Categories: Guides by Industry & MajorLiterature

What is a Literature Major and is it Right for Me?

Do you have a book on hand at all times? If you love reading literature classics and discussing them with others and you consider yourself a strong communicator, majoring in literature may be for you.

What is a literature major?

A literature major involves reading and analyzing works of literature. This means discussing texts and understanding their historical, cultural and literary significance. As a literature major, you’ll be responsible for understanding and explaining the impact of texts including poems, short stories and novels.

Is it right for me?

One of the biggest questions you probably have is how a literature major differs from the more widely-known English major. While it depends on the program you’re in, English majors typically take many more classes on a variety of different genres and mediums of writing, whereas literature majors (often called “comparative literature” majors) focus on literature from either a specific place or theme.

Regardless, both English and literature majors are extremely reading- and writing-intensive, and you’ll also have to discuss your ideas in all sorts of settings, from lecture halls to seminars.

  • Here are some key questions to ask yourself before you become a literature major:
  • Do I possess strong writing and reading skills? Am I able to push myself to read and write about books and other works that may not be of interest to me?
  • Am I comfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings on various literature with professors and peers in both large and intimate settings?
  • Do I take constructive criticism and feedback well? Am I okay with both professors and peers critiquing my work and potentially disagreeing with my opinions or ideas?
  • Am I interested in most likely going abroad and studying in some of the places I’m reading about?
  • Am I ready and willing to take on a major capstone or thesis project towards the end of my college career?

What can I do with a literature degree?

Much like English majors, literature majors get a bad rap for studying something not transferrable to the real world, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Literature majors graduate with strong reading, writing, critical thinking and communication skills, all of which serve them well in a variety of fields.

There are a large number of career options for people with literature degrees, which include positions such as journalist, author, writer, marketer, public relations specialist, professor, copywriter, editor, technical writer, publisher and lawyer.

What do people who major in literature earn?

Salaries vary based on the career you pursue, but if you’re interested in going into some form of communications like journalism, marketing or public relations, starting salaries are usually in the $35,000-$45,000 range.

Next, learn more about this college major such as Business and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Be a Team Player.

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