10 Hardest Classes at Purdue University

Purdue University

Purdue University is a public, research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue offers over 200 undergraduate majors and over 70 postgraduate programs. There are well over 40,000 students and 18 intercollegiate sports teams. There are many opportunities for students, both inside the classroom and out. Here are the 10 hardest classes you can find at Purdue!

1. AAE 43900 – Rocket Propulsion

This class combines several different aspects of physics and astronomy to discuss rocket propulsion, making it a complex and challenging subject. Some important topics include flight mechanics, propulsion system requirements, nozzle analysis and design, thermochemistry of propellants, performance calculations and rocket engine cycle analysis.

spaceX rocket taking off next to spaceX building

2. ECON 46000 – Econometrics

This upper level economics course focuses on the statistical techniques used in testing economic theory. You will need a solid mathematical background and there will be emphasis on estimating a single equation. You will be able to use Purdue’s computational facilities to complete calculation and estimations for this course!

econometrics introductory slide with graph

3. BME 55100 – Tissue Engineering

Biomedical engineering is one of the most demanding majors. In this class, students will focus on the structure-function relationships in tissues and how they relate to organ function. You will also examine pathological tissues. Some topics include drug delivery, tissue and cell transplantation, bioartificial organs, and in vivo tissue regeneration.

a chart of the four different types of tissues

4. CS 48900 – Embedded Systems

Computer science is one of the most popular majors out there, but also a difficult one! This class focuses on software for embedded systems and writing programs with constraints on memory, storage, and processing power. Some main topics include Finite State Machines (FSMs), asynchronous and synchronous serial connections, and General Purpose I/O (GPIO) pins. You will complete a team project for this class!

the hardware parts of an embedded system

5. MA 44000 – Honors Real Analysis I

This pure math class will require a lot of abstraction and logical reasoning. This introduction to real analysis will consider one and n-dimensional Euclidean spaces. Some key topics are the completeness property of real numbers, the Heine-Borel theorem, convergence of sequences and series in Euclidean spaces, the Bolzano-Weierstrass theorem, continuity, and Riemann or Riemann-Stieltjes integrals. This is not for those without strong proof writing skills!

comic on the analysis of functions

6. CHE 43500 – Chemical Engineering Laboratory

This four credit class is not to be messed around with! As well as intense labs, you will also be writing lab reports. Some lab topics include fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer such as distillation, absorption, drying, etc., and rates of equilibria. You will also practice working in groups and giving oral presentations.

chemistry lab with students working in it

7. PHYS 42200 – Waves And Oscillations

Waves is one of the most interesting topics in physics! You’ll learn about sound waves, elastic waves, and electromagnetic waves such as light. Some topics are simple harmonic oscillators, transverse modes of a continuous string, optics, diffraction, and resolution. Your professor might also choose to throw in nonlinear waves and surface waves!

a water droplet creating waves

8. MET 33400 – Advanced Fluid Power

Fluids is always a hard topic to master. This course covers hydraulic and pneumatic circuits, the selection and design of components and systems used in fluid power transmission, and motion control are studied. By the end of the course, you’ll have seen industrial, mobile, aerospace, marine, and other applications!

a diagram of the flow of air around a car

9. STAT 50300 – Statistical Methods For Biology

Statistics can get hairy very quickly, so you have to be extra attentive! This class covers statistical methods with some topics such as binomial and normal distributions, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, linear regression, and contingency tables. This class is restricted to only life sciences and related majors!

biostatistics graphic with test tubes and a graph

10. NUCL 35000 – Nuclear Thermal-Hydraulics I

Purdue has an entire major dedicated to the difficult subject of nuclear physics. This class discusses nuclear reactor thermal transport and associated hydraulics, macroscopic balances, dimensional analysis, and flow measurement. Fluid behavior, momentum transfer, and applications to reactor systems and design. There is a second course in this sequence for those not faint of heart!

model of an atom with a nucleus and electrons

Although these classes are difficult and sound daunting, they are all very interesting and worthwhile! Tough classes are much better with a friend or two and remember to always ask the professor or TA for help if you need! Take advantage of all the opportunities and challenges that Purdue University offers!

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