Are College Science Classes Hard?

By Ilse Kremer, MA, MS
Faculty, College of Science, Engineering and Technology

scientists working in a lab

College science classes ARE really hard – and for good reason!

GCU prides itself on a long standing tradition of offering whatever it takes to get its students to performing and exceeding standards.

And our standards are high. Especially in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, many courses taught are traditionally considered among the most challenging offered for a variety of reasons.

Faculty in our college work hard to offer personal tutoring to students during office hours, Explore More sessions throughout the semester, individual mentoring for many undergraduates and partnerships with student services to offer academic support.

All this effort has been paying off in a big way, not just at GCU, but across the nation. The American Association for the Advancement of science reported in 2010 that the overall science literacy for adults in the Unites States has nearly tripled in the last decade (Raloff, 2010).

Interestingly, the scores of U.S. high school students on international standardized science tests has flat-lined, with U.S. high schoolers scoring below average and below most European countries across the board. This means that the increase in science literacy in adults is a direct result of improvements in science education at the undergraduate level.

Miller (2007) has postulated that this is likely because course expectations at the college level are much higher than those at the high school level, which means students are much more likely to rise to the occasion and work hard to succeed (Raloff, 2010).

So, the next time you are complaining about how difficult your college science classes are, remember that all this hard work is contributing to the overall science literacy of the country, which is definitely a worthwhile effort!


  • Miller, J. (2007). The Public Understanding of Science in Europe and the United States. Paper presented at the AAAS annual meeting in San Francisco (Feb. 16).
  • Raloff, J. (2010). Science Literacy: US college courses really count. Retrieved from

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.