Taking a science course in college is something that many students fear. Especially if you are planning on going into college to study something like linguistics or history that is not related to the natural sciences, it can seem daunting to have to take any natural science class, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
In this article, we’ll be discussing some of the easiest and hardest science classes that you can take in college. This is a general overview of these courses, though, and this list might not be 100% accurate for your specific school, so make sure you ask around at your school as well.
Is Science Easy or Difficult?
Science is a broad term that can encompass many different areas of study, so it is hard to say if science is easy or difficult. In general, students who are not majoring in the natural sciences are likely to find courses in this category more challenging. They tend to be cut and dry and have much less room for interpretation, like what you might find in literature or literature more discussion-based courses.
Many people also find science to be challenging because it is pretty exact. Science is based on mathematical concepts, meaning that you will often need to utilize math in your science courses, which is not something that everyone enjoys.
3 Hardest Science Classes to Take in College
Although each school is different, some of the science courses are commonly referred to as challenging courses.
Chemistry is known at most schools to be incredibly challenging. It starts out in its intro course as a very exacting science that relies heavily on math, so chemistry is not for you if you are not someone who likes math.
Another aspect of chemistry is the labs. Chemistry labs are a bit notorious for being long and arduous. You are often stuck in a lab room somewhere for a good three or four hours doing fairly basic labs during the intro course, so if you don’t think that science is for you, you may find more enjoyment from other science courses.
Physics can be a challenging major at any college but is also a course required by many branches of science. Generally, most schools will have an intro course for physics majors, which will be very math-heavy and exacting, and an intro course for non-physics majors, such as pre-med students, that is designed to be slightly easier.
Despite this second course being designed to be more accessible, it is still designed with a science-minded student in mind, meaning that it will still be very math-heavy. This course is often explicitly built for pre-med students, meaning that if this is not the path you are planning on taking, this course is most likely not the course for you.
Biochemistry might just seem like a combination of biology and chemistry, and on some levels, it is, but it is much more than just that. Since you will be required to take courses in both biology and chemistry, you will need to take both a bio introductory course and an introductory chemistry course. This means that biochemistry is not an easy-to-approach major.
Very few biochemistry majors will have their own specific intro course and, if they do, it is likely to be quite challenging as the intro courses for both biology and chemistry tend to be quite tricky. Biochemistry is not the best choice if you are looking for an easy science class to take in college.
3 Easiest Science Classes to Take in College
You may think that the intro to any subject will be easy, but that is not always the case with science classes. Many school’s science majors use their introductory courses as a weed-out course to limit the number of students who pursue the major and take the upper-level courses. While schools won’t usually tell students that they do this, this is the knowledge that is passed amongst students, so be wary of intro science classes.
That being said, there are some great science courses to take if you need a science credit but are not particularly inclined towards science. As with the demanding science courses, this will vary significantly between schools, but these are some of the more common, more accessible science courses.
Environmental science classes tend to be very approachable to a student who is less inclined towards science, mainly because environmental science tends to incorporate more social science aspects than many other natural science majors. Some schools offer environmental studies as opposed to environmental science. The main difference between these two is generally what subject category they fall into and the amount of natural science needed, usually in the upper-level courses.
If your school offers environmental studies, it is likely to be a social science and won’t count towards natural science credits, but if your school offers any environmental science classes, these can be a great way to fulfill any natural science requirements without taking too strenuous of a course.
Geology’s intro class has a national nickname of “Rocks for Jocks.” This nickname means that this course is stereotypically the course that non-academically motivated athletes will take to fulfill their natural science requirements. While this is true at some schools, it is not true everywhere.
Since geology is generally a smaller branch of the natural science division at a given school, they will likely have at least one course that is an excellent way to get hooked on the subject and is designed to draw in new students. This is an excellent option for someone looking for a fun course to fulfill their natural science requirements.
Not every school offers earth science, but if your school does, then you may be in luck. Earth science tends to be a more fundamental course as opposed to something like chemistry, where everything feels very exacting, even in the intro course.
Earth science can be a great option to fulfill your natural science requirement while learning something about the world around you. If you enjoy spending time outdoors, this might be an excellent course for you since earth science classes are likely to have some outdoor lab time as well.
Which Science Class Should You Take First?
It is hard to say which science class you should take first because it depends greatly on why you are taking it. Suppose you are simply looking to fulfill a natural science requirement but are pursuing a major other than natural science. In that case, it is worth finding a class that interests you while not being the most complex class you are taking that semester or quarter.
If you are interested in pursuing a major in any branch of natural science, most schools recommend that you take that area’s intro course during your first semester at the school. For example, if you are thinking of majoring in biology, you should take the introductory biology course your first semester. That way, you will know if that truly is the right course of study for you.
3 Tips for Choosing Science Classes in College
Here are some tips that you can utilize when figuring out which science course is the right one for you to take.
Find something that interests you.
As with anything in school, the most important thing to do is to find something that interests you. If you are not a science-minded person but are going to take a science class, don’t just take the class that sounds easiest, even if you despise that topic. Taking a course that might be considered slightly more challenging but covers a topic that interests you will be much more engaging.
For example, don’t just take “rocks for jocks” if that sounds like the most boring thing you can possibly imagine. Try taking something that actually engages you since that will make you much more likely to want to study the information you’ll be learning in the course.
Make sure you consider labs.
Many science classes have labs that can range from one hour to six hours for the upper-level labs. Labs can be inside and often feel cookie-cutter, but labs can also be much more creative, often involving student-run projects or studies at outdoor field sites. Make sure you have an idea of what to expect from any labs involved in a science class before you decide to take the course.
Learn the grading structure
This point might not make sense if you haven’t previously taken classes across a wide array of topics, but classes in the humanities and classes in the sciences tend not to be graded the same. When thinking about what science class you want to take, one thing to be aware of is to consider what grading view you prefer.
The two main ways that courses are graded are based on either correctness or expression of material and thoughts. A course graded on correctness tends to be like an intro to chem where there are right and wrong answers. A course where expression is more valued might be something like the intro to environmental science, as this course is more likely to allow students room to learn from the material and form their own thoughts on the material.
Wrapping Things Up: What is the easiest science class in college?
Science is something that people tend to love or hate, but there are so many different options out there when it comes to science classes that you can take in college. Not only are there tons of various branches of science, but there are so many categories within each branch that if you look hard enough, you will almost certainly find a science class that interests you.
While we’ve discussed some courses and classifications of science courses that tend to be considered easier, this is by no means a perfect list. Each individual school has different levels of difficulty in all of their courses, and each student has their own views on which classes are challenging and which classes are easy, so make sure to take it all with a grain of salt. Take some time to really figure out which class will be best for you.