Phi Alpha Theta

Phi Alpha Theta Badge

Phi Alpha Theta
International History Honorary Society

Application Requirements

Undergraduate applicants must:
  • Have completed at least twelve (12) credit hours in history courses at JSU
  • Have at least a 3.1 GPA in history
  • Have at least a 3.0 GPA overall
Graduate applicants must:
  • Have completed at least twelve (12) graduate credit hours in history
    courses at JSU
  • Have at least a 3.1 GPA in graduate courses
For more information and an application contact:
Dr. George M. Lauderbaugh in Room 309SC or at 256-782-8044.

Phi Alpha Theta

International Honor Society in History

The International Honor Society in History, Phi Alpha Theta, was organized at the University of Arkansas on March 17, 1921. Since that time, it has grown to more than 740 chapters in 50 states, and has more chapters than any of the other accredited honor societies holding membership in the Association of College Honor Societies. The total number of initiates since Phi Alpha Theta is composed of chapters in properly accredited colleges and universities. All students in these institutions who have completed the required number of history courses and are maintaining high standards in their college or university studies are eligible for membership.

Phi Alpha Theta is a professional society whose purpose is to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication, and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians. It seeks to bring students, teachers, and writers of history together both intellectually and socially; it encourages and assists historical research and publication by its members in a variety of ways.


The Historian
. As part of its encouragement of historical study, the Society publishes The Historian, a distinguished historical quarterly whose pages are open to its members for the publication of their studies in all fields of history. It also contains numerous reviews of scholarly books, news of historical activities, and other items of interest. The Historian has the second largest circulation among all historical journals published in the United States. Each initiate receives a one-year subscription as part of the initiation fee.

The News Letter is published three times per year and carries articles covering all the current activities and awards of the Society. It emphasizes chapter activities, regional meetings, and initiations.

Handbooks. As an aid to chapter officers and members, the Society also publishes an Officers' Handbook, a Faculty Advisors' Manual, a Guide for Hosting Regional Meetings, and Criteria for Best Chapter Awards.

Activities of the Society

Phi Alpha Theta performs many services for its members.

At its biennial convention, students, undergraduates and graduate alike, are provided with the opportunity to meet distinguished historians and to present papers they have written. Phi Alpha Theta is one of the few honor and professional historical societies that encourages the presentation of papers by students at its functions. Outstanding historians appear on the program of every biennial convention so that members of the Society have the opportunity to hear their contributions to historical scholarship. Students and professors can get to know others interested in the field of history, including their own particular fields of specialization, and to enjoy the social and intellectual dialogue that take place. The biennial convention is also the occasion for various special events and tours of historical interest. Phi Alpha Theta helps to underwrite the cost of transportation for one delegate from each chapter attending its conventions.

The Society also presents special programs of its own at the annual meetings of the American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Southern Historical Association, Western History Association, Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association, and many state historical associations. In the future, Phi Alpha Theta will extend its participation to other historical associations' conferences as well.

Local and Regional Activities

On the local level, each chapter of the Society hosts many activities for the benefit and enjoyment of its members. Local chapters sponsor speakers, forums, debates and scholarly seminars, and many other programs in cooperation with local and area historical societies. Through the local chapter's promotion of social activities for all the students of history in the institution, students and faculty may meet informally.

Another important aspect of the Society's work is the activity of groups of chapters located in fairly close regional proximity. Approximately 40, one-day regional meetings are held each year with more than 700 student papers presented.

Prizes and Awards

In its effort to promote the study of history, Phi Alpha Theta has established a number of prizes and awards for its members.

Six annual Paper Prize Awards are given for papers by members of Society. The George P. Hammond Graduate Paper Award of $200 is presented for the best paper by a graduate student member. The Lynn W. Turner Undergraduate Paper Award of $150 is presented for the best paper by an undergraduate student member. The other four awards of $100 each are for papers submitted by either undergraduate or graduate student members of the Society.

The papers submitted in this competition may be devoted to any field of history. Each paper must be recommended for its high scholarly quality by the faculty advisor or by the Chair of the History Department in his/her institution.

All six prize-winning papers are reviewed by the Editor of The Historian and, if found to be of a publishable quality, will be published in The Historian if the author so desires. Interested members should consult the announcements of these awards for instructions as to format and deadlines.

Scholarship Awards

Phi Alpha Theta offers its members six scholarships for graduate study.

The A. F. Zimmerman Scholarship of $1,250 is presented to a student member entering graduate school for the first time for work leading to the M.A. degree in history.

The John Pine Memorial Award in the amount of $1,000 is awarded to a graduate student member for advanced graduate study.

Four Awards in the amount of $750 each are given to either student members entering graduate school for the first time or to student members in advanced graduate study in history.

The Donald B. Hoffman Scholarships are of two types. A faculty member who has served as a faculty advisor for five or more years may receive an award for any special activity such as research, writing assistance, or travel for the advancement of his/her career. An additional $1,000 is awarded to an Advanced Graduate Student member of the Society for final work leading to a Ph.D. in history.

Members interested in applying for any of these awards should contact their chapter or Phi Alpha Theta, 50 College Drive, Allentown, PA 18104-6100.

Best Chapter Awards

To encourage greater activity and more interest in the field of history, Phi Alpha Theta now offers annual "Best Chapter Awards" of $250 each. The awards are presented for activities and projects hosted by local chapters. The chapters are divided into six divisions according to student enrollment of each institution, with approximately the same number of chapters included in each division. The Criteria for Best Chapter Awards are available from International Headquarters.

Book Awards

For the encouragement of publication in history, Phi Alpha Theta offers two annual awards for books published by its members.

One award for $500 is granted for the best first book in history published by a member of the Society. A second award, also for $500, is offered for the best subsequent book published by a member. If the winner of one of these awards is a member of an active chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the History Department on that campus receives an additional award of $100 for the purchase of books for the library.

Members interested in submitting books for consideration for these awards should request instructions from the secretary-treasurer at International Headquarters.

Manuscript Publication Award

Awarded to an outstanding manuscript in the field of history by a member of the Society, this award helps offset the publication costs of such a manuscript, and is designed primarily to assist the younger historian in his/her early publication efforts. This award is in addition to the Book Awards.

Phi Alpha Theta Westerners International Award

The Phi Alpha Theta Award of $500 to a graduate student member of the Society for the best Doctoral Dissertation in Western History is funded by Westerners International. The award is presented each year at the Phi Alpha Theta luncheon at the Western History Association annual meeting.

Civil Service Benefits

Membership in Phi Alpha Theta is recognized by the U. S. Civil Service Commission, qualifying a member for grade GS-7 rather than GS-5. For further information contact the International Headquarters.

Association of College Honor Societies

As part of its commitment to academic excellence, Phi Alpha Theta has played, and continues to play, a very active role in the Association of College Honor Societies. Phi Alpha Theta was one of the three initial departmental honor societies in the ACHS.

Continued Supporting Memberships Initiation into a chapter of Phi Alpha Theta confers lifetime membership upon the individual. Payment of the initiation fee is the only financial expense for membership on the international level.

However, there are three means of continuing to actively support the projects of Phi Alpha Theta. Sustaining Membership, an annual contribution of $35, entitles the individual to receive The Historian and The News Letter for one year with the balance exceeding subscription costs added to the endowment fund. A one year subscription rate to The Historian only is $20. There is also a $10 option that entitles a member to receive three issues of The News Letter.

The International Headquarters of Phi Alpha Theta is located at the University of South Florida
SOC 107
4202 E. Fowler Ave.
Tampa, FL 33620-8100.