Pi Sigma Alpha

Welcome to Pi Sigma Alpha - Beta Tau Chapter

Pi Sigma Alpha is the national political science honor society, founded in 1920 at the University of Texas.  It is open to graduate and upper-level undergraduate students in political science who have achieved the required level of academic excellence. Pi Sigma Alpha has more than 740 chapters in colleges and universities in every state in the United States and one in Canada.

Penn’s Beta Tau Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha was founded in 1953.  As a student-run organization, members provide leadership in promoting excellence in the study of political science at Penn.  Activities include networking/mentoring events, a Political Science lecture series, lunches with faculty, and outreach activities for prospective Political Science students.

Benefits of membership:

Membership in an honor society is a worthy distinction in itself, and as a measure of academic achievement can provide a tangible advantage in a competitive world.  All Pi Sigma Alpha members receive a certificate of membership and permanent enrollment in the society's membership database, maintained by the National Office.  Upon request, the National Office will provide letters verifying membership to prospective employers or graduate schools. 

Because Pi Sigma Alpha is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS), the U. S. Office of Personnel Management allows its members to apply for federal government positions listed at a higher entry-level grade than non-member candidates. 

Members are entitled to wear the Pi Sigma Alpha key at any time, and the medallion and honor cord with cap-and-gown at graduation and on other official occasions.

Members may also apply for the Pi Sigma Alpha/Howard Penniman Scholarships for Graduate Study in Political Science, scholarships for Washington internships, Best Paper Awards, and chapter activity grants for lectures and other campus events. The National Office also supports the awarding by each chapter of a one-year student membership in the American Political Science Association for one member each year. 

Membership Qualifications:

Eligibility for membership is based solely on academic performance. To qualify for membership in the Beta Tau Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, students must have: 

  • Junior standing
  • a 3.3 cumulative average overall
  • a 3.6 average in Political Science courses
  • completed at least four Political Science courses 

Membership is open to non-majors as well as majors.


To apply for membership in the Beta Tau Chapter, send an email message to bdavis3@sas.upenn.edu with the following information:

  • Name
  • Major(s)/Minor(s)
  • Expected graduation (year & term)
  • Email address
  • Cumulative GPA
  • GPA in Political Science courses
  • List of all Political Science courses taken (and grade received)


For more information, contact bdavis3@sas.upenn.edu. 

You may also visit the Pi Sigma Alpha national website for more information. 

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