Pi Gamma Mu is the oldest and preeminent honor society in the social sciences. Our mission is to encourage and promote excellence in the Social Sciences and to uphold and nurture scholarship, leadership, and service. Pi Gamma Mu serves the various social-science disciplines which seek to understand and explain human behavior and social relationships as well as their related problems and issues. Currently, there are 150 active chapters in the United States and overseas.
Pi Gamma Mu's constitution defines the social sciences to include the disciplines of history, political science, sociology, anthropology, economics, psychology, international relations, criminal justice, social work, social philosophy, history of education, and cultural/human geography. Membership is also extended to interdisciplinary social-science areas that build on the core social-science disciplines, such as business and society, education, minority studies, public administration, international studies, public finance, leadership studies, consumer behavior, public policy and organizational behavior.
In 2004, student trustee Jamie Cooper drafted and the Board of Trustees approved a streamlined statement of purpose: “The mission of Pi Gamma Mu is to encourage and promote excellence in the social sciences and to uphold the ideals of scholarship and service.”
The international Board of Trustees is committed to living up to the high expectations of our chapters, students, and sponsors.
● Membership verification. As the twenty-first century began, Pi Gamma Mu promised to keep the trust with our lifetime members by ensuring that membership records remained current and accurate. Members frequently call our executive director at our headquarters with address updates and the need to confirm the date on which they were inducted as lifetime members.
● Scholarships. Pi Gamma Mu awards scholarships for graduate education to assist our best students. In 1950, Pi Gamma Mu established a scholarship program, granting its first award of $250 to a member planning to do graduate work at Columbia University. Since that time, the Board of Trustees has approved more than 400 scholarship awards totaling an estimated $410,000. The number of annual scholarships and their dollar amounts have increased over the years as Pi Gamma Mu’s endowments have grown and as the cost of a graduate education has increased. Today, the organization awards annually up to 10 scholarships, three at the $2000 level and seven at the $1000 level. These scholarships go to students of demonstrated academic excellence who represent the highest ideals of Pi Gamma Mu in terms of leadership and social service. Awardees must plan to do graduate work in a social-science area. In recent years, the board has approved scholarships for students attending law school. As graduate programs have become increasingly interdisciplinary, the board has remained open to applicants seeking master’s degrees in interdisciplinary programs as long as the student demonstrates that such programs are predominantly in social-science disciplines.
● Lectureships. ΠΓΜ lecture grants help chapters by funding honoraria for guest speakers.
● Publications and communication. The Pi Gamma Mu Newsletter provides communication with members and chapters. Our respected peer-reviewed journal, the International Social Science Review, is a solid contribution to the storehouse of humankind’s knowledge about people, society, economics, politics, and other aspects of the human condition.
Pi Gamma Mu’s officers have been committed to utilizing the capabilities of electronic communication to deliver the highest level of service to our members, especially to our college-age initiates who expect speedy attention to their explorations for information and services. The Pi Gamma Mu Listserv transmits our messages to about 20,000 members! Pi Gamma Mu is among the most innovative honor societies in providing information and service at the speed of light.
● Conventions. Our triennial international conventions are important occasions for setting new priorities, encouraging academic excellence in the social sciences, and installing new members of the Board of Trustees, including student trustees. Usually, 80 to 120 students and faculty members from across the United States gather to learn, participate, and communicate their experiences in Pi Gamma Mu. Our conventions and conferences provide a forum for students to present research papers. Triennial conventions give us a chance to recognize chapters for the outstanding service that they provide on campuses. We list all active chapters in our newsletter every year with the name of our important faculty advisers, and express our appreciation to them for their leadership during the convention. We have been extremely pleased over the last 15 years that 12 regional meetings have been held in the Southeast Region, providing a forum for academic papers and a new generation of students experiencing the scholarship ideals of Pi Gamma Mu. These regional meeting have been held in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Providing support to help chapters in their mission of honoring students and maintaining excellence in the social sciences is critical to our mission.
Pi Gamma Mu is the leading honor society in the social sciences. The international Board of Trustees recognizes its responsibility to maintain a record of accomplishment that will preserve the society’s reputation and value. We are members of a great legacy, of which you are the vital part. Our ideals and commitments will continue to provide a lasting benefit for the honor students whose achievements deserve to be recognized and for the alumni who have set an example for their successors to emulate. If you believe in what our society’s leaders and their successors have established as our values and goals, then please participate with us in the perpetuation of our ambitious programs.
In 1953, Pi Gamma Mu joined the national Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS). Our affiliation was the culmination of a successful effort by Dr. S. Howard Patterson, who had been the society’s third national president and by then held the title of president emeritus. The ACHS is the umbrella association of national and international college societies. To gain admission in the ACHS, an honor society is required to meet certain high standards in higher education. The ACHS oversees the constitution and bylaws of each society to be certain that they meet the criteria established by the ACHS for reputable honor societies.
Pi Gamma Mu’s executive director is the society’s official representative in ACHS proceedings, and an active participant in ACHS governance and service delivery. We are proud of our nearly 60 years of affiliation. We invite you to watch the following video presentation about how the ACHS makes your honor-society membership even more credible and beneficial to you.