An intensive, studio-based education.
As one of SMFA’s flagship programs, the Studio Diploma is an immersive, studio-based art experience for individuals from a wide variety of professional, personal, and academic backgrounds. As a Studio Diploma student, you’ll work alongside a diverse cohort of both Studio Diploma and BFA degree students. You will engage in a studio-only curriculum that includes rigorous review boards where you'll present your work to a panel of faculty and fellow students each semester.
Through a deep concentration in studio practice, you'll develop and enhance your creative capabilities, further your understanding of the landscapes of both canonical and contemporary art, and acquire practical skills that are invaluable in navigating the professional art world.
At the heart of the Studio Diploma Program is the Seminar, a four-semester course that provides intensive individual guidance, mentoring, and individual and group critique. The Seminar will push you to advance your art-making, as well as teach you presentation and research techniques, planning, and self-assessment skills. You'll build a studio practice that links work across various mediums, and become part of a community of artists who support and inspire each other.
The Diploma Program Seminar is required in the first four consecutive semesters of study. Its goals are to support you to:
- Advance your art-making
- Learn practical presentation and research techniques
- Build planning and self-assessment skills
- Develop an integrated studio practice that links work across various mediums
- Join a collaborative cohort of program peers who will work together to help one another progress toward each of your individual goals
As a Studio Diploma student you will choose your courses from the entire undergraduate BFA studio curriculum, with courses ranging from figure drawing to performance art to virtual reality. With the exception of the Studio Diploma Seminar, the program does not offer separate, Diploma-only classes. Instead you'll work alongside our BFA and MFA students, which means that you will collaborate with a wide cross-section of students.
View BFA Studio courses
Like our undergraduate and graduate students, Studio Diploma students explore mediums and disciplines from across our areas of study.
Learn about Areas of Study
Like BFA students, Studio Diploma students participate in review boards at the end of each semester. These boards will help you to articulate your ideas, see the relationship between individual pieces and your larger body of work, and develop a critical dialogue around your work as a whole.
Explore BFA Review Boards
Each Diploma student is given an individual studio work space in SMFA's Mission Hill Building, located at 160 Saint Alphonsus Street. This provides an essential space for you to develop your practice outside of classes and seminars. At our Mission Hill Building, students from across SMFA programs build connections, develop relationships, and inspire each other.
As a capstone experience, you will undertake a semester-long independent project that you will conceive, plan, and arrange in consultation with your faculty advisor. This body of work will form the basis for a public exhibition at SMFA. In addition, you will write about your creative process, progress, and experience mounting the exhibition.
The Studio Diploma is entirely studio-based, which means you will not take liberal arts and sciences academic courses. Instead, you'll work with faculty members to select studio courses from the full suite of offerings available to BFA students, choosing coursework based on your background, interests, and artistic goals.
You can pursue the diploma full-time or part-time; full-time students complete the program in 2.5 years, and part-time students have 5 years to complete the program.
The 2019-2020 program costs for full-time study are as follows:
Tuition - $40,938 (annual)
Mandatory Health Service Fee - $872
Health Insurance - $3,260 (unless waived)
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.
Part-time study must be approved by the Studio Diploma program director and SMFA Dean of Advising. Tuition is billed on a per-credit basis.
There is no institutional, state, or federal aid available for this program.
Applications for the Studio Diploma program are reviewed on a rolling basis. Once admitted, students can start in either the fall or spring semester.
Students interested in the program must complete our online application via Slideroom. This application includes:
- a statement of purpose
- an academic or professional CV
- one to two letters of recommendation
- a portfolio consisting of at least 10 images
There is a $35 application fee to apply. Payment is completed online when you submit your application. Note: applicants must have obtained a minimum of high school diploma or GED.
Once your completed application is received, our office will be in contact you within 2-3 weeks to set up time for an interview with the program director. This interview can be held in person or via phone. Students are notified of admission decisions within one week of their interview.
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. Learn more about the process for requesting visa documents on the Tufts International Center website.
Please consult our frequently asked questions for more information on the Studio Diploma program.
For questions regarding the program's curriculum
For questions regarding the application process, or to schedule an interview or tour of SMFA facilities and studios, contact the Office of Continuing Education at 617-627-0057 or SMFAce@tufts.edu.