Pi Sigma Alpha

Pi Sigma Alpha is the national honorary society for political science majors based in Washington, DC. Membership signifies academic achievement within the field, and all members receive a certificate of membership as well as permanent enrollment in the society’s membership rolls maintained by the National Office. The purpose of Pi Sigma Alpha is to stimulate scholarship and interest in the subject of government by providing tangible recognition to students who have excelled in the field.

At the beginning of each semester, the department’s faculty adviser issues an open invitation for qualified majors to join UConn’s chapter. Applications are accepted through November 1st for each Fall semester and through March 1st for each Spring semester. Information regarding membership requirements, chapter activities, frequently asked questions, and an application form are all provided below. The present faculty adviser is Professor Fred Lee.

Membership is open to all students who meet the following requirements:

  • A declared political science major
  • A grade point average of 3.300 or higher in the major (Not Internships)
  • The completion of at least 3 2000-level political science course

If you meet these requirements, but have not yet received an email invitation, please email fred.lee@uconn.edu with the following information:

  1. Your Major (POLS) GPA
  2. A list of three POLS courses—2000 level or higher—with the grades you received in each.

Once Professor Lee has confirmed that you meet these membership requirements, you will then receive an online invitation with further instructions. $35 membership fees will be paid online using a credit card.

Note: we are no longer using a check- and paper-based membership enrollment system. Please DO NOT send Professor Lee old application forms or paper checks.

Frequent questions regarding membership:

Can I join if I am taking my 3rd 2000-level course this semester?

No, you need to have grades for those 3 courses factored into your major GPA before you can join. You may join during the semester following completion of the 3rd course.

My G.P.A. in my major is listed on my transcript, right?

No, actually it’s not. What’s listed on your transcript are your GPAs for the semester (SGPA), division (DGPA), and total average (TGPA).  The only place to find your major GPA is to look on your Academics Requirement Report. Or you can do the math yourself to make sure you have a 30300 GPA in the major. Find the grade and grade point chart in the general catalog ( listed under academic regulations), assign the correct grade point to all the Political Science classes you have taken (A=4.0, A-=3.7, etc.), and then divide the total by the number of Political Science classes you’ve taken.  This is your GPA in the major.

Your write-up says membership is solicited at the beginning of the school year. Can I still join even though it’s the Spring semester?

Yes, applications are accepted in the Spring semester until March 1st. This is due to the fact that certificates from the national chapter are sent for in March and between April and August the chapter is inactive.

I fit all the requirements, but no one asked me to join. How come?

We distributed announcements of our enrollment drive based on overall GPA rather than major GPA; hence some students who do not qualify for membership received one, while some students who do qualify did not receive one. We sincerely apologize if you belong to this latter category, and we would still be excited to have you become a member. Membership is a nice thing to list on your resume, but it really is just restating what your transcript already reveals — that you are a good student.

What does the $35.00 cover?

All dues are deposited in the chapter’s account at Student Union. The certificates from the national society are $35 each. At graduation, Pi Sigma Alpha members are entitled to wear honor society regalia.  Graduating members of the Honor Society will be given the opportunity to purchase Chords and/or Medals in early April.

Does the chapter meet frequently, what kinds of activities does it plan, and what is its organizational structure?

The answers to each of these questions varies tremendously from year to year. Precisely how active the chapter is depends on the enthusiasm and interest of its members. One dynamic that seems constant is that most students join when they are seniors, which means not only that they are already very busy, but also that membership roll-over is very high. It is not uncommon for the chapter to have 90% new members each year. In order to handle paperwork and financial issues, volunteers within the group are usually solicited.  Monthly meetings have sometimes proven to be useful venues for the exchange of information on graduate and law school applications and preparations. The level of activity and the nature of organizational responsibilities are really up to each year’s members.