Types of Degrees Literature Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many literature graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Literature Majors Need to Know
People with careers related to literature were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.
Knowledge Areas for Literature Majors
Literature majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
- 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.
- Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
Skills for Literature Majors
When studying literature, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- 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.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Abilities for Literature Majors
A major in literature will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- 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.
- Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
What Can You Do With a Literature Major?
People with a literature degree often go into the following careers:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|English Language and Literature Professors||9.8%||$66,590|
|Poets, Lyricists and Creative Writers||7.6%||$62,170|
Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of literature majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||46|
|Hispanic or Latino||68|
Literature appeals to people across the globe. About 2.4% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- Saudi Arabia
- United Kingdom
- South Korea
How Much Do Literature Majors Make?
Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary
The U.S. Department of Education found that students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in literature made a median starting salary of $27,500 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $23,050 (25th percentile) and $30,300 (75th percentile).
It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to literature.
Salaries According to BLS
Literature majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $69,480 to $78,150 (25th to 75th percentile). 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.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Literature
Some careers associated with 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 literature careers below.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|Less than a High School Diploma||10.4%|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||5.0%|
|Some College Courses||2.5%|
|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.||1.6%|
|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.||0.9%|
Online Literature Programs
In the 2018-2019 academic year, 111 schools offered some type of 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)||12||0|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||1||0|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||2||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||1||0|
Is a Degree in Literature Worth It?
The median salary for a literature grad is $73,090 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 83% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $663,800 after 20 years!
Majors Related to Literature
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to literature.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|General English Literature||42,666|
|English Literature (Other)||1,163|
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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