Tufts students are diverse in more ways than one.
The collective energy of the Tufts community stems from the mix of people on campus. Jumbos come from a range of backgrounds and bring diverse talents, interests, and perspectives to the table. It almost makes more sense to talk about "diversities" rather than "diversity." At Tufts, we also recognize how important it is for students to be able to connect with peers who share their experiences and identities through affinity organizations and gathering spaces. Our Division of Student Diversity and Inclusion, led by the Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, includes the Center for STEM Diversity (CSD) and our seven identity-based resource centers. The CSD focuses on strengthening student engagement in science and mathematics, specifically for underrepresented identities. The Africana Center, Asian American Center, FIRST Resource Center, Indigenous Center, Latinx Center, LGBT Center, and Women’s Center are physical spaces for socializing and club meetings, but also provide sources of comfort and belonging for underrepresented students at Tufts. Below, read about just a few dimensions of diversity that we value and promote on campus.
Tufts’ undergraduate students arrive on our campus from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and more than 70 countries – from Cape Cod to the Florida Keys, from Long Island to the Rio Grande Valley, from Brazil to Bahrain. They travel from as near as Highland Avenue in Somerville’s Davis Square and from as far away as East Tamaki Heights in Aukland, New Zealand. They come from small towns like Fort Thompson, South Dakota on the Crow Creek Reservation and from the hearts of major cities like Shanghai, Mumbai, and NYC.
21 percent of Tufts students come from an international background. The International Center serves as an academic and social resource for international students, helping students maintain valid US immigration status and advising the I-Club, International House, Passport mentoring program, and Global Orientation.
Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Each year, approximately one third of undergraduate students identify as US students of color. Incoming first-year students of color participate in peer leadership programs through the Africana Center, Latinx Center, and Asian American Center. Additionally, the Africana Center coordinates SQUAD (Students’ Quest for Unity in the African Diaspora), an optional pre-orientation program for incoming students focused on Black perspectives and experiences. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are welcome to explore special interest housing, including Capen House, La Casa Latina, Chinese House, and Russian/Slavic Culture House.
Cultural organizations celebrate their identities through annual events such as the Black Showcase, Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) Culture Show, and Tufts Association of South Asians (TASA) Culture Show. These events highlight some of Tufts’ talented performance groups and allow them to share a piece of their cultures with the larger community. Student-run clubs and organizations on campus include the African Student Organization, Arab Students Association, Association of Multiracial People, Black Student Union, Cape Verdean Students Association, Caribbean Student Organization, Chinese Students Association, Filipinx Student Union, Indigenous Students’ Organization, Italian Club, Japanese Culture Club, Vietnamese Students Club – and the list goes on.
The Center for STEM Diversity provides advising and mentorship to students who are underrepresented in STEM disciplines, including Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and first-generation students. The CSD offers a first-year advising seminar, supports students with accessing funded research opportunities, and advises student organizations such as the Society of Latinx Engineers & Scientists (SOLES) and National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).
Coursework related to race and ethnicity can be found across numerous academic departments at Tufts, most notably in the Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora, which facilitates several majors and minors in the disciplines of Africana Studies, American Studies, Asian American Studies, Colonialism Studies, Latino Studies, and Native American and Indigenous Studies. Additionally, the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy (CSRD) at Tufts serves as a space for research, events, and programs related to histories of activism for racial and social justice. The CSRD signature programs include the African American Trail Project, a public history archive of social change movements in Boston’s Black communities.
Tufts welcomes you, no matter your spiritual, religious, and philosophical identities. The University Chaplaincy offers conversations with chaplains, provides interfaith services and programs, and is a hub for community members who want to ask big questions, learn about themselves, and be grounded leaders. Tufts students are Christians and Jews, Muslims and Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs, atheists and agnostics, and might not identify with any tradition or philosophy. On campus, you’ll find weekly Buddhist, Jewish (Reform and Conservative), Hindu, Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic gatherings and services, as well as weekly gatherings for students who are more interested in asking questions in community (e.g. COFFEE Interfaith Coalition). Religious and philosophical student groups include Buddhist Mindfulness Sangha, Catholic Community at Tufts, Chabad, Hillel, Hindu Students Council, Humanist Community at Tufts, Muslim Students Association, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, Protestant Student Association, among others. You can learn about all student groups here. There is also an active interfaith student organization and interfaith pre-orientation program for incoming first-years, CAFE (Conversation, Action, Faith, and Education).
All of the chaplains are affirming of LGBT+ identities, will never seek to proselytize or convert, and are trained to support any member of the Tufts community, regardless of religious or philosophical backgrounds. Tufts students often check in with chaplains about their changing relationship to faith and religion in college, hopes, hardships, career discernment and much more. You can find more information about each of the chaplains here.
