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Ethnic Studies Major

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Ethnic Studies

5,792 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
552 Master's Degrees Annually
#71 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 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 5,795
Master’s Degree 552
Basic Certificate 459
Associate’s Degree 373
Graduate Certificate 358
Doctor’s Degree 134
Undergraduate Certificate 56

What Ethnic Studies Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to ethnic studies 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 Ethnic Studies Majors

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

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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

When studying ethnic studies, 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:

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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

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a ethnic studies student include the following:

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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?

5,795 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
82% Percent Women
63% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 5,792 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies in 2018, making it rank #71 in popularity. This major is dominated by women with about 82% of recent graduates being 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 366
Black or African American 1,131
Hispanic or Latino 1,566
White 1,906
International Students 134
Other Races/Ethnicities 692

Geographic Diversity

Ethnic Studies appeals to people across the globe. About 2.3% 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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One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers related to ethnic studies.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $55,230 to $85,450 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to ethnic studies. 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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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 2017-2018, 611 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) 98 5
Certificate (1-2 years) 19 2
Certificate (2-4 Years) 7 0
Associate’s Degree 130 2
Bachelor’s Degree 114 12
Post-Baccalaureate 98 5
Master’s Degree 132 3
Post-Master’s 20 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 51 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 7,156

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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