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 11:43 PM ^

i took neither of those courses. the pre-reqs were enough to scare the living shit out of me. i gotta say, the pre-req for eecs 427, eecs 312, was probably the hardest class i took. eecs370 wasn't that bad, but the exams were fucking way too hard for their own good.
my roommate took eecs 427 our senior year and i hardly ever saw the kid. and i too have heard that we're one of the only schools to offer such a class to undergrads.
back in the day (pre tech bubble bursting), people claim that intel would come in and essentially hire entire design teams from that course.


February 12th, 2010 at 11:54 AM ^

Having taken both EECS 470 and EECS 427, I will agree that 427 is probably the hardest undergraduate class I took while at UofM.

However, 427 and 470 don't compare to EECS 627 (VLSI II). I would put that class up with any other class at any school for the amount of work and difficulty of material. I spent over 60 hours a week in the media union for the whole semester to work on the project, and unlike 427 where the project is basically your grade, the exams were something like 60% of your grade.

Then again, I now design circuits for a living and no course has taught me more so I guess it was worth it.

Raback Omaba

February 8th, 2010 at 5:25 PM ^

Was pretty damn hard.

It didn't get any easier the second time around either.

I also nominate the 400 level Game Theory class as well...and I don't even think it would've been easier if my Prof was proficient in English.


February 8th, 2010 at 5:45 PM ^

That was a great class. We obviously had different professors. I thought that was one of the most interesting economics classes I took at UM.

To finish that semester, I had three exams in the same day, and Game Theory was the last one. My brain was fried, and I failed it...pretty bad, too. I know I could've taken it another day, but I was chuck-full of machismo, bravado, stupidity, etc.

Ahhh, we live and we learn.


February 10th, 2010 at 4:07 PM ^

Are you talking about Chem 469? Because that was my hardest class and I hated it. But I admit, it could have something to do with the fact that I took it my senior year and I was horribly lazy and unmotivated by that time.


February 8th, 2010 at 5:26 PM ^

I failed miserably at Calc 2, I later took it at a junior college where it was not used as a weed out class, I got an A. I took all my calc classes elsewhere after that. I must admit I don't get the point of making a class hard just because. Took a phyics class once that the professor was sooo happy about how tough he made it. First grade I got was a 23, it was a C- on the curve and he was torqed that some kid got a 55 on it. In summary, if the professor wants it to be a hard class or the admin wants it to be a weed out class it will be tough, regardless of subject matter.


February 8th, 2010 at 5:28 PM ^

Amcult 496 Canoe Cultures of the Pacific Islands

In case people are looking to balance out their econ 401 and calc classes w/ something a little easier


February 8th, 2010 at 5:30 PM ^

AOSS 464 - Space Plasma Physics. It's like physics of plasmas... in space...

Worst grade: Modern Sports in Society. Wrote more damn papers for that "blow off" elective... Professor was supposedly world's preeminent scholar on the subject, and he acted like it. Dude didn't give out a single A to a class of 300+.


February 8th, 2010 at 6:03 PM ^

Yes sir. I had him for "German Politic History Since 1945", a poli sci course. I thought he was a good teacher, but I dropped it because I was somehow let it into without prereqs. I guess they accidentally listed it without the prereqs as German 302 which was billed as a history (not poli sci) course.

The best part of the class was his tangents about UM football before class that lasted well into class time. BTW, he's a RR supporter "even if 2009 is a failure".


February 8th, 2010 at 7:32 PM ^

I took three classes with Professor Markovits because he was so awesome--(Sport and Society, a Poli Sci class on Fascism and a Poli Sci graduate seminar on the history of European Socialism.)

He turned into a really close mentor and family friend. He's a really brilliant guy and really down to earth. Oh, and he never, ever calls me by name but rather "my dear Jenny"--even in real life!

Edit: One of the coolest things he did was move our Fascism class (about 30 people) to Pizza House during the GEO strike because he told us he doesn't believe in crossing picket lines regardless of whether or not he agrees with the strike. He reserved all of these tables and bought all of us lunch while he "lectured". Good times.


February 8th, 2010 at 5:34 PM ^

I took a bunch of classes in the b-school including the econs, and a ton of stats, and I gotta say nothing comes close to EECS. Don't know which one, I really struggled with the concepts in 210, though 370, 470, 482 where just insane in terms of the work load. I never knew it could be possible to work as much as we did in those classes.


February 8th, 2010 at 5:47 PM ^

Graduated CE 6 (!) years ago, and I agree on that one. Put in a ton of time for those upper level courses you mention, but at least I knew what I was doing. Couldn't ever really get my head wrapped around EECS 210 and (especially) 206 though. Guess it was a good thing I wanted to be a CE and not an EE.

OBTW Tons of work for EECS 373, but that was my favorite class I ever took.


