School Profile: Become Savvy in International Relations at Tufts University

Tufts University is located on a hill outside Medford, Massachusetts. This small suburban research university began in 1854 as a liberal arts college. In 1933, the University added Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, which was the first graduate school in the country for international affairs. Under the tenure of Tufts’ President, Jean Mayer, the college transformed into an elite research university. Today, Tufts boasts two undergraduate programs, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Engineering, and eight graduate and professional schools in arts and sciences, engineering, veterinary medicine, dental medicine, international relations, nutrition science and policy, medicine, and biomedical sciences.

Academically, it is the mission of Tufts University to help students recognize the combinations of cross-disciplinary studies required to solve the complex global challenges of the present and the future. The University empowers students toward that goal with world class research capabilities combined with the personalized rigor of a small college. Students can choose from more than 70 majors among the two undergraduate schools, although 90% of students are enrolled in the School of Arts and Sciences.

By enrollment, the most popular undergraduate majors at Tufts are international relations and biological sciences. Undergraduates are considered an essential part of ongoing university research. Because of the university’s strong international focus, nearly half of all Tufts undergraduates study abroad for at least a semester. Famous Tufts graduates include singer Tracy Chapman, author Anita Shreve, television personality Meredith Vieira, and astronaut Frederick Hauck.

Over 70% of Tufts students live in one of 40 on or off campus housing properties. Freshmen are required to live on campus in Tilton, Houston, Hill, or Haskell Halls unless they are able to verify that they commute from their parents’ homes. They must also enroll in the premium meal plan with Carmichael or Dewick-MacPhie dining halls, which are open seven days a week. Students have several clubs and organizations available to them including musical groups, performance arts groups like dance or opera, and student journalism opportunities, such as the campus television or radio stations.

Students report enjoying the proximity to Davis Square for shopping and eating out at one of many restaurants serving diverse culinary choices. Entertainment suggestions include capture the flag at Powerhouse Park, Sacco’s Bowling at Davis Square, a nap on President’s Lawn, or the view from the roof of Tisch Library.  If you are old enough to drink, trivia night at PJ Ryan’s is on Tuesdays, or there is Friday night wine tasting at Ball Square Fine Wines. There’s good vegan food at True Bistro in Teele Square, if you’re into it.

Tufts University has 14 men’s and 15 women’s NCAA Division III teams competing in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). Recent accolades have gone to Tufts first-ever NCAA Division III team title, won by the men’s lacrosse team in 2010; a national individual title in women’s tennis the same year, and most recently, a men’s national individual diving title. There are an additional 16 club sports for students to participate in at Tufts. Students can also join in nine intramural fall sports and five spring sports with a Tufts ID, which must be presented at each event. The University’s commitment to healthy living and fitness for all students is clearly demonstrated with the state-of-the-are Tisch Sports and Fitness Center, and all students are encouraged to take advantage of it.

A special Tufts tradition takes place on President’s lawn when incoming freshmen light a candle in honor of Charles Tufts their first night on campus; four years later, they repeat the ceremony the night before graduation. Another Tufts tradition is painting the cannon and then guarding it until daybreak to be sure your work isn’t painted over by someone else. The Spring Fling concert just before finals has been a Tuft’s tradition since 1980. For 75 years, students have awakened Halloween morning to find their campus “pumpkin’d” with pumpkins all over the place; these are just some of the Tufts traditions you’ll experience.

If you want the comfort of a small campus with the world class research opportunities of a major research university, and you have a heart for solving global issues, Tufts is the place to apply.

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By Colleen Hill