What is the Hardest Degree in the UK

Published:
August 2, 2023
Last updated:
April 23, 2024
A group of people sitting in a lecture hall.

If you arrive with misconceptions about how easy the material will be, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the course material. However, if you know what to expect from your course, you’ll be able to look forward to university with excitement at the challenge ahead. When it comes to pursuing your passion, it is important to be well informed, and to give yourself time to prepare well in advance!

The hardest degrees in the UK are Law, Chemistry, Architecture, Medicine, Economics, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Neuroscience.

A statue of a person in a library.

Law

Due to the extensive amount of work, particularly reading, a law degree is one of the most difficult degrees in the UK. Most of the time that law students have in the library is spent studying the jargon and, most crucially, reading and analysing laws and case studies throughout the world.

Most of the work in law is individual study, which makes it extremely difficult. If you lack organisation and tend to procrastinate, you can risk faltering. A professor may not offer coursework as they would in some of the other subjects on this list. In other words, it would be difficult to progress if you don't read on your own time.

Not to mention the overwhelming volume of essays you'll need to compose. You may be in danger if you didn't take essay courses like A-level English and A-Level history.

We advise everyone starting a legal degree to look at techniques to keep themselves motivated. Create a study group with your friends or search for revising techniques that suit you. Whatever it takes to keep you from slipping behind.

Chemistry

The quantity of memorisation required for a chemistry degree makes it one of the most difficult degrees. It's not simple to remember the names of chemical processes and substances. And the balance of your time will be spent on lab work when you're not busy memorisation.

Chemistry requires a lot of practical labour, including using various lab equipment, producing in-depth lab reports, and dealing with many sorts of apparatus. You're going to despise chemistry if working in a lab all day is not suited for your preferences. You probably did math at the A-Level if you're studying this topic.

That will undoubtedly be helpful because undergraduate students studying chemistry will have to complete a lot of math throughout the years. But this is a fantastic alternative if you're curious about how the natural world functions. After graduation, a degree in chemistry offers  adequate amount of flexibility and may open up a variety of job opportunities.

A chemistry degree may be quite beneficial if you can handle the effort for those three years.  

Architecture

A degree in architecture entails time-consuming homework and projects that might be considerable. To design structurally strong buildings, you also need to have a solid command of mathematics and art To be successful in this sector, using problem-solving skills are essential.

The degree's length makes things more difficult. After four years of coursework and a year of internship, one can get an architectural degree. The next step is to enrol in a B Arch course, which takes an additional two years to finish. After another year of instruction and a final test, you are then completely qualified to practise architecture.

A significant portion of this career work is spent in education before you enter the workforce. People sometimes disregard the social component as another challenging aspect of this degree. Many of your friends who aren't in your courses may graduate after your first few years, which could make the university feel lonely. If you're just starting on this adventure, we advise you to  try to get to know other architectural students.

A close up of a person's arms crossed.

Medicine

The physical and mental demands of a medical degree makes it one of the most challenging degrees in the UK. Throughout the years it takes to complete a medical degree, students are required to memorise countless materials and practices to understand the wide range of medical ailments.

Additionally, you'll need to develop clinical competencies to deal with patients. In contrast to other topics, you must pay close attention to what you study since it may one day save your life.

There is a great deal of pressure on you to succeed, and you are in direct competition with other pupils. Your ranking in medicine is based on your year. This implies that you will receive a final course grade and a place in your cohort overall. To have a chance of continuing this route, you must not only do well but also outperform your friends. This is no joke: medicine!

Medicine is a labour-intensive field, much like architecture. After earning a basic five-year degree, you must complete a two-year general training programme before beginning your two-to-three-year core medical training programme. Before becoming a fully qualified doctor, you will study for a further four to seven years to complete your speciality training.

Economics

Economics itself is a synthesis of several disciplines, including business, law, arithmetic, and psychology. The ideas are closely related and to respect of each other. Even though it ranks quite low on this list, economics is one of the most challenging university courses. Before going on to the next notion, economics students must comprehend all the components involved, drawing from a variety of professions.

If you don't keep yourself motivated, the subject may be extremely challenging to learn. There are a lot of lectures, logic, and theory components to economics which are needed to manage. As a result, economics students spend much of their time performing arithmetic, analysing graphs, or discussing real-world issues, which can get monotonous after a while.

Economics is a pretty difficult topic that may happen on a micro or macro scale, which can tremendously confuse pupils. Additionally, the A-level in economics is not frequently given in the UK. This implies that before enrolling in college, pupils may not have studied the topic.

A laptop with colorful text on it.

Computer Science

Computer science is one of the most challenging degrees you can pursue in the UK, while being a rising industry with plenty of career prospects. This degree necessitates strong problem-solving abilities and attention to detail because programming is a crucial component of computer science. Additionally, proficiency in science and math is a must. If earning the degree isn't challenging for you, getting into it most certainly will be.

Due to the various technical advancements, computer science is one of the most competitive field of study in the UK and it is growing in popularity. You'll probably need to earn at least three A’s at A-levels to apply for a computer science degree at a prestigious institution. Some colleges, like Oxford and Cambridge, need A*AA, with an A in arithmetic or further maths.

This subject is not for you if you aren't prepared for a lot of math. Additionally, if you don't enjoy solving problems, this degree might be excruciating.

Electrical Engineering

One of the most recent breakthroughs at the institution is electrical engineering. This discipline hasn't been around as long as colleges have, unlike fields such as law and medicine.

This subject requires a lot of abstract thinking because engineering is a branch of science that focuses on technology. The rationale behind the topic will be challenging because students won't be able to see what they're constructing. Not everything in this topic is obvious, from describing magnetic fields to wireless transmissions.

Making your envisaged initiatives a reality might be much more difficult on top of that. You must also use your creativity to solve complex difficulties in this sector. Things might not turn out as planned in the actual world. Electrical engineers must be flexible and able to solve these issues on the go.

Beyond practical application, this degree also calls for a solid theoretical foundation and exceptional proficiency in non-linear arithmetic and trigonometry.

Neuroscience

The focus of neuroscience is understanding the human brain, which is extraordinarily complex. It’s not surprising that this topic was included on the list. Both the physical and the abstract aspects are covered in this science degree. The human brain continues to be shrouded in mystery, and it is challenging to appreciate how the human brain interacts with its mind.

The tough courses included in the degree are organic chemistry, arithmetic, psychology, physics, philosophy, and cognitive science. It might be daunting to draw at once from all these sources. In addition to covering other topics, it frequently combines many of the most challenging abilities at once.

Here you can find more tips about what every fresher should know before starting your degree. If you have already started uni and you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, here you can find our advice about how to look out after your mental health at university. And, if you are about to finish your degree and you are worried that your degree doesn’t match your career path, here you can find some recommendations.

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