Department of History Homepage

History Faculty
History Major
History Courses
Schedule of Courses
Department News
Department Address

Phi Alpha Theta


Phi Alpha Theta The International Honor Society in History, Phi Alpha Theta, was organized at the University of Arkansas on March 17, 1921. It now has over eight hundred forty chapters in fifty states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and the Philippine Islands. It is the largest, in number of chapters, of the accredited honor societies holding membership in the Association of College Honor Societies. The total number of its initiates, since organization, is more than 220,000. Return to Gamma-Sigma Activities Page

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


An undergraduate student must have completed at least twelve semester hours in history. A student must have a grade point average of at least 3.25 in the student's history courses. Additionally, a student must have an overall grade point average of at least 3.0 in all college course work.


At its biennial convention, students, undergraduate and graduate alike, are provided an opportunity to meet with distinguished historians and to present papers which they have written. Phi Alpha Theta is one of the few honor and professional historical societies to encourage the presentation of papers by students on its programs. At the same time, a number of outstanding historians also appear on the program of every biennial convention, so that members of the Society have the opportunity to hear their contributions to historical scholarship. Through these meetings students and professors have the opportunity to get to know others interested in the field of History and to enjoy the social and intellectual dialogue that takes place.

The Society also presents special programs of its own at the annual meetings of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Southern Historical Association, the Western Historical Association, the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association and many of the State Historical Associations.


On the local level, each chapter of the Society carries on many activities for the benefit and enjoyment of its members. The local chapter sponsors speakers, forums, debates and seminars of a scholarly sort, book reviews, and many other programs in cooperation with local and area historical societies. It serves in many ways as an adjunct to the Department of History in its college or university and often is a helpful outlet for the expression of the opinions and wishes of the students of History in their relations with the department, the library, and the college. Through the local chapter's promotion of social activities for all the students of History in the institution, students and faculty meet in such a manner that they get to know each other in ways other than the more formal relationships of the classroom.

Another very beneficial aspect of the Society's work is the regional activity of groups of chapters conveniently located in fairly close regional juxtaposition. Many regional meetings are held each year, usually for one day each, at which papers are presented and the members of many chapters are brought together. Approximately 50 regional meetings are held each year and more than 700 student papers are presented.


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 he 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.


Six annual Paper Prize Awards are given for papers by members of the 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 these competition may be devoted to any field of history.

All six prize winning papers are reviewed by the Editor of The Historian and, if found to be of publishable quality, will be published in The Historian if the author so desires.


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 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.


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



Phi Alpha Theta
University of South Florida
4202 East Fowler Ave, Soc107

Tampa, Fl 33620
(800) 394-8195 / (813) 974-8212
FAX: (813) 974-8215

This page was last updated on October 01, 2008.
Send e-mail to the Department of History.

Georgetown College