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Yale School of Medicine Annual Events

The Office of Student Affairs organizes the major milestones that book-end medical school—the White Coat Ceremony and Commencement—as well as Match Day, a national event that occurs each March.

White Coat Ceremony

At the White Coat Ceremony, which typically takes place on the first day of school in August, each student’s name is read aloud as a member of medical education leadership helps them put on their new white coat, which the students will wear when engaging with patients. Many view the white coat as symbolizing professionalism, integrity, and the highest commitment to caring for patients. Each student also receives a stethoscope, in what has become a traditional gift from alumni to incoming students.

Match Day

In mid-March of their graduating year, students learn where they have matched for residency, through the National Resident Matching Program. After months of guiding students through the residency application and match process, the Office of Student Affairs organizes the Match Day celebration. The students, along with family, friends, faculty, and staff, gather to celebrate the students and their years of hard work leading to this next step in their journey to become physicians.


Two months later, Student Affairs organizes Commencement. The day traditionally starts with a university-wide ceremony on Yale’s Old Campus. Then, with lots of pageantry, wearing caps and gowns, students, family members and friends, faculty, and staff walk through streets closed to traffic, back to the Yale School of Medicine campus for a smaller ceremony, where MD degrees are conferred.