Continuing Education Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question not on this list? Send us an email at smfaCE@tufts.edu.

Certificate Programs

If I am considering applying to a certificate program, do I need to apply and wait to hear back before I register for classes?

No. You can take classes individually before deciding to apply to one of our certificate programs, and we encourage you to try a class first if you are unsure about applying. Any classes that you take with us can be counted toward your certificate program, should you apply/be accepted.

What does the certificate program consist of?

The Graphic Design certificate program consists of ten courses from our Continuing Education curriculum and five required courses and five electives chosen from a pre-approved list. The Illustration certificate program consists of four required courses and six electives chosen from a pre-approved list.

What do the different credit options mean? Do I need to take courses for credit?

Courses are offered with two credit options, undergraduate credit and noncredit. Certificate students should select the “Non-Credit: Auditor” option. Please note that workshops cannot be counted toward a certificate program (see below).

How competitive are admissions? Do I need a bachelor’s degree to apply?

Our programs are designed to welcome students of all experiences and backgrounds. We evaluate applications to ensure that our students have goals in mind for what they want to accomplish in their personal, artistic and professional development via our programs.

You do not need to have a bachelor’s degree to apply to our certificate programs. However, you are required to have completed high school or a GED.

How do I apply? Is there a deadline?

Students can apply to a certificate program at any time. Admissions are rolling and students can begin taking classes at the start of the next upcoming semester (or prior to application; see above).

Apply to the Illustration Certificate here.

Apply to the Graphic Design Certificate here.

There is a $35 application fee payable in the online application form. We cannot offer fee waivers.

The application requires you to submit a statement of purpose, background academic/professional history, and 2-5 images of your work that are relevant to the certificate you are applying to.

How long do the Graphic Design and Illustration certificate programs take?

Most of our students complete their certificate program in two to three years. It is rare, but possible, to complete the certificate in one year (three semesters) by taking four courses each in fall and spring and two courses in the summer. Most students choose to take two or three classes a semester and complete their certificate program in approximately five semesters.

Although we do not have a time limit to complete the certificate, students who are taking classes toward a certificate over a period of more than five years should contact the CE office and the programs’ academic advisor to discuss their academic progress. Courses taken more than five years before your program completion date require approval.

How much do the Graphic Design and Illustration certificate programs cost?

Students in one of our certificate programs pay tuition on a per-course basis. 2018-2019 per-course tuition is $975 during the fall and spring semesters. At this rate, the ten courses required to complete a certificate program would cost $9750 in total. The per-course tuition rate may be subject to future change. There is also a one-time application fee of $35, payable online in the application form.

Note: Tuition is higher for courses taken during the summer session and there is a $65 one-time registration fee. If students choose to take courses in the summer, the total cost of a certificate program would rise accordingly. There are no required certificate program courses that are offered exclusively in the summer term, so students always have the option to take courses during only fall and spring terms. However, some students prefer the shorter timeframe of summer classes (twice weekly for 5.5 weeks in summer, versus once weekly for 14 weeks).

Please note that course tuition, and the above estimated total cost of the Graphic Design or Illustration certificate program, does not include the cost of class materials and supplies.

We do not offer financial aid for the Graphic Design or Illustration certificate programs.

I am an international student – can I apply?

Tufts is unable to sponsor or support F-1 visas for students enrolled in our Graphic Design or Illustration certificate programs.

We don’t require TOEFL or IELTS scores for admission to certificate programs. All classes are conducted in English and students are expected to demonstrate basic knowledge of English in their application materials.

International students are welcome to take our classes and apply to our certificate programs.

Studio Diploma

Can I have more information about the Studio Diploma program?

The Studio Diploma is an entirely studio-based certificate program. Students choose their coursework from the BFA curriculum of studio courses. The Studio Diploma program differs from the BFA in that there are no academic (liberal arts & sciences) distribution requirements. Studio Diploma students choose their courses and overall path of study with an academic advisor based on their individual artistic goals, background, and objectives. One of the program’s most distinctive features is that the course of study is entirely student-directed and students can take full advantage of the SMFA’s highly interdisciplinary curriculum.

