Study Away


LA Study Away is a professional development opportunity and academic classes are structured to reinforce and contextualize the practical experience gained through the students' field-based internships. The ultimate goal of this rigorous program is for students to complete the semester with the knowledge, skills and awareness they need to launce successful careers in the Entertainment Industry. Guest speakers, alumni events, and networking opportunities support the foundational coursework of LA Away.

Students in classroom


  • Students take between 12-16 credits during the fall/spring semester, and 8-12 credits during the summer. This includes the internship course.
  • Academic classes are held in the evenings so as not to interfere with internship schedules during daytime hours.
  • LA Culture fulfills a writing intensive requirement and is offered every semester. 

Spring 2024 course offerings

Course descriptions:

Creative Industry Head Start: FMA 2071 (3 s.h.)

Main Campus pre-requisite to LA Study Away

-Offered fall/spring semesters

Whether your goal is to study, intern, or work in Los Angeles – or perhaps all three – this course will give you a valuable head start. Intended for students who plan to apply to the program, or for those who have a general interest in the industry, this is an essential introduction.

Los Angeles is the most prominent hub of entertainment industry jobs in the United States, and as such, it attracts aspiring professionals from all over the world. How can you make yourself stand out from the crowd in such a competitive environment? This course equips students from a range of majors with the knowledge, tools and skills they need to successfully launch their careers in LA.

Internship: FMA 3085 (4 s.h.), MSP 4785 (4 s.h.), ADV 3185 (3 s.h.), JRN 3885 (3 s.h.), PR 4285 (3 s.h.), CSI 3085 (3 s.h.)

-Offered fall/spring/summer semesters

The internship course will meet regularly. Group discussion and class sessions are important components along with individual appointments. Internships are supervised by the Internship Director who is in regular contact with the placement site, site supervisor, and students. The Internship Director is available for resume and cover letter review, placement advising, and contact information. Students are encouraged to arrange a number of interviews as part of their search. REQUIRED DURING THE SUMMER PROGRAM

Kara's Nickelodeon ID badge
Entertainment Industry Perspectives: FMA 3775 (4 s.h.)/MSP 4890 (4 s.h.)

- Offered fall/spring/summer semesters

This course explores career paths and current trends in the entertainment industry through visiting guest lecturers who are working professionals in various fields such as: producers, agents, actors in TV and film, script writers, production designers, directors, editors, PR specialists, as well as advertisers and distributors, from entry level to executive, in all domains, including intellectual property lawyers (film, TV, new media).  Weekly guest visits offer students a chance to learn from and converse with established professionals.  In addition, students will write weekly journal assignments reflecting upon their own personal experiences of the entertainment industry throughout the semester and will complete a final research paper in their area of interest.  Course-related field trips may be scheduled for weekends or daytime business hours.


Shaniece Cole speaks to students
Los Angeles Culture as Studio: Writing Intensive FMA 3696 (4 s.h.), MSP 3196 (3 s.h.)

- Offered fall/spring/summer semesters

With the city itself as the classroom, this writing intensive course centers the history and formation of Los Angeles and emphasizes the work of writers who have described Southern California since the nineteenth century. Each week, the course meets in a different part of the region, from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach, to visit landmarks of all kinds and tour the neighborhoods that locals call home. Students will read about Venice, for example, but also will experience it by walking through its many communities, conditions, and conflicts. Weekly readings and written responses are augmented by on-the-ground observations made throughout each visit. The objective is to better understand L.A. through the places that make the city’s ideas, ethics, and mentalities tangible; appreciate the roles that writing and language have played in the city’s development; and, improve students’ writing by slowing down and analyzing the process.

Anthony teaching students in LA
Episodic Workshop for Writers and Directors: FMA 4240 (4 s.h.)

-Varies by semester

Students will examine episodic storytelling through in-class screenings of TV pilots illustrating core principles of story structure, character development, and world building. Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to flex their creative muscles and brainstorm ideas for their own original TV pilot, walking through the process step by step from beat sheet to outline to gathering visual references.

The Director-Actor Collaboration: FMA 4345 (4 s.h.)

-Varies by semester

This course is designed to develop performance skills in front of, and directing techniques behind, the camera. An emphasis will be placed on the collaboration and exchange of techniques between actors and directors. Directors have the opportunity to learn what works from the actors’ perspective during acting exercises. Likewise, actors will learn about the directors’ perspective during directing technique exercises. This class will help both actors and directors work more efficiently with each other in their respective disciplines.

LA Acting and Directing Workshop can accommodate students specializing in Film & Media Arts, Media Studies & Production, and Theatre. The thrust of the course can be altered to suit the balance of enrolled students' areas of interest and would address topics that come from the following broad categories:

Acting for Directors:
Lessons designed for aspiring directors to learn directing techniques by acting themselves and experiencing direction from others.

Actor/Director workshop:
Workshop sessions for a mix of actors and directors, with a focus on acting practices, actor/director collaboration and rehearsal techniques. 

Acting for the Screen:
Lessons targeted to actors and addressing specific techniques for working the film and television.


The Art of the Sell: FMA 4772 (4 s.h.)

-Varies by semester

This course will provide the tools that producers, writers and directors need to navigate the fine line that the film industry draws between art and commerce. Students will learn how to pitch their ideas effectively and to structure treatments for feature film and TV series according to industry standards. They will learn the craft of the “look book” and will design posters and web sites for their movies. Students will edit “sizzle reels” from clips of existing movies that help characterize their visions. They will learn the skill of casting their movie and how to draft compelling and articulate letters to actors.

The class will have periodic guest speakers, among them, producers, directors, TV writers, agents and sales agents.   This is an intensive workshop course and will require weekly creative endeavors.  A working knowledge of and access to an editing program such as Final Cut Pro, iMovie, or Avid is required. Students are also required to have a working knowledge of Photoshop and a graphic design program such as Adobe Illustrator.

LA Plays Itself: FMA 3680 / MSP 3890

-Varies by semester

For this course, the class will screen films that portray Los Angeles as a very specific character––itself––and will examine the different narratives and themes that characterize the city. Students will discuss economic, social, and historical aspects of Los Angeles; perceptions of the city from within and without; and the stories and myths that the film industry spins about its hometown.

Music in Film: FMA 4670; MUST 4780

-Varies by semester

Students will explore through listening and visual analysis the many ways that music is used as a language within notable films throughout history to augment or subvert the effect and meaning of the film texts, images, and themes. Students will examine this topic from a variety of perspectives to explore the powerful relationship between music and meaning.


Scroll to Top