Hardest Class at U-M?

Submitted by gomaize11 on February 8th, 2010 at 5:14 PM

As I sit at my desk cramming and dreading the hours to my quantum mechanics mid-term, this question crossed my mind. Obviously this class is small potatoes compared to others at the university, so to make me feel better what are some hard courses you've survived at the U (or other colleges)?



February 8th, 2010 at 8:18 PM ^

You're absolutely right; unlike several other EECS courses that are pretty much set in stone, in EECS 281 they're trying to figure out the right balance of material. How hard it is can vary a huge amount depending on when you take it (and who the prof is, and how much emphasis he/she puts on different parts of the curriculum).


February 8th, 2010 at 11:39 PM ^

EECS 373 was a living hell for me. Professor Brehob, who I'm assuming still teaches the course, proudly stated that he thought it was the hardest undergrad class at Michigan. I did terrible in that class.
The funny thing is, I design microprocessor based systems for a living now haha.


February 8th, 2010 at 6:58 PM ^

I hated EECS 280 more than any other class during my time at Michigan. It was ridiculously hard, the professor sucked, the autograder sucked, and it was ridiculously hard (wait, I said that already). I mentioned this in a previous thread back during finals week last December, but that class single-handedly altered the course of my college career. I became an academic felon (three honor code violations) and changed majors to IOE. Best decision I ever made.

Having said all that, I don't consider EECS 280 to be the most difficult class I took. No, that distinction would go to ME 235 (Thermodynamics). I know some of you mechanical engineers are probably reading this and laughing at me, but I didn't know what the fuck was going on in that class. Good thing no one else in the class knew what was going on either. As I recall, the average for every exam was in the 30% range. I recorded the lowest test score ever in my academic career during that class: a 17% on the second midterm. Amazingly I came out with a C at the end of the term.


February 9th, 2010 at 9:07 AM ^

I agree with EECS280, but not because the subject matter was difficult. Doing battle with the auto-grader was the hard part. I spent 40 or so hours once banging my head against a program because an invisible character (carriage return maybe?) was different in Windows than in the Linux used on the auto-grading machine, so it failed all of the tests.


November 16th, 2012 at 5:07 AM ^

I know this post is old.. and I'm hoping you respond (West Texas Blue) before my project is due...

I'm wondering what your project/exam grades were... if you could e-mail me those, that'd be great, I can give you my e-mail...


I'm in the course right now, it convinced me to not do CSE anymore... I'm scared of failing...... I don't think anybody else in the course is doing as poorly as me....


February 8th, 2010 at 5:22 PM ^

Please, Calc 2 is a walk in the park.

Calc 3 (multivariable) was a bitch. My worst grade at U of M was math 425, but it probably comes very easy to some people.

Since so many classes are graded on a curve, the question isn't whats the hardest class, the question is what class do you have the biggest competitive disadvantage at?

Big Brown Jug

February 8th, 2010 at 6:01 PM ^

I took Roman Sports with Potter in 2003 right after Gladiator came out and saw him on the History channel talking about the Coliseum while I was enrolled.

I actually remember that class being really easy. I got cued into it by my plugged-in fraternity friend that had the line on all the cakewalk classes.


May 5th, 2010 at 8:51 PM ^

LOL I remember taking that class back in the 90's.   They gave out 'homework' involving a computer program that would tell you if you got the (multiple choice) answer wrong or not, then let you try again.   You couldn't do less than get 100% unless you didn't turn it in.

One of the relatively few classes I got an A in, sad to say....


February 9th, 2010 at 12:27 AM ^

I am giggling furiously at this comment because my girlfriend and I were in a discussion section for Classic Civ ... 192 (?) with Graham Brown, and we still talk about Graham's astuteness and, uh, dashing good looks.

I also had football tickets right next to GB when I was a freshman (in row 13... some kind of a fluke), and he would 'ask' to borrow my ticket so some similarly large gentleman could join him. I've never been a fan of standing completely sideways because a bunch of people have brought their friends down to the bottom of the section, but... I probably would've moved up to row 50 if that behemoth had demanded it.


February 8th, 2010 at 5:41 PM ^

I just assumed that the University made a one semester mistake and would never again put Kuhn in front of a 401 class. I hope you were in my class. If not, that means the UM has put countless other students through that same disaster. Those were the worst lectures I've ever sat through. I had professors with very limited English language skills who were far better lecturers than Kuhn. geesh!!


February 8th, 2010 at 7:19 PM ^

401 was the hardest class I took. The disappointing thing was that I went into exams thinking I knew things fairly well and still did a lot worse than I thought I should have.

