Certificate Programs

Studio Diploma Program

The Studio Diploma is the SMFA’s original core program. It has produced generations of important artists and it epitomizes our philosophy of interdisciplinary art education.

The Studio Diploma program is designed for students who want a concentrated, specialized art education in preparation for sustaining an independent, professional art practice. The program offers a rare opportunity to combine an exploratory approach to art with a rigorous education in 21st-century skills. This interdisciplinary program is completely studio-based: there are no non-studio course requirements.

As a student, you will be part of a cohort of peers and will benefit from professional artist mentors and a Diploma seminar. You will learn how to prepare for life as a practicing artist, to navigate the professional art world, and to manage the business of art.

Full-time Diploma students can complete the program in five semesters. Studio Diploma also lets you create a schedule that suits your life: if you wish you may attend part-time—as many of our successful graduates have done.

Who Should Apply
The Studio Diploma Program is designed for the lifelong learner. Some of our applicants attend the program right out of high school; others are mid- or late-career professionals interested in exploring a new path. The mix of students, each of whom brings a unique experience to the cohort, is one of the most exciting aspects of the program.

Applicants are evaluated and chosen through a full review of their art portfolios and credentials. The program may be completed in five semesters by students who attend full-time; part-time study is also an option.

Required Courses
Diploma students may are eligible to take all courses in the undergraduate studio art curriculum. They select courses in consultation with the program director and other faculty advisors, who encourage them to establish competence in a range of core media and to aim at developing advanced expertise in a chosen area.

Diploma Program Seminar
The seminar serves as the center of the Studio Diploma program. Students form a strong cohort, working together to help each other progress toward their individual goals. Students learn practical presentation and research skills; how to plan projects and to engage in self-assessment; and how to develop an integrated studio practice across various media and techniques.

Other Program Requirements 
After completing half of the total required credits, a student becomes eligible to do a semester-long independent project. Each project is conceived, planned, and arranged individually in consultation with faculty. The body of work that emerges forms the basis for a show in the SMFA Gallery. Students mount an exhibition of their work and give talks on their creative process.

Gainful Employment

Summary of Consumer Information for Students for 3 year program
Summary of Consumer Information for Students for 4 year program

If you have questions about whether the Studio Diploma program is right for you, please contact   studentservices@tufts.edu or 617-627-2000. Thank you.

Graphic Design & Illustration Certificate Programs

SMFA's certificate programs in graphic design and illustration provide credentials that represent proficiency and skill, leading toward a career in either graphic design or illustration. With the guidance of an advisor, you will construct a highly personalized path of study to achieve your artistic and creative potential.

Certificate programs are intended for students with limited formal training in art and design, as well as for those with a fine arts background or experience in their field. Consisting of five required and five elective courses, each program may be completed in two years of part-time study or one year of full-time study.

Fundamental courses in design and illustration enable you to begin building your portfolio and to develop new creative skills. The flexible, multi-disciplinary education offered at SMFA allows you to select electives from the wide range of studio courses offered each term. There is no deadline to apply to the certificate programs and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.


Graphic Design Program of Study
The certificate program in Graphic Design provides you with the practical and theoretical skills of a design professional. Throughout the program, you will work alongside a team of faculty with extensive teaching experience and recognition in their field.

Required Courses
Fundamentals of 2-D Design (offered as Graphic Design Fundamentals in Summer 2017)
Beginning Graphic Design
Introduction to Typography
Intermediate Graphic Design
Visualizing Information

Suggested Elective Courses
Digital Photography I
Graphic Novel
Illustrator as Designer
Introduction to Photoshop
Introduction to Illustrator
Introduction to Adobe Illustrator
Introduction to Digital and Experimental Animation
Introduction to Web Design
Portfolio Prep for Illustrators and Designers
Screenprinting: The Whole Story
Introduction to Woodcut/Monoprint
Introduction to Intaglio and Etching

Illustration Program of Study
The certificate program in Illustration provides you with a solid foundation in the basic practical and theoretical skills of illustration. You may choose to focus on a particular aspect of illustration—commercial illustration, computer illustration, animation, book illustration—or you may acquire general skills to be used in a wide variety of activities within the field.

Required Courses
Illustration: An Introduction
Fundamentals of 2-D Design
Drawing for Illustrators and Narrative Realists
Illustrator as Designer
Intermediate Illustration

Suggested Elective Courses
Anatomy: Skeleton
Color Theory for Artists, Designers, and the Color Curious
Digital Photography I
Illustrating Children's Books: Beginning to Intermediate
Graphic Novel
Introduction to Adobe Illustrator
Introduction to Typography
Visualizing Information
Lithography: Nuts and Bolts
Portfolio Prep for Illustrators and Designers
Screenprinting: The Whole Story

Apply + FAQ

How do I apply to a Graphic Design/Illustration Certificate Program?

Applicants apply to either the Graphic Design or Illustration Program by completing an application. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and there is no deadline to apply. Completed applications may be sent via email to smfaCE@tufts.edu. They can also be mailed to the Office of Continuing Education, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, 230 Fenway, Boston, MA 02155. The application fee for a Certificate Program is $25 and checks should be made out to "Trustees of Tufts College" or can be paid via credit card in person at the Student Service desk at the SMFA.

How do I register for courses once enrolled in a Graphic Design/Illustration Certificate Program?

Registration for certificate courses may be done online via http://www.smfa.edu/register. To see available courses, please view our  Summer 2017 courses .

What courses must I take to complete a Graphic Design/Illustration Certificate?

Each program consists of ten courses: five required courses and five elective courses. A variety of these courses are offered in the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Can I start taking classes at the SMFA before I apply to a Graphic Design/Illustration Certificate and transfer the classes toward the certificate?

Yes. You do not need to apply to a certificate program before you begin taking Continuing Education classes. If you start taking classes and later decide to apply to a certificate program and are accepted, you will be able to transfer any classes you have already taken toward the certificate.

How long will it take me to complete a Graphic Design/Illustration Certificate Program?

Students usually complete the program in one and a half to three years by taking one to two courses per semester (including the summer). We also offer an option to complete the program in one year with full-time study.

What is the total tuition fee to complete a Graphic Design/Illustration Certificate?

Based on current per course tuition rates, enrollment and registration fees, we estimate the Certificate program requires approximately $9,750 to complete, including all ten courses, registration and application fees. Students in our graphic design and illustration certificate programs register for our continuing education level, noncredit classes. These classes count towards their certificate provided they are enrolled in a certificate program. 

If you have questions about whether the Graphic Design/Illustration Certificate program is right for you, please contact the Continuing Education Department at smfaCE@tufts.edu and 617-627-0057. Thank you.