How many credits are needed to complete the program and what are the requirements?

Tufts uses the term “semester hour units” or “SHUs” to describe course credit hours. The Studio Diploma program consists of 68 credits.

Students are required to take the Diploma Seminar (2 SHUs per semester) every semester in Years One and Two and the final project consists of 4 SHUs.  Students complete the other SHUs via studio coursework see above.

The program can be completed in about 2.5 years with full-time enrollment and must be completed within 5 years with part-time enrollment.

How do I apply? Is there a deadline?

Students can matriculate into the program in the fall or the spring. We have rolling admissions.

There is a $35 fee payable with the application. We cannot offer waivers or financial aid for the fee.

The application requires you to submit a statement of purpose, background academic/professional history, and a portfolio consisting of at least 10 images.

Can I use CE classes toward the Studio Diploma?

Course credits for the Studio Diploma need to be taken from the BFA curriculum; diploma students cannot take CE courses for program credit.

How much does the program cost?

As of 2018-2019, these are the program costs for full-time study:

Tuition - $39,402 (annual)
Comprehensive fees - $725 
Health Insurance - $2,750 (unless waived)
Housing - N/A
Dining - Visit the dining website for details.

Tuition is charged on a semester basis; $19,701 in tuition plus $725 in student fees (full-time study).

Students are required to have health insurance and will be charged the health insurance fee or must provide proof of outside insurance.

Housing is not provided.

Is financial aid available for this program?

There is no institutional, state, or federal aid available for this program.

Can I take courses part-time or full-time? Can I take time off?

The Studio Diploma program is designed to be flexible to meet students’ needs. Students can choose full-time (approximately 14 credits/semester) or part-time (approximately 8 credits/semester) study and there is flexibility to switch from one to the other. Full-time students can complete the program in 2.5 years, whereas part-time students have up to 5 years to complete the program.

Taking a temporary leave from the program needs to be discussed with academic advisors.

I am an international student. What type of Visa do I need?

Students in the Studio Diploma program are eligible for student visa support from Tufts University. Please see the Tufts University International Center for more information.

International students who have been admitted to the program must submit their visa document applications by June 30 for a fall start date and by November 30 for spring class start date. F-1 visas can only be issued to students who are enrolled in a full-time program.

For international students currently on an F-1 visa, their SEVIS record can be transferred to Tufts prior to the beginning of the program. To learn about the process for requesting a visa document, visit the Tufts International Center website.


What are some reasons to choose the Studio Diploma?

Some of our students choose the studio diploma because: they already have a BFA; they do not need or want to take academic distribution requirements; they want a flexible program that can be taken part-time or full-time and customized to individual goals; the unique cohort experience; small program size.

How can I decide if the Studio Diploma, BFA, or Post-Bac is right for me?

If you want to learn more about which program might be right for you, please reach out to us and we can connect you with staff in our Admissions and Advising departments to help you understand your options. The Post-Bac and BFA programs are managed through the SMFA Admissions Office.


How do I register for CE classes?

Browse our available classes, select the class of your choice, and click "Register." 

You will be directed to our class registration and enrollment platform. You’ll need to create a student profile in order to sign up for classes.

Follow the payment process instructions, register and pay for the class or classes of your choice.

You’ll be enrolled in the class of your choice. Shortly after registration, you will be added to certain Tufts University systems and will receive automatically sent notification emails.

If you already have an account, you can log on here to browse course listings and register for classes.

Troubleshooting/common issues:

We are using a new online course registration platform, DestinyOne, as of March, 2018. You cannot use your Tufts username and password to log into DestinyOne at this time, so you will need to create a new student account.

For current students who are familiar with SIS (Tufts University’s Student Information System), the new platform is different from SIS in that SIS manages course records and enrollments, while DestinyOne is used for initial registration & payment for visiting students. It makes registration and payment easier and more flexible, and facilitates student drop or transfer requests more easily.

How can I get a Tufts ID?

