Pi Sigma Alpha

The National Political Science Honor Society


Pi Sigma Alpha logo

Spring 2017 Meetings:
Thursday, March 30th at 5pm in Old Main 319

2016-2017 Officers:
Adviser: Dr. Karen Sebold
President: Courtney Brooks
Vice President: Bridget O'Shaughnessy
Secretary: Kyle Ward
Treasurer: Brianna Suggs
Social Media Coordinator: Zana Englis

What is Pi Sigma Alpha?
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.

Benefits of Membership
Membership in an honor society is a worthy distinction in itself, and as a measure of academic achievement can provide a tangible advantage in a competitive world. All Pi Sigma Alpha members, regular and honorary, receive a certificate of membership and permanent enrollment in the society's membership data base, maintained by the National Office. Upon request, the National Office will provide letters verifying membership to prospective employers or graduate schools.

Because Pi Sigma Alpha is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS), the U. S. Office of Personnel Management allows its members to apply for federal government positions listed at a higher entry-level grade than non-member candidates. 

Members are entitled to wear the Pi Sigma Alpha key at any time, and the medallion and honor cord with cap-and-gown at graduation and on other official occasions.

Members may apply for the Pi Sigma Alpha/Howard Penniman Scholarships for Graduate Study in Political Science, the Nancy McManus Washington Internship Scholarships, and for Best Paper Awards.  All ACHS honor society student members are also entitled to automatic tuition reductions for Washington internship programs run by the Washington Internship Institute, the Fund for American Studies, and The Washington Center

The National Office supports the awarding by each chapter of a one-year student membership in the American Political Science Association for one member each year. 

Pi Sigma Alpha gives students the opportunity for valuable administrative experience as chapter officers or organizers of chapter activities.  Chapters can compete for the Chapter Activity Grants awarded each year by the National Office. 

Qualifications for Membership
The purpose of Pi Sigma Alpha is to stimulate scholarship and interest in the subject of government by providing tangible recognition to students who have excelled in the field. Minimum standards for admission, established by the national constitution, are:

For Undergraduates (Juniors and Seniors):

  • completion of at least fifteen quarter-hours or ten semester­ hours of work in government, political science, international relations or public administration including at least one course not open to students in the first two years of collegiate work
  • maintenance of an average grade of B or higher in all political science courses
  • an overall academic standing in the upper third of the college class

For Graduate Students:

  • completion of at least nine hours of graduate work in political science
  • maintenance of an average grade of B or higher in all political science courses

 

Pi Sigma Alpha Newsletters
The Pi Sigma Alpha Newsletter is published twice per year, in Fall and Spring.

Wondering what Pi Sigma Alpha's been up to lately?  Check out some of their Spring 2015 activities!