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Academics and advising


Are there specific requirements students must complete before earning a degree?

Both the liberal arts and engineering programs have requirements that provide students with depth in one or more major fields of study as well as breadth across the curriculum. Students who graduate from Tufts are expected to understand the technological, environmental, and ethical challenges they will face in an ever-changing world, and the curriculum bolsters those expectations.

While these requirements are meant to direct a student's academic program, they leave ample opportunity for choice and variety. By designating guidelines, rather than specific courses, the Tufts curriculum allows students to determine the focus and direction of their studies while ensuring exposure to various fields.

In liberal arts, a typical degree represents the completion of 34 course credits guided by the following requirements:

Foundation Requirements: Two semesters of college writing (an A or A in English 1 exempts students from English 2); three semesters or the equivalent of a foreign language; three additional semesters of a foreign language, or the study of a foreign culture and one semester of a course in world civilizations.

Distribution Requirements: Two courses in each of five areas-humanities, fine arts, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics.

Concentration (Major) Requirements: Requirements vary by major, but typically include eight to 10 courses in the department of the major plus two or three courses in fields related to the major.

Students enrolled in the School of Engineering typically complete 38 course credits. About 25 percent are devoted to math and science, and another 20 percent to engineering sciences and other foundation courses. The concentration courses take up about 35 percent of the program of study, and the remainder of the curriculum comprises liberal arts courses and free electives, which may come from either the School of Arts and Sciences or the School of Engineering.

Read more about specific programs of study in liberal arts and engineering.

Who should my child see if he or she needs academic assistance?

The associate deans help students understand the university's policies and procedures as stipulated in the Bulletin. They also direct students to various resources throughout Tufts and address questions and issues relating to academic and intellectual direction, academic difficulty, course work, extended absence from class, choice of major, change of advisor, and leave of absence, among other things. School of Arts and Sciences students are assigned alphabetically to the deans; all School of Engineering students are assigned to Dean Knox.

  • Jean Herbert
    Associate Dean
    School of Arts and Sciences
    Last names A to G
  • Carol Baffi-Dugan
    Associate Dean
    School of Arts and Sciences
    Last names H to O
  • Robert Mack
  • Associate Dean
    School of Arts and Sciences
    Last names P to Z
  • Kim Knox
    Associate Dean
    School of Engineering
    All Engineering students              

What's the difference between the role of the academic dean my child is assigned to and the pre-major advisor?

An academic dean oversees a student's entire academic progress and is an advocate for the student during all four years. The academic dean can discuss academic interests with the student, such as how to select a major or choose a major advisor, how to plan for study abroad or elsewhere, how to use summer school courses towards a degree, how to decide on a second major or minor, and how to fulfill the various degree requirements. The academic dean also helps if a student is having academic difficulty or problems affecting class work, is contemplating transferring, or needs help communicating with professors about difficulties.

A pre-major advisor is assigned to a student at matriculation and helps the student select classes and understand the general graduation requirements until the student chooses a major and a major advisor (faculty member in the major department).

How are students assigned pre-major advisors?

The university tries to match an advisor with a student based on the choices the student made in the advising options information sent in the early summer. 

Can a student choose an advisor?

When students are ready to choose a major, they can ask if a particular professor will be their advisor. 

Can parents reach out to a professor if their child is having difficulty in a class?

No. The first call should be to the student's dean, not the professor or the advisor. Speaking with the professor could have a negative impact on the student/professor relationship. While a dean can't discuss specific grades without a student's permission, he or she can offer general information and give theoretical advice.  

Parents should also be aware that the academic bar at Tufts is very high. Students used to straight A's may be earning B's and C's. Chances are the student is already disappointed, so a conversation about ways to study more effectively, manage time, and use available resources might be most helpful. 

Is it easy to change majors?

Yes. Students may discuss this with their academic dean or a faculty or staff member with whom they have a relationship. 

Whom should my child see if he or she is interested in a career in the health professions?

Carol Baffi-Dugan is the director for Health Professions Advising, and her associate is Stephanie Ripley. To learn more about this, visit

Financial aid

What kind of financial aid is available?

Financial aid is usually awarded to students in packages comprising grants, loans, and on-campus employment. The amount each student receives annually is determined by financial need as estimated by Tufts using standard financial aid forms. Because financial assistance is awarded on a case-by-case basis, students and their families are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Financial Services directly at 617-627-2000 or More information on financial aid also can be found on the Financial Aid website.

Housing, dining, and student services

What living arrangements are available to students?

Tufts offers a wide range of on-campus housing to students. All first-year students live in double- or triple-occupancy rooms in staffed corridor and suite-style residence halls. After the first year, students can select their own roommate. In the junior and senior years, students become eligible for single-occupancy rooms. On-campus residences vary in size and configuration, and all are co-ed, with the exception of one women-only residence. After their first year, students select on-campus housing through a lottery system and are eligible for apartment-style halls and campus houses in addition to being able to choose a room in one of the more traditional residence halls.

Some students elect to find off-campus accommodations in some of the two- and three-family homes in the neighborhoods surrounding campus. Off-campus housing is an option available to juniors and seniors and a select few sophomores. Read more about housing, including what students should bring to campus.

What's the meal plan like?

See the Dining Services website for more information about meal plans, including the JumboCash card.

Are there medical and health services available to students on campus?

Tufts has an on-campus health service that is staffed by doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, and two psychiatrists. The Tufts Health Service provides a wide range of services and can refer students to other medical facilities in the area should the need arise. Tufts Emergency Medical Service (TEMS) is on call to respond to medical emergencies, and Lawrence Memorial Hospital is 10 minutes from campus should hospital care become necessary.

Visit the Health Service website for more information on the Health Service.

What if my child needs counseling or mental health services?

Tufts Counseling and Mental Health Service (CMHS) has an excellent website with suggestions on how to engage your child in discussions about what may be troubling him or her, common developmental issues, tips for parenting through the college years, and resources for parents and families. CMHS is also available to work directly with your child on a myriad of issues, including depression, eating concerns, stress management, and relationship difficulties. CMHS is staffed by professionally trained counselors who have special expertise in working with college students.

Can I ship packages before my child arrives on campus?

You may ship packages to campus after August 4. Labels should be addressed as follows:

Student's name
Tufts University

C/O 389 Boston Avenue
Student's dorm name and room number (you should receive this information in early August)
Medford, MA 02155

Students can pick up their packages at Mail Services.

Is summer storage available?

Collegeboxes will arrange for pickup and delivery of all students' belongings. Sign up online at to reserve your pickup time and have boxes and packing supplies shipped to you.  

How can I send packages, gifts, and cakes to my child?

Tufts Student Resources is a student-run company at Tufts offering the student body convenient services such as laundry services; microfridges; aerobics; summer storage; celebrations; and the Rez, a campus eatery. Please visit the Student Resources website for more information.

Tufts Parent's Program