The academic choices at Tufts are plentiful, and entering students do not chart their academic path alone. In the first year, students will work with a pre-major advisor and two orientation leaders, who offer guidance and support by talking about their academic interests, plans and goals. Later, students choose an advisor in their major.
In keeping with the flexible theme of our curricula, Tufts offers five advising options for our undergraduates:
Curricular Advising Program (CAP)
The distinguishing feature of CAP is that your advisor will be teaching one of the courses in which you will be enrolled for your first semester, and some of the other students in the class will be members of your advising group. In the past, students were able to choose from courses as diverse as “Biotechnology Engineering" and "Sex and Gender in Society” and “Aspects of the Sephardic Tradition.”
Developed over 25 years ago by students in the Experimental College, the Explorations program consists of seminars designed and taught by two upper-level students (who also serve as your peer advisors). In addition, a pre-major advisor is assigned to each group. Explorations topics have covered everything from pop culture to bioethics, including courses on Human Rights in the Digital Age, Science Fiction & Fantasy in Literature, and Futurism. In addition to advising and learning, the groups develop a sense of community beginning on your first day of orientation.
Faculty Seminars provide students with an opportunity to get to know their advisor in a classroom setting. Some professors elect to step outside their academic department and organize a seminar on a topic of great personal interest. Other faculty members will select topics within their primary disciplines; for example, one of our political science professors taught “Law, Minorities, and Others,” which explored functions of the law and legal decisions and their effects on minorities and underrepresented groups. No matter what the topic, you will find faculty eager to share their favorite subjects to encourage you to learn and possibly develop your own sense of passion for the subject.
The Host Advising program is the most traditional advising option, providing students with a pre-major advisor and two orientation leaders who are available during orientation and throughout the year for academic advice and counsel. Some first-year students find this program works well with their academic schedule as it offers a great deal of flexibility.
Similar to Explorations, the Experimental College’s Perspectives program consists of seminars designed and taught by two upper-level students (who also serve as your peer advisors). In addition, a pre-major advisor is assigned to each group. In contrast to Explorations, all Perspectives groups focus on media studies, challenging students to apply critical thinking, viewing, and reading skills to an exploration of media as a cultural phenomenon and as an industry. Students in learn to be active, aware viewers and readers who are able to articulate how and why we respond to the onslaught of images in contemporary culture. Examples of Perspectives seminars include The Evolution of Advertising in America; Race and Media in American Culture; A Psychological Analysis of War Through Film; and Sports Crises and Public Perception. Like Explorations, Perspectives groups also develop a sense of community beginning with your first day at Tufts.
Once you decide on your major, you will choose a major advisor in your department or program who will guide you through the process of fulfilling course requirements and perhaps completing a senior capstone or thesis. Your major advisor may also prove invaluable to helping you find relevant internships and research opportunities. If you plan on continuing your education in graduate or professional school, your major advisor can be of great help in that effort, too.