Is Psi Chi Worth It? Benefits of Joining an Honor Society in Psychology

According to Psychology Today, the academic major psychology is commonly third or fourth in popularity at many colleges and universities in the US.

And when it comes to honor societies exclusive to psychology majors, perhaps no other is as popular as Psi Chi, which is an international organization.

But is joining it worth your time and energy?

Psi Chi is an international honor society in psychology, which was founded to recognize and advocate excellence in the science and application of psychology. Unlike most other organizations, membership is not on an invitation-only basis. Aspirants must be in the top 35% of their class and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 to be eligible to join.

Thinking about applying to Psi Chi? Don’t stop reading until you get to the end of this post!

Who is Eligible to Join Psi Chi?

It’s true that Psi Chi is not like most other honor societies, particularly prestigious and selective ones, in terms of who gets to be a member in that everyone is welcome to apply provided that they meet minimum eligibility requirements.

The organization, needless to say, does not send out invitations — it just accepts and reviews membership applications.

Some may find it not as elite as those that are on an invitation-only basis as a result of this. However, it’s important to note that not everyone who applies is inducted into the honor society.

As expected, there are some requirements to meet, and leading the list is that they should be a psychology major or minor or enrolled in a psychology graduate course.

Let’s take a look at some other minimum requirements for Psi Chi membership:

Undergraduate students

Hopefuls who are working on a bachelor’s degree must have completed at least 3 semesters of full-time coursework as well as at least 9 semester credit hours of psychology courses.

What’s more, they must have a minimum GPA average of 3.0 for all psychology courses to be eligible for membership.

On the other hand, their overall GPA should place them in the top 35% of their class.

Graduate students

Students who are pursuing a graduate degree must have completed at least 9 semester credit hours of graduate psychology courses in their respective programs for eligibility for Psi Chi membership.

It’s also important that they have a GPA of not less than 3.0 in all courses, including psychology-related ones.

How Much Does Membership to Psi Chi Cost?

Membership to Psi Chi costs $55. The one-time fee is good for a lifetime’s worth of being on the roster of the honor society. While there are no annual dues, unlike at some similar organizations where members are charged for membership renewal, Psi Chi chapters may ask for additional dues to fund local programs and activities.

The average cost of membership to honor societies range anywhere from at least $55 to, in many instances, as high as $100 or higher.

So, in other words, the asking price of Psi Chi is on the low side of things.

However, as just pointed out, some chapters may charge members more, thus bringing the membership fee up.

At the University of California, for instance, new members are asked to pay a total one-time fee of $100 to be inducted into the organization.

On the other hand, the membership fee at the University of Toledo amounts to $70. Applicants who are approved for membership by the chapter advisors at the University of Louisville, meanwhile, pay $80.

Following the approval of membership, as expected, is an induction ceremony. Failure to attend the event, fortunately, does not remove the member from the honor society’s roster.

Registration materials, including certificates, can be obtained by those who are unable to attend the ceremony from their respective Psi Chi chapter advisors.

Psi Chi members who have no choice but to switch colleges need not reapply to the organization. Again, membership is good for life. However, it’s important for the new school to have a chapter.

Transfer membership is also subject to approval.

Here are some of the most notable alumni of Psi Chi:

  • BF Skinner – Psychologist known for his impact on behaviorism and former Harvard professor
  • Philip Zimbardo – Psychologist and professor emeritus at Stanford University popular for his Stanford prison experiment
  • Phil McGraw – Television personality and author more popularly known as Dr. Phil
  • Jon Stewart – Comedian, director and television host who formerly hosted The Daily Show

Benefits of Joining Psi Chi

All members of Psi Chi are recognized internationally for their academic excellence in the field of psychology. Other than that, they are given access to an assortment of members-only perks. They range anywhere from scholarship awards to fund one’s pursuit of an undergraduate degree to career search to find the best professional path.

There are numerous benefits that come with being a member of Psi Chi besides being a part of a community of like-minded individuals, and some of them are as follows:

1. Scholarship programs, grants and awards

Psi Chi itself says that members can win up to $400,000 in combination every year to support their endeavors.

Unlike most other honor societies that offer scholarship opportunities to graduate student members only, Psi Chi has available ones for undergraduates.

As a matter of fact, every year, the organization awards a total of 8 scholarships to undergraduate students, each one amounting to $3,000, to help recipients defray some direct educational costs such as tuition and textbooks.

Members may also apply for financial assistance for attending conventions, conducting research work, promoting campus diversity, funding their educational pursuits and many others.

And other than undergraduate and graduate student members, faculty and chapters may win cash awards, too.

2. Leadership skill development

Volunteering to participate in various local Psi Chi chapter activities allows members to develop leadership skills and many others that can help increase their job market value.

Serving as a Psi Chi chapter officer or overseeing a service project is also another way to go about it.

3. Research and network opportunities

Gearing up for graduate school?

Psi Chi helps members discover collaborators or have their prospective projects find collaborative participation. It makes it easy for them to look for faculty sponsors, too.

It’s also possible for members to present their research work at local, regional, national and even international conventions where they can receive certificates that recognize their presentations.

Attending them also enables Psi Chi members to interact and network with members and officers from other chapters as well as leading experts in the field of psychology.

4. Publication in peer-reviewed journals

Whether aiming for your top-choice graduate school or your first-choice company, being a published author allows your resume to stand out from the pack. And Psi Chi makes it possible by publishing your work in its journal.

The honor society has numerous publications where you may consider submitting your work, and some of them include:

  • Eye on Psi Chi
  • Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research
  • Psi Chi Digest
  • Psi Chi’s Monthly Webinar Series

5. Career search

Psi Chi grants members exclusive access to its Career Center, which allows them to check out relevant jobs and receive alerts when local jobs open. It also enables them to have their resumes improved at no cost.

Speaking of which, adding the honor society to one’s resume is a wonderful idea. This is particularly true for someone who is applying for a professional or technical occupation.

That’s because the HR heads at various governmental agencies accept membership to Psi Chi as one of the requirements for entrance to GS-7 level jobs.

6. One-on-one mentoring

Members can easily obtain support in various areas of psychology by meeting with advisers and officers at their respective local Psi Chi chapters. Similarly, they can serve as mentors to first-year students as they adjust to their college lives.

Just Before You Agree to Join Psi Chi

Because membership to Psi Chi is not on an invitation-only basis, it may appear to some that it’s not as prestigious as most other honor societies where invitations are sent only to eligible students.

However, while just about anybody who is interested to join may apply, it’s important to note that there are eligibility requirements to meet, including a minimum GPA.

Related Questions

Is Psi Chi a legit honor society?

Because it’s certified by the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS), which is geared toward the creation of a cohesive community of honor societies, national and international alike, there’s no denying that Psi Chi is an accredited organization.

Currently, it has 840 chapters in the US and additional chapters in 17 other countries.

When was Psi Chi founded?

It was in 1929 when Psi Chi first came into being. It was founded by Edwin Newman and Fredrick Lewis, both of whom were students at the University of Kansas, in order to establish a national student organization for psychology. However, it was at Yale University when the charter that made the organization formal was signed.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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