Tufts University

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Tufts University
Tufts official seal.svg
Latin: Universitas Tuftensis
Former names
Tufts College
Motto Pax et Lux (Latin)
Motto in English
Peace and Light
Type Private non-profit
Established 1852
Endowment $1.593 billion (2015)[1]
Chairman Peter R. Dolan
President Anthony P. Monaco
Provost David R. Harris
Academic staff
1,423 (fall 2015; full-time)[2]
Students 10,659 (fall 2015)[2]
Undergraduates 5,216 (fall 2015)[2]
Postgraduates 5,443 (fall 2015)[2]
Location Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.
42°24′22″N 71°07′12″W / 42.406°N 71.120°W / 42.406; -71.120Coordinates: 42°24′22″N 71°07′12″W / 42.406°N 71.120°W / 42.406; -71.120
Campus Urban, total 150 acres (0.61 km2)
Student newspaper The Tufts Daily
Colors Tufts Blue and brown[3]
Athletics NCAA Division IIINESCAC
Nickname Jumbos
Mascot Jumbo the Elephant[4]
Affiliations URA
Website www.tufts.edu
Tufts University wordmark.svg

Tufts University is a private research university incorporated in the municipality of Medford, Massachusetts. Tufts College was founded in 1852 by Christian Universalists who worked for years to open a non-sectarian institution of higher learning.[6] Charles Tufts donated the land for the campus on Walnut Hill, the highest point in Medford, saying that he wanted to set a "light on the hill." The name was changed to Tufts University in 1954, although the corporate name remains "the Trustees of Tufts College." For more than a century, Tufts was a small New England liberal arts college. The French American nutritionist and former professor at the Harvard School of Public Health Jean Mayer became president of Tufts in the late 1970s and, through a series of rapid acquisitions, transformed the school into a larger research university.[7]

The university is organized into ten schools,[8] including two undergraduate degree programs and eight graduate divisions, on four campuses in Massachusetts and the French Alps. The university emphasizes active citizenship and public service in all of its disciplines[9] and is known for its internationalism and study abroad programs.[10] Among its schools is the United States' oldest graduate school of international relations, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. The School of the Museum of Fine Arts offers art programs affiliated with a major museum, the Museum of Fine Arts.[11] The University offers joint undergraduate degree programs with the New England Conservatory,[12] and the Sciences Po Paris[13] with additional programs with the University of Paris, University of Oxford and constituents of the University of London.[14] Some of its programs have affiliations with nearby institutions Harvard and MIT.[15]

Tufts is a charter member of and athletically competes in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). Tufts accepted 14% of undergraduate applicants to the Class of 2020 from a pool of 20,223.[16] It is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report and Forbes as the third best university in Massachusetts after Harvard and MIT and one of the top schools in the U.S.[17][18][19]


19th century[edit]

Tufts College, c. 1854

In the 1840s, the Universalist church wanted to open a college in New England, and in 1852, Charles Tufts donated 20 acres to the church to help them achieve this goal. Charles Tufts had inherited the land, a barren hill which was one of the highest points in the Boston area, called Walnut Hill, and when asked by a family member what he intended to do with the land, he said "I will put a light on it." His 20-acre donation (then valued at $20,000) is still at the heart of Tufts' now 150 acre campus, straddling Somerville and Medford. It was also in 1852 that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts chartered Tufts College, noting the college should promote "virtue and piety and learning in such of the languages and liberal and useful arts as shall be recommended." During his tenure, Ballou spent a year travelling and studying in the United Kingdom. The methods of instruction which he initiated were based on the tutorials that were conducted in the University of Oxford and the University of Edinburgh. Now more than 160 years old, Tufts is the third oldest college in the Boston area.[20]

Having been one of the biggest influences in the establishment of the College, Hosea Ballou II became the first president in 1853, and College Hall, the first building on campus, was completed the following year. That building now bears Ballou's name.[21] The campus opened in August 1854. President Ballou died in 1861 and was succeeded by Alonzo Ames Miner. Though not a college graduate, his presidency was marked by several advances. These include the establishment of preparatory schools for Tufts which include Goddard Seminary, Westbrook Seminary, and Dean Academy. During the Civil War the college actively supported the Union cause. The mansion of Major George L. Stearns which stood on part of the campus was a station on the Underground Railroad. In addition to having the largest classes spring up, 63 graduates served in the Union army. The first course of a three-year program leading to a degree in civil engineering was established in 1865, the same year MIT was founded. By 1869, the Crane Theological School was organized.[22]

