If you are thinking of getting an engineering degree then you might be wondering how hard it is as a major.

This post will show how hard engineering can be and some things you can do to make it easier.

So, is engineering a hard major? Engineering has a high dropout rate. Generally, engineering is considered as one of the more difficult majors that will require a lot of work.

There are actually a number of things that will impact how difficult the major will be for you and there are a number of things that you can do to make it easier.

How hard an engineering major is

It can sometimes require more credits than other majors

One reason that engineering is often considered a difficult major is that it will often require more classes to graduate.

Most majors will require 120 credits to graduate but engineering will often require 135 this means that you will have to take more classes in a semester. This will mean that a typical semester will require more work than in other majors.

It will involve a lot of mathematics

Another reason that engineering is often considered as a difficult major is that it requires a lot of mathematics.

A typical engineering degree will require that you take classes in single and multivariable calculus, differential equations, linear algebra and often probability and statistics. This means that if you do not enjoy mathematics much then you will likely not enjoy an engineering major a lot.

With that being said, the math classes that you will be required to take will be much more computational classes without many proofs. This means that it should be easier for you to understand the value of the classes and they should be easier since proof-based classes are generally considered the harder math classes.

It will depend on how well prepared you are for it

How difficult an engineering major will be for you will depend on how well prepared you are for the major.

If you did well in math and physics in high school and you took a lot of those classes in high school then you will likely do well as an engineering major.

With that being said, engineering majors do have a high dropout rate, especially in the freshman year. There are many possible reasons for this but one reason could include students not being well prepared for the math classes. So, if you didn’t take many math classes in high school you will likely find the first year to be particularly difficult.

However, there are many students that have done well in engineering despite starting it without any prior knowledge. So, even if you don’t have a lot of prior knowledge it will still be possible for you to do well in the major provided that you are willing to put in a lot of work.

You’ll need to study a lot outside of class

Engineering is a major that will typically involve a lot of homework and assignments. This means that it will be necessary for you to study a lot outside of class.

There will usually be many different ways to ask a question so it will be necessary for you to look through lots of different problems so that you do not get caught out in an exam.

Ways to make an engineering major less difficult

While engineering can be a challenging major there are a number of things that you can do to make things easier for yourself. I will mention a number of them below.

Spread the difficult classes out as much as you can

In order to have the smoothest experience in college as possible, it would help to spread the difficult classes out as much as you can. If you take multiple difficult classes in the same semester then you will have to study a lot more, you might struggle to keep up with the work, you could get slightly stressed and you might hurt your GPA.

In your junior and senior years, it might not be possible to spread the difficult classes out very much. However, it would help to take the time to plan out your entire degree sequence as soon as you can so that you can structure it in an optimal way. It would help to do this with the help of an academic advisor.

Consider the professor

The difficulty of a class will depend largely on the professor that is teaching it. The professor will often dictate the pace of the class, what gets covered, what goes on the exams and how much homework there is. Some will give study guides before exams and others will tell you to know everything from the book.

Before selecting a professor it would help to look at what other students have said in the past on ratemyprofessors.com. Make sure to select the classes early since the recommended professors will have their classes fill up quickly.

In your junior and senior years you will often find that the classes will only be taught by one professor. When this happens you can either take the class anyway, take a different class or take it at a later semester.

Plan the schedule of the semester out as soon as you can

It would also help to plan the due dates of everything for the semester during the first week of classes. By doing so you will be able to spot potentially difficult weeks, avoid missing out on homework, plan your own schedule out ahead of time and you’ll know what is coming up in the classes.

Make sure to always do well on assignments

Often, the homework or assignments will have a fairly high weighting. Many students don’t take the assignments seriously but this could cause problems for you.

On the other hand, taking the time to do well on the assignments will help prepare you for exams, boost your grade and potentially make up for poor exam scores.

Read the relevant chapter before jumping to the problems

Many students will jump straight to the problems before reading the relevant chapter from the book. The issue with doing this is that the questions will be based on what is in the chapter and the professor might have skipped over certain parts.

If you take the time to read the chapter before doing the questions then it will be easier for you to understand what is going on and to find the answers.

Prepare for the class before taking it

If you are concerned that a class will be difficult then another thing you can do is to study the class before starting it. By doing so you will find that it will be much easier to understand what the professor is teaching and it will be easier for you to understand why they are teaching it.

You can do this by looking for courses on Youtube, Coursera or Edx. Alternatively, you can look for highly-rated books on Amazon or Ebay to work through as well.


I created and currently manage College Corner. I received a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. My goal is to help current students do better in college and to help future students plan for college. You can read more about me and my website here.