Honor society

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"Honor Societies", illustration from the 1909 Tyee (yearbook of the University of Washington)

In the United States, an honor society is a rank organization that recognizes excellence among peers. Numerous societies recognize various fields and circumstances. The Order of the Arrow, for example, is the National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts of America. Chiefly, the term refers to scholastic honor societies, those that recognize students who excel academically or as leaders among their peers, often within a specific academic discipline.

Many honor societies invite students to become members based on the scholastic rank (the top x% of a class) and/or grade point averages of those students, either overall, or for classes taken within the discipline for which the honor society provides recognition. In cases where academic achievement would not be an appropriate criterion for membership, other standards are usually required for membership (such as completion of a particular ceremony or training program). It is also common for a scholastic honor society to add a criterion relating to the character of the student. Some honor societies are invitation only while others allow unsolicited applications. Finally, membership in an honor society might be considered exclusive, i.e., a member of such an organization cannot join other honor societies representing the same field.

Academic robes and regalia identifying by color the degree, school and other distinction, are controlled under rules of a voluntary Intercollegiate Code. In addition, various colored devices such as stoles, scarves, cords, tassels, and medallions are used to indicate membership in a student's honor society. Of these, cords and mortarboard tassels are most often used to indicate membership. Most institutions allow honor cords, tassels and/or medallions for honor society members. Stoles are less common, but they are available for a few honor societies. Virtually all, if not all honor societies have chosen such colors, and may sell these items of accessory regalia as a service or fundraiser.

Many fraternities and sororities are referred to by their membership or by non-members as honor societies, and vice versa, though this is not always the case. Honor societies exist at the high school, collegiate/university, and postgraduate levels, although university honor societies are by far the most prevalent. In America, the oldest academic society, Phi Beta Kappa, was founded as a social and literary fraternity in 1776 at the College of William and Mary and later organized as an honor society in 1898, following the establishment of the honor societies Tau Beta Pi for Engineering (1885), Sigma Xi for Scientific Research (1886), and Phi Kappa Phi for all disciplines (1897). Mortar Board was established in 1918, as the first national honor society for senior women, with chapters at four institutions: Cornell University, The University of Michigan, The Ohio State University and Swarthmore College. Later, the society became coeducational.

The Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS) is a predominantly American, voluntary association of national collegiate and post-graduate honor societies. ACHS was formed in 1925 to establish and maintain desirable standards for honor societies. While ACHS membership is a certification that the member societies meet these standards, not all legitimate honor societies apply for membership in ACHS.

List of honor societies[edit]

Notable national and international honor societies based in or at schools include the following:

General collegiate scholastic honor societies[edit]

These societies are open to all academic disciplines, though they may have other affinity requirements.

Leadership[edit]

These societies recognize leadership, with a scholarship component; multi-disciplinary.

Military[edit]

These are collegiate-based honor societies for students in the armed forces. There are other non-collegiate honor societies serving military branches, often listed as professional fraternities.

Liberal arts[edit]

These societies are open to the traditional liberal arts disciplines, and may be department-specific. Some are grouped by discipline subheader.

Business[edit]

Education[edit]

Fine arts[edit]

Journalism and communications[edit]

Languages[edit]

Law[edit]

Sciences[edit]

These societies are open to students in the STEM disciplines, and may be department-specific. Some are grouped by discipline subheader.

Agriculture[edit]

Architecture[edit]

Engineering[edit]

Within the larger group of STEM disciplines, these societies serve engineering disciplines.

Health sciences[edit]

This section includes all health care related fields, including veterinary science.

Information technology[edit]

Mathematics[edit]

Local honor societies[edit]

Some universities have their own independent, open honor societies, which are not affiliated with any national or international organization. Such organizations typically recognize students who have succeeded academically irrespective of their field of study. These include:

Certificate, vocational, technical, and workforce education[edit]

Two-year colleges and community colleges[edit]

Secondary school societies[edit]

Commonly referred to as high school societies.

Boy Scouts[edit]

See also[edit]

Professional fraternities and sororities
Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Home - Order of the Key". Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
  2. ^ The National Society of Leadership and Success. (n.d.). NSLS Accreditation: Nation's Only Accredited Honor Society. NSLS Accreditation | Nation's Only Accredited Honor Society. https://www.nsls.org/accreditation.
  3. ^ "Honor Society". Association for Biblical Higher Education. Retrieved 2021-03-10.
  4. ^ "Alpha Mu Alpha". www.ama.org. Archived from the original on 2015-04-23. Retrieved 2015-04-10.
  5. ^ "Home - International CHRIE". www.chrie.org. Archived from the original on 2016-10-15. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  6. ^ ΗΣΓ website Archived 2018-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 24 June 2014
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-19. Retrieved 2014-02-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Gamma Sigma Delta – The Honor Society of Agriculture". www.gammasigmadelta.org. Archived from the original on 2014-02-24. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
  9. ^ Alpha Nu Sigma's web page Archived 2016-12-07 at the Wayback Machine notes the Society was established in 1979. Reference accessed 28 Nov 2016.
  10. ^ Rho Beta Epsilon's web page Archived 2018-07-12 at the Wayback Machine established in 2007 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Reference accessed 11 July 2018.
  11. ^ Mankin, Carlie; Doherty-Restrepo, Jennifer (April 8, 2016). "Iota Tau Alpha: The Athletic Training Honor Society". National Athletic Trainers' Association's Blog. Archived from the original on 2017-02-11. Retrieved 2017-02-10.
  12. ^ Sigma Phi Alpha website Archived 2014-05-21 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 20 May 2014
  13. ^ ΣΦΩ's national website, accessed 12 Oct 2016. Not to be confused with the Asian-interest sorority of the same name.
  14. ^ "Order of the Sword & Shield". Order of the Sword & Shield National Honor Society. Archived from the original on 2015-10-21. Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  15. ^ "Bison Head at the University of Buffalo". University at Buffalo Libraries. Archived from the original on 2014-09-12. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  16. ^ Friar Society website Archived 2009-03-27 at the Wayback Machine Friar Society Website
  17. ^ Lion's Paw website Archived 2008-04-10 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 2008-05-19.
  18. ^ Fordham. "The Matteo Ricci Society". www.fordham.edu. Archived from the original on 2008-04-20. Retrieved 2008-01-16.
  19. ^ Phalanx and White Key Society website Archived 2010-07-10 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 2010-07-04
  20. ^ Founded in 1926, as noted on this U of MN portal website, accessed 13 Apr 2021.
  21. ^ U of Nebraska student organization list Archived 2014-05-17 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 15 May 2014.
  22. ^ Skull & Bones website Archived 2018-08-29 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 2008-05-19.
  23. ^ Skull & Dagger website Archived 2008-06-18 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 2008-05-19.
  24. ^ Tate Society website
  25. ^ Tiger Brotherhood website Archived 2011-07-28 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 2008-05 19.
  26. ^ Phalanx and White Key Society website Archived 2010-07-10 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 2010-07-04

External links[edit]