Taking classes in college is hard enough, especially if your major requires you to take courses in the sciences. When making decisions about what classes to add to your busy collegiate life, the difficulty of the class can determine whether or not it’s something you want to participate in during your studies. Deciding which courses might be easier or more complex can be a challenging task.
Here are the easiest science classes in college ranked from least to most difficult:
If you’re thinking about which science classes to take in college, you may want to read through this list. We’ll outline what makes the course easy, the areas of study the course focuses on, and why the class might be challenging.
Geology is the science of the Earth’s physical structure and the forces acting upon it. The history of the Earth, different states of matter of the substances on Earth, and rock and soil chemistry are also analyzed (source).
In essence, geology is the study of rocks and is one of the easiest science courses because it doesn’t require any elements of math. It’s a fairly baseline or beginner’s level course and is a specific area of science that doesn’t include a lot of overlap into other difficult elements of science.
The majority of information in a geology course is focused on vocabulary terms and memorization of processes and various systems. It’s a relatively specific study focusing on the Earth’s physical features and doesn’t heavily intertwine with any chemistry or biology.
Some topics you might come across in a geology course are:
- Formation of rocks
- Types of rocks (igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic)
- States of matter (solid, liquid, gas)
- Properties of minerals
- Natural disasters
- Formation of Earth
- History of physical structures of Earth
Source: Masters Portal
Oceanography is the study of the ocean’s physical, chemical, and biological features, including its ancient history. The ocean’s plants and animals and interactions between them and their environment are also studied (source).
This science course focuses on the different organisms in the ocean and how they impact one another. It’s regarded as an easier science course because it involves little to no mathematical concepts.
Most people also find it interesting to study animals, and learning about a topic that you have a personal fascination with is always easier than something you find boring.
Oceanography usually doesn’t coincide with a laboratory class, so it has more minor requirements and commitments outside the classroom.
Some of the topics you might study in oceanography class might include:
- Animals in the ocean
- Motion and circulation of water
- Climate change
- Plants in the ocean
- Food webs and ecosystem relationships
- Formation of oceans
- Properties of waves, tides, and currents
- Sea temperature
- Topography (different levels of the sea)
Botany is a specific area of biology that focuses on the study of plants, including their physical properties, structure, and biochemical processes. The focus of botany has created the foundation for various scientific applications, including agriculture, horticulture, and forestry (source).
While botany isn’t a very common science course to take in college, it’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for something reasonably stress-free and non-time-consuming. So, if you need to fulfill a science credit, you might as well go with this one.
Botany is a relatively easy science course to take because it’s mainly based on memorization and builds upon many basic science concepts taught as far back as elementary school. Taking a class with some background knowledge is far less complex than beginning an entirely new course with no pre-existing knowledge going into it.
Some of the topics you might study in a botany class include:
- Factors that make plants grow/affect plant growth
- Different species of plants
- Plant structure
- Plant functions
- How plants provide for their environments/ecosystems
- Photosynthesis/how plants create energy
- How energy flows through an ecosystem
- What plants provide for other organisms (nutrients, habitats, etc.)
Astronomy is the study of everything in the universe beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, including large bodies that can be seen with the naked eye, such as the sun, stars, and moon. It also covers things that can only be seen with the magnification of telescopes, such as galaxies, other planets, and meteors (source).
Many objects and elements beyond the Earth require study and analyses to understand how they form, function, and may impact our planet. The celestial things in the universe are ever-changing, and there’s still much we don’t know about the exact processes that take place right above our heads.
The motion and characteristics of the heavenly bodies are also primarily focused on in astronomy.
Astronomy is an easy science class to take in college because it’s usually offered as an introductory elective level course and has very little to do with other elements of science such as biology or chemistry.
Some of the topics you might study in an astronomy course are as follows:
- Different planets in our solar system
- Movement of planets
- Formation of moons
- Star life cycles and formation
- Smaller celestial bodies (dwarf planets, meteors, meteorites, or comets)
- Galaxies and their elements
- How planets form
- Phenomena like black holes, dark matter, dark energy
- Why planets can or cannot support life
- History of planets, stars, solar systems, and galaxies
Sociology is the scientific study of human relationships and interactions. It focuses on how humans interact with one another and how this can affect different aspects of human life, such as large population and community dynamics determined by social factors.
It investigates the social causes behind stereotypes, learning, gender identity, relationships, romantic love, and religion. It covers a broad spectrum of varying human relations. Discovering the factors that drive and potentially impact decisions and personal lives is essential for understanding human behavior.
While sociology covers many different topics, it’s still considered one of the easiest science courses you could take in college. This course involves a lot of basic memorization, and students who take this class often enter with a lot of previously held knowledge.
