Loyola Marymount University
Loyola Marymount University (LMU) is a Catholic research university rooted in the Jesuit and Marymount (Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary) traditions located in Los Angeles, California, near LAX airport. LMU offers a wide range of programs, including more than 55 major degree programs and 59 minors, along with master’s and PhD programs for graduate students and a competitive law school located on a satellite campus. As a Catholic university, some religious courses are required, and campus ministries and weekend liturgies are available and visible, but students need not be Catholic or religious to attend and thrive here.
LMU’s stunning undergraduate campus is located on the hills above Playa Vista, Ballona Park, and the Pacific Ocean on LA’s Westside. The Pacific Ocean is visible from campus and some student housing. The campus is also located only a mile from LAX, which makes getting to campus from the airport easy for students coming from outside Southern California, but also generates a low level of background noise on otherwise-quiet days. The beach is a short 15 minute bike ride or 20 minute bus ride from campus. LMU partnered with the Playa Vista to construct Ballona Discovery Park and maintain its wetlands as part of an effort to combine educational and scientific campus resources with community enrichment and environmental sustainability. The community surrounding LMU is largely suburban, but the denser Westside communities of Venice and Santa Monica are not far by bus or car.
Students who thrive
Students who thrive at LMU are comfortable in a smaller academic community inside a Christian religious context. Because the university is affiliated with Catholic religious orders, Catholic students may feel the most at home here religiously, but Christians of all mainline denominations, nonreligious students who are comfortable in a religious community, and anyone who has aptitude discussing theology and religious traditions, whatever their background, will also be happy here. Jewish and Muslim students have specific resources available and are welcomed. LMU has a strong campus ministry, along with weekend liturgy and religious service opportunities for interested students. These options may appeal most strongly to Catholic students.
Close proximity to the beach and open green space in the Ballona Discovery Park will be a large draw. LA’s Westside, where LMU is located, has much milder weather than the LA region as a whole, so although temperatures are often warm and the climate is Mediterranean, students here will experience a near-constant ocean breeze and very pleasant weather.
Students who thrive at LMU are also comfortable in a smaller academic and social environment, where they get to know most of their classmates and can become very close with their roommates and club members. The university offers and requires Engaged Learning of its undergraduates. These courses span all departments, and expect students to participate directly in various forms of community, research, or mentoring based education, among others. Students who are interested in these kinds of opportunities will find there are many available.
LMU has been very highly ranked for student engagement in community service. Students interested in doing community service in college will find many opportunities to participate at LMU. Sustainability-minded students will also be interested in the university’s long history of strong institutional action on sustainability, which has won it several awards. Over 75% of LMU’s waste is recycled, and it has been a local community leader in habitat and ecology restoration.
Students who may have challenges
LMU requires all undergraduates to take two religious courses, and discussions around theology and religious traditions is a part of the university’s culture. Students who are uncomfortable in a religious environment, or who are deeply committed to a single interpretation of Christian theology, such as evangelical or fundamentalist Christians, may not feel comfortable attending LMU.
Students who want to experience a range of seasons may be disappointed with Westside LA’s mild Mediterranean climate, where daytime temperatures are usually between 60°F (10°C) and 80°F (27°C) throughout the year.
LMU’s campus is fairly small, so students who want to attend a large school may find their social and experiential opportunities more limited than at other schools. Although the campus offers a range of social opportunities, clubs, and organizations, there is a limitation to how much a smaller school can provide. As a small school, learning and academic success here are dependent to a larger degree on student engagement and meaningful participation than at larger schools. Students who are seeking academic anonymity may find that a large public or private university meets their needs better.
LMU also does not have a strong culture of school spirit or a social orientation towards sporting events, so students looking for those things may find a better fit elsewhere.
Students with disabilities or learning differences may find that LMU is a less accommodating campus. Policy support for accommodations is limited to ADA-conforming and documented disabilities causing a limitation to a major activity. As a result, students with rare, atypically-presenting, or difficult-to-diagnose conditions may not find the support here that they need. Capstone recommends that students with disabilities or learning differences consider their options and accommodation needs carefully before committing to LMU. Please reach out to Capstone for a free consultation if you have questions or concerns about this process for you or your student.
LMU tends to admit around 50% of applicants, making it a moderately competitive university. Over 90% of admitted students score over 1200 on the SAT, while 60% score over 30 on the ACT. Most admitted students—70%—graduate in the top 25% of their high school graduating class and have a 3.75 high school GPA or higher.
A large proportion of successful LMU applicants are Catholic, and many come from Jesuit or Marymount affiliated high schools because of the university’s affiliations and the considerable amount of merit based scholarship funds it directs to these students. However, LMU states in its official filings that it does not evaluate religious affiliation in the application and admissions process itself; non-Catholic students can still be very successful here.