Miner's successor, Elmer Capen was the first president to be a Tufts alumnus. During his time, one of the earliest innovators was Amos Dolbear. In 1875, as chair of the physics department, he installed a working telephone which connected his lab in Ballou Hall to his home on Professors Row. Two years later Alexander Graham Bell would receive the patent. Dolbear's work in Tufts was later continued by Marconi and Tesla.[23] Other famous scholars include William Leslie Hooper who in addition to serving as acting president, designed the first slotted armature for dynamos. His student at the college, Frederick Stark Pearson would eventually become one of America's pioneers of the electrical power industry. He became responsible for the development of the electric power and electric street car systems which many cities in South America and Europe used. Another notable figure is Stephen M. Babcock who developed the first practical test to determine the amount of butterfat in milk. Since its development in the college, the Babcock Test has hardly been modified. Expansion of the chemistry and biology departments were largely led by scholars Arthur Michael, who was one of the first organic chemists in the U.S., and John Sterling Kingsley who was one of the first scholars of comparative anatomy.[24][25]

P. T. Barnum was one of the earliest benefactors of Tufts College, and the Barnum Museum of Natural History (Barnum Hall) was constructed in 1884 with funds donated by him to house his collection of animal specimens and the stuffed hide of Jumbo the elephant, who would become the university's mascot. The building stood until April 14, 1975, when fire gutted Barnum Hall, destroying the entire collection.

On July 15, 1892, the Tufts Board of Trustees voted "that the College be opened to women in the undergraduate departments on the same terms and conditions as men." Metcalf Hall opened in 1893 and served as the dormitory for women. At the same meeting, the trustees voted to create a graduate school faculty and to offer the Ph.D. degree in biology and chemistry. In 1893 the Medical School opened and in 1899 the Boston Dental College was integrated into the university. In 1890, the Department of Electrical Engineering was created, and in 1892 - 1893 the course of three-year program in civil engineering was extended to four years. With the advent of the four-year program the degrees granted were bachelor of civil or electrical engineering. Tufts College added the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1894 and 1898, respectively. In 1898, the trustees voted to formally establish an undergraduate College of Engineering.[25]

Jumbo in Barnum Museum of Natural History

20th century[edit]

Walnut Hill as it appeared prior to the construction of Tisch Library and steps, circa 1910. In the center is Eaton Hall. The road to the right no longer exists.

The Jackson College for Women was established in 1910 as a coordinate college adjacent to the Tufts campus. In 1980 it was integrated with the College of Liberal Arts but is still recognized in the formal name of the undergraduate arts and sciences division, the "College of Liberal Arts and Jackson College." Undergraduate women in arts and sciences continued to receive their diplomas from Jackson College until 2002.

Tufts expanded in the 1933 with the opening of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the first graduate school of international affairs in the United States. The Fletcher School began as a joint effort between Tufts and Harvard University, funded by an endowment from longtime Tufts benefactor and alumnus Dr. Austin Barclay Fletcher. Tufts assumed full administration of the Fletcher School in 1935, and strong linkages between the two schools remain.

During World War II, Tufts College was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.[26]

Due to travel restrictions imposed by World War II, the Boston Red Sox conducted spring training for the 1943 Major League season at Tufts College.[27] In 1955, continued expansion was reflected in the change of the school's name to Tufts University.[28]

The university experienced some growth during the presidency of Jean Mayer (1976–1992).[29] Mayer established Tufts' veterinary, nutrition, and biomedical schools and acquired the Grafton and Talloires campuses, at the same time lifting the university out of its dire financial situation by increasing the size of the endowment by a factor of 15.[29]

The College of Engineering added graduate study to its curriculum beginning in 1961, with master's degrees available in four departments. It added Ph.D. programs in mechanical engineering in 1963, electrical engineering in 1964, engineering design in 1981, and civil engineering in 1985. In 1984 CEO and chairman of Analogic Corporation and NeuroLogica Corp Bernard Marshall Gordon founded the Tufts Gordon Institute as the first educational institution created to foster entrepreneurship in the engineering fields. In 1991 the New England Association of Schools and Colleges accredited the institute to confer the degree of Master of Science in Engineering Management and in 1992 the Gordon Institute became part of the College of Engineering. In 1999, the College of Engineering became the School of Engineering, when oversight of graduate engineering programs was transferred from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. As part of the same reorganization the Faculty of Arts and Science became the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering (AS&E).[30]

South Station Tower rendering

21st century[edit]

