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English Language & Literature

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English Language & Literature Major

English language and literature is a major that typically falls into the English Language & Literature category.

There are 307 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in English language and literature, 1,973 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 777 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 189 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting an English Language & Literature Degree?

This is one of the most frequently chosen college majors. It is the most popular in the country with students graduating with a bachelor’s in English language and literature in 2017. The major attracts more women than men. About 71% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of English language and literature majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 4.1%
  • Black or African American: 7.5%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 13.2%
  • White: 65.9%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 1.5%
  • Other Races: 7.9%
English Language & Literature Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in English language and literature. About 1.5% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending English language and literature majors to the U.S. are.

What Will You Learn as an English Language & Literature Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to English language and literature to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for English Language & Literature Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for English Language & Literature Majors

Skills for English Language & Literature Majors

English language and literature majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:

Important Skills for English Language & Literature Majors

Abilities for English Language & Literature Majors

As you progress with your English language and literature degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:

Important Abilities for English language and literature Majors

What Can You Do With an English Language & Literature Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with English language and literature:

Careers Related to English Language & Literature
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

English Language and Literature Professors






Poets, Lyricists and Creative Writers



Copy Writers



Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education



Technical Writers






English Language & Literature Major Salary

English language and literature majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $69,000 to $77,000. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for an English Language & Literature Major  ( 69000 to 77000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

The area of the country you choose to work in will also affect your career and salary prospects. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for English Language & Literature Major Jobs

Some careers associated with English language and literature require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for English language and literature careers below.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With English Language & Literature
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online English Language & Literature Programs

There are 1,973 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature, with 83 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Many learners are drawn to online programs due to the ease of use and flexibility. Students should be warned that those who enroll in online programs can take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to drop out.

Is an English Language & Literature Major Worth It?

The median salary for an English language and literature grad is $73,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 88% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $683,800 after 20 years!

English language and literature salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Mike Hazard via License

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