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Our goal at SMFA is to help you deepen and broaden your unique artistic journey through a personalized program of study. And this starts from day one.


Before your first semester starts, you’ll begin working with your academic advisor. They are here to learn about your experiences and goals and connect you to the courses, faculty, and studio and academic resources that support your ambitions.

While many students come to SMFA with a strong technical foundation in one or more mediums and are eager to jump into more conceptually and technically challenging studio courses, other students are choosing studio courses in their first year that will help them to build foundational skills in the mediums of their choosing or introduce them to methods of making they’ve never explored before. In addition to studio courses, most students will take English and Introduction to Visual & Material Studies in the first semester to build written communication skills and a contextual understanding of art history and contemporary practice, which they will expand during their program.

At the end of each semester, you’ll participate in a Review Board where you’ll work with faculty and peers to discuss your developing body of research and work as a whole to help clarify your next steps. Throughout your four years you’ll build on the relationship with your advisor as they help to track your degree progression and make sure your courses are meeting your individual needs, find creative solutions with your faculty members as they work alongside you in the studio, gain mentorship from studio managers who are helping you complete projects and expand your technical competencies, form enduring bonds through collaboration with your peers, and build professional experience with the assistance of our career services staff who are specialists in the arts.

No matter which path you forge through your self-curated curriculum, you will meet artistic challenges, develop relationships with mentors, collaborate with other artists, and look beyond the scope of your work to see art in its broader context.

Suggested Semester Course Load for First-Year BFA Students

2-4 Studio Courses 8 SHUs*
English 1 3 SHUs
Introduction to Visual & Material Studies or another intro level art history 3 SHUs
Total 14 SHUs

*Semester Hour Units (SHUs) is the credit-hour system used by Tufts and most universities in the United States.