My roommate at the time was taking 401 just for the hell of it. He was an engineer (EECS I think?) and also a math major (this was our junior year, and he was GRADING upper level course math homework). When he came to class, he'd never pay attention and just do crosswords in the Daily the whole time. The only preparation he did for any exam was the week of, where he would take a look at the practice problems, ask me how to do them, and proceed to ace every single one. In fact, without doing jack shit but the exams, he finished 15th in the class. Asshole.


February 8th, 2010 at 7:28 PM ^

This was my thought the second I saw this thread. The biggest problem for me with this class is that I've always been more into the applied real world and policy aspects of econ. I'm pretty sure Kuhn didn't touch real world implications once in that class, and I'm certain that the guy doesn't realize that economics is more than just drawing curves and doing math problems. I took a few more Econ classes with some pretty dry and detached course material and professors, but this one takes the cake, easy.

I'm glad I took a couple classes with Adams before I graduated to get the bad taste out of my mouth and make me feel ok about my choice of major...


February 8th, 2010 at 9:29 PM ^

401 was tough but I don't think it was the toughest I took. It was, however, the most time consuming. by far. Someone made the point about a high total work v. credit hr ratio. I agree with that. 26 total problem sets, which usually took 4 -10 hours each to do. Plus class time and exam studying.

Econ 405 and 411 especially were a bitch for me. Fricking stochastic equations and building your own mathematical model to simulate an economy with a 25 pg. explanation for a final project. I'd take preference curves over that shit any day. And had a russian instructor - Kapinos. No clue what he was explaining.


February 9th, 2010 at 12:01 AM ^

401 was lame. I remember Kuhn had this honors discussion that he personally taught. After the second midterm, these 2 kids from his honors discussion went up to him and said "We really enjoyed that exam. It should have been a bit harder though."

I never wanted to punch 3 people at the same time as much as I did then.


February 8th, 2010 at 5:24 PM ^

I'm sure some engineers will contest this, but at least from an LSA perspective, I heard ECON 401 was right there. I think I got like a 42% on the final and it worked out to a B+ or something... Just so stupid.

Orgo was always complained about too as one of the hardest.


February 8th, 2010 at 6:28 PM ^

Bah, did Econ 401 REQUIRE a minimum of 40+ hours a week for the whole semester to only at best get a passing grade? 60+ per week if you wanted any chance of getting an A? There were literally some weeks where I never hit a bed because of that class. Its widely considered to be the higher work vs credit course at UM.


February 8th, 2010 at 5:25 PM ^

because you just have to integrate such a ridiculous combination of trig.

I would say my hardest class was DSP (digital signal processing) because the prof wasn't good and I hate Matlab (just saying it makes me cringe).


February 8th, 2010 at 5:25 PM ^

In terms of workload, there is no comparison. No other school (Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, etc) has anything close to it. The average time spent on either of these classes is around 40-80 hours/week.


February 8th, 2010 at 6:54 PM ^

because for years almost every other major EE school has wanted one like 427. In the industry, completion of EECS427 is pretty much a guaranteed hire. Plus having interviewed people from every major school in the US in the field EECS427 applies to, none of them even have anything close. The course is legendary not only at other schools but in industry as well.


February 8th, 2010 at 8:24 PM ^

I second ertai's statements. A class like that actually exists. I knew several friends who lived in the Duderstadt Center because of 470 and 427 (and, yes, I mean they actually slept in the lab at night instead of going home...this latest for at least a month, if not longer). Of the two, EECS 427 is considered the tougher one, but both are in their own category in terms of workload.

Personally, I took EECS 452 for my major design, which took up a fair amount of my time, but not as much as my friends in 470 and 427. To those who took 470 and 427 (and passed), you have my utmost respect.


February 9th, 2010 at 12:46 AM ^

Just wanted to help support the case for EECS 470. I have 2 friends who breezed through all kinds of tough EE and CS courses, but spent every waking hour at the Media Union (back when we didn't know who Duderstadt was, and the name "MuJo" on the coffee kiosk still made sense) for well more than a month. God help you if you disturbed one of the paper signs on the Solaris keyboards that said they were running a simulation overnight, when they finally did leave.

Anyway, I know people who spent hundreds of hours studying for Orgo, but they were premeds and kinda dumb but mostly OCD. The 470 guys were not the kind of people who take a long time to figure out or execute stuff - the workload was just fucking unconscionable.


February 8th, 2010 at 11:17 PM ^

For those who don't know, EECS 470 is Computer Architecture or how the hell a Pentium Processor works. From a difficulty standpoint it wasn't that bad. What makes the class suck is the amount of time you spend on the project. Personally, I would meet with my group members around 2pm everyday at the Dude and go home around around 1 or 2 in the morning. On the weekends we were there for 13-15 hours at a time.