Updated at: 19-04-2023 - By: Eden Wise


We hope you’ll find this article helpful as you consider which college majors to pursue. We are pleased to update you regularly on developments in the field of learning and work. Let’s get right down to business without wasting any more of your time.

One of the most popular choices among college students is to earn a Bachelor’s degree in a particular field of study.

The return on investment for some degrees is much higher than that of others. Choosing a challenging but financially rewarding major in college is an important step in securing a secure financial future, and this article will point you in the right direction.

Read this article carefully for a better understanding of the most challenging college majors if you want to study a major that will lead to a good job that pays well.

So, shall we?

Hardest College Majors That Pay Well

Hardest college majors that pay well


Students interested in careers in the health and science fields would do well to earn a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. As part of their chemistry education, students will gain hands-on experience with laboratory equipment, develop an understanding of solutions and compounds, learn to analyze substances, and conduct their own experiments and research. After finishing school, graduates have a wide variety of career options, including but not limited to: chemists, laboratory specialists, researchers, and educators. They could also choose to further their education and focus on a particular subfield of chemistry.

Between 2020 and 2030, the number of chemist jobs is expected to increase by 7% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021). Graduates in Chemistry earn above-average salaries despite the field’s reputation as the most challenging at the undergraduate level. In 2021, chemists and materials scientists can expect a median annual salary of $79,760 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Environmental Earth Science

Environmental Earth Science

Students who choose Earth Science as their major approach environmental problems from multiple perspectives. Sciences like biology, chemistry, ecology, geology, and physics are just some of the topics they cover. They should feel at home in both the lab and the field.

For those interested in environmental careers, geoscientistmathe is a viable option following completion of an undergraduate degree. Geoscientists are experts in the study of the Earth and everything on it, including its physical makeup, past, and present. More than a quarter of geoscientists are paid an average of $77,370 annually by employers in the architectural, engineering, and related services sector (Glassdoor, 2022).

Nuclear Engineering

A bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering prepares students to understand the human and environmental effects of nuclear processes and systems. A person can work in a nuclear power plant if they earn this degree and pass the Professional Engineering Licensure Exam for Nuclear Engineers. There, they might be responsible for inspecting nuclear processes, making suggestions for system improvements, and policing compliance with regulations.

Nuclear engineers, who hold what is widely regarded as one of the most difficult bachelor degrees, bring in an average annual salary of $120,380 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022). This is significantly more than the average annual salary for all engineers, which is only $99,040.

Applied Mathematics

Algebra, calculus, and statistics are just a few examples of the computationally intensive courses a student of applied mathematics will take. They will use their analytical skills to help individuals, organizations, and governments make better decisions based on collected data. Majors in applied mathematics can find work in a variety of fields, including the tech sector, healthcare, finance, and engineering.

The average salary for a mathematician in the United States is $115,610 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States, 2022). Mathematicians and statisticians make an average of $25.00 per hour, or $77,202 per year (Payscale, 2023), despite having one of the most difficult degrees to obtain.



To succeed in philosophy, one must be logically adept and attentive to nuance. Philosophy majors put in longer hours than the average student and more effort into their studies. Since the legal and academic fields value diligence, careful reasoning, and attention to detail, many philosophy majors go into those fields. Both of these areas require graduate training, so plan on spending a long time in school.

Cellular and Molecular Biology

The biology department with the most work and the lowest average GPA is cellular and molecular biology. Successful students in this field have the ability to imagine things that cannot be seen with the naked eye. This major develops a valuable skill: the ability to comprehend the interdependence of various components. You can go on to graduate school or enter the workforce immediately after earning your bachelor’s degree in cellular and molecular biology, depending on your career goals.


This field of study is demanding but offers excellent potential for employment. Graduates who earn their licenses into a rapidly expanding field can rest assured that they will always have work. Professional nurses typically earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree after completing their undergraduate studies. MSNs can choose to focus their education on a particular area of the healthcare industry. Nurses have more direct patient contact than doctors but spend less time in medical school.

Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineering is a great field of study for those interested in applying their scientific knowledge to the modification of materials. This is another high-input, high-output profession; its practitioners put in lots of time but reap substantial financial rewards after school. Think about a career in teaching or patent law if you’re passionate about chemical engineering but don’t want to be an engineer. A Ph.D., J.D., or both may be necessary for entry into these fields of work.

Operations Research & Industrial Engineering

Operations Research & Industrial Engineering

The toughest college major is Industrial Engineering and Operations Research because it combines two fields that study the functioning of complex systems.

In this course, students learn to model and solve engineering problems at the systems level within a statistically grounded framework. Industrial engineers work to improve the well-being of workers and the quality of their processes.

Marine Transportation Management

Marine transportation management is a field of study in higher education that includes the management of ships and their crews, as well as the transportation of goods and passengers.