Under President Larry Bacow, Tufts started a capital campaign in 2006 with the goal of raising $1.2 billion to implement full need-blind admission by 2011.[31][32] As of December 10, 2010 the campaign raised $1.14 billion.[33] Tufts received the largest donations in its history since 2005, including a $136 million bequest to its endowment upon the dissolution of a charitable trust set up by 1911 alumnus Frank C. Doble,[34][35] a $100 million gift from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar to establish the Omidyar-Tufts Microfinance Fund,[36] and a number of $40 million-plus gifts to specific schools.[37][38][39]

In 2008, Hines Interests and TUDC, a subsidiary of the University, planned to break ground on the South Station Tower. Tufts had acquired the air rights from South Station in 1990, with former President Jean Meyer envisioning a tower that would be the center of medical research. Preliminary design was done by Cesar Pelli, with construction now scheduled to start in 2017.[40] However, Tufts withdrew from the project in 2009.[41]

On November 30, 2010, the university announced that Anthony P. Monaco, formerly of Oxford, would become its thirteenth president.[42] Monaco's inauguration took place on October 21, 2011.[43]

As of October 15, 2015, Computer Science surpassed International Relations as the largest major at the university, with 466 declared majors.[44]

On December 22, 2015, the University announced that it would run the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. The merger was completed on June 30, 2016.[45]

On December 2015, the University completed a reconstruction of the Memorial Stairs. A new Central Energy Plant is currently under construction and is set to finish in the summer of 2016. It will replace an aging 60 year old plant and provide new efficiency boilers which in addition to providing the University directly with electricity, heated and chilled water, will help the University cut emissions.[46] The University is also constructing a new science and engineering complex (SEC). The SEC will feature state of the art laboratories and foster interdisciplinary research between the neuroscience and environmental science departments. The new building will be finished by the summer of 2017 and will join the newly rehabilitated 574 Boston Avenue in the expansion of classroom and laboratory facilities for the engineering school.[47]

In 2016, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen pledged a $100 million donation over four years for the creation of the Allen Discovery Centers at Tufts and Stanford. The centers would fund research that would read and write the morphogenetic code. Tufts biologist Michael Levin will lead the center with research focusing on communications between cells and the causation of birth defects, cancer, traumatic injuries and degenerative diseases.[48][49]


Packard Hall
Goddard Chapel
Eaton Hall
East Hall
Memorial Steps

Medford/Somerville, Massachusetts[edit]

Tufts' main campus is located on Walnut Hill in Medford and Somerville, about 5 miles (8.0 km) from Boston. This campus houses all undergraduates in Arts & Sciences and Engineering, the graduate programs at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and all of the graduate programs in Arts & Sciences and Engineering. While the majority of the campus is in Medford, the Somerville line intersects it, placing parts of the lower campus in Somerville and leading to the common terms "Uphill" and "Downhill."

Architecture and Design[edit]

The "Uphill" portion of the campus comprises the academic and the residential "Rez" quads, and is enclosed by a wrought-iron fence. Classes that contributed to the building of the fence are commemorated along its length. The academic quad contains the earliest buildings and was primarily built from the middle of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. One of Tufts' first buildings, Ballou Hall was constructed from 1852-1854 and was designed in the Italianate style by the well known Boston architect Gridley James Fox Bryant. Ballou Hall was later restored by McKim, Mead, and White in 1955-56, and houses the offices of the president, the provost, and several vice presidents and deans. Other notable buildings include: Packard Hall (1856), East Hall (1860), West Hall (1871), Goddard Chapel (1882), Goddard Hall (1883), Barnum Hall (1884), and Eaton Hall (1908).[50] The New York firm Whitfield & King was responsible for the design of Eaton Hall.

The "Uphill" residential quad contains more modern buildings. The most notable building is Carmichael Hall (1954), designed by Arland A. Dirlam. Dirlam also designed Bendetson Hall (1947) on the academic quad.[51][52] Adjacent to both quads is the Cabot Intercultural Center designed by ARC/Architectural Resources Cambridge, Inc. one of the Fletcher School's buildings. Many points on the hill have noted views of the Boston skyline, particularly the patio on the Tisch Library roof. It has been ranked one of the prettiest college campuses in America.[citation needed]

The "Downhill" portion can be accessed with the memorial stairs. Designed by the Olmsted Brothers in the 1920s, the memorial stairs form one of the main entrances to the university and allows direct access to the engineering school from the academic quad. Notable buildings around the engineering school include Bromfield-Pearson Hall (1893), Robinson Hall (1899), and Curtis Hall (1894). Boston architect George Albert Clough is responsible for the design of Curtis Hall and Goddard Hall. Additionally Arland Dirlam is responsible for the designs of many buildings downhill. These include Cohen Auditorium (1950), Hodgdon Hall (1954), and Jackson Gymnasium (1947).[53] Administrative offices also occupy the surrounding neighborhoods and nearby Davis Square, where Tufts makes payments in lieu of taxes on some of its tax-exempt (educational) properties.[54]

Other Campuses[edit]

Jean Mayer Administration Building, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

In addition to the main campus, the University has two other campuses in the Boston area and one in the French Alps. The medical and dental school are located in Boston proper, and the veterinary school is located in central Massachusetts, in Grafton.

