The present article reports a theoretical study of the TM0➛TE0 mode conversion of laser light through Bragg diffraction by higher order magnetostatic forward volume waves (MSFVWs) in a layered yttrium iron garnet (YIG) film geometry. It is found that this mode conversion can be significant, thereby somewhat mitigating the previously reported advantage of YIG film layering, i.e., layering affords a significant improvement in the bandwidth for magneto-optic coupling. Computations of the level of magneto-optic (MO) coupling caused by higher order MSFVWs excited by a microstrip transducer in a double YIG film layered structure are presented. The use of a triple YIG film layered geometry with lifted transducers for suppressing the unwanted effect of higher order MSFVW modes on the MO coupling is discussed. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.