Sigma Zeta

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Sigma Zeta
"Sigma Zeta Graduation Medallion"
FoundedOctober 1, 1925; 96 years ago (1925-10-01)
Shurtleff College, Alton, Illinois
Scope United States

Sigma Zeta (ΣΖ) is a national honor society founded in 1925 to recognize undergraduate excellence in the natural sciences, computer science, and mathematics. The society's purpose is to encourage and foster the attainment of knowledge in the natural and computer sciences and mathematics.[1]


Sigma Zeta was founded in the fall of 1925 at the now defunct Shurtleff College as a local organization to provide recognition for Shurtleff science and mathematics students. Soon after that other local campuses took an interest in the group, and following the approval of the petition by McKendree College to start a chapter in June 1926 Sigma Zeta began its growth into a national collegiate honor society.[2] In a letter that appeared in the correspondence section of the American Chemical Society Journal of Chemical Education Sigma Zeta was offered as an alternative for small colleges to the existing Sigma Xi honor society which often passed over small colleges for membership as they focused on larger Universities.[3]

Sigma Zeta's annual convention has been held every year since 1926 except for 1943, 1944, and 1945 where it was canceled due to World War II, and in 2020 when it was canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.[4] The first three gatherings were held at the Shurtleff College campus which is now the site of the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine.


The annual convention is Sigma Zeta's primary meeting where student members present papers and individual and chapter awards are presented.[5][6][7] Individual chapters often undertake activities including the hosting of speakers and service projects to benefit their local communities.[8] These activities can include programs for younger students at local schools helping to promote science education at early ages.[9][10] Sigma Zeta's interdisciplinary nature has been described as a benefit for smaller colleges and universities because, "It brings together students from all areas of science and mathematics, including computer science, so they can all work together on projects."[11]

Qualifications for Membership[edit]

Chapters select students for membership that have met the following eligibility criteria:

  • Major studies in at least one of the Natural Sciences, Computer Science, or Mathematics
  • Completion of 25 semester hours of coursework with 15 hours in the Natural Sciences, Computer Science, or Mathematics
  • A Grade Point Average of 3.0 out of 4.0 both in Science and Mathematics as well as cumulatively among all classes taken[12]


Chapters in existence are listed in the order they joined Sigma Zeta.[13]

Associate chapters, marked with an asterisk, are chapters of Sigma Zeta on two-year community college campuses, including Somerset Community College, Alpena Community College and College of the Canyons, with Somerset Community College home to the first associate chapter.[16]


  1. ^ "Introduction to the Sigma Zeta Handbook", Sigma Zeta. retrieved 2013-11-11
  2. ^ "The History of Sigma Zeta", Sigma Zeta. retrieved 2013-11-11
  3. ^ R. K. Carrelton. "Correspondence." Journal of Chemical Education 1926, 3 (8), p. 944
  4. ^ "Sigma Zeta Conventions Future and Past", Sigma Zeta, retrieved 2013-11-11
  5. ^ Malone University to Host 2012 Sigma Zeta National Convention (March 21, 2012). retrieved 2012-8-26
  6. ^ OLLU to host national Sigma Zeta convention this Saturday Our Lady of the Lake University (March 2011). retrieved 2012-8-26
  7. ^ Students gather from across nation for Sigma Zeta conference, The Aviso (April 10, 2012). retrieved 2012-8-26
  8. ^ NASA Speaker Addresses Waves Malone University (February 21, 2012). retrieved 2012-8-26
  9. ^ Kid's College Explores Wonders of Science, Asbury University (March 11, 2011). retrieved 2012-8-27
  10. ^ John S. Battle Travels to Sigma Zeta Math and Science Competition Archived 2012-12-24 at, Washington County Public Schools: Virginia (December 8th, 2012). retrieved 2012-8-27
  11. ^ Honor societies provide benefits, prestige, The Reflector Online (September 23rd, 2009) retrieved 2012-8-27
  12. ^ "Why be a member of Sigma Zeta", Sigma Zeta. retrieved 2013-11-11
  13. ^ Sigma Zeta Constitution, Sigma Zeta. retrieved 2013-11-11
  14. ^ Sigma Zeta has stellar first year, inducts new members Archived 2012-01-26 at the Wayback Machine, Marygrove College (2009). retrieved 2012-8-26
  15. ^ College Inducts Students Into Sigma Zeta Honor Society Archived 2013-03-25 at the Wayback Machine, Chestnut Hill College (June 9, 2011) retrieved 2012-8-27
  16. ^ Area Students Being Inducted into Math and Science Honor Societies, Somerset Community College. retrieved 2012-8-26

External links[edit]