Outline: It has always been the tendency to consider some degrees more difficult compared to others, especially the technological degrees as the various engineering or a degree in areas as health care and the exact sciences. The reasons used by people to consider an academic course more difficult than another are mainly the subjects, theoretical components that are either too complex or extensive and academic courses with integrated masters.
Don’t you feel sometimes that engineering and medical students feel they are smarter than everyone else?
It has always been the tendency to consider some degrees more difficult compared to others, especially the technological degrees as the various engineering or a degree in areas as health care and the exact sciences. The reasons used by people to consider an academic course more difficult than another are mainly the subjects, theoretical components that are either too complex or extensive and academic courses with integrated masters.
Because some degrees have numerous subjects such as mathematics, programming, algebra, anatomy, biochemistry, biology, among others, some believe that they’re more complex and difficult to study. However, as a student of social sciences and who attended the course of science and technology in high school I can say that I was in the both “sides”. I know subjects such as physics and chemistry, biology and mathematics are not easy. However, I also had quite difficult study subjects in my degree with very complex matters.
Apart from this idea that the subjects influence the difficulty of a degree, the ones with only theoretical components or extensive and complex issues such as health care are seen as more complicated.
Finally, another reason commonly used to consider a degree more difficult than other is the fact that degrees with integrated masters are seen as the ones that are more difficult because the students have to make a bigger effort compared with the other degrees. But after all, what can define which study areas or degree are more difficult than others? And if there is such of a big difference among programs, do you think sometimes these programs are useless?
Real example: are engineering students arrogant? Opinion found on reddit.com
“First and foremost, I know most engineering students are not arrogant. However, in my experience when I come across a student who thinks his or her program is the hardest that student is more often than not studying engineering. Specifically, the arrogant engineering student is one who considers all other areas of study or academic programs as inferior to his own and who looks down on others because he considers their programs “useless, easy, dumb, et cetera” Furthermore, the arrogant engineering student will even look down on other engineers for pursuing different types of engineering (At my school the “Aeros” seem to look down on everybody). Don’t get me wrong, this type of arrogance is not exclusive to engineering students. As a pre-Law student I have experienced my fair share of “law douches” but never have I experienced as much collective arrogance as my school’s engineering students.”
Is this a question of theoretical courses versus practical courses?
If it is, according to this logic, my degree in social science could be considered one of the toughest. In all study subjects the theoretical aspect was very present because there was taught very extensive matters. The practical part of classes was always based on individual or groups’ works and their presentation, when this were considered for the evaluation method. Otherwise, the evaluation of the subject was set by a final exam or test. I only had three subjects in which I can say that were practically practices, whose classroom was a computer room, where I learned to work with a data analysis program, SPSS, with Excel and other digital tools. And even so they weren’t the easiest subjects to pass.
Do you think mathematics is more difficult than language subjects or history?
Like any other subject, a student effort is needed to keep up with the matters given in class, in addition to the systematic study of it. Mathematics is a subject considered difficult because, many times, the student does not follow the reasoning or explanation from the outset, which is key in this discipline. But the same also applies to languages, economics, management and history subjects and others of the social sciences studies and other studies areas.
Are master integrated academic courses are more difficult?
In fact, it is normal to consider this. Five years of study, including the thesis, is grounds for an academic course be considered harder than others. But even among several academic courses with integrated masters, the difficulty of a degree is distinguished depending on their field of study.
Moreover, often exists a sense of superiority between students of one particular degree compared to others. That is, students of social sciences may consider themselves more intelligent compared to students from other areas. While students of technological course consider that they are smarter than students of other non-technological courses. And so on. There is a need to say that “my degree is the hardest” and that they are the most intelligent and the remaining courses are thus considered inferior, easier. This is possibly explained by the lack of the students fully knowledge about the subjects taught in others degrees or studies areas.
This myth that some degrees are easier or harder than others has had without a doubt an influence on high school students at the time of choosing their degree. Although some students prefer and choose to study what they love, whether it is easy or difficult, there are those who seek the easier ones. However, they may be surprised. There aren’t degrees more difficult or easier. It’s relative. What for one person may be easy because they have aptitude for that matter or class, to another it can be a tremendous headache. And as no two people are alike, the way that a student has to study certain subjects will be different from others. As such, a degree, regardless of what is, it may be easier for some students and not to others. Therefore, it is wrong to label academic courses in “easy” and “difficult”.
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Author: Isa Rafael
BSc in Political Sciences (Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas, ISCSP, Lisbon University) and currently attending postgraduate studies in Digital Strategic Communication at the same university.