What is Phi Eta Sigma?


students volunteering at geaux big

University College's Phi Eta Sigma is a national honor society rewarding first-collegiate-year scholarship. Our goal is to encourage and reward academic excellence among full-time, first-year students in institutions of high learning.

The oldest and largest first-year honor society, Phi Eta Sigma was founded at the University of Illinois on March 22, 1923. We now have more than 370 chapters throughout the United States and more than 1 million inducted members.

Phi Eta Sigma members take a great deal of pride in the accomplishments of our Society despite the fact that we have the lowest membership fee of any nationally recognized honor society.

Who is eligible to join?

All who meet the following:

  • First-year, full-time student and
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 on 4.0 scale and
  • This GPA is achieved for any regular curricular period

What are the benefits of joining Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society?

  • The prestige of membership in The First, The Original, First-Year Honor Society founded in 1923 at the University of Illinois
  • Lifetime membership in a diverse group of scholars from all disciplines
  • An affordable, one-time initiation free
  • Graduate and undergraduate national scholarships and awards
  • Chapter scholarships and awards
  • Chapter opportunities for volunteer service
  • Chapter and national level leadership opportunities, including participation in regional conferences and national conventions
  • Top quality national publications
  • National certificate for outstanding chapter leaders and scholarship recipients
  • Official Society jewelry/fashion collections
  • Official Society academic regalia

What scholarships are available?

  • Cash scholarships up to $10,000
  • Cash awards of $1,000
  • Many local chapters also award scholarships. 

Members applying for national scholarships and awards must be nominated by our chapter. Local chapter advisers have application forms; deadline is March 1 for national scholarship committee evaluation.

Is Phi Eta Sigma a social fraternity?

Although some chapters have social events, we are not a social fraternity. There is a dignified induction ceremony to which parents and friends are invited. Most chapters have projects and activities promoting academic excellence and campus and community service, but individual participation is optional.

Where do national membership fees go?

Your one-time national membership provides:

  • Membership certificate
  • Golden membership key or tie tac
  • National magazine, the FORUM of Phi Eta Sigma
  • National website providing information and resources for members and chapter advisers
  • Chapter delegate registration at biennial national convention and leadership workshops

In addition, a portion of each membership fee goes to the Founders Fund, which provides scholarships and awards to outstanding Phi Eta Sigma members.