Santa Clara University

Psychology department

Honor Society


The National Honor Society in Psychology 


What is Psi Chi?


Psi Chi is the National Honor Society in Psychology. Psi Chi, which was founded in 1929, exists to encourage, stimulate, and maintain excellence in scholarship, and to advance the science of psychology. The Santa Clara University Chapter of Psi Chi was established in 1991, and provides Psychology students with the opportunity to join Psi Chi if they meet certain standards required by Psi Chi and the Association of College Honor Societies (a governing body for college honor societies). Membership in Psi Chi is an earned honor which is for life. Your membership is preserved at the Psi Chi National Office and can be called upon for reference purposes such as application for graduate school and jobs. The only charge by the national organization is a once-in-a-lifetime registration fee of $45. We also have a one-time registration fee of $10 for our SCU Chapter.


What are the requirements for becoming a member of Psi Chi?

1. Number of hours required in psychology courses:

A. Students who started SCU as freshmen must complete 15 quarter units of Psychology at SCU before applying to Psi Chi.

B. Transfer students must complete 9 quarter units of Psychology at SCU before applying to Psi Chi.

2. Registration for Major standing in Psychology (or in Combined Sciences).

3. Overall academic standing:

Undergraduates who are elected to Psi Chi must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or better and rank in the upper 35 percent of their class (e.g., Sophomore, Junior, Senior) in general scholarship. [note: student's ranking is determined by the Psi Chi faculty advisor in consultation with student records]

4. Academic standing in Psychology:

Undergraduates who are elected to Psi Chi must have a GPA in Psychology of 3.3 or better.

5. High standards of personal behavior.

6. Two-thirds affirmative vote of those present at a regular meeting of the chapter.


When are applications to Psi Chi available?

We take applications to Psi Chi three times each academic year--in Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters. Application forms are available at the start of each quarter, either from the Faculty Advisor or from a packet on the Psi Chi bulletin board. Applications are typically due by the end of the second week of each quarter (note: applications should include your most recent grades). You will be notified within two weeks as to whether you will be invited to join Psi Chi.


What happens after I become a member of Psi Chi?

Membership in Psi Chi is an acknowledgment of your academic achievement and your commitment to the discipline of Psychology. Our most important yearly event is the initiation and welcoming of new members. Initiation of new members is in February and is typically held in the Adobe Lodge. This late-afternoon/early-evening affair includes a formal initiation ceremony, a food/beverage reception, socializing with the Psychology faculty, current and new Psi Chi members, friends and family. As well, we have a short, entertaining presentation on a topic of interest to Psychology students.

When you are inducted into Psi Chi, you are presented with a membership certificate suitable for framing and a membership card. You are eligible to wear Psi Chi emblems including keypins, lapel pins, etc. You are also eligible to wear Psi Chi honor cords during your graduation ceremonies (honor cords must be ordered from the Faculty Advisor to Psi Chi six weeks prior to graduation).

A quarterly Psi Chi Newsletter is furnished to the chapters for you to pick up free of charge from the faculty advisor or at chapter meetings. Among the topics covered in the Newsletter are national, regional, state, international, and local conventions at which you are eligible to present papers. Also included are opportunities to participate in undergraduate and graduate research award competitions. The names of new members and activities of chapters are published in the Newsletter and preserved for historical purposes.

In addition to the Psi Chi initiation, our chapter of Psi Chi sponsors several other events during the academic year. The nature of these events varies somewhat with the interests of the Psi Chi officers serving that year. Consistent with the Psi Chi mission, our chapter has sponsored, for example, research colloquia, career panels, and graduation school information nights. Psi Chi members have assisted with the SCU Undergraduate Research Conference.

Finally, Psi Chi "hosts" a graduation reception for all graduating psychology majors, their families, and friends immediately following the June graduation ceremony. New Psi Chi officers are elected each spring, which permits the incoming officers to benefit from the knowledge and experience of the outgoing officers. Officer transitions are made at an annual officer dinner during the spring quarter.


For more information about Psi Chi, please contact Dr. Lisa Whitfield at
Department of Psychology
Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
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