Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society

Phi Alpha Theta: National History Honor Society


We are a professional society whose mission is to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians. We seek to bring students and teachers together for intellectual and social exchanges, which promote and assist historical research and publication by our members in a variety of ways.


Phi Alpha Theta International Honor Society in History, organized in 1921, currently has 860 chapters in 50 states. Beta Kappa Chapter at San Diego State was formed in 1948. The purpose of Phi Alpha Theta is to promote the study of history by encouraging research, good teaching, publication, and the exchange of ideas. It seeks to bring students, teachers, and writers of history together both intellectually and socially. 

Phi Alpha Theta encourages scholarly interaction through sponsorship of lectures and colloquia, research competitions, and scholarships. Students are encouraged to give papers at local, regional, and national Phi Alpha Theta conferences and at special sessions of professional historical associations such as the American Historical Association and the Western History Association. The society quarterly publishes The Historian as well as a newsletter. 

Membership Requirements

In order to be admitted into Phi Alpha Theta, a student must meet the following requirements:

  • Undergraduate students must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours (4 courses) in History, earned in the classroom, online or through AP or transfer credits (or a combination thereof).  A minimum GPA of 3.1 in History and 3.0 GPA overall are required.  A student need not be a history major to apply.
  • Graduate students should have completed a minimum of 12 semester hours towards their Master’s Degree in History, and have a GPA of better than 3.5.

The fee to join is $70.00.  An application form is attached to this email, and can also be found at Please use a non-SDSU email address when filling out the form, as that way you can continue to receive emails after graduation, and please use a permanent address.  

Please return your completed application and an unofficial transcript to the SDSU Phi Alpha Theta faculty advisor, Walter Penrose, Jr. at [email protected], or slide it under his door, AL 566.  Once approved, you will be sent instructions on how to pay the $70.00 application fee. Questions may be directed to Dr. Penrose through email.


Office: AL-582
Email: [email protected]