Modules in basic mathematics, business statistics, and business etiquette complement core courses in maritime transportation, logistics and supply chain management, general management, maritime law, financial management, economics, and communication.

Applied Economics and Management

Students who complete the requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Applied Economics are well-prepared for a variety of careers in the business and financial sectors, as well as in public and private research institutions, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

Aeronautical science

When it comes to designing airplanes and rocket ships, this branch of engineering is where it’s at. Aerospace engineering and aeronautical engineering are the two main subfields, with some crossover between them. Similar to aerospace engineering, but with an emphasis on electronics, is avionics engineering.



Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in econometrics learn to incorporate empirical content into theories in order to analyze and evaluate them.

Statistics plays a role in the creation of econometric models and methods, which in turn help to solve economic issues.

Standard statistical models are applied to the information gleaned from observations. Regression analysis is a useful statistical tool for econometricians and other problem solvers.

International Affairs

Foreign policy, international law (see our law tutors if you want to learn more about international law), diplomacy, and political theories across countries are all introduced to students of international affairs, also known as international relations. Research in this area opens doors to a wide variety of professions in government, diplomacy, think tanks, the legal profession, higher education, and more. The unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s degree in international affairs is significantly higher than the national average. However, the median wages for those with bachelor’s degrees in international affairs are higher than the national median for all bachelor’s degrees at both the beginning and middle stages of their careers.


Architecture majors in college study topics like design, architectural history, and environmental systems (keen on environmental systems? Check out some online instructors in environmental science, site design, building, and drafting, and ecological concerns. It takes a lot of schooling and experience to become an architect, so most graduates end up working for architectural firms. Find a tutor who specializes in architecture to help you out. and can help you hone your skills in areas such as residential design, commercial design, urban planning, interior design (thanks to tools like SketchUp), and more. The unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s degree in architecture is 4.6%, which is higher than the national average for all bachelor’s degree holders. However, those who succeed in finding work can anticipate higher-than-average earnings.

Engineering Technologies

Programs in engineering technologies aim to provide students with a foundation in engineering theory and practice. Engineering technology, in contrast to engineering programs, emphasizes the practical application of established scientific and mathematical principles. A bachelor’s degree in engineering technology prepares students for careers as “technologists” in fields such as product development, research, manufacturing, and operations management.


Biology and physiology students (biology and physiology tutors) and nursing students (nursing school? Students in health care (study with an NCLEX tutor) concentrations learn to administer diagnostic tests, treat patients, and promote wellness. Specialist nursing fields include care for the elderly and children. The underemployment rate for nurses is the lowest of all the majors we looked at, at just 11.4%. Employment of RNs is expected to increase by 15% between 2016 and 2026, according to the BLS.

Information Systems and Management

Programs at the undergraduate level in the field of information systems and management teach students how to design, develop, and oversee information networks that help businesses and other institutions save time, money, and effort while also facilitating communication and collaboration. Accounting information systems, management control systems, human resources information systems, data security, and many others are all examples of data systems. Web developers, business intelligence analysts, data analysts, and network administrators are just a few examples of the types of jobs that this major prepares students for.

Civil Engineering

Transportation, water supply, and waste management are all examples of public works that typically fall under the purview of civil engineers. By working with one of our civil engineering tutors, you can gain a deeper understanding of the mathematical and scientific principles underlying the planning, construction, and upkeep of public works projects. Civil engineers have a very low unemployment rate of 1.9%.


Should one make an effort to determine the most challenging field of study in advance? Kelefa Mwantimwa’s (2021) research on students’ decision-making processes is published in Higher Education under the title “What motivates students’ decisions on programmes to pursue at university level: the role of information and knowledge.”

The results show that, despite having access to a wide variety of informational outlets, students often lacked the accurate details and thorough understanding they needed to make sound choices. These results make it clear that some students enroll in college without adequate knowledge of the programs they intend to enter, and without a coherent justification for enrolling in any particular program. Several factors, including a lack of education on how to advance one’s career, were cited as causes. Career and professional education opportunities are scarce in K-12 institutions. Students graduating from high school therefore lack access to information and knowledge regarding higher education, academic programs. Students are not equipped to make educated decisions about their futures because the information and knowledge they have access to are neither reliable nor comprehensive.

This is unfortunate because picking a college major is a pivotal juncture in one’s development. To help students get started on the path to figuring out what degree they should pursue, we’ve compiled a list of the most challenging majors.

If you consider yourself to be above average, choosing a major from the guide’s list of the most difficult majors will be a worthy challenge. According to the data above, graduates with these degrees can expect to earn between $47,000 and $116,140 annually once they enter the workforce.

If you are having trouble deciding what major to pursue in college because you are not interested in the careers associated with the most challenging majors, you may benefit from engaging in some career exploration activities and considering some alternative options. Dental assisting, pharmacy tech, and nutrition science are all in-demand fields in the healthcare industry that you may wish to pursue.