Bachelor of Fine Arts
A BFA that Goes Beyond Majors.
Explore freely. Challenge convention. Think critically about the role of the artist in society. Without the constraints of traditional majors or a rigid curriculum, our BFA program provides lots of space to experiment and explore. You choose the coursework, faculty, and facilities that interest you and support your artistic development. Build a personally and intellectually rewarding course of study that fosters technical skills and critical thinking, and immerses you in a supportive, collaborative creative community.
"It was important to me that whatever program I found myself in I would have a lot of freedom. I valued the freedom to work in any material I wanted and craft an individualized curriculum that would support my interests."
- NICHOLAS PAPA, BFA '18
Art school is an exciting opportunity to explore like never before—and we’re here to support you every step of the way. Before your first semester begins, you’ll meet with an academic advisor to begin thinking about your creative goals and how SMFA will help you reach them. Together, you’ll assemble a first-year curriculum that allows you to explore new mediums for the first time and dive deeper into areas you already love. You’ll also build important foundational skills through courses in art criticism and theory.
Working outside of the confines of a traditional major (or single medium) means a multiverse of new ways to uncover your creative potential—in all of its many forms. At SMFA, our varied areas of study are a chance to immerse yourself in a specific discipline or explore a range of different creative modes. The result: a truly customized art school experience.
Our open studio curriculum is built on the belief that ideas, not requirements, drive your practice and coursework. The path you create is yours—and it’s how you’ll build your skills, discover new tools, and refine your vision. It’s a unique and customized approach that prepares students for a range of different art careers.
Discover how engagement with the liberal arts and sciences can impact your art—and your worldview. Our BFA program lets you combine intensive studio training with the immersive curriculum and resources of a major research university. Throughout your time here, you'll make the most of courses, faculty, networks, and facilities across our SMFA and Medford/Somerville campuses.
Review boards are an important part of the curriculum at SMFA—they drive students to think critically about their art and the ideas behind it. At each board, you’ll present a semester’s worth of work to a group of faculty and undergraduate student peers. You’ll receive valuable feedback on the work itself, and its underlying concepts and questions. It’s an intense but highly rewarding process that helps you better articulate and refine your artistic vision and direction.
Minors allow BFA students to pursue a secondary field in another academic area to complement their Studio Art program.
Students in their final year are invited to apply to our Senior Thesis Program—an intensive, exciting year-long journey of research, writing, and art making. You’ll work closely with peers, visiting artists, and dedicated faculty who provide guidance and critical feedback as you develop a final public exhibition. It’s perfect preparation for a career in the arts—wherever that journey may take you.
BFA students must complete a total of 76 credits of studio coursework in order to graduate, as well as 42 credits of liberal arts coursework. Within this requirement, you can choose courses that best help you realize your artistic vision and voice. Our academic model provides you with the flexibility to change and grow as a student, an artist, and an individual.
Through her SMFA coursework and an internship at the NYC-based Textile Arts Center, Irene Schechter, BFA ’22, has discovered her passion for textiles.
SMFA helped me for the career that I have today. I do not even think of what I do as a job since I am doing exactly what I want to do every single day.
As the Tufts University Art Galleries Curatorial Fellow, Geovani Cruz, BFA '23, learns about curating firsthand.