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Phi Alpha Honor Society

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

Students may apply for Phi Alpha Honor Society during the fall semester of their junior year.  Membership requirements include advanced standing status, overall 3.0 GPA and 3.25 Social Work GPA.  Members commit to 40 hours of community service by the end of their senior year.  Members pay a lifetime fee of $25 to the national office and $5 annually for annual society participation - This $30 sum can be payed to Becky Montoya in Old Main 239B.  

Benefits of Membership

  • Recognition or academic excellence
  • Social Work's internationally recognized honor society
  • Social Work's largest honor society
  • Students have met high standards
  • Respected by employers, social workers and college admissions
  • National presentation opportunities
  • Lifetime membership
  • Membership certificate & lapel pin




 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 of 1960. For more than a year, this committee worked on the constitution and other administrative matters. The name Phi Alpha was adopter from the local chapter existing at Florida State University.

     The constitution and formal organization were completed in 1962, and six chapters qualified to become "charter chapters." The charter chapters were Florida State University, Michigan State University, Ohio North University, Central State College, University of Dayton, and the University of Tennessee. Over 450 chapters are now in existence, and the addition of new chapters is continuing.

     Phi Alpha offers membership to social work students, faculty and practitioners. Each chapter is free to develop a program to meet local needs. The National Council of Phi Alpha, the organization's policy making body, meets once a year at the Council of Social Work Education's (CSWE's) annual program meeting conference. Each chapter has one voting representative on The National Council.