How to Start a Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha
How to Start a Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha

How to Establish a Pi Sigma Alpha Chapter

Any university or college department of political science may establish a chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha if the department and the institution meet the following criteria.

The institution must:

  1. be fully accredited;
  2. confer the B. A. degree in its own name;
  3. recruit its own faculty;
  4. have a student body of at least 500 full-time students.

The political science department must:

  1. determine its own curriculum for the political science major without needing approval from another institution;
  2. have at least 15 full-time political science majors;
  3. enable a student to obtain a degree in political science without having to take supplemental work at another institution.
  4. At least half of the full-time political science faculty must hold Ph.D. degrees in political science.

To begin the process of establishing a Pi Sigma Alpha chapter, a member of the political science faculty obtains a copy of Chapter Establishment Questionnaire from this web document or from the National Office and submits the completed form and a college catalog to the National Office. The information on the form and the catalog will serve to verify that the department and the institution meet the foregoing criteria.

If the Executive Director determines that the Department has met all eligibility requirements, the National Office then sends the petition form to the department to be filled in with the names and signatures of students and faculty who would become charter members of the new chapter, plus the signature of the president of the institution. The petition will be returned to the National office with a date chosen for the chapter installation, and the initiation fees for all of the petitioning school's charter members who have never before been inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha. (Faculty members, for instance, who were inducted into the honor society as students may become charter members of a new chapter without paying another initiation fee.)

The National Office assigns a Greek letter name to the chapter in alphabetical sequence, prints a handsome charter which is signed by the Executive Director and National President, and prints individual charter membership certificates for the faculty and students being initiated into the new chapter. Since a member of the honor society must officiate at the installation of the new chapter, the National Office will also help the new chapter locate a member at a neighboring institution to preside if there are no members already in the department.

As for the installation itself, there is no official program or ritual approved by the National Office. There should, however, be at least a short, dignified ceremony to mark the significance of the occasion for the department and the institution, including the presentation of certificates to the charter members, perhaps followed by a reception.  The National Office does provide a Ritual of Initiation for inducting individual members into the honor society.