Tufts University
#69 Overall Influence#25 Desirability Rank

Tufts University

Private research university in Medford/Somerville, Massachusetts

By James Barham, PhD

Tufts University was founded as Tufts College in 1852 in the Boston Metropolitan Area–suburb of Medford, north of Cambridge. The school was built under the auspices of the Universalist Church of America on 20 acres of land donated by businessman and philanthropist Charles Tufts. Today, the university also has a satellite campus located in downtown Boston.

When Charles Tufts first purchased the land, it was an undeveloped parcel on the top of a barren hill, and when his family asked him what he intended to do with it, he is said to have replied: “I will put a light on it.”

The college was built up piecemeal over the years. In 1893 a medical school began operation, with electrical, chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering schools all opening during the same decade. In 1933 the internationally renowned Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy was founded.

Women began to be admitted to Tufts College in 1893, while Jackson College for Women—a closely associated, but administratively separate, four-year, women’s liberal arts college—opened in 1910. In 2002, Jackson College was wholly absorbed by Tufts’s School of Arts and Sciences.

In 1954 the college was officially elevated to university status and its name changed accordingly. However, the school’s rapid growth into a major research university began particularly with the presidency of French scientist, Jean Mayer, beginning in 1976.

Tufts is associated with seven Nobel laureates, namely,

  • Physicist, Rainer Weiss
  • Chemist, Roderick MacKinnon
  • Computed-tomography (CT) pioneer Allan MacLeod Cormack — physiology or medicine
  • Economists, Eugene Fama & Paul Samuelson
  • Egyptian-born international public servant, Mohamed ElBaradei — peace
  • President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos — peace

Other distinguished Tufts-connected individuals include the following:

  • Singer-songwriter, Tracy Chapman
  • New York Times publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr.
  • TV personality, Meredith Vieira
  • Showman and philanthropist, P.T. Barnum
  • Actors, William Hurt, Peter Gallagher & Jessica Biel
  • Psychologists, Robert J. Sternberg & Richard Alpert (Ram Dass)
  • Mathematician and philosopher, Norbert Wiener
  • Linguist, Ray Jackendoff
  • Computer scientists, John Reif, Kathleen Fisher & Pierre Omidyar
  • Cell biologist, Frederick Grinnell
  • Evolutionary biologist, Sean B. Carroll
  • Electrical engineer and inventor, Elihu Thomson
  • Engineer and government administrator, Vannevar Bush
  • Economist, Peter Navarro
  • Historians, Gordon S. Wood & Jill Lepore
  • Indian politician and former United Nations diplomat, Shashi Tharoor
  • Former New Mexico governor, Bill Richardson
  • Current US Representative, Dan Crenshaw
  • Former US Senators, Daniel Patrick Moynihan & Scott Brown


What does this school look for?

Annual Applications




Graduation Rate


Median SAT Score


Median ACT Score



How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)


Fees (in-state)


IncomeAverage Net Cost

After Graduation

Averages for 10 years after enrolling

Avg Earnings




Campus Life

What's it like to attend this school?

The People

Full time on-campus stats

Student Body






The Campus

Where will you be attending?


, Medford MA 02155-5555

On Campus Crime Rates

Property Crime

7 per 100k

Violent Crime

1 per 100k

City Crime Rates

Property Crime

12 per 100k

Violent Crime

2 per 100k

What is Tufts University known for?

Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.

Top areas of influence with degrees offered

#35 World Rank #26 USA Rank
Political Science
#38 World Rank #27 USA Rank
#54 World Rank #30 USA Rank
#39 World Rank #31 USA Rank
#56 World Rank #31 USA Rank
#58 World Rank #32 USA Rank
#103 World Rank #38 USA Rank
#60 World Rank #39 USA Rank
Computer Science
#46 World Rank #40 USA Rank
#50 World Rank #44 USA Rank
#82 World Rank #46 USA Rank
#135 World Rank #50 USA Rank
#124 World Rank #57 USA Rank
Religious Studies
#172 World Rank #62 USA Rank
#177 World Rank #63 USA Rank
#99 World Rank #66 USA Rank
#177 World Rank #85 USA Rank
#211 World Rank #88 USA Rank
#180 World Rank #101 USA Rank
#299 World Rank #103 USA Rank
Earth Sciences
#240 World Rank #115 USA Rank

Other areas of influence

#82 World Rank #63 USA Rank
Criminal Justice
#128 World Rank #93 USA Rank
Social Work
#490 World Rank #288 USA Rank

Influential People

Who are Tufts University's Most influential alumni?

Tufts University's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Political Science, Medical, and Engineering. Tufts University’s most academically influential people include Norbert Wiener, Eugene Fama, and Pierre Omidyar.

Norbert Wiener
Norbert Wiener

American mathematician, scientist in cybernetics and artificial intelligence

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Eugene Fama
Eugene Fama

American economist and Nobel laureate in Economics

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Pierre Omidyar
Pierre Omidyar

EBay founder, American entrepreneur and philanthropist

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Sean B. Carroll
Sean B. Carroll

American biologist

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Jeremy Rifkin
Jeremy Rifkin

American economist

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Ram Dass
Ram Dass

American contemporary spiritual teacher and the author of the 1971 book Be Here Now

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William Hurt
William Hurt

American actor and filmmaker

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Meredith Vieira
Meredith Vieira

American journalist and talk show and game show host

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Jamie Dimon
Jamie Dimon

American banking executive

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Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.
Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.

United States Marine Corps General

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Vali Nasr
Vali Nasr

American academic and author

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Paul A. Offit
Paul A. Offit

American immunologist

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