Goddard Chapel is the second oldest building on the Medford/Somerville campus, and welcomes community members regularly for concerts, group meetings, meditations, worship services, and drop-in conversations. The Interfaith Center was completed in 2007 and designed to be a multiuse space for many religious and philosophical gatherings; it hosts events, prayer services, group meetings, and dinners. The Granoff Family Hillel Center is an active gathering space to explore Jewish identity, observe holidays, and develop educational initiatives. Off campus, the Medford/Somerville area is home to a number of religious communities. There are also dedicated prayer spaces on our campuses, which you can read more about here.
Tufts faculty in the Department of Religion are specialists and researchers in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Christianity, Islam, and African Diasporic religions. The Judaic Studies major and minor combine the study of the Hebrew language and the religious texts and practices, culture, and history of the Jewish people.
Since 1852, Tufts has been committed to the vision of its founders to educate all people, regardless of their socioeconomic background. In 2019, Tufts was recognized among the first cohort of “First-Gen Forward” institutions by NASPA’s Center for First-Generation Student Success in acknowledgement of Tufts’ commitment to supporting first-generation student achievement. Approximately 12 percent of students are the first in their family to attend college. Our first-generation students build community through the FIRST Resource Center, the optional first-year advising seminar for first-gen students, a faculty/staff mentorship program, and a pre-orientation program called BEAST (Building Engagement and Access for Students at Tufts). About 42 percent of Tufts students are financial aid recipients and 12 percent receive federal Pell Grants. Last year, we awarded more than $120 million in financial aid to undergraduate students and Tufts proudly meets the full demonstrated need of all admitted students, regardless of citizenship status, for all four years.
Sexuality and Gender Diversity
We are proud that women take especially strong roles in the sciences and engineering at Tufts. 44 percent of undergraduates in the School of Engineering are women and the percentage of female Engineering faculty is ten percent above the national average. The Women's Center is a space open to all students interested in issues broadly related to the experiences of women, the impacts of sexism and misogyny, and the role of gender in our lives. In the School of Arts and Sciences, Tufts’ Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major is available to students interested in an interdisciplinary approach to studying the history of sexuality, queer theory, and the way gender roles influence social, political, and economic life around the world.
Tufts is included in Campus Pride’s 40 most LGBTQ-friendly colleges. Tufts' LGBT Center supports the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students, faculty, staff, and alumni in an intentional and welcoming environment. Tufts boasts a number of LGBT student organizations (like the Queer Student Association), a first-year peer leader program (Team Q), weekly discussion groups (like T-Time), and an LGBTQ-themed housing unit (Rainbow House). Along with the LGBT Center, these groups sponsor speakers, movie nights, and other social and educational events for LGBTQ students and allies. Tufts has an open housing policy, which means we don’t use gender as a determining factor for housing arrangements, and students are free to create living situations that work for them. Tufts’ student medical insurance plan includes services for transgender students, including hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery. The greater Boston area is particularly welcoming to its large number of LGBT students and Massachusetts is famous for being the first state to legalize same-sex marriage and for having some of the strongest antidiscrimination statutes in the country.
Students with Disabilities or Chronic Illness
The Tufts community values the lived experiences and voices of people of all abilities, including students with disabilities or chronic illness. There are many resources available to members of our community that strive to make Tufts accessible to all.
A terrific campus partner is the StAAR Center (Student Accessibility and Academic Resource Center), whose mission reads, “The StAAR Center values the diverse educational and cultural experiences of every student and promotes access to an inclusive and collaborative learning environment. As a team and as individuals, we foster students’ educational growth and awareness, self-advocacy and resiliency as it relates to their Tufts academic experience and beyond. Our initiatives engage students, faculty and staff to proactively support the learning needs of the Tufts community.” Support services include academic, housing, and dining-related accommodations; transportation accommodations (including accessing Lyft rides as needed); academic tutoring; and assistive technology.
ABLE (Access Betters the Lives of Everyone) is a student group focused on connecting students with disabilities to form a mutually supportive community, to advocate for disability rights on campus and beyond, and to educate the Tufts community about disabilities.
To support faculty and staff, the Office of Equal Opportunity is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities in a fair and equitable manner and in accordance with applicable federal and state law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We seek to promote a diverse and inclusive university community.
It's important to feel supported on any campus you attend. We invite you to explore our many centers and resources in our interactive Diversity Map.
Wondering what kinds of events are held on the Tufts campus to celebrate diversity? Check out this year's spring events in the Identities Calendar below.