Plans under way for Hollywood semester

A new study program that may be available next spring will allow students of any major to spend a semester in Hollywood.

Though approved by the University Senate, the Hollywood semester still needs to be signed off by Bradley University and the University of Texas, which runs the program.

If fully approved, the program will be a collaborative entertainment industry experience for students, Associate Dean of the College of Communications and Fine Arts Betty Jane Lawrence said.

“Bradley has about 300 alums from the Slane College working in Hollywood and many students in Hollywood from all areas,” she said. “Our idea is to allow them to network, work with alums and establish contacts so that when they graduate they can eventually get a job in Hollywood.”

Like other off-campus programs, the semester in Hollywood will be available for 12 credit hours, and a summer course will be available for nine, Lawrence said. 

The cost for the semester option will be $16,000, including course and program fees, housing, textbooks, course materials, TV shootings, premiers and more.

“What’s been very important is that we provide students with the opportunity to experience and absorb the very complicated field of entertainment,” Lawrence said. “We set them up with where they should go for internships. For example, someone interested in animation could go to Dreamworks.”

The program is typically run by the University of Texas, but five Bradley students will be allowed to join each semester.

“We’ve been hammering out the fine words and details. We’re the only school Texas has allowed to join them,” Lawrence said. “They’ve had a pre-established system for 10 years. They have the facilities, programs and professors. I met with the faculty, and they have amazing resumes of professional and academic experiences.”

During their stay in Los Angeles, students stay in fully furnished two-bedroom apartments directly across the University of Texas at Los Angeles Center. 

A few students have already been exposed to the Hollywood program, Lawrence said.

“Some students went to Hollywood in January and they met with the executive director there,” she said. “They are the only ones who have been there, but I do have some students who are thinking about doing it.”

Bradley tuition transfers to cover the cost of the trip and, once accepted, their scholarships and loans transfer to pay for tuition, room and board.

“The biggest issue was to work out finances and liability between the two schools,” Lawrence said. “But we’ve been able to have wonderful cooperation with the administration.”

Lawrence expects to know within a few weeks whether the program will receive the green light from both Bradley and Texas.