Pi Sigma Alpha

Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society, is the only honor society for college students of political science and government in the United States. Pi Sigma Alpha is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS) and is designated as a "Specialized, Upper-Division" society by ACHS.

Pi Sigma Alpha was founded in 1920 at the University of Texas for the purpose of bringing together students and faculty interested in the study of government and politics. Professor C. Perry Patterson was an early leader of the first chapter and served as national president of PSA from 1920 until 1932. The success of the honor society at the University of Texas prompted other institutions to apply for chapters, with the Universities of Oklahoma and Kansas establishing chapters by 1922. In March of that year the society held its first national convention at the University of Oklahoma.

Growth in the honor society was gradual throughout the 'twenties and 'thirties and accelerated after the Second World War; today there are over 650 chapters throughout the country. There is at least one college or university with a Pi Sigma Alpha chapter in every state and the District of Columbia and, as of 1995, the U. S. territory of Guam.

Purpose of an Honor Society

The Articles of Incorporation of Pi Sigma Alpha state as one of its purposes "to stimulate scholarship and intelligent interest in political science." The society functions at the national level, sponsoring programs and events of value to the profession and teaching of political science, and at the chapter level. Each chapter is encouraged to provide a framework for enriching the exposure of its members and the wider university community to the study of government and issues of public concern. The goals of Pi Sigma Alpha are consistent with the aims of the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS) as set out in the ACHS Booklet of Information. This material provides a good framework for understanding the meaning and value of a political science honor society and its place on an American campus, and makes worthwhile reading.

Eligibility Requirements

Pi Sigma Alpha is classified by the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS) as an "upper division, specialized" honor society. The academic requirements for membership eligibility follow those set by ACHS for this category of honor society, and are specified in the Pi Sigma Alpha Constitution, Article I, "Membership."

Membership in Pi Sigma Alpha is open to juniors, seniors, and graduate students currently enrolled in programs of political science in institutions where chapters are located.

Undergraduates must meet the following criteria: They must be at least juniors who have completed at least ten semester-credits (or 15 quarter-credits if their institution is on the quarter system) of work in political science including at least one upper-division course, with an average grade of B or higher in those courses. They must have achieved an overall GPA placing them in the top one-third of their whole class (i.e., junior or senior class). They need NOT be political science majors to qualify for membership.

Graduate students must have completed 9 graduate credits in political science with no grade lower than a B. Undergraduate coursework does not count towards graduate student eligibility, and graduate students must be pursuing a degree in political science to qualify for membership.

Title: Ryan Saylor, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Office: College of Arts and Sciences
Address: Chapman Hall
Phone: (918) 631-2821
E-mail: ryan-saylor@utulsa.edu
National Web site: www.apsanet.org/~psa