Chinatown, Boston[edit]

The Schools of Medicine, Biomedical Sciences, Dental Medicine, and the Friedman School of Nutrition are located on a campus in the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston, adjacent to Tufts Medical Center, a 451-bed academic medical institution. All full-time Tufts Medical Center physicians hold clinical faculty appointments at Tufts School of Medicine.

The Tufts European Center on the Talloires campus

Grafton, Massachusetts[edit]

The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine is located in Grafton, Massachusetts, west of Boston, on a 634-acre (2.57 km2) campus. The school also maintains the Ambulatory Farm Clinic in Woodstock, Connecticut and the Tufts Laboratory at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole on Cape Cod.

Talloires, France[edit]

Tufts has a satellite campus in Talloires, France at the Tufts European Center, a former Benedictine priory built in the 11th century. The priory was purchased in 1958 by Donald MacJannet and his wife Charlotte and used as a summer camp site for several years before the MacJannets gave the campus to Tufts in 1978. Each year the center hosts a number of summer study programs, and enrolled students live with local families. The Tufts Summit Program is for American high school students during the month of July. Tufts in Talloires is a 6-week program for Tufts undergraduates that extends from the middle of May until the end of June. Additionally Tufts in Annecy is a 4-week program which provides French language learners a chance to practice and learn the language. The site is frequently the host of international conferences and summits, most notably the Talloires Declaration which united 22 universities toward a goal of sustainability.[55] The Talloires campus has been ranked as one of the best branch campuses by the National Association of Branch Campus Administrators.[56]



Gifford House, residence of the President

Tufts University is an independent, privately supported, nonsectarian institution of higher education. Its official corporate name is "The Trustees of Tufts College" The University is governed by up to 41 Trustees and no fewer than 28. The Trustees themselves are responsible for choosing their successors. In addition to the president the University appoints Charter Trustees (up to 30 members) who are elected by the board and Alumni Trustees (up to 10 members) who serve for up to five years. Generally Charter Trustees are elected by majority vote of the members. Alumni Trustees are elected by alumni. The Trustees appoint the President and other senior administrative officers of the university, and review and confirm faculty appointments as required. They determine the university's mission and purpose, review and approve changes in academic programs, monitor the University's financial condition, establish investment and institutional policies, and authorize the budget. The Officers of the corporation include the Chair of the Board, three Vice Chairs, the Treasurer, the Secretary, the Provost, the President, who serves ex officio, and the Executive Vice President.

The President of Tufts University, who is elected by the Trustees is the chief executive officer of the university. Assisting the President in administering the University are the Provost, the Executive Vice President, the Treasurer, and the Secretary all of whom are appointed by the Trustees on the nomination of the President and serve at their pleasure. As the 13th president Anthony Monaco was sworn on August 1, 2011. An accomplished leader, scientist and teacher, Monaco was formerly a professor and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Oxford. His doctoral research led to his landmark discovery of the gene responsible for X-linked Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy. He worked on the human genome project at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London and in the human genetics laboratory at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford. Additionally he identified the first gene specifically involved in human speech and language.[57]

Arnold Wing, the School of Medicine
College/school founding
Year founded

Arts and Sciences
Religion (defunct)
Fine Arts
Dental Medicine
Law and Diplomacy
Veterinary Medicine
Citizenship and Public Service
Anderson Hall, the School of Engineering
Goddard Hall, the Fletcher School


Tufts is organized into ten schools. Each school has its own faculty, and is led by a dean appointed by the president and the provost with the consent of the Board of Trustees. The School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering are the only schools that award both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The five schools offering undergraduate education are: Arts and Sciences, the liberal arts college offering both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree, the School of Engineering (also known as the Gordon Institute) offers the Bachelor of Science degree, the School of Special Studies which awards the degree of bachelor of fine arts through the Tufts School of the Museum of Fine Arts. The other two the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service and the Experimental College are non-degree granting.

The Tisch College was founded in 2000 "to educate for active citizenship" with the help of a $10 million gift from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam. The school was renamed in 2006 after a $40 million gift from Jonathan Tisch. It has been called the "most ambitious attempt by any research university to make public service part of its core academic mission."[58] The college facilitates and supports a wide range of community service, civic engagement programs, research, and teaching initiatives across the university. The University runs on a semester based calendar with most undergraduate students finishing within four years, however, Tisch College provides an innovative 1+4 Bridge year program where students have the opportunity to take a community service based gap year before starting in Tufts. Current projects undertaken by Bridge Year Fellows involve serving as mentors and teachers to children, caring for rescued wild animals, contributing to renewable energy and sustainability projects. Current projects are based in Brazil, Nicaragua, and Spain.[59]

Under the purview of the School of Arts and Sciences is the Experimental College, created in 1964 as a proving ground for innovative, experimental, and interdisciplinary curricula and courses. It offers the opportunity for students to take for-credit courses with non-academic practitioners in a variety of fields, and also from upper-level undergraduates who have a chance to design and teach their own courses. Another successful component of the Ex College is EPIIC, a year-long program begun in 1985 to immerse students in a global issue, which culminates in an annual symposium of scholars and experts from the field.

The Tufts School of the Museum of Fine Arts offers art programs with a major museum, the Museum of Fine Arts.[60] As one of the key figures in the merger, Nancy Bauer will be the dean of the museum school.[61]

Graduate education is offered in eight of the schools. In addition to Arts and Sciences and Engineering Tufts offers graduate degrees in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the oldest U.S. school for international relations and foreign affairs, the School of Dental Medicine, the School of Medicine, the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, the Friedman School of Nutrition, and the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Additionally the University did provide master's degrees in religion through the Crane Theological School. The school was dissolved in 1968.

Museum of Fine Arts

Cross registration and joint programs[edit]

Students can pursue a five-year program with the New England Conservatory. The Cosmology department also offers joint seminars with MIT. Organized by Alan Guth and Alexander Vilenkin, the seminars are open to all students.[62] The Fletcher school also operates dual degree programs with Harvard Law School, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, UC Berkeley School of Law among others.[63] Additional exchange programs allow students to study in other universities such as the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and Sciences Po in Paris.[64] Cross registration exists for undergraduate students with schools in the Boston Consortium. Fletcher and other graduate students may cross register with the graduate schools at Harvard and MIT.[65][66]

Entrance to Tisch Library, the main library on campus

Libraries and museums[edit]

Ginn Library at the Fletcher School

Completed in 1908, Tufts' first library building, Eaton Memorial Library (now Eaton Hall), was made possible with a donation from Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie's wife requested that the building be named after a Tufts graduate, Reverend Charles Eaton, who had presided over her wedding. The building received an extension in 1950 with the construction of the War Memorial Library in honor of the Tufts alumni who served in World War II. By 1965 the collection outgrew the building and was moved to a new library named Wessell Library. Additionally the demand for more square footage prompted the expansion of Wessell. In 1995, with the addition of 80,000 more square feet, the library was renamed Tisch Library.[67]

Today the Tufts University Library System contains over three million volumes. The main library, Tisch Library, holds about 2.7 million volumes, with other holdings dispersed at subject libraries including the Hirsh Health Sciences Library on the Boston campus, the Edwin Ginn Library at the Fletcher School, and Webster Family Library at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine on the Grafton campus.[68] Students have access to the academic libraries of institutions in the Boston Consortium. Tufts is also a member of SHARES, which allows students to have library access in participating members such as Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Caltech, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Princeton, Stanford, UPenn and Yale.[69] Furthermore, students may apply for privileges to Harvard's Library System.[70] Tufts also runs the Perseus Project, a digital library project that assembles digital collections of humanities resources.

In addition to the Barnum Museum of Natural History, Tufts had established a permanent art collection which includes a wide range of art from antiquity to the present. The Collection comprises 2,000 works from ancient Mediterranean and pre-Hispanic cultures to modern and contemporary painting, sculpture, and photography. Notable highlights in the permanent collection include works by John Singer Sargent, Albrecht Dürer, Isamu Noguchi, Auguste Rodin, Andy Warhol, Milton Resnick, Salvador Dali, and Pablo Picasso among others. Exhibitions of the collection rotate annually in the Aidekman Arts Center.[71]

Study abroad programs[edit]

Tufts has offered study abroad programs with various universities for the past 40 years. Among the most notable universities, Tufts operates programs with Pembroke College of the University of Oxford, University College London, Royal Holloway University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of Paris, Sciences Po Paris, University of Tübingen, Zhejiang University, and University of Hong Kong.[14] Every year more than 500 undergraduate students study abroad, with most doing it during their junior and senior years.[72]

Rankings and reputation[edit]

University rankings
ARWU[73] 51-61
Forbes[74] 18
U.S. News & World Report[75] 27
Washington Monthly[76] 50
ARWU[77] 101–150
QS[78] 238
Times[79] 135
U.S. News & World Report[80] 90

In 2016, Forbes ranked Tufts 12th among Research Universities, and ranked the undergraduate school 18th in its America's Top Colleges ranking, which includes military academies, national universities, and liberal arts colleges.[81] Additionally, Vault.com's 2013 rankings placed Tufts' undergraduate school 25th in the nation.[82] The 2014 Parchment student choice college rankings, which tracks enrollment decisions of 253,440 students who have been accepted to multiple schools in order to reveal their preference for their chosen school compared to the other schools that admitted the student, ranks Tufts as #17 nationally and #13 for national universities for student preference.[83] According to U.S. News & World Report's 2016 college rankings, Tufts ranks 27th in the nation, with high school guidance counselors ranking it tied for 23rd.[84] In 2015, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings placed Tufts tied for 127th in the world.[85] The university ranks in the No. 101-150 range in the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities[86] and 252nd in the 2015 QS World University Rankings.[87] Additionally, for the class enrolling fall 2013, Forbes placed Tufts among the top 20 in "The Top 100 Colleges Ranked By SAT Scores".[88] Tufts' peer schools according to U.S. News and World Report in 2015 include Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, and Brown.[68]

Foreign Policy ranked Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy 4th in the world for International Relations in 2009.[89] U.S. News & World Report for 2017 ranks Tufts tied for 58th for engineering among schools that grant PhD degrees, and also ranks Tufts' Medical School and Research Institute tied for 52nd in primary care and tied for 49th in research, while the Sackler School ranks 68th in their rankings of Best Graduate Schools, Biological Sciences.[84] The Boston School of Occupational Therapy, an entry-level masters program within the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at Tufts, ranks 6th in U.S. News & World Report's Best Occupational Therapy Programs.[84] Tufts' M.A. program in philosophy ranks 1st in the United States in terms of faculty quality.[90]

Tufts was named by Newsweek as one of the "25 New Ivies" in 2006.[91] In The Princeton Review's 2010–2011 "Best 363 Colleges," Tufts was ranked 14th for the happiest students and its study abroad program was ranked 3rd in the country.[92][93] According to the October 2010 rankings compiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Tufts ranked 12th in the country (tied with both Harvard and Johns Hopkins) with 17 Fulbright scholars.[94] Tufts also ranks 4th among medium-sized schools for the number of Teach for America volunteers it produces.[95] Because of its continual growth as an institution, Tufts was ranked as the 5th "hottest school" of the decade from 2000–10.[96] Tufts was ranked the 450th top college in the United States by Payscale and CollegeNet's Social Mobility Index college rankings.[97]


Bendetson Hall, on the Medford/Somerville campus, houses the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Undergraduate admissions[edit]

Undergraduate admission to Tufts is characterized by the Carnegie Foundation as "more selective, lower transfer-in."[98] For the class of 2020, Tufts accepted 2,890 or 14.3% of 20,223 applicants, making Tufts the 17th most selective university in the U.S.[16][99][100] According to Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Lee Coffin, the admissions team still deemed 8,108 students, or 40 percent of the application pool, as potentially qualified for admission.[101] Coffin went on to detail that the number of spots for enrollment at the university can offer is at 1,325 up from 1,310 last year.[101] For the matriculating class of 2016, 91% of incoming freshmen ranked in the top 10% of their high school class (up one percent from the previous year).[102]

On 4 April 2016, the University announced that, for the Class of 2020, "the mean SAT scores are 727 in critical reading and 738 in math, and the mean ACT score was 32. Among students from schools that made class rank available, the mean ranking was in the top 4 percent."

