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, 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). Scholastic honor societies commonly add a criterion relating to the student's character. Most honor societies are invitation-only, and 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 distinctions, 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 honor societies are referred to by their membership or by non-members as fraternities and sororities. 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, 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.

Scholastic 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. Other non-collegiate honor societies serve military branches and are 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 subheading.

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 healthcare-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.

General[edit]

Subject-specific[edit]

Non-scholastic honor societies[edit]

Boy Scouts[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Home". salute.colostate.edu.
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  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. ^ "Nu Lambda Mu". Nonprofit Academic Centers Council.
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  8. ^ "Eta Sigma Gamma". Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  9. ^ "Home". chitauepsilon.dance.
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  11. ^ "National Delta Tau Alpha". Archived from the original on 2014-02-19. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
  12. ^ "Gamma Sigma Delta – The Honor Society of Agriculture". www.gammasigmadelta.org. Archived from the original on 2014-02-24. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ "About PET". Pi Epsilon Tau at UT. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  15. ^ "Rho Beta Epsilon – The Robotics Engineering Honor Society". Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  16. ^ "Home". alphaeta.net.
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  18. ^ "Iota Tau Alpha: The Athletic Training Honor Society". NATA. 2016-04-08. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  19. ^ "Pi Delta National Honor Society | Kent State University". www.kent.edu. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  20. ^ "Sigma Phi Alpha - National Dental Hygiene Honor Society". sigma-phi-alpha.org. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  21. ^ "Sigma Phi Omega - Gerontology Honor Society". Sigma Phi Omega. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  22. ^ "TUA Home". www.nationalhumanservices.org. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  23. ^ "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.
  24. ^ Friar Society website Archived 2009-03-27 at the Wayback Machine Friar Society Website
  25. ^ "Miami magazine - Arrow Heads". 2009-11-20. Archived from the original on 2009-11-20. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  26. ^ Fordham. "The Matteo Ricci Society". www.fordham.edu. Archived from the original on 2008-04-20. Retrieved 2008-01-16.
  27. ^ Phalanx and White Key Society website Archived 2010-07-10 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 2010-07-04.
  28. ^ U of Nebraska student organization list Archived 2014-05-17 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 15 May 2014.
  29. ^ "Skull and Bones Senior HAT Society". Skull and Bones Senior HAT Society. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  30. ^ "Home". Skull & Dagger Society. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  31. ^ "Tate Society | Home". tatesociety.uga.edu. Retrieved 2023-02-03.

External links[edit]