Although no class at University of Virginia is necessarily a bird course, some classes are entirely new level of challenging. While not all of these courses should—or can—be avoided, they’re certainly not going to be a breeze. Here are the 10 hardest classes at UVA.

1. CHEM 2411 — Organic Chemistry Lab

Every science and pre-med major knows the dread associated with the term “orgo.” Don’t let the fun nickname fool you—this course has a disturbingly low collective GPA semester after semester. It’s been rumored, and confirmed, that in order to succeed in Organic Chemistry students must spend over 10 hours a week working on lab work and readings. No student enjoys this course or its immense workload, but every pre-med and chemistry major knows it’s a necessary evil.

2. ASTR 1220 — Intro to the Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe

At first glance, this course seems harmless—interesting even! But upon further research, ASTR 1220 is far from recommended. Average exam grades are typically in the 50’s, course content is dry and boring, and memorizing the textbook won’t guarantee you a good grade. As my roommate put it, “Don’t take this class. Just don’t.”

3. HIEU 3752 — Evolution of the International System, 1815-1950

Wondering what this class is even about? So are all the students who have taken it. The official description is an analysis of “great power politics,” which turns out to be just as difficult, boring, and confusing as it sounds. With over 10 books to purchase and read, and over a century of history to examine, the amount of material in this course is overwhelming. Students’ general consensus on HIEU 3752? Avoid at all costs.

4. CHEM 1410 — Introductory College Chemistry

This course is said to “weed out” prospective pre-med students that aren’t cut out for the major. The material is difficult, the exams aren’t curved, and every lecture and reading is critical. Even after doing all the readings, attending every lecture, and dedicating hours every week to course work, most students still claimed it was hard to achieve anything higher than a B. However, pre-med students say the worst part of CHEM1410 is knowing their courses are only going to get harder.

5. ECON 3720 — Introduction to Econometrics

This course combines two of the most difficult departments at UVA: statistics and economics. The material is challenging and it’s also cumulative—if you don’t understand a past topic, you won’t understand the current one. Lectures have been described as “painfully boring,” grades tend to be in the 50’s or 60’s, and the readings consume hours every week. This course should be avoided if possible; unless you’re a Stat or Econ major please do yourself a favor and pick another course.

6. ECON 4010 — Game Theory

Don’t let the name fool you; this class has nothing to do with videogames. Student descriptions of the course range from “the hardest class in the economics department,” to “the hardest course at UVA.” Game Theory requires a HUGE time commitment, averaging about 13 hours a week according to students. The course surprisingly incorporates a serious amount of math, and the material as a whole is dense and confusing. Unless game theory is your passion, other economics classes may better suit your interests (and your GPA).

7. PHIL 1410 — Forms of Reasoning

Known as a GPA killer, this course is a struggle for even the brightest students. With even the smartest kids in the class earning low B’s, the structure of the course is clearly skewed. However, many students had mixed reviews of the class. Lectures were engaging, material was interesting, and the professor is well loved. The reason this class carries such a low GPA seems to be its test questions. Students frequently complain that they are different and harder than the material learned in lecture, making test success nearly impossible. These test scores account for half of a student’s course grade, so it’s no wonder an A in PHIL 1410 feels utterly unattainable.

8. CS 2150 — Program and Data Representation

If you’re known to skip a lecture every now and then this is not the course for you. CS 2150 students have confirmed that every lecture must be attended, since the answers to the exams are based on lecture material. And don’t think you can get away with just reading the slides—they only contain a percentage of the information you need to know. Apart from the commitment to attend every lecture, this course also consumes a large amount of time outside the classroom. Students averaged 10 hours of work on labs and homework per week. Overall, this class clearly is not for the lazy or faint-hearted.

9. CHEM 3420 — Physical Chemistry

This class is “no joke” according to its students. The course material contains a lot of calculus, which most of us hoped to leave back in high school. Without extensive college-level calculus knowledge, this course is sure to be a struggle. Even with calculus background the homework is said to be challenging and incredibly time consuming. On the up side, tests don’t even need to be studied for! As one student put it, “in-class exams are stupid hard and any studying is worthless.” Guess that frees up more time for those piles of homework!

10. ECON 2010 — Microeconomics

Ah Mirco—the class that dragged down the GPAs of countless UVA students. Since this course is a prerequisite for several UVA schools within the university (predominantly Comm and Batten) many have taken this class out of obligation. We’ve all heard the horror stories from these unfortunate micro students: all night study sessions, failing midterm grades, the devastatingly hard final. This course is far from an easy A, and will probably end up doing more harm to your GPA than good—former micro students can attest. Long story short, unless this course is mandatory for your major or prospective school, don’t take it. Seriously, don’t.


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