The College of Science, Engineering and Technology offers degree programs that prepare students for high-demand professions in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. With an emphasis on Grand Canyon University’s Christian worldview, our college believes in instilling social awareness, responsibility, ethical character and compassion. Our blog, BrainSTEM, focuses on topics related to science, engineering and technology, with engaging contributions from students, staff and faculty. On the blog, you can find helpful resources relating to STEM fields and learn more about current events occurring globally, locally and within GCU. We hope to provide our readers with information that helps them learn about the necessary knowledge, skills and mental disciplines to succeed in today’s job market.
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Are College Science Classes Hard?

Chemistry students in GCU lab

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

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 (Faloff, 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 sciencenews.org/blog/science-public/science-literacy-us-college-courses-really-count
About Ilse Kremer, M.A., M.S.
Faculty & Blog Managing Editor

Ilse Kremer graduated with a biology degree from Arizona State University in 2000 and subsequently earned a Master of Arts degree in education and a Master of Science degree in biology from the University of Nebraska. Combining her love of science and passion for teaching, she has strived to create interesting, engaging lessons for anatomy students for over 12 years. She is currently working on a Doctor of Health Science degree from A.T. Still University. Born and raised in Belgium, she has a personal dedication to immigrant students and those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, and she works to implement intervention strategies that enhance college success for all students, regardless of their prior academic history. She has been married for 18 years and has three energetic children that keep her plenty busy. In her spare time, she likes to swim (and occasionally coaches swimming), ice skate, go out to dinner and read.

Read more about Ilse Kremer