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Linguistics & Literature

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Linguistics & Literature Major

7,908 yearly degrees
#110 in popularity
$78,000 median salary

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

There are 77 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in comparative literature, 469 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 207 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 125 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Comparative Literature Degree?

In 2017, roughly 5,700 linguistics and comparative literature majors graduated with a bachelor’s degree. This makes it #70 in popularity of all the majors we track. The major attracts more women than men. About 69.4% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial Distribution

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

  • Asian: 7.4%
  • Black or African American: 4.9%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 20.6%
  • White: 54.4%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 4.6%
  • Other Races: 8.2%
Linguistics & Literature Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in comparative literature. About 4.6% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending comparative literature majors to the U.S. are China, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

What Will You Learn as a Linguistics & Literature Major?

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

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

Important Knowledge Areas for Linguistics & Literature Majors

Skills for Comparative Literature Majors

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

Important Skills for Linguistics & Literature Majors

Abilities for Comparative Literature Majors

Comparative literature majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

Important Abilities for comparative literature Majors

What Can You Do With a Comparative Literature Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with comparative literature:

Careers Related to Linguistics & Literature
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

English Language and Literature Professors



Foreign Language and Literature Professors



Transportation Planners



Interpreters and Translators



Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education



Linguistics & Literature Major Salary

Comparative literature majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $64,000 to $79,000. 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 Comparative Literature Major  ( 64000 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 Linguistics & Literature Major Jobs

Some careers associated with comparative literature may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. 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 comparative literature have obtained the following education levels.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Linguistics & 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 Linguistics & Literature Programs

There are 469 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and comparative 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 Linguistics & Literature Major Worth It?

The median salary for a comparative literature grad is $78,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 101% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $785,000 after 20 years!

linguistics and comparative 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: Pandit Rahul Sanskrutayan, Banshidhar Mohanty via License

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