Phi Alpha Theta is the national history honors society.

The Ithaca College chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, Xi Chi, was founded by Dr. Harold Emery in 1969.


History majors who have achieved a grade point average of 3.5 or above by their junior or senior year will be invited to join Phi Alpha Theta. History minors who achieve a 3.5 grade point average by their senior year are also eligible. Moreover, the students must have completed at least twelve hours in history and have an average grade point average of 3.3 or higher in all departmental courses. The students must have a “B” average for their non-history course work.


Letters of invitation are sent out in the early spring, and the induction ceremony is held near the end of the spring semester.

Responsibilities and Benefits

Membership in Phi Alpha Theta is provided gratis thanks to the generous contributions of Ithaca College graduates Elliot Mayrock ’73 and Jarrett Powers ’04. Membership includes a certificate and a free subscription to the Phi Alpha Theta scholarly journal The Historian.

Members are expected to abide by the precepts of the society:

  • The spirit of respect, which fosters sincere regard for the rights of each individual;
  • The belief in the community of all persons which renders abhorrent all ideas that tend to foment national hatred, racial and sexual discrimination, or any form of injustice;
  • The need for historians to search for truth and to accept the responsibility for making decisions in terms of their meaning for others as well as for themselves.