LMU does not assess applicants’ level of interest during the interview process.
Transfer students from certain community colleges in California and Arizona may be guaranteed admission if they meet certain criteria, including meeting a major-determined GPA requirement, completing at least 30 transferable units, and submitting an application and all other required material by February 1.
How the application process handles majors
At LMU, every student is asked to apply with a major. Students who wish to apply undecided are asked to list a first- and second-choice major. Admitted students are then admitted into their chosen major and the college where that major is located.
Some majors are impacted, which limits the number of students who can be admitted into them each year. Students who are admitted to LMU but denied admission to an impacted major will be admitted into their second choice major. Impacted majors typically include Film Production, which requires direct admission, Management & Marketing, Biology, and Health & Human Studies.
Artistic majors require students to submit a digital portfolio along with their application. These include Music, Theatre, Dance, Television Production, and Animation.
Five of LMU’s six colleges offer undergraduate degree programs:
- Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts
- Frank R. Seaver College of Science & Engineering
- College of Business Administration
- College of Communication and Fine Arts
- School Film and Television
During their first two years at LMU, undergraduates are allowed to change their major to a different one within the college to which they were admitted. If they want to switch to a major in a different college, however, they must be approved by the Dean of the college they want to transfer into.
Transfer students from West Los Angeles College have a unique opportunity to be guaranteed admission to LMU in order to complete a Bachelor's in Business Administration (BBA) through the LMU-West LA Business Scholars Program.
Students at LMU tend to praise the high quality of its undergraduate instruction. With a low student-faculty ratio of 10 to 1 and relatively small average class size of 20, students have many opportunities to get to know their professors and instructors. Very few classes are offered online or under a hybrid model, so students will spend most of their class time in person with other students and faculty members.
LMU offers a top-ten film school, the School of Film and Television (SFTV), making it competitive with other LA-area universities like Chapman and USC. Students can take majors and minors in film and television production, screenwriting, animation, and recording arts. Classes are small and personalized, giving students a lot of facetime with instructors and access to the campus’s high quality instructional facilities. Over four hundred partner companies hire SFTV students as interns, with around 70% of students seeking out and receiving internships during their time in the college.
The Music Department at LMU is in a growth phase, adding new concentrations and faculty, and expanding and renovating classrooms and rehearsal space. The department has also continually expanded its partnerships with LA music industry companies to hire students and graduates and offer students opportunities to visit and make use of professional facilities.
Pre-professional students interested in business, law, and engineering can take majors covering all the necessary prerequisites for going on to professional school after graduating.
LMU offers a special Honors Program for its highest-performing students. Honors students take a different set of core requirements than other LMU students (see Graduation Requirements, below) and spend most of their campus time with other honors students, allowing them to form a close-knit academic and social community with other students like them. Honors students have separate housing and go on field trips and outings provided by the university, among other dedicated and intellectual opportunities offered. Honors students may be able to receive funding through the Honors Program to complete academic projects abroad.
The Frank R. Seaver College of Science & Engineering, like the Honors Program, offers a unique and separate educational program from the rest of the university. Seaver College students take the Honors Core graduation requirements, alongside one of thirteen majors offered. The goal of the college is to educate principled leaders in their respective fields. In many ways, the Honors Program and Seaver College operate as separate institutions within the university.
LMU has several 4+1 programs for its undergrads, including programs in accounting, business analytics, entrepreneurship, sustainable innovation, and more. During their fourth year of undergraduate studies, these students begin to take master’s level classes, and are immediately accepted into a 1-year master’s program at LMU upon graduating with their bachelor’s degree.
LMU offers academic support services that are comparable to most other schools. The Academic Resource Center (ARC) provides academic support for all degree-seeking LMU students, and includes specific support and resources for first generation students. The primary services offered are undergraduate advising, writing skills services, and course tutoring. Tutoring programs are offered for specific courses or subjects, and the list is subject to change each semester. When ARC does not offer tutoring for a specific course or subject, it provides support for students to form structured study groups.
The Seaver College of Science & Engineering offers its own academic support through the Center for Student Success (CSS). CSS collaborates with other campus divisions to provide students with career development, study abroad services, and community service opportunities to enhance students’ academic, professional, and personal development. It also offers admissions support for students who are applying to graduate-level schools in the health professions.
Support for learning differences
LMU offers basic services and support for disabilities and learning differences. ASD and ADHD support are combined with other disability services, and accommodations for documented disabilities are limited. In order to receive accommodations, students must show that their disability causes a limitation to a major life activity—the definition of disability under the ADA. University policy for recognizing and accommodating disabilities does not go beyond this legal minimum.