Students need to show a valid Tufts ID or drivers’ license to access the building at all times. If you are taking a semester length, credit bearing course (even if you are not taking it for credit) you will be sent an email with instructions for activating your Tufts username and password. After you have activated your username and password, you can log into our ID photo upload site, https://picasso.publicsafety.tufts.edu, and upload a passport-style photo. There are detailed instructions about the type of photo required. Your ID will be printed here at the SMFA and you can pick it up when you arrive at the building for class. You will need some form of identification (such as a state ID, drivers’ license or passport) to collect your Tufts ID.

If you have taken a class with us before, your Tufts student ID will remain valid and you do not need to get a new one.

I can't activate my Tufts online account. Who can I contact for help?

If you’re having trouble activating your Tufts online account (username and password), contact it@tufts.edu or call Tufts Technology Services at 617-627-3376 for support, 24 hours a day/seven days a week.

I received a strange email from BankMobile after I registered. Is it a scam?

Once you register for a class, you will be automatically enrolled in Tufts systems. You will begin to receive emails from some of these systems within a few days, including an email from BankMobile, a bank that processes refunds for Tufts in the event a refund is necessary. When you receive an email from BankMobile, do not worry, we know you have not requested a refund. Tufts automatically enrolls all admitted students in BankMobile just in case the need arises. If you have any questions or concerns about these emails, please contact our office or email Tufts Student Services at studentservices@tufts.edu.

What discounts do you offer?

We offer Tufts and SMFA alumni a 10% (summer) or $100 (fall and spring) discount off the price of all full-length courses. Select the “Non-Credit: Alumni Auditor (SMFA Courses)” course fee option when you check out.

We offer a community audit discount to: veterans; members of the Mission Hill community (residents of zip code 02120); educators in Boston public schools; and early interventionists working in Boston. Select the “Non-Credit: Auditor (Community Auditor)” course fee option when you check out.

How can I drop a class or workshop and what is your refund policy?

Students who wish to withdraw must do so before the second class meeting in order to receive a full refund. To drop a class, please log in to your account here.

Once logged in select “my enrollment history” from the left side nav. Under “enrolled courses" you should see the course you wish to drop. On the right side next to the course is a button “request drop”. Click “request drop” and this will initiate the process of dropping the class and issuing a refund to the card you used to pay. Please monitor your credit card statement for your refund, which you should see within 2 weeks.

Why do courses cost more during the summer?

During the summer term, we offer our CE classes as part of the Tufts University Summer Session. There is a unified price structure for all summer courses in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering.

What is the difference between courses and workshops?

Full-length courses are classes that have approximately 39+ hours of in-class time and meet over the length of a full semester or full summer session. Courses can be counted towards certificate programs, and can be taken by Tufts undergraduates for degree program credit.

Workshops have 35 or fewer hours of in-class time and are offered exclusively on a noncredit basis. Workshops cannot be counted toward certificate programs.

Can I take a course for undergraduate credit?

Yes, if you choose to take a course for credit please select the Undergraduate Credit option when you check out. If you are a visiting student from another university and intending to transfer the credits from your SMFA CE course into a degree program elsewhere, we recommend you check your school’s transfer of credit policies before you register.

Do you offer graduate level credit?


Are your classes suitable for au pairs seeking educational credits?

Yes, our courses and workshops can be appropriate for au pair program educational credits. However, we always advise you to check with your agency or sponsor to be certain that our class will qualify for what you need.

I’m a Tufts employee, how do I register?

Tufts employees can register using the Tufts Tuition Remission program

Only full-length courses are eligible for the Tuition Remission program. Tuition remission can’t be used to cover workshop tuition for CE workshops, or for the SMFA Studio Art Pre-College Summer Intensive.

Tufts employees must wait until the first day the class meets to be officially registered into the course, and registration will be approved only if space is available in the course at that time.

Contact Tufts Support Services with any questions about tuition remission eligibility.

I’m an MFA employee, how do I register?

MFA employees should obtain a registration form from the MFA HR office. Please contact Kevin Cotter at KCotter@mfa.org to obtain the form and instructions for submission.

Note: Continuing Education will no longer accept registrations in person or by email from students. All registrations must be sent to MFA HR, they will verify and send your information to us. MFA employees will be enrolled if there is space available on the first day the class meets and will receive confirmation of enrollment on or before the first day of class. Questions about your registration should be directed to Janet Sartor at Janet.Sartor@tufts.edu

I am in an SMFA degree program, can I take a CE class?

