MFA Coursework

The SMFA at Tufts University MFA in Studio Art is a two-year, 60 semester hour unit degree program defined by an interdisciplinary approach to advanced education through the arts. Our students are committed to producing bodies of research through art-making, supported by a professional community of global artists and scholars.

Studio Courses

Your studio practice is developed by rigorously pursuing the implications of your work, often across studio disciplines and bodies of knowledge. You will deepen and expand your practice through refinement of skills and exploration of the demands of your vision. You’ll work closely with staff and faculty as you take risks and watch your practice grow.

This personalized curriculum, developed in concert with faculty across disciplines, pushes you to foster an independent art practice that is informed by research and advanced through access to the studio spaces and resources of the entire university.

The studio areas of study offered at SMFA serve as a guide, allowing you to build an individualized set of skills and experiences to carry into your professional career.

Students have access to all studios through their classes or individualized guidance from studio managers. 


In addition to studio classes, students take seminars that explore and analyze a range of subjects from within contemporary art. During the first year of study, MFA students take the Contemporary Art Practice (CAP) seminar. This foundational class is designed for incoming students to engage, explore, and analyze a range of subjects through speaking, writing, research and presentation in ways that are relevant to their own art practice. These conversations will dispute histories and imagine new political futures; they will galvanize connections while building rapport with peers and enhancing leadership skills. In addition to CAP Seminar, MFA students must register for 3 additional seminars during their studies which will further their understanding of contemporary art practice and theory.

Liberal Arts and Sciences Courses

MFA students will take two graduate-level art history and two graduate-level liberal arts and sciences elective classes from a broad range of advanced topics, emphasizing in-depth understanding of a subject and advanced research and writing skills. We encourage students to choose courses that are relevant to their thesis, studio practice, future plans, or to the contemporary art world.

SMFA at Tufts allows students to take advantage of the community and resources of a Tier 1 research university though courses and collaborations across the schools of Tufts University, bridging research and leveraging a diverse set of skills to inform their work.

For example, Kenson Truong, MFA ’18, explored themes of race, gender, sexual orientation, cultural context, and personal identity in his studio practice. Long enthralled by cephalopods and their exceptional capacity for camouflage and adaptation, as well as their cognitive ability to engineer escapes, he explored these themes throughout his work, which included visual devices of camouflage through text, light, and sculptural installation. In his words, “coming to Tufts and studying marine biology, learning the accurate language, analyzing data, and going deeper into the concepts and also philosophy has enriched my practice.”