Many of the topics discussed in sociology are discussed frequently in popular culture and, for the most part, are based on common sense. Many people have firsthand experience with elements of sociology which makes its topics less obscure and easier to comprehend.
Some of the areas you might come across in a sociology course include:
- Factors that determine poverty and wealth.
- Gender identity.
- Familial relationships (parent/child, romantic partner, sibling, etc.)
- Stereotypes and biases
- Romantic love
- Sexual orientation
- Community dynamics
Source: UNC College of Arts and Sciences
According to the American Psychological Association, psychology is the scientific study of the mind and its behavior. It’s a discipline of science that includes many subsets, such as cognitive development, human behavior, and the brain (source).
Psychology focuses on learning and understanding why humans behave the way they do. Elements of psychology include discovering why we need as much sleep as we do, why we are afraid of certain things, or how to condition unconscious behaviors using different stimuli.
Psychology is one of the more accessible science courses to take in college. It’s usually offered as a survey course, meaning it covers various topics but doesn’t go into precise detail or depth. It doesn’t involve mathematical concepts and usually consists of a lot of vocabulary.
Some concepts you might study in a psychology college class might be:
- Operant/classical conditioning
- Famous figures in psychology (Freud, Watson, Skinner)
- Cognitive processes (thoughts, memory, the visual system
- Elements of behavior
- Importance of sleep
- How the brain processes information
- Elements of learning
- Community psychology
- Emotions/how emotions are communicated
Ecology studies the relationships between living organisms (humans included) and the environment. Its goal is to look closely at and understand the ever-evolving relationship between plants and animals and their surrounding environment. The course focuses on organisms on different levels of biology, including the individual, population, community, ecosystem, and the overall biosphere (source).
This area of science also places a heavy emphasis on the management of our natural resources, how climate change impacts our environment and the organisms we share it with, and how relationships between organisms can change over time.
Ecology is a more accessible science class to take in college because it rarely requires a laboratory period outside. It doesn’t involve a broad amount of content such as chemistry or physics, and it’s based on a lot of shared background knowledge most students already have from any natural or environmental science subjects in primary or high school.
Some subjects you might focus on in ecology can include:
- Different species of plants and animals
- Communities/populations of various organisms
- Food web/food chain
- Climate change
- Natural resources
- Human carbon footprint
As we approach the end of our ranked list of the most straightforward science courses, we begin to reach some of the more difficult subjects, such as physics.
Physics is the scientific study of the structure of matter and the interactions between the fundamental elements of the observable universe.
In a college physics class, the different states of matter, their structure, and the transfer of energy between matter are explored in various details. While physics can be considered one of the more difficult sciences, an introductory level physics class in college can be one of the easier choices for your schedule.
In college, introductory-level physics courses are still considered a relatively easy science class because they involve fundamental mathematical concepts and do not cover broad science elements in exceptional detail. Most of the concepts discussed in a first-level physics class have a heavy focus on the laws of motion, energy, and the physical structure of matter.
Some other topics a physics college class might discuss are as follows:
- Laws of energy
- Laws of motion
- Transfer of energy
- States of matter
- Structure of an atom
- Molecules and compounds
- Basic machines
Source: Lehigh University
As we dive further into ranking the most common easier science classes colleges offer, biology is the second most challenging. Biology is the study of life. Living things and the processes they conduct are the main focus of this course.
If you enjoy learning about plants, animals, and all kinds of different living things on Earth, biology is the science class for you. While it can be more challenging than some of the others listed previously, it’s still a relatively easy course. Biology requires a lot of memorization of content and less emphasis on mathematical concepts.
Some of the topics you might study in a biology class in college can be:
- Parts of a cell
- Species classification
- Difference between single-celled/multicellular organisms
- Energy flow between organisms
- How cells conduct energy to be used for work
- How organisms interact with one another
The final spot on our list and gets the title “the most difficult science course to take in college” goes to chemistry. Chemistry is the study of matter and the changes it can undergo depending on the conditions of its surrounding environment.
The main topics of chemistry include many mathematical concepts and equations, such as balancing chemical reactions or finding the molar mass of a given element.
While it can become a complicated area of science very fast, it’s still one of the more accessible science courses because of its broad span of topics. It’s not as specific and detail-oriented as organic chemistry, quantum physics, microbiology, or biochemistry.
Some of the topics you might come across in a college chemistry course might include:
- States of matter
- Properties of matter
- Physical/chemical changes of matter
- How substances transition from one state to another
- Products/reactants of chemical reactions
- What speeds/slows chemical reactions
- Calculating molecular weight, molar mass, atomic mass