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The Pecking Order

  1. Dec 11, 2004 #1
    Have you had one of your psych major friends claims that that course are actually hard......pwsssa psychology.


    I think we need to make of offical list of the ranking of college course, thus you can only complain to someone beneath you.

    1. Physics major.
    2. E and E
    3. Math major
    4. Straight Chem major
    5. BioChem major
    6. Biology
    7. Pre-med (Tisk doctors, gloried retards if you ask me :biggrin: )

    Then at the very bottom of the list their is The Com Major (I think comm majors should be forced to wear special ed helmets)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 11, 2004 #2
    Yea, wouldn't psych majors come at the bottom though? I couldn't think of something easier...
     
  4. Dec 11, 2004 #3
    Is that estimated list fairly accurate? In my High School, Biology is the hardest and Physics is the easiest.
     
  5. Dec 11, 2004 #4

    Math Is Hard

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    Top 10 most difficult professors at UCLA

    Just thought you might find this interesting. These are student rankings from www.bruinwalk.com

    Professor, Average Difficulty Rating(out of 10), & Dept.

    1. Thau, Michael 8.88 Philosophy Department
    2. Corbin, Brent 8.8 Physics and Astronomy Department
    3. Smith, Owen 8.79 Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department
    4. Eggert, Paul 8.68 Computer Science Department
    5. Nonacs, Peter 8.58 Organismic Biology, Ecology, and Evolution Department
    6. Fanselow, Michael 8.53 Psychology Department
    7. Sayed, Ali 8.5 Electrical Engineering Department
    8. Schwartz, Benjamin 8.48 Chemistry and Biochemistry Department
    9. Simons, Robert 8.43 Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics Department
    10. McClure, Kirstie 8.38 Political Science Department
     
  6. Dec 11, 2004 #5
    First, you need to define hard. Hard as in course material? Or hard as in a hell of a lot of work? Or..? But either way you define it, I do not see how there can be an "official list." Some people will find physics easy, and others will find it hard, same goes with psychology, or any other subject.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2004
  7. Dec 11, 2004 #6
    Psychology may be easy in the US, but here a fair amount of the course requires knowledge of research methods and statistical analysis, including various types of ANOVA and multiple regression.
     
  8. Dec 11, 2004 #7
    Last year, at A Level (final high school exams) 40% of students who took maths got an A grade, whereas only 17% of Psychology students did. Either the Psychology students are dim, or the exam is harder.
     
  9. Dec 11, 2004 #8

    Moonbear

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    I formally protest putting biology near the bottom of your list! :grumpy:

    I do agree that communications ranks right above basket weaving though. It seemed everyone from my college graduating with a major in communications was graduating with honors...suggests that maybe they weren't really do much to sort the wheat from the chaff there. I never took any advanced physics, but it never seemed all that bad. Not saying it was easy, but seemed like if you got the basics down pat, you just kept building off of that. Chemistry was the toughest of the subjects I've taken...not the basic classes, but the advanced chemistry courses. I don't think that's generally the case, but my university had evil profs in the chem dept. The department was actually on probation! I've never heard of such a thing happening anywhere else. They were failing too many students, and the administration wasn't happy about that. They were using gen chem as a weed out course, when in reality, none of the chem majors were taking that class anyway (I don't know any chem majors who hadn't placed into a higher level chem class based on our math placement test scores...no, I don't have a chem major, but I started out trying for one; dropped it to a minor to avoid staying in college an extra semester to finish up the classes).

    I'm rambling, so I'll stop now (too many cookies, so I'm on a bit of a sugar rush...oh, and plenty of coffee with the cookies too).
     
  10. Dec 12, 2004 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    I believe that there are various forms of intelligence identified and that no absolute measure of difficulty exists. That being said, with a total effort of two days I aced an upper division economics class, but I had to work hard daily in all of my physics classes. I also took a minor in hydraulic engineering which in no way compares to physics in difficulty. On occasion I even noticed that engineering problems began about where the physics problems ended. I would derive an equation in physics and later apply it in engineering. Then again, when I finished my hydraulic series I had actually learned some useful information. :biggrin:

    One funny note: Einstein's son is well known among hydraulic engineers. He did some pioneering work in this field IIRC.

