"I believe that your toolbox should be as big as it can be to express what you need to say."

Celia Glastris, BFA + BA

BFA Coursework

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.

Studio Courses

Our open studio curriculum celebrates the notion that ideas, not requirements, drive your practice and coursework. You will forge your individual BFA pathway through one-on-one mentorship and close academic advising while building your skills, pushing your ideas, and challenging your art practice.  Our unique approach prepares students for a range of careers across contemporary art and emerging fields.

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

In addition to studio courses, students draw on resources from multiple spaces and studio areas, moving seamlessly between studios to complete their projects. Students have access to all studios through their classes or individualized guidance from Studio Managers and are empowered to explore their artistic practice without limits.

To learn more about the facilities and resources that support these diverse methods of making, explore our studio spaces and resources.

Liberal Arts & Sciences

Art practice is a vital part of society as a whole, and the work we produce isn’t done in a vacuum. For that reason, the BFA program combines intensive studio arts training with classes in liberal arts and sciences. In addition to your studio art curriculum, you’ll take courses that expose you to a range of non-studio offerings on both campuses. These courses inform your understanding of the world in which you are making work. Your advisor will help you to select the Liberal Arts and Sciences courses that best support your goals; whether you are a painter whose work is informed by political movements, or a papermaker who connects their way of working to environmental studies, you’ll find the breadth and depth of courses to foster those ideas. 

Writing Requirement

The development of written communication skills is fundamental to an undergraduate arts education. All BFA students are required to take two semesters of college writing in order to graduate. Most students complete this requirement by taking English 1 or English 3 in the first semester and English 2 or Introduction to Philosophy in the second semester.

History of Art

All BFA students are required to take 5 courses, totaling 15 semester hour units, in the history of art as part of their non-studio requirements. In their first semester, first-time BFA students take Introduction to Visual and Critical Studies. The other 4 courses (12 semester hour units) in the history of art requirement can be satisfied by completing any courses in the Visual and Critical Studies department based on the Fenway campus or in the Art History department based on the Medford/Somerville campus. This allows students to choose art history courses from across disciplines and eras that support individual interests.


There are a variety of ways the Language/Culture requirement can be satisfied including foreign language study or the study of a specific culture through courses taught in English.


The BFA Science/Technology requirement can be satisfied by any course that meets the Mathematics or Natural Science requirement for Liberal Arts students.

In addition to the above distribution requirements, students must also complete 3 semester hour units in both social sciences and humanities as well as 9 semester hour units in liberal arts elective courses, which can be any non-studio course (except for physical education) offered on either the Fenway or Medford/Somerville campus. One Liberal Arts elective requirement can be satisfied by an art history course either through the Visual and Critical Studies department on the Fenway campus or the Art History department on the Medford/Somerville campus.

Graduation Requirements

BFA students are required to complete a total of 76 semester hour units of studio coursework to graduate. Within this requirement, students have the freedom to choose what coursework will best help them realize their artistic vision and voice. This process is a fluid and organic one, and will shift and change over the course of a student’s undergraduate experience.

In order to earn a BFA degree at Tufts University, students must:

  • Earn a minimum of 120 semester hour units.
  • Complete 76 semester hour units of studio coursework and 42 semester hour units of Liberal Arts Distribution Requirements.
  • Satisfy the residency requirement of eight full-time semesters, according to the stipulations outline in The Bulletin.
Studio Art
76 semester hour units
Art History
15 semester hour units
College Writing
6 semester hour units
Social Science
3 semester hour units
3 semester hour units
3 semester hour units
3 semester hour units
LA/Science Electives
9 semester hour units
Open Elective (studio or non-studio)
2 semester hour units
120 semester hour units