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ERIC Number: ED513867
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 1
Data on Second Majors in Language and Literature, 2001-08
Steward, Doug
Modern Language Association
On 19 May 2010 data on second majors, beginning in 2001, were added to the online database for the degree completions component of the US Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), available on the National Science Foundation's WebCASPAR Web site ( This paper offers selected findings pertaining to second majors in language and literature. Looking at data on language and literature bachelor degree conferrals overall shows that in some fields, such as foreign languages, second majors make up an unusually large share of the students receiving bachelor degrees. Comparing the number of second majors in a field with the number of first majors, second majors range from 4%-5% of first majors in fields like education and psychology to 10%-12% in economics and political science but jump to significantly higher percentages in foreign languages. In 2001 the number of second majors in foreign languages was 28% of the number of first majors, increasing to 36% in 2008. Nearest to foreign languages in percentage terms are area, ethnic, cultural, and gender studies (28.6% of 8,448 first Bachelor of Arts (BAs) in 2008) and philosophy and religious studies (22.1% of 12,275 first BAs in 2008). At 7,757 in 2008, second majors in foreign languages exceeded the absolute number in the next most populous field--psychology, at 4,561--by 70.0%. Data on first and second majors are reported by institutional representatives, not by individual degree recipients, so individual intention cannot be attributed to the ranking of first and second majors. This report uses first majors as the primary number of reference, because this number indexes how many bachelor degrees are granted each year. (Contains 5 tables and 3 figures.)
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Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Modern Language Association of America