English Language & Literature
Types of Degrees English Language & Literature Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many English language and literature graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What English Language & Literature Majors Need to Know
People with careers related to English language and literature 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 English Language & Literature Majors
According to O*NET survey takers, a major in English language and literature should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- 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.
- 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.
- Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- 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.
Skills for English Language & Literature Majors
The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to English language and literature:
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- 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.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Abilities for English Language & Literature Majors
As you progress with your English language and literature degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:
- 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.
- 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.
- Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
What Can You Do With a English Language & Literature Major?
People with a English language and literature degree often go into the following careers:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|English Language and Literature Professors||9.8%||$66,590|
|Poets, Lyricists and Creative Writers||7.6%||$62,170|
|Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||7.5%||$60,320|
Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in English Language & Literature?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of English language and literature majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||562|
|Hispanic or Latino||727|
Students from other countries are interested in English Language & Literature, too. About 4.3% of those with this major are international students.
How Much Do English Language & Literature Majors Make?
Master’s Degree Starting Salary
Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that English language and literature students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree made a median starting salary of $35,000 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $30,500 (25th percentile) and $39,900 (75th percentile).
It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to English language and literature.
Salaries According to BLS
English Language and Literature majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $69,480 to $76,990 (25th to 75th percentile). 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.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to English Language & Literature
Some degrees associated with English language and literature may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. 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 English language and literature careers below.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|Less than a High School Diploma||4.9%|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||2.4%|
|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)||1.1%|
|Some College Courses||6.0%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||6.5%|
|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.||4.6%|
|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.||1.4%|
Online English Language & Literature Programs
In the 2018-2019 academic year, 1,732 schools offered some type of English language and literature program. 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)||157||24|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||46||5|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||4||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||187||1|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||2||1|
Is a Degree in English Language & Literature Worth It?
The median salary for a English language and literature grad is $73,090 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 83% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $663,800 after 20 years!
Majors Related to English Language & Literature
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to English language and literature.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities||547,539|
|Visual & Performing Arts||153,295|
|Foreign Languages & Linguistics||34,386|
|Theology & Religious Vocations||32,172|
|Philosophy & Religious Studies||16,252|
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
- Image Credit: By Mike Hazard under License
More about our data sources and methodologies.