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Voluntary Ranks

Voluntary faculty are clinicians or others who are employed outside of the University but make significant contributions to department programs.
Photo by Anthony DeCarlo


Voluntary Faculty are typically clinicians or others who are employed outside of the University but make significant contributions to department programs at the medical center or at affiliate institutions. Section XII(I) of the Faculty Handbook contains a description of this rank. In addition, YSM departments have established guidelines applicable to voluntary faculty at the department-level, such as the relative importance of teaching students, supervising residents, engaging in scholarly activity, participating in department administration, and other activities.

Voluntary faculty typically do not receive compensation or benefits from the University. With the approval of the chair and the Dean’s office, voluntary faculty may become principal investigators of grants. As a principal investigator, the voluntary faculty member must abide by all relevant university and school policies. They must be able to commit and devote the requisite effort with or without compensation from the grant. Voluntary faculty are expected to hold a terminal degree in their field and be board-eligible, licensed, or certified in their specialties.


Appointment to these ranks requires significant contributions to YSM and departments. Appointments to these ranks do not require Request for Faculty Position (RFP) or a Faculty Search Questionnaire (FSQ).

Reappointments and Promotions

Reappointment and promotion in the voluntary ranks is reviewed in light of department-specific requirements and processes.

Secondary Appointments

Voluntary faculty may hold joint appointments in other departments or schools at Yale.

Retired Status

When a voluntary faculty member is retiring and has held an appointment for at least 30 years, some YSM departments may permit the faculty member to take on “retired” status. Typically, this would be at the existing rank with the addition of “retired”. Voluntary faculty members are not eligible for the university-designated status of "emeritus".

Use of the "Yale" name

Voluntary faculty members may include their current faculty title and rank on the signature block of stationery and business cards only in cases where such materials are used in support of such faculty member’s official duties to the university. Only the individual’s full university title may be used in such circumstances.

Voluntary faculty may also describe their current affiliation with the university in biographical narratives that include other biographical information about the individual (such as in an author profile in a book or a presenter’s bio in presentation slides). It should always be made clear that the views and statements shared by the individual are personal opinions and do not reflect the university’s position on the topic.

Except as described above, or as otherwise permitted in a written affiliation agreement with the university, references to Yale University, Yale School of Medicine, or other Yale affiliation in any advertisements or other materials or media that market or promote the activities or services of non-Yale entities, ventures or practices are prohibited.

Department-Specific Guidelines

Some, but not all, departments have department-specific guidelines that are maintained by the Departmental Faculty Affairs Teams.

Clinical Instructor


In most cases, new appointments to the voluntary faculty will be made at the rank of Clinical Instructor. Candidates for appointment to this rank are physicians or other health professionals who have completed clinical training.


Appointments are made for renewable one-year terms.

Appointment to this rank requires:

Reappointment information is summarized on a different webpage, and reappointment to this track/rank requires: