Studio Diploma

The Studio Diploma program is designed for students who want a concentrated, specialized art education in preparation for sustaining an independent, professional art practice. The program offers an exceptional opportunity to combine an exploratory approach to art with a rigorous education in 21st-century skills. This program is completely studio-based: there are no non-studio course requirements.

As a student, you will be part of a cohort of peers and will benefit from professional artist mentors and a program 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 intensive studio instruction and practice. Applicants must have obtained a minimum of high school diploma or GED. 

Required Courses 

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

Key Components

Diploma Program Seminar. The seminar serves as the center of the certificate program and is required in the first four consecutive semesters of study. The course provides intensive individual guidance, mentoring, and both individual and group critique. Students form a strong cohort, working together to help one another 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 an exhibition opportunity at the SMFA. 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.