In 2006, Dean of Arts and Sciences Robert Sternberg added experimental criteria to the application process for undergraduates to test "creativity and other non-academic factors," including inviting applicants to submit YouTube videos to supplement their application.[103] Calling it the "first major university to try such a departure from the norm," Inside Higher Ed also notes that Tufts continues to consider the SAT and other traditional criteria.[104][105]

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Lee Coffin announced on April 7, 2015 that Tufts would be accepting undocumented students with and without Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Coffin said that undocumented students would no longer be considered international students, but rather domestic students. This was due to the activism of social justice group United for Immigrant Justice. The first cohort of undocumented students is in the class of 2019.[106]

Carmichael Hall on the Residence Quad


The undergraduate student body is considered to be both ethnically and socioeconomically diverse.[107] The Advocate ranks Tufts as one of the top 20 gay-friendly campuses.[108] Of those accepted for admission to the undergraduate Class of 2019, 27 percent are Asian, Hispanic, African-American, or two or more races. There were 145 students international students and 6 undocumented or DACA students[109] Of domestic students admitted, some 31 percent self-identified as one or more races other than Caucasian, including Asian Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans. International students make up 15 percent of the undergraduate student population. Students come from all 50 states and represent 71 countries.[110] The top 10 countries represented are China, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Turkey, Singapore, Canada, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.[111]

Graduate admissions[edit]

The graduate schools each hold their own admission process. Students apply directly to the graduate program to which they are seeking acceptance, and so acceptance rates vary dramatically between programs.

Culture and student life[edit]


Main article: Tufts Jumbos

Tufts competes in the New England Small College Athletic Conference—the NESCAC—in NCAA Division III. Their mascot is Jumbo, which is the only college mascot to appear in Webster's Dictionary. The mascot comes from P. T. Barnum's circus, as Barnum was one of the original trustees of Tufts College. According to legend, Jumbo the Elephant heroically jumped in front of a train, sacrificing himself to save a younger elephant from dying. Jumbo's stuffed skin was donated to the school, and was displayed until a 1975 fire destroyed the body, except for the tail, which had been removed for conservation work. Now, a statue of the elephant is a prominent landmark on the quad, near Barnum Hall, the Biology building.

Tufts men's lacrosse team won the school's first ever NCAA team championship in 2010, beating Salisbury State University in the championship game. They lost in 2011 to Salisbury in the championship.[112] In 2012, the women's field hockey team won their first national championship, beating Montclair State University 2–1 in the finals. Coach Tina McDavitt won DIII National Coach of the Year in 2012, as well.[113] The field hockey team had previously been national runners-up in 2008.[114] The women's softball team won three consecutive NCAA Division III National Championships in 2013, 2014 and 2015.[115] The men's lacrosse team won their second NCAA Division III National Championship in 2014 and their third Championship in 2015, beating Lynchburg.[116] On December 6, 2014, the men's soccer team won its first-ever DIII National Championship, defeating Wheaton College 4-2.[117] The men's and women's squash teams have been historically successful, ranking within the top 30 teams in the nation.[118]

Performed at most football games "Tuftonia's Day", the Tufts fight song, was written in 1912 by Elliot W. Hayes. It can also be heard at Tufts' numerous A Capella concerts and at homecoming[119]

Student protest for fossil fuel divestment

Student media[edit]

The Tufts Daily is the daily student newspaper, and the Tufts Observer, established in 1895, is the school's biweekly magazine and the oldest publication on campus. The Zamboni is Tufts' monthly humor and satire magazine. The Princeton Review has named Tufts' college newspaper as one of the best in the country, currently ranking it No. 10.[107]

Student activism[edit]

In 1969, Tufts was the center for Civil Rights activism due to the controversy surrounding the construction of Lewis Hall. Students staged a work strike to protest racist hiring policies practiced by the construction company Tufts had commissioned to build the residence hall. In addition to writing letters, students sat in Ballou and East Halls, and collaborated with black workers. These demonstrations eventually attracted support from major metropolitan areas in the Northeast. In 1970, Tufts adopted new hiring policies which were subsequently adopted by other universities. It led to the creation of training programs for minority employees on campus, in addition to the foundation of the Africana Center.[120]


West Hall, an uphill residence hall
Stratton Hall, a downhill residence hall

Tufts is a medium-sized university with around 5,000 undergraduates. Seven out of ten undergraduates live on campus. Students can choose from 40 residences from small special interest houses, to traditional dorms, to shared apartments. There are 25 residence halls. Similar to residential colleges, students would frequently organize discussions and bring in guest speakers and plan several activities together. Upperclassmen have the option of living in special interest housing which are 15 houses reflecting a specific cultural or academic interest. Each house offers organizes several activities and events not limited to residents. Shared apartments are usually the most popular in the university with apartments like Sophia Gordon Hall (SoGo) a primary gathering place for juniors and seniors. The high density residential neighborhood around the university provides additional housing for students who opt to live off campus.[121]

