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Literature Major

709 yearly degrees
#261 in popularity
$73,000 median salary

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

There are 17 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in literature, 69 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 16 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 2 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Literature Degree?

Literature is one of the least chosen majors in the country, ranked #189 in popularity. About 600 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the field in 2017. This major is dominated by women with about 72.9% of recent graduates being female.

Racial Distribution

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

  • Asian: 4.6%
  • Black or African American: 3.5%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 11.7%
  • White: 66.5%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 3.1%
  • Other Races: 10.6%
Literature Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in literature. About 3.1% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending literature majors to the U.S. are Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and Canada.

What Will You Learn as a Literature Major?

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

Literature majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Literature Majors

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:

Important Skills for Literature Majors

Abilities for Literature Majors

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

Important Abilities for literature Majors

What Can You Do With a Literature Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with literature:

Careers Related to Literature
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

English Language and Literature Professors






Poets, Lyricists and Creative Writers



Literature Major Salary

Literature majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $69,000 to $78,000. 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, 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 a Literature Major  ( 69000 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 Literature Major Jobs

Some careers associated with literature require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. 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 literature careers below.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With 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 Literature Programs

There are 69 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in literature, with 2 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 Literature Major Worth It?

The median salary for a 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!

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
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