The Semester in Los Angeles Program, otherwise known as UTLA, is an experiential learning program that gives students from all majors an opportunity to spend a semester in Los Angeles learning about the entertainment industry while taking UTLA-specific classes and participating in an internship for credit.
There are three sessions available for participation each year—Fall, Spring, and Summer. The session dates will generally follow the UT Austin academic calendar.
UTLA is open to all UT majors and any student interested in learning more about the entertainment industry.
Students must have at least 60 hours of coursework upon entry into the program. These hours can be a combination of in-residence, transfer, AP, or credit by exam.
Students can always apply to the program with less than 60 hours, but they must have 60 hours by the beginning of their semester of attendance.
Students must apply, and UTLA must admit them into the program. For the Fall and Spring semesters, all students must enroll in 3 or 6 hours of internship credit and 6 to 9 hours of UTLA-specific academic coursework, adding up to a full-time course load. For the Summer semester, all students must enroll in 3 or 6 hours of internship credit and 3 to 6 hours of UTLA-specific academic coursework.
Students must reside in Los Angeles while participating in the program.
Yes, if admitted, students can participate in the program up to one year after graduation, although in most cases, students who have already graduated are not eligible for financial aid or scholarships.
The current UTLA application is always available online at utla.utexas.edu. To apply (UT EID & password-protected), applicants upload a resume and answer two essay questions about their interests and goals for the program. The application process is competitive, so we recommend that you review the UTLA Applicant Resume Guide and have someone in your College or School’s career services office review your resume before you submit it.
Cohort totals vary from semester to semester.
While admission to the program is competitive, UTLA has historically admitted those students in good academic standing who submit thoughtful essay responses and have an up-to-date resume.
Admitted students must accept the offer of admission and pay a non-refundable deposit of $1,000 to secure their spot in the program. UTLA applies this to the overall program fee. The remainder of the program fee is due at a set date before the start of the semester.
Once students pay the deposit, with the support of the UTLA team, they begin preparing for their internship search.
The current UTLA courses cover a wide range of topics in the entertainment industry and are open to all UTLA students (regardless of their major).
UTLA classes are typically scheduled at night, Monday through Thursday, at the Wofford Denius UTLA Center in Burbank, CA.
Industry professionals living and working in Los Angeles teach UTLA classes.
For the Fall and Spring semesters, students must enroll in at least 12 hours of UTLA-specific coursework (which should include 3 to 6 hours of internship credit). For the Summer semester, UTLA requires students to enroll in at least 9 hours of UTLA-specific coursework (which should include 3 to 6 hours of internship credit).
While degree applicability varies based on major, most UTLA program courses and internships can count toward a student’s degree, their minor, or both. Students should discuss details with their academic advisor in advance of enrollment in the program.
Yes, but the courses cannot replace the minimum amount of UTLA-specific hours required for the program (12 hours in Fall/Spring; 9 hours in Summer).
Students secure their internship with the assistance of UTLA staff based in Austin and Los Angeles, as well as your own college’s career services office.
In the pre-departure semester, the UTLA staff in Austin and LA will offer workshops to help students polish their resumes and cover letters and provide them with industry-insider tips to manage their application process successfully. UTLA’s internship database gives students an inside track and exclusive access to a wide range of opportunities with our industry partners. The UTLA staff will track your application progress and offer support and suggestions as you navigate the application and internship acceptance process throughout your pre-departure term.
Yes, students can get an internship without the support of UTLA staff. However, students must submit a resume and cover letter according to program timelines and keep the program updated on their application progress during the pre-departure term.
UTLA does not require paid internships, but some are. All students must be receiving internship credit for the degree.
All UTLA students must register for a 3-credit or 6-credit internship course.
3 Credit Internship Class:
- COM 350L or RTF 350L175 hours at your internship (~12-15 hours/week)
6 Credit Internship Class:
- COM 650L or RTF 650L
- 350 hours at your internship(s) (~24-30 hours/week)
Required internship hours can include multiple internships.
