Professional fraternities and sororities
Professional fraternities, in the North American fraternity system, are organizations whose primary purpose is to promote the interests of a particular profession and whose membership is restricted to students in that particular field of professional education or study. This may be contrasted with service fraternities and sororities, whose primary purpose is community service, and general or social fraternities and sororities, whose primary purposes are generally aimed towards some other aspect, such as the development of character, friendship, leadership, or literary ability.
Professional fraternities are often confused with honor societies because of their focus on a specific discipline. Professional fraternities are actually significantly different from honor societies in that honor societies are associations designed to provide recognition of the past achievement of those who are invited to membership. Honor society membership, in most cases, requires no period of pledging, and new candidates may be immediately inducted into membership after meeting predetermined academic criteria and paying a one-time membership fee. Because of their purpose of recognition, most honor societies will have much higher academic achievement requirements for membership. A few groups, such as Phi Sigma Pi, are considered to be both a fraternity and an honors organization. These honor fraternities require higher GPAs, like an honor society, but operate as a brotherhood, like a fraternity.
Professional fraternities, on the other hand, work to build brotherhood among members and cultivate the strengths of members in order to promote their profession and to provide assistance to one another in their mutual areas of professional study. Membership in a professional fraternity may be the result of a pledge process, much like a social fraternity, and members are expected to remain loyal and active in the organization for life. Within their professional field of study, their membership is exclusive; however, they may initiate members who belong to other types of fraternities.
- 1 History
- 2 Title IX Applied to Professional Fraternities
- 3 Umbrella Organizations
- 4 List of professional fraternities
- 5 External links
- 6 References
The first professional fraternity was founded at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky in 1819: the Kappa Lambda Society of Aesculapius, established for the purpose of bringing together students of the medical profession. The fraternity lasted until about 1858.
Of the professional fraternities still in existence, the oldest is Phi Delta Phi founded at the University of Michigan in 1869; however, Phi Delta Phi changed its mission in 2012 to become an honor society for law school students.
Title IX Applied to Professional Fraternities
Professional fraternities, in the United States fraternity system, are usually co-educational in accord with Federal Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (commonly referred to as "Title IX,"). This federal law discourages discrimination on the basis of sex in any college or university receiving federal financial assistance. However, the membership practices of social fraternities and sororities are exempt from Title IX in section (A)(6)(a). The Department of Education (DOE) regulations adopted pursuant to Title IX also allow such an exception for "the membership practices of social fraternities and sororities." (34 C.F.R. Sec. 106.14(a)).
Prior to Title IX, many professional fraternities were all male and most professional sororities/women’s fraternities were all female. Several of these professional fraternities and sororities even considered themselves both professional and social organizations because they often emphasized the social aspects of their activities. During the ensuing years since the enactment of Title IX, single-sex professional fraternities and sororities became coeducational to conform to Title IX. Several organizations simply opened their membership both men and women. For example, Phi Chi (medicine) opened membership to women in 1973; Phi Beta (music and speech) opened membership to men in 1976; and Delta Omicron (music) opened membership to men in 1979. A few single-sex groups merged with other organizations, such as Phi Delta Delta, a women’s professional law fraternity, merged with Phi Alpha Delta (law) in 1972.
Despite the fact that Title IX was enacted in 1972, there continues to be professional fraternities and sororities or their chapters that have not become coeducational and therefore, do not conform to Title IX. Generally, these groups still claim to be both professional and social organizations, for instance, Alpha Gamma Rho (men in agriculture), Alpha Omega Epsilon (women in engineering), and Sigma Phi Delta (men in engineering).
It is interesting to note that a few social fraternities and sororities have membership practices of selecting their members primarily from students enrolled in particular majors or areas of study, including Phi Mu Alpha, Phi Sigma Rho, Sigma Alpha Iota, and Triangle. Nevertheless, these groups are social, rather than professional, organizations. Although they select members from students in a particular field of study, like a professional fraternity, they are single-sex social organizations because their purposes focus only on the social development of their members. Examples of groups that have been officially granted exemption from Title IX by the DOE to remain single-sex include Sigma Alpha Iota in 1981  and Phi Mu Alpha in 1983.
Many professional fraternities, particularly those of the highest esteem and reputation, are members of the Professional Fraternity Association (PFA). This group resulted in 1978 from a merger of the Professional Interfraternity Conference (PIC) (for men's groups) and the Professional Panhellenic Association (PPA) (for women's groups). In 2013, faced with an increase in campus policies that undermine the integrity of the professional fraternity experience, the PFA adopted a resolution against All Comers policies. The effect of the dissemination of All Comers policies on campuses is to dis-value discipline-specific fraternal organizations in the Professional Fraternity Association, and over time will likely lead to the generalization/socialization of PFA member groups.
