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Ethnic Studies Major

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Ethnic Studies

5,807 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
508 Master's Degrees Annually
#72 in Popularity
$55,230 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Ethnic Studies Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many ethnic studies graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 5,807
Basic Certificate 1,996
Master’s Degree 508
Associate’s Degree 488
Graduate Certificate 434
Doctor’s Degree 155
Undergraduate Certificate 44

What Ethnic Studies Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to ethnic studies 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 Ethnic Studies Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in ethnic studies 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.
  • Foreign Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of a foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • 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.

Skills for Ethnic Studies Majors

ethnic studies 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.
  • 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.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Abilities for Ethnic Studies Majors

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

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  • 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.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • 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.

What Can You Do With a Ethnic Studies Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with ethnic studies:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Professors 10.4% $74,440
Interpreters and Translators 17.7% $49,930

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Ethnic Studies?

5,807 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
82% Percent Women
65% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 5,807 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies in 2019, making it rank #72 in popularity. The major attracts more women than men. About 82% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Ethnic Studies Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 404
Black or African American 1,113
Hispanic or Latino 1,683
White 1,769
International Students 148
Other Races/Ethnicities 690

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Ethnic Studies, too. About 2.5% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • India

How Much Do Ethnic Studies Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of ethnic studies students with a bachelor’s degree is $27,700 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $24,400 (25th percentile) and $29,400 (75th percentile).

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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in ethnic studies, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Ethnic Studies majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $55,230 to $85,450 (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.

Median Salary for an Ethnic Studies Major  ( 55230 to 85450 )
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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 ethnic studies 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 ethnic studies careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 0.5%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 0.4%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 3.7%
Bachelor’s Degree 17.0%
Master’s Degree 29.6%
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. 5.1%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.8%
Doctoral Degree 41.5%
Post-Doctoral Training 2.7%

Online Ethnic Studies Programs

In 2018-2019, 633 schools offered a ethnic studies program of some type. 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) 101 7
Certificate (1-2 years) 17 2
Certificate (2-4 Years) 9 1
Associate’s Degree 142 3
Bachelor’s Degree 122 14
Post-Baccalaureate 101 7
Master’s Degree 130 6
Post-Master’s 18 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 55 1
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Ethnic Studies Worth It?

The median salary for a ethnic studies grad is $55,230 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 38% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $306,600 after 20 years!

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

Major Number of Grads
Area Studies 7,160

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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