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ERIC Number: ED569206
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Feb
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 2
Data on Second Majors in Language and Literature, 2001-13
Modern Language Association
Data on second majors were added to the degree completions component of the United States Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) in 2001 and were made available on the National Science Foundation's "WebCASPAR" Web site ( in 2010. The Modern Language Association's first report on these data appeared in October 2010, and following are selected findings updated through 2013 on second majors in language and literature, along with selected other disciplines. Looking at data on language and literature bachelor-degree conferrals overall, we see that in some fields--notably, foreign languages--second majors make up an unusually large share of the students receiving degrees. If we compare the number of second majors in a field with the number of first majors, we see that second majors range from 3%-5% of the number of first majors in fields like communication and psychology to 10%-16% in economics and mathematics but jump to significantly higher percentages in foreign languages. In 2001 the number of second majors in foreign languages was 28.0% of the number of first majors, and it increased to 38.6% in 2013. The percentages nearest to, but still trailing, foreign languages are area, ethnic, cultural, and gender studies (33.2% of 8,851 first BAs in 2013) and philosophy and religious studies (22.7% of 12,821 first BAs in 2013). At 8,419 in 2013, second majors in foreign languages exceeded the absolute number of second majors in the next most populous field--psychology, at 6,299--by 25.2%, even though psychology's number of first majors (115,494) outstripped that in foreign languages (21,783) by 430.2%.
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Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Modern Language Association of America