Students who have rare, difficult-to-diagnose, or atypically-presenting disabilities may have a difficult time receiving recognition and accommodation at LMU. Students who are accommodated may not receive the particular accommodations they require. For that reason, Capstone recommends that students with disabilities or learning differences carefully consider their college options and accommodation needs prior to applying to LMU or accepting an offer of admission. Students with LDs who would otherwise be a good fit at LMU and are very clear about their needs, capable of fully managing their symptoms or differences, and prepared to self-advocate, may find LMU to be a good option. Students with executive functioning issues, who require particular support for ASD, or who have not yet found a strategy for stably managing their differences may find LMU not to be a good fit.
If you have any questions about how to evaluate schools for disability and learning difference support, or want help building a college list and navigating college admissions with these needs in mind, please reach out to Capstone for a free consultation. Carolyn Weirick and our other expert counselors are ready to answer all of your questions and help you find a path to a fulfilling college experience.
The overall cost of education at LMU is higher than average, and financial aid awards are relatively low. Although 83% of students receive aid, LMU only meets 65% of their demonstrated financial need. Financial aid is relatively limited, particularly for students who don’t qualify for religion-based awards. A large proportion of LMU’s scholarships are offered to students who attended Jesuit or Marymount high schools, or who have demonstrated great community service leadership while attending Jesuit or Marymount high schools. Others are awarded on the basis of academic performance, including the largest single scholarship, the $30,000 per year Presidential Scholarship.
Transfer students are also eligible for scholarships. All of these are awarded for merit, rather than for Jesuit or Marymount affiliation. Transfers can receive up to $10,000 per year, renewable for three years, or a Phi Theta Kappa scholarship of $2,000 per year renewable for three years.
Housing & transportation
Nearly all first-year students live in on-campus housing, but it is not required. Due to the limited on-campus housing options for continuing students, most leave the dorms after their first year and rent suburban single-family homes in the communities surrounding campus with a group of friends from school. There are, however, on-campus options for continuing students: most second-years in on-campus housing live in suites, while third and fourth years may choose university-owned apartments. Transfer students are not guaranteed housing; transfer students who apply for housing will receive it if there are spaces available after it has been allocated to interested continuing students and first-years.
Westside transit options include LA Metro buses and Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus (BBB). There are currently no LA Metro Rail lines running near LMU, but the K Line (under construction) will soon have a connection to LAX, and its nearest station to LMU will be in Westchester at Florence and Hindry. Stay tuned for more information on whether LMU will have a direct connection to the line via bus or shuttle. Students interested in using LA Metro or BBB transit options can purchase a TAP card at a Metro Rail station or at LMU’s Parking Office.
Because of its relatively limited transit options, students who come to LMU from Southern California cities may want to bring a car, as may some students coming from farther away. Because LMU’s campus is only a mile from LAX, LMU offers a Lion Express shuttle service to bring students between campus and the airport at semester breaks and holidays. This shuttle also makes stops during the semester at LMU’s Playa Vista campus and the Runaway in Playa Vista.
LMU consistently ranks highly for student happiness, coming in at #16 in the Princeton Review in 2021. This is probably because of the beautiful campus environment and location, wide variety of social, athletic and cultural opportunities available, as well as the more intimate campus size. Students here have access to the Lion’s Den, student-run coffee shop, a live entertainment venue called the Living Room which hosts live music, open mics, and comedy performance, and a private craft beer and wine bar called the Loft. The campus hosts over 200 student organizations and clubs for students to get involved in. And the nearby Westside communities of Manhattan Beach, Playa Vista, Venice, and Santa Monica give students access to the beach, shopping, restaurants, and city life. Students who want to go further afield can reach downtown and midtown by Metro buses and rail connections or car, where they can find museums, sports arenas, clubs, and more.
Students at LMU are more engaged in community service than at almost any other university. LMU students volunteer and work at schools and non-profits throughout the greater LA area. Many courses at the university include a community based learning component, inspired by the university’s Jesuit values. The LMU Center of Service and Action is home to ten service organizations, each with its own unique history, mission, and service commitments.
Greek life at LMU is strong—roughly 25% of students are pledged to a fraternity or sorority—but students don’t have to engage with the Greek scene in order to have a social life. The campus does not recognize any official chapters, but there are twenty unofficial chapters organized into four fraternal organizations.
LMU offers competitive eSports teams, a new trend at American universities. Interested students can join teams for League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League, Hearthstone, Valorant, and APEX Legends. The campus’s dedicated Gaming Center is located in the Burns Recreational Center and is open to eSports team members and casual gamers alike.
Some students have noted that social life at LMU may feel fragmentary, due to the tendency for students to become deeply involved in their own organizations and remain apart from the groups they don’t actively participate in. Combined with the lack of a strong campus culture of varsity gameday activities, this may strike some students as contributing to a less cohesive student body than may be found at other schools. This may make LMU feel in some respects more like a larger university, where students migrate towards their own interests, rather than other small colleges.
