Phi Alpha Honor Society

History of Phi Alpha Honor Society

 The concept of a national social work honor society came from a group of undergraduate social work students at Michigan State University in 1960. Investigation revealed that local chapters existed at three schools. Those three schools along with a few other schools formed a National Honor Society Committee in November 1960. For more than a year this committee worked on the constitution and other administrative matters. The name Phi Alpha and the key were adopted from the local chapter which existed at Florida State University. The constitution and formal organization were completed in 1962, and six chapters qualified to become "charter chapters." They were Florida State, Michigan State University, Ohio Northern University, Central State College, University of Dayton and the University of Tennessee. Over 110 chapters are now in existence, and the addition of new chapters is continuing.

The  Union College chapter was formed in 2010. 

“Through Knowledge-the Challenge to Serve”

The purpose of Phi Alpha Honor Society is to provide a closer bond among students of social work and promote humanitarian goals and ideals. Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites into membership those who have excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work.

An undergraduate student is eligible for active membership after achieving the following National minimum requirements and meeting local Chapter requirements.  

The student has declared social work as their major.

    • Achieved sophomore status.
    • Competed 12 semester hours or 12 quarter hours of required social work courses.
    • Achieved an overall gr4ade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
    • Achieved a 3.25 grade point average in required social work courses.
    • Local chapter may establish higher eligibility requirements.

A graduate student is eligible for active membership after achieving:

    • A minimum of one term of course work.
    • A grade point average of 3.5 or higher in a 4.0 scale.
    • Local Chapters may establish higher eligibility requirements.

 A faculty member may be granted membership by invitation of the Executive Committee and approval of the Chapter membership.

The Executive Committee with the approval of the membership may grant Honorary Membership to a maximum of two individuals per year who have made outstanding contributions to the field of social work.  Honorary members shall not be assessed membership dues.                                            

The method of granting membership shall be in accordance with procedures established by the local chapter.

Any member may be expelled from membership for reasons of academic or personal conduct unbecoming a student of social work, by a three-fourths vote of the chapter, after a thorough investigation has been made by the Executive Committee and the member so charged has been granted an impartial hearing before the Executive Committee.  Dismissal from the Social Work program or College/University is cause for automatic recommendation for expulsion.


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