Honor Societies

The Center for Learning and Teaching supports three national academic honor societies: Phi Eta Sigma recognizes the academic achievements of students during their freshman year and they are inducted during the fall of their sophomore year, traditionally during family weekend; Tau Sigma recognizes the academic achievements of transfer students during their first term at Binghamton and the induction is held in the spring semester; and Phi Kappa Phi recognizes the academic achievements of juniors and seniors from all disciplines. The first induction was held in November 2009 and inductions are held during the fall semester.

Phi Eta Sigma

Founded in 1923, at the University of Illinois, Phi Eta Sigma is the nation’s oldest and largest honor society for first-year college and university students in all disciplines.  Inspired by the past and dedicated to the future, the society’s mission is to encourage and reward academic excellence among freshmen in institutions of higher learning. Since its founding, more than 975,000 scholars have been inducted into Phi Eta Sigma, which has chartered chapters on over 350 campuses across the United States.  Approximately $285,000 in scholarships is awarded annually by the national organization.

Those elected to membership include students who have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale at the end of any first year, full-time curricular period, provided they have carried a normal academic load acceptable toward a bachelor’s degree and rank in the upper 20 percent of their class. If you are eligible, you will receive an invitation in August following your freshman year.

Tau Sigma

Tau Sigma was incorporated as a non-profit in 1999, with Auburn University being the home of the first chapter. At that time, Auburn University was becoming increasingly aware of the significant number of transfers on campus as well as the university’s inability to adequately serve them. Tau Sigma was born out of Auburn University’s desire to improve its service to, and recruiting and retention of, transfer students.

Today, over 60 other universities have established or are currently establishing Tau Sigma chapters in their efforts to improve the services that they provide to their transfer student population. Although Tau Sigma is a relatively young organization, many members in all parts of the country have become active at their universities, participating in such activities as on-campus recruiting events for prospective transfer students, transfer student orientation, community service projects, assisting the admissions office with the recruitment of prospective transfers at junior colleges, and participating in intramural sports and socials that allow them opportunities to develop fellowship with one another and make new friends.

To be eligible for membership, you must transfer to a four-year institution of higher learning from another academic institution with at least one full year’s academic credits satisfied at the prior institution(s) and you must be registered full-time in a course of study leading to a bachelor's degree.

Membership in the organization shall be based upon superior academic achievement by students during their first term in the institution to which they transfer (only credit hours that count toward a bachelor's degree can be used to determine Tau Sigma eligibility). The minimum academic average required for membership is either a 3.5 on a 4.0 scale (or the equivalent thereof) or an academic average that places the prospective candidate in the top 20 percent of all incoming transfer students during the term in question. Academic eligibility shall be obtained on the grades of one full curricular period, i.e., semester, trimester, quarter or term. Eligibility is limited to the first term of enrollment at the institution to which the student transfers. Summer school session equivalent to a full curricular period may be used to meet the academic requirement.

If you are eligible, you will receive an invitation in the February following completion of your first term at Binghamton.

Phi Kappa Phi

Founded in 1897, at the University of Maine, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines. Its chapters are on more than 300 campuses in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Each year, approximately 30,000 members are initiated.

Since its founding, Phi Kappa Phi has initiated more than 1 million members into its ranks; all of these members have received emblems and certificates of membership. However, Phi Kappa Phi is much more than an emblem and a line on a résumé. It is a global network comprised of the best and brightest from all academic disciplines — a community of scholars and professionals building an enduring legacy for future generations.

Membership in Phi Kappa Phi is by invitation only to Binghamton University’s top 7.5 percent of second-term juniors and the top 10 percent of seniors. If you are eligible, you will receive an invitation in August of the appropriate year.

For more details on any of the above honor societies, contact:
Birgit Nicolaisen
Chapter Coordinator
CIW Library, room 206


Last Updated: 7/8/16