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General English Literature Major

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General English Literature

34,735 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
4,390 Master's Degrees Annually
#16 in Popularity
$64,340 Median Salary

Types of Degrees General English Literature Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many general English literature graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 34,756
Master’s Degree 4,391
Associate’s Degree 2,514
Doctor’s Degree 1,110
Basic Certificate 279
Undergraduate Certificate 274
Graduate Certificate 46

What General English Literature Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to English and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for English Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in English should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Skills for English Majors

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

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for English Majors

A major in English will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

What Can You Do With a General English Literature Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with English:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
English Language and Literature Professors 9.8% $66,590
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 7.5% $60,320

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in General English Literature?

34,756 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
72% Percent Women
30% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is one of the most frequently chosen undergraduate majors. It is the 16th most popular in the country with 34,735 students graduating with a bachelor’s in English in 2018. The major attracts more women than men. About 72% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of English Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 1,450
Black or African American 2,578
Hispanic or Latino 4,808
White 22,856
International Students 458
Other Races/Ethnicities 2,606

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in English, too. About 1.3% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Japan
  • Mexico

How Much Do General English Literature Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of general English literature students with a bachelor’s degree is $26,850 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $23,700 (25th percentile) and $30,200 (75th percentile).

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One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers related to English.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $64,340 to $78,150 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to English. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a General English Literature Major  ( 64340 to 78150 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with English 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.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to English have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 4.6%
Bachelor’s Degree 28.7%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 8.0%
Master’s Degree 27.6%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 2.9%
Doctoral Degree 30.0%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.2%

Online General English Literature Programs

In the 2017-2018 academic year, 1,538 schools offered some type of general English literature program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 27 4
Certificate (1-2 years) 16 4
Certificate (2-4 Years) 1 0
Associate’s Degree 220 30
Bachelor’s Degree 26 2
Post-Baccalaureate 27 4
Master’s Degree 422 33
Post-Master’s 11 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 144 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 1 1

Is a Degree in General English Literature Worth It?

The median salary for a English grad is $64,340 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 61% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $488,800 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to English.

Major Number of Grads
Writing Studies 12,624
English Literature (Other) 1,215
Literature 780

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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