Tufts is a student-centered research university, which means that we like to dig into our passions deeply and figure things out for ourselves—whether that involves using silk to regenerate tissue or spending a fully-funded summer exploring the political implications of Shakespeare's plays through the Summer Scholars program. Students and professors come together, across disciplines, to ask questions and create meaning.
With a student-faculty ratio of 9:1 and an average class size of 20, Tufts provides its undergraduates with the resources of a major research university and the attention of a liberal arts college. Students may choose from nearly 150 majors and minors at the School of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering, including 30 interdisciplinary programs and the unique offerings of the Experimental College (or, as students call it, the ExCollege).
All undergraduate programs at Tufts are offered by the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) at Tufts. The School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering, with approximately 5,400 students, share the Medford/Somerville campus just north of Boston. The SMFA at Tufts, with about 400 students, is located on our Fenway campus, right next door to the Museum of Fine Arts in downtown Boston. The breadth of academic opportunities at Tufts allows students to not only take classes outside of their major, but outside of their school. They can even double major across the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering, or pursue a Combined Degree between SMFA at Tufts and the School of Arts and Sciences.
An Interdisciplinary Education
At Tufts, we understand that your interests don't necessarily neatly fit within academic disciplines. In fact, we believe that understanding the same problem through many lenses prepares you more effectively for life after college. With that in mind, Tufts encourages students to engage in interdisciplinary learning.
Along with courses to fulfill their major, students in the School of Arts and Sciences take courses in writing, foreign language and culture, and world civilization, and also fulfill distribution requirements in humanities, social sciences, the arts, natural sciences, and mathematics. Students in the School of Engineering devote half their coursework to their major and related engineering topics. Their remaining coursework is divided evenly between math, science, arts, humanities, and social science courses. Jumbos graduate with the analytical, writing, and communication skills they need to continually adapt to a rapidly changing world. Students in the SMFA at Tufts' BFA program have an all-elective interdisciplinary curriculum that encourages them to develop their ideas across multiple media. They work with faculty to develop their own voice and point of view, and they are trained to define new directions in the arts.
Right now at Tufts: a chemistry major is researching the chemical composition of Martian meteorite samples, a human factors engineer is developing robots that assist with manual tasks for those injured in the workplace, an economics major is studying how migration and development have affected the Vietnamese apparel industry, and an English major is writing about Chaucer’s Christian and pagan influences.
Tufts is one of the nation’s top research universities, earning the highest classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the university's output of research activity. And as one of the smallest and most undergraduate-focused research universities with this classification, Tufts encourages faculty to collaborate with undergraduate students in a wide-range of innovative research spanning every field and discipline.
In an increasingly global world, Tufts believes that a broader understanding of the global world is necessary to student success. Throughout the Tufts experience, students are encouraged to enrich their study with experiences abroad. Typically 45% of the junior class spends a semester or a year abroad in the most obvious of ways to deepen students' understanding of the world, but Tufts also encourages students to expand their global outlook in other ways. For example, Tufts students can experience the 1+4 Bridge Year, which allows students to spend a gap year before Tufts completing service learning projects somewhere in the world, with financial aid available. Or, students can opt to spend their first semester living and working at an international site through Civic Semester. Other students will join Engineers Without Borders and work on access to clean water in Nicaragua or Malawi. Some will apply for an SMFA Traveling Fellowship to deepen their artistic practice through travel. No matter your interest, Tufts will find a way to expand your horizons.
Tufts students enjoy the learning process for its own sake, but also are interested in how they can take what they are learning in the classroom and apply it to make a positive impact. Much of students' academic engagement with civic life happens through the Tisch College of Civic Life. In addition to encouraging engagement in civic life by funding internships and bringing speakers like John Kerry, Elizabeth Warren, and Ayanna Pressley to campus, Tisch College co-sponsors courses that will offer students the resources they need to be effective active citizens and conducts research on engagement with civic life among young people.