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Linguistics & Literature Major

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Linguistics & Literature

5,737 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
1,211 Master's Degrees Annually
#73 in Popularity
$78,150 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Linguistics & Literature Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many linguistics and comparative literature graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 5,739
Master’s Degree 1,211
Basic Certificate 564
Associate’s Degree 530
Doctor’s Degree 448
Undergraduate Certificate 84
Graduate Certificate 63

What Linguistics & Literature Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, comparative literature majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Comparative Literature Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these 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.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • 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 Comparative Literature Majors

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

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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 Comparative Literature Majors

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

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • 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 Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

What Can You Do With a Linguistics & Literature Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with comparative literature:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
English Language and Literature Professors 9.8% $66,590
Foreign Language and Literature Professors 11.7% $67,640
Interpreters and Translators 17.7% $49,930
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 7.5% $60,320
Transportation Planners 6.7% $81,340

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics & Literature?

5,739 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
70% Percent Women
39% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 5,737 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and comparative literature in 2019, making it rank #73 in popularity. The major attracts more women than men. About 70% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Comparative Literature Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 475
Black or African American 267
Hispanic or Latino 1,229
White 3,064
International Students 280
Other Races/Ethnicities 424

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Comparative Literature. About 4.9% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • Spain

How Much Do Linguistics & Literature Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of linguistics and comparative literature students with a bachelor’s degree is $25,300 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $20,700 (25th percentile) and $29,200 (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 comparative literature.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $64,340 to $79,160 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to comparative literature. 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, 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 a Linguistics & Literature Major  ( 64340 to 79160 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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Some careers associated with comparative 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.

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

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 2.4%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 0.2%
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) 0.2%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 1.7%
Bachelor’s Degree 37.2%
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. 4.2%
Master’s Degree 25.4%
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. 2.8%
Doctoral Degree 27.1%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.1%

Online Linguistics & Literature Programs

In 2018-2019, 522 schools offered a comparative literature 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) 72 10
Certificate (1-2 years) 22 3
Certificate (2-4 Years) 3 0
Associate’s Degree 79 13
Bachelor’s Degree 36 0
Post-Baccalaureate 72 10
Master’s Degree 203 10
Post-Master’s 11 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 127 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Linguistics & Literature Worth It?

The median salary for a comparative literature grad is $78,150 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 96% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $765,000 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to comparative literature.

Major Number of Grads
Romance Languages 15,711
American Sign Language 2,762
East Asian Languages 2,438
Classical Languages & Literature 1,544
Germanic Languages 1,494
Slavic, Baltic & Albanian Languages 609
Middle Eastern Semitic Languages 579
Foreign Language, Literature & Linguistics (Other) 512
Native American Languages 37
Southeast Asian & Pacific Languages 22
African Languages 12
South Asian Languages 11
Celtic Language & Literature 10
Turkic & Central Asian Languages 3
Iranian & Persian Languages 2
Greek Language & Literature 1

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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