Tufts students are diverse in more ways than one.
The energy of the Tufts community is due in no small part to its vibrant mix of people. Jumbos come from a range of backgrounds and bring diverse talents, opinions, interests, and experiences to the table. We know that as you are deciding which college community to join, it's important to know that you'll be able to find students who share your experience and worldview—along with students who will expose you to different perspectives. Below, read about just a few types of diversity that we value and promote on campus.
Tufts students arrive on our campus from 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and more than seventy 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, working to raise intercultural awareness, increase knowledge of immigration laws affecting the Tufts international community, and advocate for a campus climate that respects cultural differences.
Tufts students are Christians and Jews, Muslims and Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs, atheists and agnostics. The University Chaplaincy provides interfaith services and programs, serving as a hub for religious life at Tufts. On campus, you’ll find weekly Buddhist, Catholic, Jewish (Reform and Conservative), Hindu, Muslim, Protestant, and Unitarian Universalist services. Off campus, the Medford/Somerville area is home to a number of religious communities.
Religious student groups include Buddhist Mindfulness Sangha, Catholic Community at Tufts, Chabad, Hillel, Hindu Students Council, Humanist Community at Tufts, Ladder-day Saints Students Association, Muslim Students Association, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, Protestant Student Fellowship, and the Non-denominational Christian Fellowship, among others. There is also an active interfaith student organization and interfaith pre-orientation program, CAFE (Conversation, Action, Faith, and Education).
Tufts professors 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.
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, Latino Center, and Asian American Center. Student-run clubs and organizations on campus include the African Student Organization, the Arab Students Association, Association of Latin American Students, Association of Multiracial People, Association of South Asians, Black Student Union, Cape Verdean Students Association, Caribbean Student Organization, Chinese Students Association, Filipinx Student Union, Indigenous Students’ Organization, Italian Club, Japanese Culture Club, Society of Latinx Engineers and Scientists – and the list goes on.
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.
Since 1852, Tufts has been committed to the vision of its founders to educate all people, regardless of their socioeconomic background. Today, approximately 10 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 $115 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, at Tufts, women take especially strong roles in the sciences and engineering. 40 percent of School of Engineering students 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 top 30 LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges and Universities. 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.
The heart of our diverse community is a student body with different ideas, opinions, and perspectives. In the classroom, Tufts students are engineers and artists, scientists and writers, philosophers and programmers. Outside the classroom, Tufts students are Democrats and Republicans, socialists and libertarians, athletes and poets, ROTC cadets and journalists, dancers and a cappella singers. All Tufts students have a sense of intellectual curiosity and a passion for ideas that drive discussion inside and outside of class.
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? While COVID-19 has impacted 2020 student events, view a sampling of last year's spring events in the Identities Calendar below.