The subjects with the highest IQs

AFS Team·30 August 2018·5 min read
The subjects with the highest IQs
By Elizabeth Whittingham

It’s time to settle the debate.

Science students are smarter that Arts students. At least, that’s according to data recently released by ETS. They tested 26,000 students across every degree subject known to mankind and came up with a pretty compressible table made on excel, and if it’s made on excel, it’s legitimate.

ETS basically found that physics students were the brightest, that science beats the humanities and that out of all the humanities- philosophers are the brainiest.

So, without further ado, here’s the top 10.

Just for some reference, people who score over 140 are considered to have genius level IQs- basically, they’re pretty rare and rather clever! An IQ score over 130 puts you in the top 2% of the population and the median person has an IQ of 100 or below.

1. Physics and Astronomy

Mean IQ: 139

I mean, we always thought this was going to be the case, didn’t we. You only have to look at the likes of Stephen Hawkins and Alan Turing to realise that physics is a pretty tough subject to crack.

When it comes to astronomy, a high IQ level of 139 is definitely needed, we’re still discovering what the universe has to offer so will probably be in need of some pretty big brains to carry this on.

2. Maths

Mean IQ: 137

Ah, Maths- the quintessential ‘clever person’ subject.

The memorisation of countless formulas and impressive looking algebra definitely makes for a high IQ and a rather impressive memory function.

3. Economics

Mean IQ: 136

Economics means money and this means a lot of problem solving and mathematics, meaning the average economic student IQ is obviously well above average and very nearly into the ‘genius’ level.

If you’ve got a big a IQ and you like Maths, head into economics, bankers make so much money!

4. Philosophy

Mean IQ: 136

It makes sense that ‘the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge’ should require a rather impressive IQ to go along with it all- coming in at 136, just four points below genius level, turns out studying knowledge is great for your knowledge in general!

5. Chemistry

Mean IQ: 132

If you’re working with highly dangerous chemicals whilst relying on your ability to mix said chemicals without blowing yourself and the whole laboratory up, you’re obviously going to have a rather high IQ. The endless formulas are pretty similar to the skills needed for maths and therefore hint to the idea that chemists have a brilliant memory and a knack for problem solving.

6. Engineering

Mean IQ: 129

If you’ve got the ability to build rockets, ships and aeroplanes, then a pretty good mental capacity is usually what is expected of engineering students.

With an above average IQ of 129, it’s evident that engineering is both a complex and memory reliant course- from drawing blue prints through to working out formulas and putting machinery together.

7. Political Science

Mean IQ: 129

Embarrassing, but I did have to google search this as I had no idea what it was- here’s guessing where my IQ stands! Political science is basically the study of the intricacies of politics and involves a lot of information to sort through- meaning a high IQ is generally preferred.

8. Biology and Bio-medical Science

Mean IQ: 128

Biology and bio-medical sciences obviously link to being a doctor and performing surgery, so no surprises here that the average IQ is above the normal rating. It also takes a lot of emotional and mental strength to be a doctor so this could definitely be part of the impressive score.

9. History

Asides from philosophy, this is the only other humanities subject in the top ten list of high IQs, and seeming as humanities subjects get a lot of stick for not being as complex as the sciences, it makes me happy to see history perched amongst the greats!

Not only is history based heavily on research, but the need to take information before forming a coherent argument about the topic definitely means that a high IQ is needed.

Mean IQ: 125

10. Computer Science and IT

Relying heavily on coding, computer science and IT requires a good IQ- we all know that computer coding can be used to construct whole websites and new technology! The slightly smaller IQ could point to the fact that technology is pretty everywhere now, meaning the vast majority of us can sort IT issues.

Mean IQ: 124