List of professional fraternities
- ΔΣΠ - Delta Sigma Pi - Business
- ΑKΨ - Alpha Kappa Psi - Business
- ΓΙΣ - Gamma Iota Sigma - Insurance, Risk Management, Actuarial Sciences
- ΦΓΝ - Phi Gamma Nu - Business
- ΦΧΘ - Phi Chi Theta - Business
- ΠΣE - Pi Sigma Epsilon - Marketing, Sales
- ΔΣΧ-Delta Sigma Chi - Chiropractic
- ΠKX - Pi Kappa Chi - Chiropractic
- XPΣ - Chi Rho Sigma - Chiropractic
Engineering & Architecture
- ΑΡΧ - Alpha Rho Chi - Architecture
- ΑΩΕ - Alpha Omega Epsilon - Engineering
- ΚHΚ - Kappa Eta Kappa - Electrical and Computer Engineering
- ΘΤ - Theta Tau - Engineering
- ΣΦΔ - Sigma Phi Delta - Engineering
- AΓK - Alpha Gamma Kappa Fraternity - Podiatry
- ΑKΠ - Alfa Kappa Pi - Medicine - Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico
- ΑZΩ - Alpha Zeta Omega- Pharmacy
- ΑΤΔ - Alpha Tau Delta - Nursing
- ΑΩ - Alpha Omega - Dentistry
- ΧΗΦ - Chi Eta Phi - Nursing
- ΔΕΜ - Delta Epsilon Mu - Health
- ΔNT - Delta Nu Tau - Pre-Dentistry
- ΔΣΔ - Delta Sigma Delta - DentistryMedicinePharmacy
- ΔΣΘ - Delta Sigma Theta - Pharmacy
- ΕΨΕ - Epsilon Psi Epsilon - Optometry
- ΚΓΔ - Kappa Gamma Delta - Pre-medical
- ΚΕ - Kappa Epsilon - Pharmacy - primarily women
- KTE - Kappa Tau Epsilon - Podiatry
- ΚΨ - Kappa Psi - Pharmacy
- ΛΚΣ - Lambda Kappa Sigma - Pharmacy - primarily women
- ΜΕΔ - Mu Epsilon Delta - Health
- ΠM - Pi Mu Honor Society - Medicine - Merged with Phi Chi in 1922
- ΣΜΔ - Sigma Mu Delta - Pre-medical
- ΣΦХ -Sigma Phi Chi - Chiropractic women's sorority
- ΦΑΓ - Phi Alpha Gamma - Osteopathic medicine - Merged with Phi Chi in 1948
- ΦΑΣ - Phi Alpha Sigma - Medicine
- ΦΒΠ - Phi Beta Pi - Medicine
- ΦΔΕ - Phi Delta Epsilon - Medicine
- ΦΔΧ - Phi Delta Chi - Pharmacy
- ΦΣΓ - Phi Sigma Gamma - Men's Osteopathic Fraternity
- ΦΡΣ - Phi Rho Sigma - Medicine
- ΦΧ - Phi Chi - Medicine
- ΩΤΣ - Omega Tau Sigma - Veterinary Medicine
- ΩYΦ - Omega Upsilon Phi - Medicine - Defunct after Phi Beta Pi 1934 merger. Alpha Chapter joined Phi Chi
- PΠΦ - Rho Pi Phi - Pharmacy
Military, Government, & Foreign Service
- ΔΟΣ - Delta Omicron Sigma - Military veterans
- ΔΦΕ - Delta Phi Epsilon - Foreign Service
- Pershing Rifles - Military
- Scabbard and Blade - Military
- KΕΨ - Kappa Epsilon Psi Military Sorority, Inc
- Kappa Lambda Chi Military Fraternity, Inc
- ΔΟ - Delta Omicron - Music
- ΚΚΨ - Kappa Kappa Psi - Band
- ΤΒΣ - Tau Beta Sigma - Band
- MBΨ - Mu Beta Psi - Music
- ΜΦΕ - Mu Phi Epsilon - Music
- ΣAI - Sigma Alpha Iota - Music
- ΑΗΡ - Alpha Eta Rho - aviation
- ΑΧΣ - Alpha Chi Sigma - chemistry
- BΨΩ - Beta Psi Omega - biology
- ΓΕΤ - Gamma Epsilon Tau - printing and digital media
- ΔΚA - Delta Kappa Alpha - filmmaking
- ZBΔ - Zeta Beta Delta - creative, visual, and performing arts
- ΖΦΗ - Zeta Phi Eta - communication arts & sciences
- ΡΠΦ - Rho Pi Phi - pharmacology
- ΦΑΤ - Phi Alpha Tau - communication arts
- ΦΒ - Phi Beta - Creative and performing arts
- ΦΣΠ - Phi Sigma Pi - National Honor fraternity
- KΠ - Kappa Pi - International Honorary art fraternity 
- ΓΛΔ - Gamma Lambda Delta Sorority - business and professional
- ΚΘΠ - Kappa Theta Pi - informatics and information technology fraternity
- Title IX, United States Department of Justice
- " Code of Federal Regulations, PART 106: NONDISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF SEX IN EDUCATION PROGRAMS OR ACTIVITIES RECEIVING FEDERAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
- Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia - Sinfonia's Classification
- "Sigma Alpha Iota". Sigma Alpha Iota.
- "Phi Mu Alpha". Phi Mu Alpha.