Certificate Programs

Studio Diploma Program
An art program for the aspiring artist.

SMFA's Studio Diploma program offers you the rare opportunity to pursue your creative vision your way, on your time.

The Studio Diploma program reflects SMFA's longstanding commitment to the tradition of studio practice as the core of an artist's experience, combined with a wide range of 21st-century skills and an interdisciplinary approach.

Students receive an immersive, innovative learning experience that's entirely studio art focused—there are no academic course requirements. Students in the program are able to create a manageable schedule that fits their lifestyle, through day, evening, weekend and summer courses. The Studio Diploma program offers a full-time, five-semester track to completion or a part-time track, depending on the needs of each student's schedule.

The Studio Diploma program provides solid cohort building, professional artists mentors and an artist seminar, available for all students whether full or part-time. Students in the program learn how to prepare for life outside of school, through a curriculum that teaches them not only how to navigate the professional art world, but also how to manage the business aspects of an independent art practice.

For additional information on required credits, program details, and other frequently asked questions, please consult the Studio Diploma information sheet, or contact SMFA Admissions at 617-369-3626 or admissions@smfa.edu.

The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate is a one-year program that offers intensive studio art study and practice, closely advised and supported by SMFA faculty. The program is ideal for students who have completed a bachelor's degree and want to immerse themselves in rigorous studio art-making. Whether you have recently graduated or are changing careers, the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate also provides excellent preparation for graduate study in art or for professional practice as an artist.

The Post-Baccalaureate program attracts applicants from a wide range of backgrounds. Some Post-Baccalaureate students are recent college graduates seeking a year of intensive studio education before beginning independent work as artists. Others come to initiate professional art practice after working in a different field. Still others are working artists who seek to expand their skills or explore new media.

Why the Post-Baccalaureate Program?
Completion of the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate prepares students for a variety of paths. Some go on to graduate degree programs, such as the MFA, many others participate as fellows in professional artists' residencies. Whether immediately or after further formal study, most graduates sustain professional practice as artists.

Program Benefits:

Intensive time in the studio
With a curriculum of courses chosen almost entirely by yourself, your Post-Baccalaureate year allows you to immerse yourself in your studio work. You may choose to focus on one medium—or explore media across the curriculum. The choices are many: The Museum School offers an average of 275 studio courses each year.

A focus on contemporary art
Post-Baccalaureate students actively engage the contemporary art world through field trips and dialogue with visiting artists. Readings, gallery visits, and class discussions focus on contemporary art—and examine how each student's art fits into that historical context.

Studio space
Each Post-Baccalaureate student has the use of a semi-private studio space in the Mission Hill building, a short walk from the SMFA's main building and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. For most of the semester, students have 24-hour access to studio spaces and facilities.

A close-knit community
Post-Baccalaureate students develop a sense of camaraderie as they work closely with one another and with faculty in weekly seminars, in joint and individual critiques of artwork, and in discussions of students' development and needs.

Certificate Requirements:

The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program is a one-year program that consists of two full-time semesters of studio courses (including the Post-Baccalaureate Seminar), plus one Visual and Critical Studies (Art History) course.

Studio Art
Post-Baccalaureate students register for 14 credits of studio art coursework each semester of the program, chosen from across the SMFA curriculum. The Museum School awards credit for studio art at the end of each semester during Review Boards.

Visual and Critical Studies (Art History)
All Post-Baccalaureate students take one course in Art History, either in the spring or the fall semester.

Post-Baccalaureate Seminar
The Seminar is a mandatory core component of the curriculum during both fall and spring semesters. The Seminar includes professional presentations, student presentations, directed group discussions and writing projects, critiques of work, and visits to museums, galleries, collections, and other sites.

Sample Course of Study
• 14 credits of studio art, including the Post-Baccalaureate Seminar, plus one course in Visual and Critical Studies (may be taken fall or spring semester)

• 14 credits of studio art, including the Post-Baccalaureate Seminar

Please contact the SMFA Admissions for more information on applying to the Post-Bac program: admissions@smfa.edu or 617-369-3626.

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. You may also participate in the School's internship program, which offers hands-on opportunities with art organizations, design firms and other local businesses. 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
Beginning Graphic Design
Introduction to Typography
Intermediate Graphic Design
Visualizing Information

Suggested Elective Courses
Color Theory for Artists, Designers and the Color Curious
Digital Photography I
Book Cover Illustration & Design
Graphic Novel
Illustrator as Designer
Design Generation with Photoshop and Illustrator
Foundations in Interactive Design
Introduction to Adobe Illustrator
Image Animation
Introduction to Web Design
Screenprinting: The Whole Story

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
Painting From the Ground Up
Book Cover Illustration & Design
Realist Painting
Screenprinting: The Whole Story

Certificate students may elect to participate in SMFA's Internship Program. Administered by Career Services, the program offers guidance and support leading to opportunities to for work with arts organizations, design firms and other local businesses, allowing design students to gain practical experience and skills.

To apply for an internship, you must be enrolled in the Certificate Program in Graphic Design or Illustration and you must have completed the five required courses. To be selected, you must meet the requirements of the intern sponsor and have a faculty advisor to supervise the internship. If you are selected for an internship position, you must enroll with the Continuing Education office and pay the appropriate tuition and fees.

The internships have a value of two credits. A unit of two credits earned in the internship program will count as a one-course elective in the certificate program in Graphic Design.

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 a Certificate Program Application. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and there is no deadline to apply. Completed applications may be either mailed, faxed to 617-369-3679, or delivered in person to the Office of Continuing Education. The application fee for a Certificate Program is $25.

How do I register for courses once enrolled in a Graphic Design/Illustration Certificate Program?
Registration for certificate courses may be done online or in person and there is a one-time registration fee of $150. To view available courses, please view our Fall CE catalog.

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.

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 two years by taking one to two courses per semester. 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.

If you have questions about whether the Graphic Design/Illustration Certificate program is right for you, please contact the Continuing Education Department at coned@smfa.edu or 617-369-3644.