The University has two main dining centers, Dewick-MacPhie serving downhill students, and Carmichael serving uphill students. Each dining hall has a different menu and atmosphere. Both offer a European-style servery with multiple stations. The Princeton Review has listed Tufts in its "Best Campus Food" category since 2005, ranking it as high as second.[122][123][124] In addition to the two main dining centers, there are a variety of smaller cafes, including a Kosher Deli.[125]

Greek life[edit]

There are 13 total Greek life organizations at Tufts. About 25% of the student body is involved in Greek life.[126] The six national fraternities with chapters at Tufts are Delta Tau Delta, Delta Upsilon, Theta Chi, Theta Delta Chi, Zeta Beta Tau, and Zeta Psi. In addition, there are four sororities: Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega, and Kappa Alpha Theta. There is also one co-ed fraternity, ATO of Massachusetts, and two local fraternites, Pi Delta and Pi Rho Omega.


The Tufts cannon, repainted almost nightly during the academic year, is here painted in response to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan

A capella[edit]

Tufts also has a thriving a cappella scene, including the Beelzebubs, known for their performances on NBC's The Sing-Off and Glee, where the group arranged several of the songs performed by the fictional a cappella group, The Warblers. Other notable groups include the Amalgamates known also for their performances all over the United States and the Jackson Jills, Tufts' oldest female group.

Notable people[edit]

Tufts alumni in the government sector include Kostas Karamanlis (M.A. 1982, Ph.D. 1984), former Prime Minister of Greece; Shashi Tharoor (M.A. 1976, M.A.L.D. 1977, Ph.D. 1979), former United Nations Under-Secretary General and Indian Minister; Daniel Patrick Moynihan (B.A. 1948, M.A. 1949, Ph.D. 1961), former-US Senator from New York and US Ambassador to the United Nations; Scott Brown (B.A. 1981), former-US Senator from Massachusetts; Bill Richardson (B.A. 1970), former-Governor of New Mexico, US Secretary of Energy and US Ambassador to the United Nations; Thomas R. Pickering (M.A. 1954), diplomat; and Peter DeFazio (B.A. 1969), Democratic United States Representative from Oregon.

Graduates who have found success in business include Pierre Omidyar (B.S. 1988), eBay founder; Laura Lang (B.A. 1977), CEO of Time Inc; Jamie Dimon (B.A. 1978), CEO of JPMorgan Chase; John Bello (B.A. 1968), SoBe Beverages founder; Jeff Kindler (B.A. 1977), former CEO of Pfizer; Jonathan Tisch (B.A. 1976), CEO of Loews Hotels; Ellen J. Kullman (B.A. 1978), CEO of DuPont; and Anthony Scaramucci (B.A. 1976), Cofounder of SkyBridge Capital.

In media, alumni include David Faber (B.A. 1985), anchor at CNBC; Meredith Vieira (B.A. 1975), journalist and TV personality; Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. (B.A. 1974), publisher of The New York Times; and Peter Roth (B.A. 1972), CEO of Warner Bros. Television. In the arts, alumni include William Hurt (B.A. 1972), Academy Award-winning actor; Hank Azaria (B.A. 1988), actor and voice actor; Peter Gallagher (B.A. 1977), actor; Tracy Chapman (B.A. 1987), singer/songwriter; Darin Strauss (B.A. 1992), National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author; Ruben Bolling (real name Ken Fisher) (B.A. 1984), cartoonist and writer; and Gregory Maguire (Ph.D. 1990), novelist.

Other alumni include Michelle Kwan (M.A. 2011), Olympic medalist and World Champion figure skater from the United States; Frederick Hauck (B.A. 1962), spacecraft commander of the Space Shuttle Discovery; Rear Admiral Leo Otis Colbert (B.S. 1907), the third Director of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey; and Thelma C. Swain (B.A. 1931), Maine philanthropist.

Notable drop-outs include actress Jessica Biel, actor Rainn Wilson, American Apparel founder Dov Charney, and country music singer songwriter Darrell Scott.

Current and former Tufts faculty include former American Psychological Association president Robert Sternberg, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Martin J. Sherwin, preeminent philosopher Daniel Dennett, Nobel Laureate Allan M. Cormack (1924–1998), regular featured columnist in Foreign Policy Magazine Daniel W. Drezner, radio host Lonnie Carton, and author Lee Edelman.

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Further reading[edit]

  • Sol Gittleman: An Entrepreneurial University: The Transformation of Tufts, 1976-2002, Tufts University Press, 2002, ISBN 1584654163
  • Diversity, Resiliency, Legacy: The Lives of Adult Students at Tufts University, ed. by Jean Hebert and Tina Marie Johnson, Tufts University Press, 2008, ISBN 0595500463

External links[edit]