Studio Diploma

The Studio Diploma program offers a rare opportunity to combine a traditional approach with 21st-century skills and an interdisciplinary process. The program is completely studio-based and there are no academic course requirements.  

The Studio Diploma program lets you create a schedule that suits your life – you may attend part or full time.  Full-time students can complete the program in five semesters. 

As a student, you will be part of a cohort of peers, and will benefit from professional artist mentors and an artist seminar. You will learn how to prepare for life as a practicing artist, to navigate the professional art world, and to manage the business of art.  

An important legacy

Since its inception, the Studio Diploma has been one of SMFA’s core programs, and remains central to our philosophy of interdisciplinary art education. The program is one of four college-level programs at SMFA, and has produced many important and well-known contemporary artists. Intended for people who desire a concentrated, specialized education, the program leads to an independent, professional art practice.

The Studio Diploma Program is designed for the lifelong learner, allowing for flexibility and an intensive studio instruction and practice. Applicants must have obtained a minimum of high school diploma or GED. 

Applicants are evaluated and chosen through a full review of their art portfolios and credentials. The program may be completed in five semesters by those matriculating full time, or longer for part-time students.

Required Courses 

For their studio coursework, Diploma students may choose from the entire undergraduate curriculum. Courses are selected in consultation with the program director and faculty and academic advisors, with the objective of establishing essential competence in a range of core mediums. Additional courses are selected based on individual preference for specialization and advanced expertise in a given area. 

Key Components

Diploma Program Seminar. Required in the first four consecutive semesters, the seminar serves as the center of the certificate program. The course provides intensive individual guidance, mentoring, and individualized and group critique. Students form a strong cohort, working together to help each other progress toward their individual goals. 

Seminar benefits:

  • Learn practical presentation and research skills

  • Build planning and self-assessment strategies

  • Develop an integrated studio practice that links work across various mediums

  • Form a strong, collaborative cohort of your program peers

Other Program Requirements. By the end of the program, each student completes a semester-long independent project, conceived, planned, and arranged individually in consultation with faculty.  This body of work forms the basis for a solo show in the SMFA Gallery. The student exhibits their work, along with a written presentation of their creative process, their progress, and their experience mounting an exhibition.


Contact us for additional information, or to schedule an interview or tour of SMFA facilities and studios.