Loyola Marymount University: How to Apply for 2024, Acceptance Rate, and What To Expect as an LMU SFTV Film Student

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Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television (LMU SFTV) has solidified itself as one of the nation’s best film schools. In 2023, The Hollywood Reporter ranked LMU SFTV no. 8 in its annual list of the best American film schools, solidifying its place in the top 10 for more than a decade. And in 2022, FilmSchool.org named LMU SFTV runner-up for Best Producing Program and one of the best undergraduate programs in America.

LMU SFTV emphasizes teamwork and attracts aspirational filmmakers from all walks of life. The film program offers a solid 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio and top-notch facilities that help film students tell progressive stories that inspire, educate, and unite audiences.

70% of undergraduate film students complete a film industry internship at LMU SFTV. An average of 83% of students in each undergraduate class finds industry jobs within six months of graduation.

The application for 2024 is now open. Before you apply, review the admissions timeline; deadlines start in early November (see "LMU SFTV Application Deadlines (2024) and What to Expect After Applying").

What is life like at LMU SFTV?

The University is located in West Los Angeles’ Silicon Beach, between Playa Vista and Westchester. Playa Del Rey Beach is a 45-minute walk while Santa Monica is a 35-minute bus ride. On-campus facilities and dorms are surrounded by stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, and film students enjoy access to industry-standard film equipment (see "LMU SFTV State-of-the-Art Film Equipment and Technology").

The film program has five key learning outcomes for undergraduate and graduates:
  1. Film History and Context — Learn the historical and sociocultural foundations of American and global film, television, and new media.
  2. Storytelling — Become highly adept in all methods of visual storytelling, such as screenwriting, camera placement, lighting, blocking, performance, and post-production methodologies.
  3. Technical Proficiency — Develop expertise in the specialization of your choice.
  4. Voice and Creativity — Develop creative work that builds on the film industry canon and reflects your unique voice as a filmmaker.
  5. Collaboration — Network and expand your skill set by engaging in group exercises and/or thesis projects.
The Westchester and Playa Vista campuses offer 24/7 access to cutting-edge filmmaking facilities. LMU SFTV students use editing and advanced color correction suites outfitted with iMac Pros, reference monitors, 4K TVs, and Tangent Element Coloring Surfaces, and other equipment. Tapeless workflow stores films in LMU SFTV’s central server; projects are accessible in any location. Film students can also shoot on 35mm and screen their films at the Mayer Theater, a 126-seat venue at the Westchester campus.

The University is not only centrally located to Hollywood, but also connects students to key industry players by hosting events at world-renowned film festivals. In 2023, LMU SFTV hosted the Sundance Film Festival panel "What's Next?" to examine the future of the industry; 10 students attended.

LMU SFTV also emphasizes community and equity: Industry Women+ was created to help develop a more inclusive and equitable film industry. Female and gender non-binary film students have a safe space to participate in round-table discussions, attend Q&A sessions with industry experts, and undertake screenwriting mentorships.

For an inside look at studying at LMU SFTV and life after graduation, read FilmSchool.org’s interviews with MFA graduate Ashley Seering (@A248) and MFA graduate Adriano Mirchou (@andy001).

Notable LMU SFTV alumni​


LMU SFTV is known for producing Hollywood heavy hitters who develop box office hits and impactful independent features.

Christian Buenaventura (G’05, Recording Arts) worked as a dialogue editor on HBO’s True Blood and FX’s American Horror Story. Buenaventura won Best Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Special for American Horror Story: Asylum (“Welcome to Briarcliff”). Buenaventura also received nominations for Outstanding Sound Editing in a Movie or Special for American Horror Story: Double Feature (“Gaslight”) and True Blood season 3 (“Hitting the Ground”).

Patricia Whitcher (G’83, Directing and Producing for Film and Television) was the executive producer for Marvel films such as Thor, The Avengers, and Captain Marvel. Whitcher also served as a unit production manager on Thor, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Spider-man: Homecoming.

Shay Hatten (BFA’16, Screenwriting) is best known for writing John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum, Army of the Dead, and Army of Thieves. At only 23 years old, Hatten scored a deal to write the fifth film in the John Wick franchise, Ballerina, starring Ana de Armas.

10 commonly asked questions about LMU SFTV


1. Is it difficult to get accepted to LMU SFTV?


According to EducationScientists, the undergraduate film program has an acceptance rate of 19% — highly competitive, but slightly higher than the nation’s other top 10 film schools. The graduate film program’s acceptance rate hovers around 6%, on average.

