Curriculum and Pathways
Pursuing Studio Art at Tufts
Drop by the Tufts University Art Galleries, attend a lecture or workshop with a visiting artist, or check out some zines from the library collections, and you’ll notice that the arts are all around us at Tufts. For students interested in incorporating studio art into their Tufts experience, there are lots of options: take a few art courses to keep your creative juices flowing, minor in Studio Art to level up, or dive deep into everything our specialized art school has to offer through the BFA or Combined Degree programs at SMFA at Tufts.
For students interested in pursuing a degree in studio art there are two pathways: the 4-year Bachelor of Fine Arts program (BFA), and the 5-year Combined Degree program (BFA+BA or BS). Regardless of their degree pathway at Tufts, every student enjoys access to all the resources of the university. Both BFA and Combined Degree students are encouraged to take advantage of the breadth of academic offerings across Tufts. Combined Degree students spend an extra year and will choose an additional academic area of focus in which to earn a BA or BS degree. Peruse the SMFA website to read more about our two pathways and get involved in Admissions programs to identify the best fit for you!
Studio Art Curriculum
As an SMFA student, you won’t be required to complete a pre-set core year or declare a pre-set major. Instead, you’ll craft and carry out your own learning plan. Every medium you try and every class you take will help you identify your voice, your message, and your purpose.
Students at SMFA can dive as deeply as they like into a single medium or explore a range of disciplines in service of ambitious projects and individualized goals. Working directly with their academic advisors and faculty, students create a curriculum tailor-made to support them in their art practice while preparing them for their goals beyond school. We encourage our students to take advantage of full access to the courses, studios, faculty, and studio managers related to any of the following areas of study:
Animation | Book Arts | Ceramics | Digital Media | Drawing | Fibers | Film | Graphic Arts | Illustration | Jewelry | Metals | Painting | Papermaking | Performance | Photography | Printmaking | Sculpture | Sound | Video | Virtual Reality
Click here to learn more about each area of study at SMFA, including course samples and faculty and student profiles.
Incorporating Liberal Arts
Interdisciplinary learning is a cornerstone of the Tufts education, and every student can take advantage of the breadth and depth of academic offerings of Tufts’ three schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and SMFA. 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. At SMFA, our educational philosophy is based in the idea that a broad and deep engagement with the liberal arts prepares our students to make artwork engaged with the contemporary world, build unique career pathways, and lead change in both industries and communities.
In addition to their studio art curriculum, students take several non-studio courses across a variety of distribution areas, including foreign language or culture, humanities, writing, social sciences, and science or technology. Whether you are a painter whose work is informed by political movements, a photographer interested in economic theory, or a papermaker who connects their practice to environmental studies, you’ll find the breadth and depth of courses to foster those ideas.
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
The BFA is a 4-year degree that divides students’ time between hands-on studio work and liberal arts courses. Students build a set of skills specifically designed to translate into creative industry careers, engage in a well-rounded liberal arts education, and gain the kinds of essential skills that will support them in any career path. SMFA’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program offers a personalized, interdisciplinary curriculum which provides lots of space to experiment and explore without the constraints of traditional majors or a rigid core year. You choose the coursework, faculty, and facilities that interest you and support your artistic development. You’ll build a personally and intellectually rewarding course of study that fosters technical skills and critical thinking while immersing you in a supportive, collaborative, and creative community filled with fellow artists.
In the BFA program, students spend about 2/3 of their time in hands-on, rigorous art instruction and 1/3 of their time exploring other academic areas of interest, with the ability to minor in another academic area of interest.
Combined Degree (BFA + BA/BS)
SMFA’s 5-year Combined Degree program leads to both a Bachelor of Fine Arts and either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree—a combination that yields academic and creative skill sets that will serve you well no matter where your journey takes you. If you are as passionate about economics, philosophy, history (or any other academic area in the School of Arts & Sciences!) as you are about art making, the Combined Degree program might be the perfect fit for you.
One of the strengths of our Combined Degree program is the integrated nature of the experience. Students are encouraged to engage in studio and other academic pursuits every semester, as opposed to spending a semester or year pursuing one side of their education in isolation. Our Combined Degree students dive deeply into their art practice and their major in the School of Arts & Sciences, building bridges between the two disciplines and creating their own academic pathways.
In the Combined Degree program, students spend about ½ of their time in hands-on, rigorous art instruction and ½ of their time in their other academic areas of interest.