Students in SMFA degree programs (BFA, Post-Bac, MFA, or Studio Diploma) are currently not able to take CE classes for studio credit.

Do you accept AmeriCorps educational grants (or other types of education grants) as a form of tuition payment?

Yes! To register and use an AmeriCorps education grant, you’ll need to fill out the Tuition Waiver/Voucher/AmeriCorps Registration Form which you can get by writing smfaCE@tufts.edu. You will be registered for your course(s) of choice, which will generate a tuition charge in your Tufts student account. Then, you can log in to the My AmeriCorps portal and make a payment request to Tufts University for the amount of the tuition charge, which we’ll apply to your account to cover the balance.

AmeriCorps grants can be used toward the tuition payment for both courses and workshops.

For other types of educational grants, please email us with details about your situation.

The class I want to sign up for is full, what should I do?

You can add yourself to a class’s waitlist in our course registration platform (see above instructions for registration). If you’re registering with the Waiver/Voucher Registration Form, or if the class waitlist is already full, email smfaCE@tufts.edu with your name, the name of the class you want to be on the waitlist for, and any classes you’re already taking that semester (if applicable).

Are there any prerequisites for classes?

Only a few of our courses have prerequisites, and these are stated in the course descriptions. Each class description includes its level. If you have questions about a specific class, feel free to contact the instructor directly; faculty contact information can be found by clicking on the instructor’s name in a class description or on the SMFA website. Or, email smfaCE@tufts.edu to be connected with a faculty member. In some cases, prerequisites can be waived with instructor approval.

What do the class levels mean?

“Introductory” means that students with zero experience in the given area, or with art, should feel comfortable taking the class. “Beginner” classes are designed for students without experience in the class’s topic, but students may be best served by some general familiarity with the types of tools or media used in the class, or previous exposure to art. In "all-levels" classes, our instructors are experienced working with students of all backgrounds and levels. Our "all-levels" classes often include students who have never taken a class from us before, as well as students who have taken that particular class multiple times.

If you have questions about whether a particular class is right for you, we encourage you to reach out to the instructor. Instructor contact information is available by clicking on the instructor’s name in a class description or on the SMFA website. Or, email smfaCE@tufts.edu to be connected with a faculty member.

Where are your classes held?

All of our classes take place at the SMFA main building at 230 Fenway, Boston MA 02115.

Do you offer any online classes?

No, we do not offer any classes online.

Current Students

Can I come to the SMFA and work outside of my class period?

Yes, you can access the SMFA building any time during regular building hours (see our Dates and Policies page) with your Tufts ID. (If you are a workshop student without a Tufts ID who would like to access the building to work, please contact us.) Continuing Education students are able to use the SMFA library and other Tufts libraries but do not have borrowing privileges. Library hours can be found on the SMFA website. For access to particular shops, classrooms or spaces, please consult the individual shop you want access to.

I want to sign up for a locker, or have a problem with my locker, who should I contact?

Student Affairs manages lockers and locker registration; you can contact them at SMFAstudentaffairs@tufts.edu or call 617-627-0050 during 9-5 business hours. Visit their website for more locker information

Lockers are free on a first-come, first-serve basis and are signed out for the September-May academic year. For lockers in the summertime, contact smfaCE@tufts.edu.

How can I get a copy of my transcript?

To get an official transcript sent to yourself or another recipient, fill out the Transcript Request Form on the Registrar’s website.

To get your unofficial transcript, if you have a Tufts username and password, you can log in to SIS to view your unofficial transcript. If you don’t have a Tufts login, send an email to smfaCE@tufts.edu with your request. Please include your name, any previous names used while you were at SMFA, as well as your birthday (month/day) as an identifier. We will email you your unofficial transcript as a PDF.

I need a copy of my transcript that shows a workshop I took. How can I get a copy?

Workshops and all noncredit-only offerings do not appear on Tufts University transcripts. If you need documentation that you completed a workshop at SMFA please write us at smfaCE@tufts.edu.