FilmSchool.org members have enjoyed higher acceptance rates to LMU SFTV – as high as 56% for its popular Film and Television Production MFA program. Supporting Members have full access to all of our acceptance statistics and more.

2. Is LMU SFTV test optional?

Yes – in most cases. The GRE is required for graduate applicants who do not meet the required GPA minimum (3.0). For undergraduate applicants, SAT/ACT scores are optional. FilmSchool.org’s Application Database allows FilmSchool.org members to see the test scores of admitted LMU SFTV applicants.

3. Does LMU SFTV's film program require an interview?


Interviews are not required for undergraduate applicants, but the Office of Admission encourages undergraduate applicants to schedule individual admission counseling appointments. To make an appointment, visit http://admission.lmu.edu, call 310.338.2750, or email admissions@lmu.edu.

Graduate applicants are required to sit for virtual interviews.

FilmSchool.org's Application Database contains interview questions and other insights from other LMU SFTV applicants. It also includes comprehensive Admissions Statistics for each film degree:
4. What is the average GPA of an LMU student?

According to PrepScholar.com, the average LMU student has a highly competitive GPA of 3.81.

FilmSchool.org’s Application Database allows FilmSchool.org members to see the accepted GPAs of admitted LMU SFTV applicants; their GPAs are sometimes much lower. Additionally, our Admissions Statistics pages have more statistics of accepted applicants including lowest GPA.

5. What is the average size of LMU SFTV’s graduate film class?


Around 15 students.

6. Does LMU SFTV offer study abroad programs?


Film students can learn how to tell more diverse, globally-informed stories at various locations abroad. Here are a few past study abroad programs:
  • Italy — SFTV Summer semester in Bologna
  • Australia — Swinburne University of Technology (Production)
  • Canada — Champlain College in Montreal (Animation; Game Design; Internship)
  • Germany — LMU Film Production in Bonn
  • Germany — LMU International Documentary minor in Bonn
  • Hungary — LMU Screenwriting in Budapest
  • Ireland — University College Cork (Film Studies)
Click here for an overview of LMU’s study abroad programs for film students.

7. Can graduate applicants apply to multiple programs?​


Graduate applicants can apply to a maximum of one program per year.

8. How much does the graduate thesis film cost?​


Thesis film costs depend on length, location, talent, additional equipment, and other factors. To offset these costs, LMU SFTV supplies:
  • A wide assortment of cameras, lighting, and grip equipment
  • Post-production suites including editing bays, color-correction stations, sound mixing facilities, and ADR/Foley studios
  • Access to use LMU's Westchester and Playa Vista campuses as filming locations
LMU SFTV students are responsible for the following expenses:
  • Meals for cast and crew during shoot days
  • A small fee for permits
  • Transportation needed during shoot days (e.g. truck rental)
  • Special props, set items, and costumes
  • Special cameras or production equipment that differs from LMU's existing equipment inventory
Alumni have made thesis films for as little as $1,000. LMU SFTV recommends students stick to a lower-cost film budget in preparation for developing or managing strict film budgets as industry players.

9. What are the differences between Writing for the Screen and Writing and Producing for TV?​


Writing for the Screen prepares film students to write features and documentaries. Writing and Producing for TV prepares film students to become showrunners (writer-directors and writer-producers). For guidance on which writing program to choose at the graduate level, email sftvgradprograms@lmu.edu.

10. Can LMU SFTV students take internships?​


Yes. The Career and Professional Development office connects undergraduates and graduates to film industry internships via HandShake. Internships can be completed throughout year 2 and during the summer semester. Film students are responsible for networking, applying, and attending interviews using resources provided by LMU SFTV.

Due to the rigorous curriculum, the Office of Admission urges graduate film students to wait until after year 1 to apply for internships.

LMU SFTV information sessions and tours


Prospective film students can participate in Zoom information sessions to discuss life at LMU, financial aid, and more with LMU alumni and faculty at these panels:


In-person campus tours occur year round and must be scheduled in advance. VIrtual tours occur once per week.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect 2024 application instructions. The film program is now open to undergraduate applicants and graduate applicants.

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Alexa P.
Alexa Pellegrini (she/her) is a freelance copywriter, editor, poet, and essayist. Keep up with her latest musings on Twitter.

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