Even though it is a small university, LMU offers many opportunities for competitive and recreational athletics, as well as excellent facilities and programming for health, exercise, and wellness. It even offers competitive eSports and a dedicated gaming center for interested students. Students who seek athletic and exercise opportunities in college will have no trouble finding them here.
LMU is an NCAA Division I athletic campus in 20 sports, including Baseball and Softball, Basketball, Water Polo, Track & Field, Tennis, Soccer, and more. It also offers several competitive club teams, from hockey and ski/snowboard to tennis and lacrosse, and more. Recreational sports include dodgeball, basketball, soccer, among others. Club and intramural sports are open to all students regardless of skill level, though because the club sports are more competitive, they generally attract higher-performing or more experienced recreational players. Faculty and alumni occasionally join these teams and play alongside students.
The Fritz B. Burns Recreation Center houses the campus’s athletic and wellness facilities, including the FitWell Center, where students can take fitness classes, use gym facilities for weight training, get massages, sign up for personal training, receive nutrition guidance, and more. The eSports Gaming Center is also located here, where students can game competitively or recreationally on school-owned machines. The center is open 12-16 hours a day during the school year. Learn more about LMU eSports above.
LMU offers a full-service medical office through Student Health Services (SHS). Office visits are covered by tuition and fees for undergraduate students, though some tests and procedures may require a co-pay or other out of pocket expense.
Student Psychological Services (SPS) is LMU’s office for mental health and wellness. Like other health services, SPS is free for office visits, and offers individual and group therapy, workshops, couples & marital therapy, rapid responses services in mental health emergencies, and a peer-to-peer Wellness Educators program. The Rapid Response program has very limited hours, and is not available during the night, though SPS does offer an After-Hours Therapist helpline. SPS does not offer psychiatry services, so students who require psychiatric care or medication management will need to identify and establish a relationship with a community psychiatrist upon beginning their studies at LMU.
In order to graduate, LMU students are required to maintain at 2.0 cumulative GPA and complete both their major requirements and the University Core liberal arts program. The University Core is divided into three sections spanning students’ undergraduate education. The first part, Foundations, is completed in years 1 and 2 and covers several subjects, from quantitative reasoning to theology, philosophy, diversity, and rhetoric. In years 2 and 3, students complete the Explorations section with a focus on history, human behavior, and science, technology and math. The final section, Integrations, covers the broad topics of faith and reason, ethics and justice, and interdisciplinarity, and is designed for students in years 3 and 4. LMU requires students to take two religious classes to graduate as part of these requirements.
Students in LMU’s Honors Program (see Academics, above) or the Seaver College of Science & Engineering, complete the Honors Core instead of the University Core. The three Honors sections cover the same topics as the University Core, but students take separate courses with other honors students and complete additional requirements. The Honors Core requires some additional colloquia, and all Honors students must complete an Honors Thesis by the end of their fourth year.
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Los Angeles, California
Motto: Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
(For the greater glory of God);
Tua Luce Dirige
(Direct us by thy light)
Mascot: Iggy the Lion
NCAA Division I WCC
Catholic research university
Religious affiliations: Jesuits, RSHM
1,900 graduate students
620 full-time faculty
10:1 student-faculty ratio
20 average class size
142 acre campus size
Two 15-week terms per year
Mediterranean climate with hot summers, overcast winters, and mostly sunny days
High school GPA
Talent or ability
Character or personal qualities
Test scores (SAT/ACT)
Letters of recommendation
Does not evaluate
Race or ethnicity
Early Decision I
Early Decision II
Priority Fall Admission
$77,000 / year
$56,000 / year
Housing & Meal Plan
$17,300 / year
~ $4,000 / year
Student Health Insurance Plan
Additional $2,650 / year if not waived
Percent of financial need met (average)
$12,000 / year
Amount of merit aid awarded to students without financial need (average)
Percent of undergraduates without financial need receiving merit aid
Notable Majors & Programs
Cinematic arts programs at the School of Film & Television
Fine arts majors and concentrations in the College of Communication and Fine Arts
Newly expanded Music Department
Partnerships with LA music industry
Frank R. Seaver College of Science & Engineering, offering advanced coursework in 13 undergraduate degree programs
LMU-West LA Business Scholars Program for transfer students from West LA College
Equity & Inclusion
- Campus Pride Index: 4.5 / 5
- Queer & Trans Guide
- Lavender Lounge
- Center for Gender Equity
- Intercultural Community Center
- Inclusive housing
- LGBTQ+ themed residences
- Lived name & pronoun policy
- Gender inclusive restrooms
- Study abroad resources
- Inclusive campus, local community
- Student insurance coverage for HRT
- Employee insurance coverage for HRT & SRS
Top: LMU Westchester campus
All images courtesy of LMU