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SMFA at Tufts Continuing Education

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Art education for every artist.

SMFA's Continuing Education courses, workshops, and certificates foster creative exploration for individuals at every stage of their artistic journey—from novices ready to learn the fundamentals of visual expression to seasoned artists in search of master-level techniques or exposure to new materials and techniques.

Browse a variety of courses and workshops by day, or by semester, or explore our certificate programs and programs for pre-college and high school students.

Faculty Expertise

  • Tap into the experience, knowledge, and expertise of practicing artist/faculty members
  • Study and create alongside artists whose work can be found in collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, whose illustrations appear in The Boston Globe and in books acclaimed by The New York Times

Studio Resources

  • Access the classroom and studio spaces of a top tier art school and give yourself the space to create and grow
  • Our courses span access to Mac Labs, painting and drawing studios, animation studios, printmaking studios, as well as the W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. Library

Creative Community

  • Join a community of makers and find inspiration among fellow students and faculty
  • Sit in class with dentists, teachers, marketers, painters, designers, and doctors, and see your own work in a new way
  • Walk the art-covered halls of the SMFA for daily inspiration, or attend a gallery or exhibition opening to network and nourish your practice

Virtual Experiences

  • Bring all the SMFA has to offer right to your doorstep!
  • Sharpen your design skills, learn to launch a business, dive into a new painting technique, or connect with creative classmates and mentors from your home studio
  • Wherever you may be, bring your art practice along for the ride with online art opportunities

Courses & Workshops Enrolling Now

Intro to Virtual Reality I

In this intensive course, students learn to design and build their own virtual 3D worlds. These custom environments are navigated interactively, creating an immersive experience for the viewer. Techniques we learn include: constructing environments with stock assets, 1st and 3rd person navigation, lighting, animation, stock character animation, localized sound, virtual camera, and recording. Final projects are viewable on the computer, or on the web. The course is aimed at a wide variety of uses of VR, including: gaming, animation, cinematic forms, prototyping for architecture or interior design, educational projects, and commercial purposes.

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Drawing for Illustration and Figurative Art

Students will learn through a series of in-class exercises and at-home projects the fundamental drawing skills for the purposes of illustration and figurative art. The course will also include group critiques, examples of relevant artwork, and demonstrations of tools, materials, and techniques. Topics covered will include anatomy, composition, perspective, proportion, gesture, line quality, value, composition, and storytelling. At the onset, working from observation will be stressed to develop the artist’s eye and, later, from original digital reference and imagination using a variety of traditional drawing tools that can easily be applied to digital tools. By the end of the course, students will be proficient at the fundamentals of traditional drawing, familiar with the basic tools of drawing, and adept at imagining, designing, and executing compelling and dynamic figurative imagery. Level: beginner-intermediate.

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Typography: Introduction

Typography is a field of graphic design used to give shape to the written word. This introductory course explores strategies for organizing letters, words, paragraphs, pages, and beyond to visually communicate an idea and aims to develop your creative processes in new and powerful ways. Course topics include the anatomy of letterforms, type history and classification systems, type selection and pairing, legibility and readability, and the expressive qualities of type. The course features discussions and critiques, lectures, and demonstrations, as well as hands-on problem-solving exercises and assignments. While this isn't a software-based course, Macintosh computers and Adobe InDesign are used frequently. The course is open to beginning and intermediate graphic designers or individuals developing their professional skills in visual communications. Level: all levels (beginner to advanced).

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SMFA Continuing Education - Certificate Programs

Certificate in Virtual Reality

University College and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts have worked together to bring you our NEW certificate in Virtual Reality. This virtual, non-credit certificate brings a flexible, intensive, skills-oriented program to students and professionals interested in the intersection of art and technology. Through six short online asynchronous courses, students are given the skills to tackle virtual reality environment design for application in a variety of fields.

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Certificate in Graphic Design

In partnership with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts and University College, we have recently redesigned our existing certificate in Graphic Design to better provide our students with the practical and theoretical skills of a design professional. Throughout the program you will learn from a team of faculty with extensive teaching experience and recognition in their field. 

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Certificate in Illustration

Our newly redesigned non-credit certificate in Illustration provides students with a solid foundation for creating illustrations, learning illustrative techniques, and understanding an illustrator's creative process. University College worked with our partners at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts to redesign this certificate in order to continue to be at the forefront of the intersection of art and technology at Tufts University.

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My photography professor, Joanna Tam, helped me not only learn the technical skills of digital photography, but also she fostered my conceptual development as an artist, challenging and elevating my work.

Photography - Student, 2020

You have a 360 range of motion creating digitally now, and I think that makes for really rich digital atmospheres and worlds

Bella Kiser, SMFA at Tufts BFA+BS Alum

Robert Siegelman's approach of confidence, play and experimentation is exactly what I need right now. Helping me lean into my own ideas, and also stretch my awareness both through seeing a huge variety of work and by communicating with the other students in the class. His stressing a daily practice is also life changing.

Mixed Media Drawing - Student, 2020

You have a 360 range of motion creating digitally now, and I think that makes for really rich digital atmospheres and worlds

Bella Kiser, SMFA alumni, reflecting on virtual reality and art

Billy is great. He is clearly knowledgeable about VR and Unity, and has a very relaxed manner in his introduction videos. He is very detailed and articulate in his demonstration videos as well, taking the students step-by-step through the process. He is very responsive via email and via the discussion boards and is available every week for office hours. During office hours he is patient and clear and helpful.

SMFA Virtual Reality Certificate Student

Having been a graphic designer for many years, I’d taken my first painting class in 2015. When I returned to Boston I knew I wanted to continue developing as a painter, and hoped I’d find a good instructor. I looked at the SMFA course descriptions, enrolled in Elaine’s class, and quickly knew that I had hit the jackpot.

Advanced Painting Student

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