Is Physics Hard? (11 Things You Can Expect)

Physics major is a challenging field of study that can take years to master. It covers the essential topics in the sciences, including their concepts and theories and related fields, like mathematics and chemistry. 

Therefore, if you are considering taking a Physics major, prepare to be challenged!

Is Physics Hard?

Physics is a complex subject to master. It takes a lot of thinking and problem-solving skills. You can expect that the exams are challenging, as they require candidates to have mastery of coursework. It’s also important to remember that physics is a science degree path. Therefore, a competitive discipline to pursue.

Here are 11 things you can expect in taking this major. Let’s get started!

1. Pure Science Degree

A major in physics is a science degree route that facilitates understanding how the world and universe work.

Students in this field understand traditional and current theories while studying energy and matter.

Additionally, you also spend time planning and executing laboratory experiments.

Furthermore, a physics degree explores planetary mysteries while developing the abilities necessary for various careers.

2. Hardest Science Major

Because it involves abstract thoughts and has a solid mathematical underpinning, physics is among the most difficult science major. 

In order to ensure that students have comprehended the subjects, the first year typically includes rigorous examinations.

On the bright side, majoring in physics provides you with much knowledge about our materials, space, and the laws of nature. Additionally, physics graduates get increased respect, meaningful jobs, and top-notch salaries. 

3. Qualifications

In some circumstances, a two-year physics master’s degree is adequate to obtain a position in research and innovation.

On the other hand, universities also offer the following:

  • Associate’s degree (2 years)
  • Bachelor’s degree (4 years)

However, a doctorate in physics for 2-3 years is frequently required to qualify as a physicist. 

Short courses are also an alternative if you prefer to,

  • concentrate for shorter amounts of time, 
  • understand the fundamental concepts of nature, and 
  • use the principle in real-world scenarios to solve a problem. 

4. Physics is a Competitive Discipline

To get into college, a candidate majoring in physics must provide qualifications and documents such as:

  • Transcripts
  • Highschool Diploma
  • Complete University Application Form 
  • Above-average SAT scores
  • Recommendation letters
  • Any other supporting documents

The competitive field of physics offers numerous career opportunities for students and is highly valued by organizations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income of a physicist is $151,580, with top earners earning over $218,000 yearly. 

Similarly, other roles in the field also pay top salaries and have highly influential and meaningful jobs, such as,

  • Computer and Information Research Scientists $142,650, with top earners making over $188,000 annually. 
  • Nuclear Engineers $121,760, with top earners making over $170,000 annually. 
  • Computer Hardware Engineers $136,230, with top earners making over $190,000 annually. 

As you can see, physicists and related careers greatly influence the world. From space, automotive, computers, Artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology to understanding our existence, the study of physics creates great minds who alter the course of civilization. 

Although the study durations are lengthy and the workload can be intense, it could be a terrific decision if you’re enthusiastic about how things work. 

5. Tough Subjects

In learning physics, some key discipline topics include: 

  • Quantum Physics
  • Space And Time
  • Geology
  • Electricity And Magnetism, 
  • Astronomy
  • Thermodynamics

However, Quantum field theory is the subject that some students have found to be the most challenging.

The principles of modern and classical physics and numerous mathematical notations will be presented during the first year of education.

Following that, students collaborate with others or individually to finish a research study at the end of the course.

6. Extensive Laboratory Work

Extensive Laboratory Work

In a physics lab, students perform experiments as part of their practical component. You put the theory you learn to practice and verify the results. 

Every physics course in university has a laboratory element. Although the time allocation to lab work can differ, students can predict spending a few hours there each week. 

In labs, you will learn about

  • using technology and equipment, 
  • observation and errors
  • group work 
  • critical thinking and problem solving

Physics students practice becoming scientists in the lab by doing the following tasks: 

  • Making Statements
  • Following Procedures
  • Collecting Information
  • Analyzing the Data
  • Responding to Questions

7. Rigorous Coursework

College-level STEM coursework is frequently structured to be hard. Physics is not by any means an exception.

Instead of merging straightforward procedures, you’ll combine diverse mathematical methods in physics courses.

If you suffer in calculus and algebra, physics can be problematic for you. Therefore, before mastering physics, you must become competent in a handful of challenging ideas, such as,

  • mathematics
  • curiosity, and
  • attention to detail

For graduates, you must get beyond the theory and begin to put your knowledge into practice.

8. Day in the Life of a Physics Student

On a typical day, a physics major student takes three lectures plus a problem-solving class such as electromagnetism, nuclear physics, and solid-state topics.

Taking breaks throughout the day is critical as your mind can only comprehend so much. Self-study is key to keeping updated on all the material, as there are many concepts and theories.

After school, several students join organizations like clubs, sports, and public speaking workshops.

Above all, joining societies is a terrific approach for students to socialize, too!

9. Certification Exams

Graduates wishing to teach physics should undertake a specialized education curriculum and pass certification examinations.

Although physics certificate holders comprehend the fundamentals of the subject, they might not be sufficiently qualified to get into the teaching industry.

Students generally have to acquire 15 to 21 college credits for certification courses.

Overall, a physics certificate sets the framework for continued research and education.

10. Collaboration with Physicists

Physics majors are mandated to complete internships as a component of their education. 

Sometimes, you collaborate with other scientists and Ph.D. candidates to do research and development. 

At the same time, others may work with industry to gain firsthand knowledge of real-world applications of physics. 

11. University Fees

Tuition and fees for the bachelor of science in physics annually range between $10,951.44 to $15,570. 

However, the price of a 2-year master’s physics degree at a US university may differ substantially across private and public schools.

To learn more, you can also see our posts on Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and Civil Engineering.


Physics is one of the most well-defined and rewarding sciences. The basic principles of physics are easy to understand yet give insight into every aspect of our world. 

However, we have seen that there are more challenging topics like quantum physics, high-level mathematics, extensive coursework, and laboratories in college. Aspiring physicists should expect and embrace that their chosen field is difficult, demanding, and will take a lot of work. 

Ultimately, Physics may be hard, but it’s worth it due to the excellent career opportunities, life-changing and meaningful work, and greater job satisfaction.