** If required for your major, you are also allowed to register for an internship class in your department to replace the UTLA internship class. Each department has its process and requirements, so please check in with your academic advisor.
UTLA students intern with companies in all sectors of the entertainment and music industries. There are multiple opportunities for all majors within the entertainment industry. Recent examples include
Culture Creative Ent.
Circle of Confusion
The Ellen Degeneres Show
The Late Late Show
The Producer’s Guild
Starburns & Starburns Audio
Yes, some students complete more than one internship while participating in the program. Successful participants must balance internships, UTLA classes, program activities (mock interview program, workplace visits, etc.) while leaving time to get to know LA! Students must also calculate whether the three or six-hour internship course is best for their academic plan.
While internships are highly competitive, there are also ample opportunities in LA, although students must have an open mind and not get locked in on one opportunity. Students that take charge of their internship search process and follow UTLA guidelines/advice in the pre-departure semester are the ones that leave the program with the most satisfying internship experiences.
Experiential Learning Opportunities
Experiential activities vary by semester and year. The UTLA program strives to provide students with meaningful internship experiences, relevant classroom instruction, and the platform to experience the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. These experiences include connecting students to the alumni community through workplace visits, mixers, small-group Q&As, and events like panels and screenings. Many UTLA and UT alumni are working in LA. Through these contacts, opportunities have ranged from pre-premiere screenings of big blockbuster films to set visits to tapings of game shows! Getting to know Los Angeles is core to the student experience.
Living in Los Angeles
UTLA students are responsible for their housing and can choose to live in any part of the city. Some choose to rent out Airbnbs or live with family, while others may choose to live in student apartments next to the UTLA Center with other UTLA students.
Los Angeles is a driving city. It’s spread out and designed for people with cars, so we recommend that students bring a car with them or rent one if possible. That said, it is possible to get around Los Angeles by public transportation, and students often rely on Uber/Lyft.
In addition to travel and personal expenses, UTLA students will pay a $4,900 program fee and standard UT tuition for 12 hours or more (nine hours or more in the summer).
UTLA posts all program bills on What I Owe. Students may pay by credit card, electronic funds transfer (EFT), or electronic check (eCheck). Students may only submit a promissory note for the program fee. Students may not enter a promissory note for the $1,000 non-refundable deposit.
The UTLA program fee covers operational costs of UTLA including, program management, the UTLA campus in Burbank, curriculum oversight, internship support, and experiential learning opportunities that are available exclusively to UTLA students throughout the semester. The University of Texas requires students to pay tuition in addition to the program fee.
Yes, as a participant in the program, all students must enroll in the required minimum hours for the program (12 hours in Fall/Spring; 9 hours in Summer), even if those hours/classes their degree does not require them.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Students may apply to the Office of Financial Aid for assistance; similar to study abroad programs, a student’s financial aid package may be adjusted to cover the additional cost of attending UTLA.
For general questions about financial aid, registration/student records, or admission, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-232-6988.
UTLA is a UT program (with in-residence classes), and as such, students may be able to use UT scholarships toward participation in the program. These scholarships may come from many places, including their colleges, departments, and student organizations. Also, students can apply most tuition assistance programs toward tuition during the semester of participation.
There are UTLA-specific scholarships available to qualified students. Please contact Lane Mann for additional information.
Students can withdraw from the program at any time but will be held financially responsible for all fees incurred per the semester timeline. Fees are non-refundable after the payment deadlines.
UTLA and UT Austin are not responsible for any costs associated with withdrawing from the program.
UTLA schedules information sessions throughout each semester that answer most questions about the program.
Also, students should talk to their respective support groups that may include family, academic advisors, career counselors, and the financial aid office (if necessary). Students considering applying for a specific semester can reach out to Lane Mann.
Please direct questions to the academic advisor in the student’s major or college about how UTLA classes apply toward a student’s degree.