Pi Sigma Alpha

Pi Sigma Alpha (PSA) is the National Political Science Honor Society, and Tau Pi is the local chapter at UH Mānoa. The society's purpose is to stimulate productive scholarship and intelligent interest in government among students at higher learning institutions. Pi Sigma Alpha is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS).

Pi Sigma Alpha is based in Washington D.C. and its chapters are established in colleges and universities of accredited and recognized standing which offer a prescribed minimum program in political science. PSA is a prestigious organization that both encourages interaction among political science students and recognizes their achievements. Pi Sigma Alpha has more than 840 chapters and inducts 8,000 members annually.


Pi Sigma Alpha was founded in 1920 at the University of Texas, Austin for the purpose of bringing together students and faculty interested in the study of government and politics. Professor C. Perry Patterson led the development 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. There is at least one college or university with a PSA chapter in every state and the District of Columbia and, as of 1995, the U.S. territory of Guam.

PSA Membership Benefits

  • Recognition of academic excellence in Political Science
  • Graduation medallion and/or honor cord
  • Initiation Certificate
  • Opportunities for administrative experience as a Pi Sigma Alpha officer
  • Howard Penniman Scholarships for Graduate Study
  • Professional awards for faculty members (Franklin L. Burdette Award and other Best Paper Awards)
  • Access to PSA internship and job listings
  • Email updates for upcoming PSA and other politically oriented events
  • Networking opportunities with other Political Science students and faculty

ACHS Member Society Benefits

  • May fulfill one of the requirements for entrance at the GS-7 level for Federal professional and technical positions
  • May qualify for internship scholarships with the Washington Internship Institute, The Fund for American Studies, and the Washington Center of Internships and Academic Seminars

Eligibility Requirements

Membership is open to:

  • Undergraduate juniors and seniors, both majors and non-majors, who are interested in political science
  • Political Science graduate students
  • Political Science faculty

Students must have a minimum of:

  • Ten credits in Political Science, including at least one upper-division course
  • 3.5 GPA overall
  • 3.5 GPA in Political Science courses

Next Steps

Eligible persons should email a completed application to polisci@hawaii.edu.

There is a $36 lifetime membership fee, which includes an initiation certificate and enamel lapel pin.

Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society