Requirements for Graduation: Arts and Sciences BFA

Degree Requirements

There are three requirements for a Arts and Sciences BFA at the SMFA at Tufts University. You must:

  1. Earn a minimum of 120 credits.
  2. Complete 76 credits of studio coursework and 42 credits of Arts and Sciences Distribution requirements.
  3. Satisfy the residency requirement of eight full-time semesters, according to the stipulations outlined in The Bulletin.

Distribution Requirements

Writing Requirement

Writing is fundamental to an undergraduates arts education. All BFA students are required to take two semesters of college writing in order to graduate. You should complete this requirement in your first year except under extraordinary circumstances. Most students complete this requirement by taking English 1 or English 3 in the first semester or English 2 or Philosophy 2 in the second semester.

History of Art

All BFA students are required to take five courses (at least 3 credits each) in the History of Art as part of their academic requirements. In their first semester, first-time BFA students take Introduction to Visual and Critical Studies. The other four courses in the History of Art requirement can be satisfied by completing courses in the Visual & Critical Studies department based on the SMFA campus or in the Art History department based on the Medford campus.


There are a variety of ways the Language/Culture requirement can be satisfied including: Foreign Language study or study of a specific culture through courses taught in English. Please consult with the SMFA Advising team regarding courses that satisfy this requirement.


The BFA Science/Technology requirement can be satisfied by any course that satisfies the Mathematics or Natural Science requirement for Arts and Sciences students. On SIS, students should look under the AS-Natural Science or AS-Mathematics course attribute to find out what courses satisfy the Science/Technology requirement.

In addition to the above distribution requirements, students must also complete 1 full-credit course in the Social Sciences and Humanities as well as 3 Arts and Sciences elective courses, which can be any academic course offered on either the Fenway and Medford campus. One Arts and Sciences elective requirement can be satisfied by an art history course either through the Visual and Critical Studies department on the SMFA campus of the Art History department on the Medford campus.

BFA Degree Requirements Outline

Studio Requirements

  • Studio Art -76 credits

Academic Requirements

  • Art History - 15 credits
  • English I and II - 6 credits
  • Humanities - 3 credits
  • Social Science - 3 credits
  • Language/Culture - 3 credits
  • Science/Technology - 3 credits
  • Electives - 9 credits

Review Boards

The Review Board is an essential aspect of the SMFA experience. At the Review Board, students engage in a conversation about their work with faculty and students, which often provides the basis for the student's revision of his or her own artistic aims.

The process affords students and faculty the opportunity to think about the art at hand as the effect of an organic creative process, rather than as a set of isolated pieces created in different classes. By seeing the semester's work as a whole, faculty and students at the Review Board are able to recognize the explicit and implicit relationships between the pieces presented. This ability to understand the work, where the context is determined by the artist, allows the Review Board participants to draw out the work's organizing questions, ideas and aims that might not have been readily apparent. This experience furthermore provides an opportunity for students to articulate and understand more fully the integration of their research-based practices with their studio projects, and to that end often involves Visual and Critical Studies faculty.

By requiring that students experience the Review Board at the end of each semester, SMFA helps students to cultivate the ability to articulate their own artistic direction and questions, to evaluate their needs and achievements and to theorize and plan their own development as an artist. The Review Board is one of the most valuable and unique experiences at SMFA, an experience very much in line with the school's mission as a teaching institution devoted to cultivating the artist as intellectual, as interdisciplinary-informed and, above all, as self-directed.

Need Help Completing Your Degree Audit Worksheet?

We've created a new "Degree Progress" tool in SISFind how to use this new tool!

Student Degree Audit: Phase Two

Phase Two of the Student Degree Audit software is live effective October 28, 2019. This release includes an Academic Planner, a Scheduler Builder that allows students to put courses from their plan or degree audit into their SIS shopping cart, and a feature so that students and Advisors can communicate within the Degree Audit interface. Phase Two also includes Degree Roadmaps for the School of Engineering.

The Registrar has developed training documents to help students familiarize themselves with this new release of the Student Degree Audit. We encourage all students to review these resources: 

Who's on My Advising Team?

Meet the advising team at the SMFA at Tufts.

BFA Advising Team

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