The Graduate Coating Ceremony honors Ph.D. candidates who have passed their qualifying exams, transitioning from a Ph.D. student to a Ph.D. candidate. Though the white coat ceremony is most commonly known as an educational milestone and ritual for M.D. graduates, The Johns Hopkins University is one of the few institutions in the country to present its graduating Ph.D. students with white coats.
Each coat is embroidered with the student’s name and with a graduate student pin affixed, which represents the unity of each of the 14 Johns Hopkins University doctoral programs. With their families, peers and mentors as witnesses, each student recites the graduate student oath, scientists’ pledge to always maintain integrity and commitment to the scientific community.
Sponsor a White Coat for a School of Medicine Graduate Student
Commemorate the achievement of our graduate students by sponsoring a white coat. A gift of $50 provides a white coat, or you can show your support with a gift of any amount that is meaningful to you. White coats will be presented to candidates at the Graduate Coating Ceremony in December.
History of the Lab Coat
Today, the long white laboratory coat is an international symbol of the biomedical community. A century ago, the medical service changed drastically when leading physicians were expected to be both researchers and scientists. White coats were adopted to emphasize cleanliness and professionalism. The white coat was first worn by a new generation of physician-scientists.
The scientific revolution in medicine was a founding principle of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. William Welch, the first Chief of Pathology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, insisted that his trainees follow the scientific method in their research. At the same time, Sir William Osler, the first Physician-in-Chief, emphasized cleanliness in his historic textbook The Principles and Practice of Medicine.
Did You Know?
The first white coat ceremony occurred in 1993 at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. Medical students received a short white coat to emphasize their years of training. In recent years, a number of medical colleges around the world began holding coating ceremonies for their terminal degree candidates, including those working towards their Doctor of Philosophy degree. At the heart of these ceremonies is the recitation of a student oath, a pledge to uphold the same values of integrity, professionalism, and scholarship that inspired the white coat 100 years ago. The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions use this occasion to mark the achievements of our doctoral candidates, and to charge them to remember the ideals upon which their scientific endeavors should stand.
Graduate Student Oath
As I embark on my career as a scientist, I willingly pledge that:
- I will practice and support a scientific process that is based on logic, intellectual rigor, personal integrity, and an uncompromising respect for truth;
- I will perform my professional activities and interactions with scientific integrity and respect for the field and my peers;
- I will acknowledge my role as an ambassador of science to the public, and strive to be honest, respectful, and unbiased with engaging the public;
- I will value my work and its contribution to the scientific community;
- I will never let the potential for personal recognition or advancement cause me to act in a way that violates the public trust in science or in me as a scientist;
- I will foster a community that is inclusive of all and recognize that diversity cultivates innovation, creativity, and progress;
- I will acknowledge and honor the contributions of scientists who have preceded me and become a worthy role model deserving of respect by those who follow me;
- And I will always be cognizant that my work is for the advancement of knowledge and the benefit of all humanity.
By pronouncing this Oath, I declare my commitment to these professional standards and goals.
The White Coating Ceremony is a rite of passage for doctoral candidates like Amanda Edwards, a Ph.D. candidate in the Biomedical Engineering Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 2015, she, along with 70 other school of medicine and public health graduate students, were recognized for the successful completion of their Doctoral Board Oral Examinations.