Skip to content

Graduate Student Oath

Each year since 2009, Penn State College of Medicine has welcomed its incoming graduate students pursuing DrPH, MS, MPH or PhD degrees with the Graduate Student Oath Ceremony.

In the presence of faculty, friends and peers, current graduate students will be invited to recite the Graduate Student Oath. Then incoming students will receive their first white laboratory coat or other academic remembrance appropriate to their degree, a symbol of their entrance into the biomedical research profession. Following the distribution of these symbols, the entering graduate students will recite the pledge to uphold the values of integrity, professionalism, and scholarship in biomedical research.

Prompted by an article in Science magazine, a group of College of Medicine graduate students spent the better part of the academic year 2009-2010 developing an oath that reflects Penn State values.

“We wanted to highlight the integrity and professionalism to which our graduate students aspire,” explained Rachel Lantry, 2009-10 president, Graduate Student Association (PhD Physiology, 2010). “It was important for us to ensure that our graduate students maintain a certain level of ideals, regardless of their background, degree, or graduate program.”

The College of Medicine Graduate Student Oath was featured in the Association of American Medical College’s monthly magazine Reporter. The Oath was revised to reflect all new programs at the College of Medicine in 2014.

Graduate Student Oath

I, ______________________, have entered the serious pursuit of new knowledge as a member of the community of graduate students at Penn State College of Medicine. I will strive to uphold the values of integrity, professionalism and scholarship.


I will uphold academic and scientific honesty.

I will conduct research objectively, using my knowledge responsibly.

I will not allow financial gain, competition, or personal ambition to cloud my judgment in the conduct of ethical research and scholarship.


I will share knowledge and resources resulting from my research, within the limits of intellectual property agreements.

I will contribute to the public understanding of the scientific process and the impact of my results.

I will minimize the adverse effects of my research on people, animals and the natural world.


I will report my results accurately regardless of the expectations set forth by myself, the scientific community, or funding sources.

I will recognize the limits of my knowledge and will pursue life-long learning.

I will fulfill my responsibility to mentor and instruct the next generation of scientists.

Photo gallery

See photos from the 2020 Graduate Student Oath Ceremony here.

2020 Graduate Student Oath Ceremony