Phi Alpha Theta
|Formation||March 17, 1921|
|National President||Stephen D. Carls, Ph.D.|
Phi Alpha Theta (ΦΑΘ) is an American honor society for undergraduate and graduate students and professors of history. The society has over 350,000 members, with about 9,500 new members joining each year through 860 local chapters.
Phi Alpha Theta was established on March 17, 1921 at the University of Arkansas by Professor Nels Cleven. Cleven had become convinced in his time at the university that a fraternity of scholars (which would accept men or women) was important for the study of history. He invited students to a meeting to form the society (then called the "University Historical Society") on March 14, and the society was officially recognized on the 17th. In April, the decision was made for the society to be known by the Greek letters Phi Alpha Theta.
Publication and leadership
Phi Alpha Theta publishes a quarterly historical journal entitled The Historian, which has over 12,500 individual subscribers and 1,000 library subscribers. The society's national headquarters and the journal's editorial offices are located at the University of South Florida. The Historian splits the space in its quarterly issues between articles and book reviews. The book review section of the journal has been based at Ohio Wesleyan University since 1994.
Stephen Carls of Union University is the current president of Phi Alpha Theta, and Graydon A. Tunstall, Jr. of the University of South Florida is Executive Director. Kees Boterbloe of USF is managing editor of The Historian, and Richard Spall, Jr. of Ohio Wesleyan University is the journal's book review editor.
Undergraduate students must have a 3.0 overall grade point average, at least a 3.1 average in their history courses and have completed 12 credits of history classes. Undergraduate candidates must also be in the top 35% of their class. Students enrolled at Online University are not eligible for membership. Students need not be majoring in history, but must have taken at least four history courses at the university level. Specific universities may develop higher qualifications. For example, the College of Staten Island's PAT chapter requires undergraduate students to have a GPA of or better than 3.25, History GPA of or better than 3.50 and at least 16 hours completed in History classes. Graduate students must have a GPA of better than 3.5 and have completed approximately 30% of the residence requirements for the Master's Degree.