First-Year Students

SMFA is Different
We provide an intensive yet flexible studio arts training, paired with a rigorous liberal arts education. 

Our interdisciplinary art program and open-studio curriculum gives you access to all areas of study. With the assistance of both faculty and staff advisors, you are encouraged to select courses and to seek out resources that are most important to your artistic development.  Throughout your time at SMFA, you will work closely with faculty members across media and disciplines to develop your ideas. 

The approach challenges you to take charge of the process, to push your limits, and to grow through critique. 


Students interested in either the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or 5-year Combined Degree BFA + BA/BS apply directly through Tufts University

SMFA at Tufts uses the Common Application and the Coalition Application. Everything you need to apply, including the Tufts Writing Supplement is hosted on the Common Application website or the Coalition Application website. We provide a simple checklist of all the required application materials below. We are not able to accept supplemental materials that don't appear on this checklist. For those applying through QuestBridge, you can find information about the application here.

Applicants must indicate to which program (BFA or Combined Degree BFA+BA/BS) they are applying. 

Application requirements for the BFA or 5-year Combined Degree BFA + BA/BS include: 

  • Completed Application. Common Application, Coalition Application, or QuestBridge Application: 

  • Letters of Recommendation. In addition to your guidance counselor recommendation, BFA applicants must also submit a recommendation from an art teacher. For Combined Degree BFA + BA/BS applicants please submit a recommendation from your art teacher as well as one from a second teacher.

  • Extracurricular Activities. In addition to any other extracurricular involvement, SMFA at Tufts seeks students who are engaged in art-making. Use the ExtraCurricular section to tell us about the ways in which you share your work with the world or access opportunities to try new media. If you have shown your work in your high school or at a local gallery, taken classes outside of your high school, or participated in a pre-college program, tell us about it. 

  • Application fee or waiver.

  • Tufts Writing Supplement. All applicants to Tufts respond to two supplemental prompts. For BFA and Combined Degree BFA + BA/BS applicants, the second prompt will challenge you to reflect specifically on your art practice. If you want to get a head start on your supplemental responses, you can view all Essay Questions on the Tufts Undergraduate Admissions site. 

  • High School Transcript including Senior Grades.

  • Either SAT or ACT scores. We do not require SAT Subject Tests, the SAT Essay, or the writing section of the ACT. We will accept self-reported testing on the Common Application and Coalition Application when students are applying. Students who are admitted and choose to enroll at Tufts will be required to send their official scores.

  • Visual art portfolio. You must submit 15-20 images and/or up to 10 minutes of time-based work. More information on the portfolio requirement below. 

Additional details on application requirements and deadlines for first-year students are available on the Tufts Undergraduate Admissions site


Applicants to the BFA and Combined Degree BFA + BA/BS programs are required to submit a visual art portfolio.  

The ideal portfolio will demonstrate your conceptual development, while highlighting your technical abilities. We encourage you to submit work that you believe to be the strongest representation of your skills and experiences to date, regardless of medium. 

Submit 15-20 images of recent work and/or up to 10 minutes of time-based work.

Allowed Media Types
  • Images (up to 10MB each)
  • Video (up to 500MB each)
  • Audio (up to 60MB each)
  • PDFs (up to 20MB each)
  • 3D Models
  • External media from YouTube, Vimeo, and SoundCloud
How to submit
  • Using the Common Application: you must indicate your plans to submit a portfolio as part of the Tufts application questions. You will see a link to submit your portfolio through SlideRoom at the end of the application; please note, there is a $12 charge to submit your portfolio through SlideRoom. 
  • Using the Coalition or QuestBridge application: visit Tufts SlideRoom to create an account, select the “Non-Common App Visual Arts Portfolio” program, and submit your portfolio.

Important Dates

Application and Portfolio Deadlines

Early Decision I:  November 1
Early Decision II and Regular Decision:  January 1


Early Decision I: Mid-December
Early Decision II:  Mid-February
Regular Decision: April 1

For more information on our Early Decision option, visit the Tufts Undergraduate Admissions site

Financial Aid

Tufts University is proud to meet 100% of the full demonstrated need of all admitted students, for their entire Tufts career. 

Each year, Tufts awards more than $86 million in need-based financial aid. We are serious about making sure that all admitted students can afford a Tufts education. All of our financial aid is awarded on the basis of financial need, as determined through the analysis of family resources on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE,  and family tax returns. For DACA and undocumented students, more information on applying for financial aid as a First-Year Student is available on the Tufts Undergraduate Admissions site.

Financial aid packages may be comprised of a combination of grants, loans, and work study. Grants are awards that do not have to be repaid. Tufts grants are by far the largest source of grant aid received by Tufts undergraduate students, though students also receive grant funds from federal and state programs. 

Admitted students with total family incomes of less than $60,000 typically receive a financial aid package that includes no student loans; their full need will be met with grant funds and work study. All other financial aid recipients will receive student loans as a part of their financial aid package. The standard freshman loan amount is $5,000, but individual loan amounts may range from $500 to $7,000 (maximum). No interest accrues on these loans and no payments are due until after the student graduates or leaves school. Financial aid recipients are usually also offered work study of up to $2000 per year.

Visit the Tufts Undergraduate Admissions site to learn more about applying for aid and tuition & fees


The SMFA at Tufts Admissions Office is located on the Fenway Campus at:

230 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115

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