Psi Chi

Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology
Abbreviation ΨΧ
Formation 1929
Type Honor Society
more than 700,000
Mission recognizing and promoting excellence in the science and application of psychology

Psi Chi (ΨΧ) is the International Honor Society in Psychology, which was founded in 1929 for the purposes of "encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship, and advancing the science of psychology".[1] Psi Chi is one of the largest honor societies in the United States, having more than 1,100 chapters. Psi Chi has inducted more than 700,000 lifetime members from chapters in the United States, Canada, and multiple other countries. Notable past and present members of the organization include B.F. Skinner, Philip Zimbardo, Jon Stewart, and Dr. Phil.[2]

Psi Chi is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and is an affiliate of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Psychological Science (APS).[3]


Psi Chi was founded by Frederick Howell Lewis and Edwin B. Newman, psychology students at the University of Kansas. Lewis and Newman first thought of a national organization for psychology students while working on research late one night in 1927.[4] Over the next two years, they wrote to psychology faculty and students at various universities and formed discussion groups with other students. Psi Chi's first official meeting was on September 4, 1929, at the Ninth International Congress of Psychology.[5] Psi Chi's original name was Sigma Pi Sigma, but it was learned that the name was already in use by an honor society in physics. "Psi Chi" was chosen as the honor society's official name at its second annual meeting in 1930 because of the name's similarity to the word "psychology".


Membership is open to undergraduate, graduate, alumni, and faculty members who make the study of psychology one of their major interests and who meet the minimum qualifications according to Psi Chi's Become a Member webpage,[6] which is based on the Society's Constitution.[7] Membership is attained through application and acceptance at the local chapter level. Psychology majors who attend two-year junior or community colleges may join Psi Beta, Psi Chi's sister society.

Undergraduate students must meet the following criteria in order to become members of Psi Chi:

Graduate students must

Transfer students who meet regular student membership requirements may check with their local chapter advisor for eligibility specifics.

Full-time faculty members of an institution with a Psi Chi chapter may be elected by the local chapter. A doctorate in psychology or a closely related field is required to become a primary faculty advisor. Coadvisors or faculty alumni members may have a master's or doctorate.

Alumni who graduated at an institution before a Psi Chi chapter was established may be elected to membership by that local chapter if they meet the current criteria for student membership based on their final transcript at that institution.

Psi Chi chapters may elect (as allowed by the Constitution[8]) to have higher academic standards for membership in their chapter and may optionally elect to add a local chapter membership fee.

The one-time membership fee is $55.00.[9] There may be additional chapter fees, which are determined at the local level. No further fees are necessary because membership is for life. Past fee increases were as follows:

Fee Date Began Date Ended Notes
$1.00 Sep 1929 Aug 1945 Aug 1945 is an approximate is unclear exactly which month the fee changed (it did occur in summer/fall '45)
$2.00 Aug 1945 Jan 1952 specifically Jan 14, 1952
$3.00 Jan 1952 Nov 1954 specifically Jan 15, 1952
$5.00 Dec 1954 Aug 1961
$7.50 Sep 1961 Aug 1968
$10.00 Sep 1968 Dec 1974
$15.00 Jan 1975 Dec 1978
$20.00 Jan 1979 Dec 1981
$25.00 Jan 1982 Aug 2000
$35.00 Sep 2000 Jun 2009
$45.00 Jul 2009 Aug 2013
$55.00 Sept 2013 Present

Awards and grants

Psi Chi rewards its members annually with over $400,000 in various awards and grants programs.[10] In addition to awards and grants, Psi Chi began its first scholarship program for deserving undergraduate members beginning in the spring of 2015.[11]

Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research

Psi Chi publishes a quarterly peer-reviewed journal featuring original research conducted by undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty mentors. To increase dissemination across the psychological community, all articles are available free online. The journal is indexed in EBSCO, and in PsycINFO, a database service of the American Psychological Association with over 3 million records of peer-reviewed scholarly literature.[12]

Eye on Psi Chi Magazine

Psi Chi also publishes a quarterly magazine, which features career and graduate school advice, updates in popular areas of psychology, and special announcements to keep readers connected with the organization. Notable authors and distinguished interviews include Robert Sternberg,[13] Susan Fiske,[14] Anthony Greenwald,[15] Florence Denmark,[16] and Phillip Zimbardo.[17] All Eye articles are available free online.[18]


Psi Chi members may attend national and regional conventions, held yearly. Some chapters provide information on graduate study in psychology and assist members in the graduate school application process. Tutoring, community service, and social events are also common activities of Psi Chi chapters.[19]

Structure and governance

Psi Chi, a federally recognized, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is governed by the Board of Directors . The Board of Directors is composed of three presidents (President, President-Elect, Past-President), six regional vice-presidents (East, Midwest, Rocky Mountain, Southeast, Southwest, West), and an executive director. The presidents and regional vice-presidents are elected by Psi Chi chapters.

Regional vice-presidents serve two-year terms and may serve up to a total of two terms (four years). Regional vice-president elections are held in odd-numbered years for the Eastern, Rocky Mountain, and Western Regions, and in even-numbered years for the Midwestern, Southeastern, and Southwestern Regions. The term of office for regional vice-presidents begins on July 1.

President candidates must have served at least one full two-year term as a regional vice-president. If elected by chapters to become president, the candidate becomes the Society's President-Elect for one year, President the following year, and then the Past-President the year after. Presidents' terms of office begin at the close of each year's Board of Directors business meeting held at the Psi Chi/APA National Convention.[20]

Psi Chi's fiscal year is from July 1–June 30.

