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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

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to ethnic studies and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Ethnic Studies Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in ethnic studies should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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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?

Below is a list of occupations associated with ethnic studies:

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
This major is dominated by women with about 77% of recent graduates being 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

Ethnic Studies appeals to people across the globe. 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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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in ethnic studies, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Ethnic Studies majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $55,230 to $85,450 (25th to 75th percentile). 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, 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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250K
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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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with ethnic studies 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.

Find out what the typical degree level is for ethnic studies careers below.

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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 the 2018-2019 academic year, 633 schools offered some type of ethnic studies 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) 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 7,160

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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