Is Physics Harder Than Economics?

By Ishika S.

13 February, 2024

Comparing the difficulty of physics and economics is subjective and depends on individual strengths, interests, and career goals.


Here are four points to consider when comparing the two disciplines:

1. Mathematical Complexity:

Physics often involves advanced mathematical concepts, including calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra, especially in areas such as quantum mechanics and electromagnetism. While economics also requires mathematical proficiency, the level and type of mathematics may vary depending on the specific subfield. Economic theory may involve mathematical modeling, optimization, and statistical analysis, but the mathematical rigor may not be as intensive as in physics.

Physics deals with understanding the fundamental laws governing the universe, such as mechanics, electromagnetism, and thermodynamics. Mastering these concepts requires a deep understanding of theoretical frameworks and their applications. Economics, on the other hand, involves understanding principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics, including supply and demand, market behavior, economic policy, and economic models. While both disciplines require conceptual understanding, the nature of the concepts and their applications differ significantly.

2. Conceptual Understanding:

Physics often involves experimental work and empirical analysis, where hypotheses are tested through observation and data collection. This may require hands-on laboratory work and proficiency in experimental techniques. Economics, on the other hand, relies on theoretical modeling and empirical analysis to understand economic phenomena, predict outcomes, and evaluate policy interventions. Economic research often involves statistical analysis of data, econometric modeling, and interpretation of results.

3. Empirical Analysis vs. Theoretical Modeling:

4. Interdisciplinary Connections:

Physics and economics are interdisciplinary fields that intersect with other disciplines in different ways. Physics has connections to engineering, mathematics, and other natural sciences, while economics intersects with fields such as political science, sociology, and public policy. The interdisciplinary nature of both disciplines may present unique challenges and opportunities for students, depending on their interests and career aspirations.

Ultimately, whether physics is harder than economics depends on individual aptitude, interests, and career goals. Both disciplines offer unique challenges and opportunities for intellectual growth, and the difficulty may vary based on the specific topics studied and personal preferences.