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Ethnic Studies Major

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Ethnic Studies

508 Master's Degrees Annually
155 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#148 in Popularity (Master's)
$55,230 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Ethnic Studies Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many ethnic studies graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 508
Graduate Certificate 434
Doctor’s Degree 155

What Ethnic Studies Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, ethnic studies 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 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

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to ethnic studies:

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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?

People with a ethnic studies degree often go into the following careers:

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 Master’s Degree in Ethnic Studies?

508 Master's Degrees Annually
77% Percent Women
61% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
The major attracts more women than men. About 77% of the recent graduates in this field are 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 Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 22
Black or African American 108
Hispanic or Latino 86
White 141
International Students 37
Other Races/Ethnicities 114

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Ethnic Studies, too. About 7.3% 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?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

According to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education, students who graduated with a master’s degree in ethnic studies have a median salary of $40,900 during the early years of their career. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $40,900 (25th percentile) and $40,900 (75th percentile).

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Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a ethnic studies degree.

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 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 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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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with ethnic studies 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.

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

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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 2018-2019, 633 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) 101 7
Certificate (1-2 years) 17 2
Certificate (2-4 Years) 9 1
Associate’s Degree 142 3
Bachelor’s Degree 122 14
Post-Baccalaureate 101 7
Master’s Degree 130 6
Post-Master’s 18 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 55 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 1,453

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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