February 8th, 2010 at 5:34 PM ^

It's not the hardest course at the school, but the hardest in Movement Science is biomechanics. Part physics, part anatomy, part computational analysis. Add in poorly designed labs and a crazy freaking Jamaican professor and you have a bitch of a semester.


February 8th, 2010 at 5:38 PM ^

Cognitive psych was tough. More anatomy (the way different parts of the nervous system to respond to things) than psychology.

Astro 111 (?) was also much less of a blowoff than its name (Intro to Solar System) suggested. (There was a reason it qualified for quantitative reasoning credit.)


February 8th, 2010 at 5:54 PM ^

If we are talking objectively hardest class, it wouldn't be Astro. But if we are talking hardest relative to the amount of effort I planned to expend, yes. I took that as my planned blowoff in an otherwise tough term, only to discover that I had to actually use math for the first time in four years. The GSI for that class also had the worst English skills of any instructor I ever had. He was lost trying to pronounce the names of the constellations.


February 8th, 2010 at 6:39 PM ^

during an experimental semester in which I took NINE 1-credit courses at the same time.

Easiest of them all? Lord of the Rings and/or Ice Ages Past and Present with Jeffrey Alt (for the simple reason that he gave us the final exam with an answer key during the review session, then the only change made to the actual final exam was that most of the questions counted as bonus. He also instructed us not to buy any of the course materials because he "didn't get paid enough to really teach" us.)

Hardest? For some reason, Continents Adrift. And there are only 7 of them.


February 8th, 2010 at 5:44 PM ^

The hardest for me at Tech was Dynamics & Kinematics. The professor was horrible, the book was horrible, and it was the first class that really kicked my ass in every conceivable way.

That semester, every final but one was on the Monday of finals week. I studied 20+ hours alone just for that class the weekend before. I averaged around 55% but ended up with a BC since everyone was in the same boat.

Dynamic Systems and Controls was probably the most work though but by that time I was a lean mean studying machine and ended up with an A.


February 8th, 2010 at 9:14 PM ^

Ding, ding, ding. I'm taking it now. For the second semester in a row. I'm still confused as hell.

As a CS major and math minor, I'll put Math 451 ahead of any EECS classes I've taken on the difficult concept level (maybe not the workload level). Other classes that were a b****:

EECS 280, 281, 376, 482 (OS), 484
Math 116, 215, 475

Man, I think I've taken about every hard class that's been mentioned here other than VLSI and Econ 401. Oh, the things I could have done at UM if I was a Psych major.....


February 9th, 2010 at 1:08 PM ^

I thought 451 was a pretty rewarding course. I had Dan Burns for it who was one of my favorite professors in the Math dept.

My worst performances:

Math 425 = D-
I had over a 3.0 heading into the semester that included this class. That semester saw two of my housemates fail out and I was placed on academic probation.

Math 433 = W
I knew I was in for a rough ride and stuck it out through the first exam before making the decision to jump ship. I got a 9 on the exam...


February 8th, 2010 at 5:48 PM ^

It wasn't unworkable, but it did seem unreasonable. The teacher was a ball-breaker, and the workload was immense. I mean, c'mon, it's just Spanish for shit's sake.

That class was the bane of my existence for a semester.


February 8th, 2010 at 7:08 PM ^

Spanish 3 was rather tough.

Granted, I was a psych major, so it's not like I took many difficult classes, but Spanish 3 was tough, especially since I had just transferred in from UMD university and hadn't taken any Spanish classes in over a year and a half.


February 8th, 2010 at 5:50 PM ^

don't remember the number, physics 438 maybe? 1st day was about calculus with a transposed coordinate axes, 2nd day was tensors, third day was tensor calculus. I think I dropped before the 4th...Most difficult class I saw and I was a chem major.


February 8th, 2010 at 5:52 PM ^

Current flavor of the week: ChE 487
460 & 344 (w/Linic) were also pretty tough. Conceptually, not too horrible, however the workload is pretty damn high.


February 8th, 2010 at 7:32 PM ^

I graduated last April with a ChemE and MSE degree and actually just started my first "real" job today (it only took me 10 months of looking!) and I can honestly say that 487 was THE toughest class that I took. And, as an MSE person, I had to take a quantum mechanics class*.

Assuming that you have Barkel, he's mean and tough but you learn so much in that class.

*I should say that I think I had the easiest version of this very hard class ever. I don't think that because we didn't learn hard stuff, we did, or because the professor was an amazing teacher, he wasn't, but because I got screwed over twice. We had a big group assignment (a wiki project) and my group started with 5 people. We had two people drop the class and change majors (in large part because of that class) in the middle of the project. And of the three people left I was the leader while another person did little. So, we were graded very nicely (I think) and since we got to divy up the grade I think that my good group member actually gave me more than 1/3 of the points.

Also, several times the professor accidentally posted the solutions to some coding that we had to do so some of the tougher assignments were waved.