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General English Literature

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General English Literature Major

42,771 yearly degrees
#24 in popularity
$64,000 median salary

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

There are 220 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in English, 1,319 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 422 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 145 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting an English Degree?

This is one of the most frequently chosen college majors. It is the 15th most popular in the country with 35,900 students graduating with a bachelor’s in English in 2017. The major attracts more women than men. About 71.7% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial Distribution

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

  • Asian: 4.2%
  • Black or African American: 7.4%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 13.8%
  • White: 65.8%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 1.3%
  • Other Races: 7.5%
General English Literature Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in English. About 1.3% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending English majors to the U.S. are China, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

What Will You Learn as a General English Literature Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to English 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 Majors

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

Important Knowledge Areas for General English Literature Majors

Skills for English Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to English:

Important Skills for General English Literature Majors

Abilities for English Majors

English majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

Important Abilities for English Majors

What Can You Do With an English Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with English:

Careers Related to General English Literature
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

English Language and Literature Professors



Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education



General English Literature Major Salary

English majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $64,000 to $78,000. 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 Major  ( 64000 to 78000 )
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 )

Your salary will be largely dependent on the career path you follow and what area of the country (or world) you work. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for General English Literature Major Jobs

Some careers associated with English may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

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

Education Levels for Careers Associated With General English 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 General English Literature Programs

There are 1,319 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in general English literature, with 52 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.

Online learners benefit from being able to watch lectures remotely and complete coursework on their schedule, but they also take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to dropout.

Is a General English Literature Major Worth It?

The median salary for an English grad is $64,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 65% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $508,800 after 20 years!

general English 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: Pancoast, Henry Spackman via License

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