sectors. When the word “industry” is introduced, we are referring to the fundamental tasks carried out by society. There are several industrial operations going on that need to be monitored.

Industrial engineering’s main objective is to reduce the amount of money, time, and resources needed for these industrial activities. They should have sound thoughts regarding how an operation may be implemented successfully.

11. Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with the use of nuclear energy and its design, construction, and operation of nuclear facilities.

Nuclear engineers are responsible for a broad range of activities from the study and design to the maintenance of nuclear reactors and other heat-producing devices.

12. Mechatronics Engineering

As the name suggests, mechatronics engineering is the study of mechanical engineering, electronics engineering, and computer science. The aim of mechatronics engineers is to design and manufacture complex electromechanical systems. Sometimes, it is also studied as a branch of mechanical engineering.

Due to its interdisciplinary nature, mechatronics has been adopted by companies such as Boeing for designing products such as airplanes.

13. Marine Engineering

The design and building of mechanical tools or equipment for use in maritime activities is the focus of the engineering discipline known as marine engineering.  It is one of the 20 hardest courses in the world that requires time and commitment to progress.

They are also part of the engineering field with the highest-paying wages. Marine engineers are needed in sea exploration to ensure the safety of an operation.

14. Nanotechnology Engineering

Nanotechnology engineering is the application of nanotechnology to engineering problems. It involves the study and design of nanoparticles, nanostructures, and nanomachines. This field overlaps with materials science and molecular nanotechnology.

Nanotech is a tough engineering degree because it requires students to have advanced knowledge of engineering mathematics, physics, and molecular chemistry.

15. System Engineering

System engineering is a branch of engineering that involves the systematic design, building, and maintenance of equipment used for various tasks, ensuring that it functions properly all through its lifecycle. An average duration range of 4-7 years is needed to study this course.

16. Pharmaceutical Engineering

Not to be confused with a pharmacist, a pharmaceutical engineer is a person who has received a degree in pharmaceutical engineering from an institution of higher learning. They are responsible for developing processes and equipment to manufacture drugs and other medical products.

17. Quantum Engineering

Quantum engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with quantum physics and mechanics. It is a young and growing field, and hence, it is the least-known engineering discipline on this list.

Quantum mechanics relies on complex mathematical functions to build its foundational learning, making it difficult for many people to understand the course.

18. Robotics Engineering

Robotics engineers design and build robots using electronic components such as microprocessors, sensors, etc., working together with human operators who provide feedback when needed.

19. Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum engineering is a branch of engineering concerned with the exploration, production, and distribution of oil and gas.

The global market value of the oil and gas industry is over $26 billion (2019). Petroleum engineers work in this industry, which has an average salary of $130,850 per year for entry-level positions.

Petroleum engineers have to be well-rounded in math, science, economics (for petroleum economics majors), and computer science (data science and machine learning prediction) fields as well as being able to think critically about their work to ensure it meets environmental standards, while still making financial sense for their employer.

The job requires knowledge of everything from drilling techniques to reservoir management strategies—which means there’s no time for slacking off.

20. Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering is a broad field of engineering that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, and dams.

Civil engineers are among the most in-demand engineering professionals in the world today. They work on many different types of projects ranging from large industrial plants to building homes for people.

Society’s Impact on Engineering

Every area of human activity has benefited significantly from engineering. Discoveries and researchers have been made more efficient due to the design of useful equipment.

The development of technologies and vehicles has made communication and transportation methods quicker and more convenient. Here are a few effects of engineering on the planet.

  • Engineers explore novel methods for generating renewable energy and increasing the effectiveness of crude oil and other conventional energy sources.
  • Computer hardware, software, telecommunications networks, and internet infrastructure are all developed by engineers.
  • Medical gadgets created by engineers enhance the lives of people with impairments.
  • They provide plans for trash disposal, water purification, pollution abatement, and environmental restoration.
  • They create systems and buildings that can survive natural calamities including earthquakes, storms, and floods.

FAQs and Answers

How long does it take to complete one of these engineering degrees?

At least four years.

Are there any prerequisites or special requirements for these engineering degrees?

Most engineering programs will require a strong background in math and science, and some may also require specific coursework in areas such as physics and chemistry.

What makes these engineering degrees difficult?

These engineering degrees are typically considered difficult due to the rigorous coursework and the high level of analytical thinking and problem-solving skills required. Secondly, engineering courses are highly competitive anywhere in the world; which is another factor that makes it difficult.

Which one of the engineering courses has the highest-paying wages?

The field of engineering with the highest-paying salary is the Petroleum Engineering( oil and gas industry)

What are the career prospects for graduates of these engineering degrees?

Students who complete engineering degrees are typically sought-after; especially if they've graduated with good academic records. Engineering jobs pay well and engineering professionals are always in demand. The downside is just that it is a competitive discipline.

Wrapping It Up

The most important takeaway is to remember that if you are passionate about engineering, it will not be easy. But you can make it through these challenges by staying positive and pushing yourself to do the best work possible. You’ll need determination and motivation to succeed in this field along with the skills listed above.

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