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A self-directed course of study that prepares you to create with purpose.

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.

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"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

First-Year Experience

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. 

Learn about the first-year experience

Areas of Study

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. 

Explore areas of study

Studio Courses

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.

Explore studio courses

Liberal Arts & Sciences

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 liberal arts curriculum of a major research university. Throughout your time here, you can curate and deepen your studies by making the most of courses, faculty, and resources from across our SMFA and Medford/Somerville campuses.

Explore arts and sciences

Review Boards

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.

Learn more about Review Boards

Senior Thesis Program & Exhibition

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.

Learn more about the Senior Thesis

Graduation Requirements

BFA students must complete a total of 76 semester hour units of studio coursework in order to graduate, as well as 42 semester hour units 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.

See all requirements

Todd Hiddo

Alumni Q&A: Todd Hiddo, BFA '91

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.