    Also, I believe that pharmacology has something like a 95% drop and failure rate. It is supposed to be an extremely difficult degree. I know that graduates [edit: whoops, I meant Ph.D. level] draw really nice starting salaries as compared to many other fields of study - a measure of competition.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2004
  11. Dec 12, 2004 #10
    Yeah the bio-chem indusrty is really big were I live (San Diego). Althought I don't know if I want to go into it, I a really kluts in the lab
     
  12. Dec 12, 2004 #11

    arildno

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    I think it is just silly (not to mention arrogant) to regard the (practically) non-mathematizable disciplines of biology&medicine as easier than physics&chemistry.
    (Just try to mathematize biology, that is DIFFICULT!)

    The reason why maths can be used in physics, is that physics concerns the behaviour of incredibly SIMPLER systems than those systems which are the objects in biology.
     
  13. Dec 12, 2004 #12

    Moonbear

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    Good point! LOL! We have a faculty member in our program who does computational neuroscience (computer modeling of neuronal activity). He gave a seminar recently, and got to the first experiment to test his predictions, and it failed miserably. He said that's the point where most in his field give up and go scurrying back to something like electrical engineering. So far, all his complex equations can do is predict which way a mouse would turn in a 7-T maze if it had only 3 neurons. :rofl:

    It's really comparing apples and oranges. I don't think you can rank the sciences as easier or harder than one another. They each take different approaches.
     
  14. Dec 12, 2004 #13

    arildno

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    Agreed!
    Biology is, IMO, a study of "inherently" large-scale systems; the type of understanding we can achieve of these systems is, I believe, more often to be found through careful experimentation/observation rather than the study of mathematical models of the phenomena.

    I do not mean that experimentation/observation is unimportant in physics, nor do I mean that mathematical models cannot be used on occasion in biology.
    Rather, physics is PRIVILEGED in the sense that realistic mathematical models are available and studyable, whereas,as yet, most biological systems are so complex that studyable, realistic mathematical models of them are unavailable.
    Hence, the biologist has, in a sense, fewer tools at his/her disposal; s/he must exercise her/his cleverness in different ways than the physicist.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2004
  15. Dec 12, 2004 #14

    arildno

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    Another common and complete misrepresentation of the relationship between physics and biology, is that biology is "fuzzy science", whereas physics is "exact".

    There exist practically no piece of physics knowledge which has the same degree of exactness as our current knowledge of the genetic code. We know EXACTLY how a triplet of T,A,C,G translates into an amino acid; physical constants like G are known only to a finite-degree decimal accuracy..:wink:
     
  16. Dec 12, 2004 #15

    Moonbear

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    I bet biology could be more "exact" if someone would come up with a set of equations capable of handling about 40,000 variables (rough prediction of the number of functional genes in humans). :biggrin:
     
  17. Dec 12, 2004 #16

    Gokul43201

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    Could it not just be that the physics you learnt was a lot easier than the chemistry, because as a bio major, you're required to have a deeper education in chemistry than in physics.

    You can't do advanced physics by just building upon the basics - in fact, it very much the opposite. What makes most of advanced physics hard, is that you have to prevent yourself from trying to build upon the basics (classical, Newtonian framework). It's a whole different way of thinking than the brain is used to.
     
  18. Dec 12, 2004 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    Feynman
    From a pack of the world's best minds, only Witten could see that five or more theories were really just one. How much harder can it get?
     
  19. Dec 12, 2004 #18

    Moonbear

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    Actually, for the bio major, we didn't need much more chemistry than we needed physics. It's more that I was attempting a chemistry major too. I don't really know anything about advanced physics. See how easy it is to say it's easier when you haven't taken any of the advanced courses?

    Good point! Really, this all just highlights even more that it's futile to try to rank the subjects as easier or harder. We've certainly already heard from someone on this board who thinks all those non-science, core requirement classes are harder than science classes. Most people's experiences outside of their own major are with only introductory level classes, which are of course easier than advanced classes in any subject, although can they can still seem daunting due to the sheer volume of material that is completely new.
     
  20. Dec 12, 2004 #19
    I think that the degree of hardness of a class is very subjective. I am currently in first semmser O chem and find it to be very easy, however when I took a cellular processly class I found it to be impossible hard.

    I am not good a memerzing things, but I am good at understanding the key principles that govern reactions
     
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