Tufts—Where to Start
Hello, and welcome!
First time visiting our site? We’re excited you stopped by. Second time? Welcome back! Third, fourth, fifth? We’re glad you can’t get enough of Tufts.
Maybe you’re just launching your research into colleges and/or Tufts, or maybe you’re a seasoned pro at navigating college websites, brochures, and content. We recognize that we have A LOT of content on our site. A LOT! You could probably spend days reading every single admissions and student blog, doing a deep dive into every corner of our website, watching every video….and that may be exciting to you. (It is to us!). But we know you’re busy people, and we want to give you a few suggestions on where to get started.
So here’s what we think you should know about Tufts!
First, let’s give you the basics:
Tufts is comprised of three undergraduate schools and quite a few graduate schools. For undergraduates, the ones you’ll want to know are:
- the School of Arts and Sciences (home to ~4000 students, and a wide range of majors + minors)
- the School of Engineering (home to ~900 students, 6 departments, 16 majors, and 8 ABET accredited majors)
- and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (the ‘SMFA,’ where ~500 students can pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts or do a 5-year combined degree program).
The School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering are located in Medford/Somerville, Massachusetts, about 5 miles away from downtown Boston. It’s about 1 mile from Davis Square, a bustling center of the Somerville community.
The SMFA is located on the Fenway in Boston, adjacent to the Museum of Fine Arts.
The location affords students great opportunities for internships, jobs, and fun outings with friends or visitors. Some of our favorites: Dave’s Fresh Pasta sandwiches, duck boat tours, a Red Sox game at Fenway, the Museum of Fine Arts, the historical Freedom Trail, or candlepin bowling in Davis Square.
Interdisciplinary learning is a cornerstone of the Tufts education. The world's problems are not divided neatly into categories—and we believe your education shouldn't be either. A Tufts education will offer you the flexibility to explore a wide range of ideas while encouraging you to connect them across disciplines, preparing you to be an effective problem-solver in an interconnected world. And it’s common to see students of all majors engaged in intellectual conversation, sharing different academic perspectives, and carrying conversations from classroom to dining hall to dorm room to athletic field.
At the School of Arts and Sciences:
At the minimum, every student will choose a major which consists of 10-15 classes. Many students will choose to pursue a second major or a minor, see the full list of options here. Beyond this, students will fulfill the distribution requirements—10 classes that span five academic disciplines (humanities, arts, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematical sciences). And there is a foreign language requirement equivalent to 6 semesters of foreign language, or 3 foreign language classes + 3 culture classes. More specifics can be found here.
At the School of Engineering:
To earn the Bachelor of Science degree, 38 courses in a combination of distribution and elective courses are required. Read more about the full requirements here.
At the SMFA:
The SMFA at Tufts BFA program provides the opportunity to combine intensive studio arts training with an in-depth, rigorous liberal arts education. The curriculum is entirely elective; you are free to select the courses, faculty members, and resources deemed important to your artistic development. Working closely with faculty mentors and academic advisors, students curate their own curricular pathways in a variety of mediums. In addition to studio coursework, students take courses in the liberal arts and sciences on both the Medford/Somerville and Fenway campuses. Read more about graduation requirements here.
Other academic areas of interest:
Study Abroad: Roughly 50% of students will study abroad during their time at Tufts!
Research: Tufts is a research and liberal arts university. Students can engage in exciting research opportunities with leading scholars across a variety of disciplines.
Everyone will have a unique experience at Tufts based on the classes, extracurricular activities, and events that they choose. But the campus vibe of intellectual playfulness, collaboration, and kindness are pervasive in every experience. These are a few of the themes you’ll encounter on the Tufts campus:
Making friends: Jumbos come from all corners of the world, bringing distinct stories, interests, and perspectives. But they have some things in common—they’re community-minded and passionate. You’ll meet your closest friends in the dorm common room, through extracurricular activities, in that inspiring seminar class, and in the dining hall. You’ll find people who will lift you up on the tough days and celebrate with ice cream on the impossibly good days.
Giving Back: Tufts students are constantly looking for ways to make the world a better place. Maybe you’ll participate in the 1+4 Bridge-Year Service Learning Program or the Civic Semester, or volunteer with the Leonard Carmichael Society, home to 30+ service groups on campus. Maybe you’ll become a Tisch Scholar, completing fieldwork in our local communities. Maybe you’ll join the 65% of students who graduate and go on to work “for the greater good.” Whatever your path, you’ll find that knowledge is most powerful when you’re applying it to something outside of you.
Collaboration: Ideas are meant to be built upon, questioned, and shared. Tufts students understand this. They are kind, compassionate, open-minded people who work with each other and professors on innovative research, a cappella arrangements, campus publications, and socially-minded conferences. An idea born over coffee at The Rez may turn into the next big thing!
Learn more fun tidbits about Tufts through the alphabet here: Tufts A-Z
The Cannon: The rules of painting the Civil War artifact are simple: it can only be painted at night, and if more than one student or group of students wants to paint it that same night, the first group must stand guard until the sun rises to avoid leaving their artwork vulnerable to usurpers who may paint over it. The iconic landmark doubles as a popular billboard for undergraduates emboldened by spray paint to make a splashy, public shout-out—be it a club announcement or happy birthday to a bestie. Read more here.
The Illumination Ceremony: On the first night of Orientation, new first year and transfer students gather on the President’s Lawn beneath Goddard Chapel for a ritual that involves words of welcome, reflections by students on the heritage and values of Tufts, and musical performances. Then approximately 1,600 entering students, faculty, and staff light the candles of the people around them. The candlelight slowly progresses up the hill until the whole hillside is lit. On the eve of Commencement, the class gathers again to repeat this ritual and to place “a light on the hill” before venturing out into the world.
Read about more traditions here.
Other helpful pages:
We have TONS of blogs online, but here are a few suggested ones to get you started:
- Home? by Nidhi Rao '20
- Life as a Combined Degree Student, by Sadhana Madnani '22/23
- Sunrise Watch Party, by Isabel Davis '22
- Robotics or Nothing, by Zayyad Yunus '22
- Thankful at Tufts, by the Student Communications Group
- A video asking current students "Why Tufts?", by Jacob Shaw '21
Researching and Visiting:
- Where to Start?
- Tips for a Campus Visit You’ll Actually Remember
- Is it Easier to Get in ED?
- What’s the Deal with Demonstrated Interest?
The Actual Application:
- Testing + Transcripts
- Your Essays: Throw Out Your Thesaurus
- Extracurriculars—What Counts?
- School of Engineering Interest: Engineering Your Application
- SMFA Interest: What Should Go in an SMFA at Tufts Portfolio?