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Classical Languages & Literature

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Classical Languages & Literature Major

1,621 yearly degrees
#222 in popularity
$64,000 median salary

Classical languages and literature is a major that typically falls into the Foreign Languages & Linguistics category.

There are 2 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in classical languages, 415 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 83 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 47 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Classical Languages Degree?

Classical languages and literature is one of the least chosen majors in the country, ranked #155 in popularity. About 1,300 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the field in 2017. The major attracts more women than men. About 57.1% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial Distribution

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

  • Asian: 5.7%
  • Black or African American: 2%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 6.2%
  • White: 75.5%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 1.7%
  • Other Races: 8.9%
Classical Languages & Literature Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in classical languages. About 1.7% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending classical languages majors to the U.S. are China, Italy and Canada.

What Will You Learn as a Classical Languages & Literature Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to classical languages 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 Classical Languages Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Classical Languages & Literature Majors

Skills for Classical Languages Majors

A major in classical languages prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

Important Skills for Classical Languages & Literature Majors

Abilities for Classical Languages Majors

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a classical languages student include the following:

Important Abilities for classical languages Majors

What Can You Do With a Classical Languages Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with classical languages:

Careers Related to Classical Languages & Literature
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Foreign Language and Literature Professors



Interpreters and Translators



Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education



Classical Languages & Literature Major Salary

Classical languages majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $55,000 to $79,000. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

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 Classical Languages Major  ( 55000 to 79000 )
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 Classical Languages & Literature Major Jobs

Some careers associated with classical languages 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.

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

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Classical Languages & 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 Classical Languages & Literature Programs

There are 415 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in classical languages and literature, with 0 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.

Getting your degree online is not easy and includes watching and listening to hours of lectures, participating in group charts, submitting papers by the appropriate deadline and taking tests. Some online programs will also feature internships or in-person clinical hours.

Is a Classical Languages & Literature Major Worth It?

The median salary for a classical languages grad is $64,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 65% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $508,800 after 20 years!

classical languages and 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
Image Credit: WolfgangRieger via License

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