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." While the collective energy of the Tufts community stems from the mix of people on campus, we also recognize how important it is for students to be able to connect with peers who share similar experiences and identities through affinity organizations and gathering spaces. Our community is supported by the incredible Division of Student Diversity and Inclusion, led by the Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion. Our eight identity-based centers include the Africana Center, Asian American Center, Center for STEM Diversity, FIRST Resource Center, Indigenous Center, Latinx Center, LGBT Center, and Women's Center. These centers not only provide dedicated physical spaces for socializing, club meetings, studying, and connecting with Center staff, but also provide sources of comfort and belonging.
Tufts’ undergraduate students arrive on our campus from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and more than 80 countries – from Cape Cod to the Florida Keys, from Long Island to the Rio Grande Valley, from Brazil to Bahrain. They come from small towns like Stuttgart, Arkansas and from the hearts of major cities like Shanghai, Mumbai, and NYC.
13 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
About 50 percent of US undergraduate students identify as students of color. Incoming first-year students of color participate in peer leadership programs through the Africana Center, Latinx Center, Indigenous 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, 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, Latinx 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. About 44% of Tufts students are recipients of need-based financial aid and 12% 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. Tufts is also a member of the Schuler Access Initiative, enabling us to recruit, enroll, and support low-income and undocumented students.
Approximately 12% of Tufts students are among the first generation in their family to attend college. 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. Our first-generation students build community through the FIRST Resource Center, the optional first-year advising seminar for first-generation students, and a pre-orientation program called BEAST (Building Engagement and Access for Students at Tufts).
Sexuality and Gender Diversity
We are proud that women take especially strong roles in the sciences and engineering at Tufts. 46 percent of undergraduates in the School of Engineering are women and the percentage of female Engineering faculty is nearly 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 Desis), a first-year peer leader program, weekly discussion groups (like TRANSCEND Connection), 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 anti-discrimination statutes in the country.
Supported by the University Chaplaincy, Tufts students represent a range of faith traditions and spiritual practices—our campus is home to Christians and Jews, Muslims and Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs, atheists and agnostics, humanists and nonreligious students. On campus, you’ll find weekly Buddhist, Jewish (Reform and Conservative), Hindu, Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic gatherings and services. 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.
Religious student groups include Buddhist Mindfulness Sangha, Catholic Community at Tufts, Chabad, Hillel, Hindu Students Association, Humanist Community at Tufts, Muslim Students Association, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, Protestant Students Association, among others. There is also an active interfaith student organization and interfaith pre-orientation program, CAFE (Conversation, Action, Faith, and Education).
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.
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 Student Accessibility and Academic Resource (StAAR) Center, which fosters students' educational growth and awareness; self-advocacy and resilience through support services including academic, housing, and dining-related accommodations; transportation accommodations (including accessing Lyft rides as needed); academic tutoring; and assistive technology. The StAAR Center also hosts a variety of trainings and workshops for the campus community, valuing the diverse educational and cultural experiences of every student and promoting access to an inclusive and collaborative learning environment
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).