Central Office

The Central Office fulfills the needs of the society as directed by the leadership of the Board of Directors. The Central Office staff is composed of an executive director, membership director, publications director, information systems manager, and awards director. As needed, the Board of Directors creates new staff positions to help better meet the needs of and provide benefits to members of the society.

A list of Psi Chi's executive directors follows. The title of the "executive director" position has changed over the years: Secretary-Treasurer (1929–54), Executive Secretary (1954–68), Executive Director (1969–91), Executive Officer (1991–2003), Chief Operating Officer (2004–present). The current position of Executive Director did not exist before 2004.

(1929–1958) Secretary-Treasurers[21]

(1958–1991) Executive Director – Ruth Cousins

Ruth Hubbard Cousins (born May 21, 1920) was one of the society's most famous executive directors, serving for more than 33 years (December 1958–October 1991). She died on January 11, 2007.[22]

(1991–2003) Executive Director – Kay Wilson

After Cousins retired as executive director, Kay Wilson (born September 21, 1939) took over as executive officer (the title changed, but her position still functioned as executive director) from October 1991 until her death in June 2003, of cancer.[23]

(2004–2008) Executive Director – Virginia Andreoli Mathie

When Kay Wilson died in 2003, the National Council reviewed the position of executive officer and decided to split the position's function into two positions: executive director (a new position with broader outreach and strategic planning functions) and executive officer (the position with office management functions that had been in place since the beginning). A search began in 2003, and Virginia Andreoli Mathie, PhD, who had been a professor of psychology at James Madison University (Virginia), was hired as the first Executive Director in the newly created position. She began on July 1, 2004, and served until June 30, 2008. Dr. Mathie was responsible for coordinating with other psychological organizations, long term strategic planning, and assisting universities applying for a Psi Chi chapter.[24]

(2008–present) Executive Director – Martha S. Zlokovich

Beginning July 1, 2008, Martha S. Zlokovich, PhD, from Southeast Missouri State University and a former Psi Chi National President, began serving as Psi Chi's second Executive Director.[25]

(2003–2009) Executive Officers

Paula Miller, who was the organization's previous membership and awards director (1997–2003), was hired as the executive officer in 2003, and served in that position managing the Central Office in Chattanooga, TN until 2007. In March 2007, Lisa Mantooth, formerly of the Cleveland, Tennessee, Red Cross Chapter, began as executive officer and served through November 2009.[26]

(2010–present) Chief Operating Officers

In 2010, Michele Rumpf continued in the executive officer role but the title changed to Chief Operating Officer.[27] She served until 2015. Martha S. Zlokovich, PhD, stepped in as the interim Chief Operating Officer in the fall of 2015.

Central Office Staff

Current staff members[28]

Executive Director and interim Chief Operating Officer: Martha S. Zlokovich, PhD (2008–present)
Director of Communications: Susan Iles (2004–present)
Director of Information Systems: Kevin Germain (2011–present)
Director of Awards & Grants: Jennifer Baldwin (2012–present)
Director of Membership Services: Lisa Norman (2012–present)
Director of Finance: Laura Bauer (2016–present)
Merchandise Coordinator: Linda Williams (2011–present)
Writer: Bradley Cannon (2013–present)
IT Help Desk: Chrissy Dillon (2016–present)
Administrative Assistant: Kelly Pangle (2016–present)

Past staff members

Chief Operating Officer: Michele Rumpf (2010–15)
Interim Executive Officer: Melissa Strickland (2009–10)
Executive Officer: Lisa Mantooth (2007–09); Paula Miller (2003–07)
- - - - -
Administrative Assistant: Debbie Garvich (2012–16)
Database Administrator: Jeremy Stephens (2012–16)
Director of Awards: Melissa Strickland (2006–11); Jennifer Lopez (2005); Brian Welsh (2004); Paula Miller (1997–2003)
Director of Membership: Amie Austin Hearn (2000–12); Paula Miller (1997–2000); Laura Senecker (199?-97); Donna Bolin (198?-9?)
Director of Publishing: Daniel P. Bockert (1989–2003)
Finance Administrator: Dael Hoyt (2012–15)
Information Systems Manager: Mark Cobbe (2007–09); Scott Gast (1998–2007)
Journal Managing Editor: Staci Taylor (2012-16)
Systems Administrator: Chris Smith (2011–16)


  1. Davis, Stephen; Wertheimer, Michael (2000). An Oral History of Psi Chi: The National Honor Society in Psychology. Chattanooga, TN: Psi Chi. ISBN 0970645406.
  2. "Distinguished Members". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  3. Davis, Stephen; Wertheimer, Michael (2000). An Oral History of Psi Chi: The National Honor Society in Psychology. Chattanooga, TN: Psi Chi. ISBN 0970645406.
  4. Davis, Stephen; Wertheimer, Michael (2000). An Oral History of Psi Chi: The National Honor Society in Psychology. Chattanooga, TN: Psi Chi. ISBN 0970645406.
  5. Howell, Frederick (Fall 2014). "Message From the First Historian of Psi Chi". Eye on Psi Chi. Psi Chi. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  6. "Become a Member". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  7. "Psi Chi Constitution". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  8. "Psi Chi Constitution". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  9. "Become a Member". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  10. "Awards and Grants". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  11. "GEICO/Psi Chi Undergraduate Scholarships". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  12. "Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research". Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  13. "Producing Tomorrow's Leaders--In Psychology and Everything Else". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  14. "Mapping Social Groups (and Stereotypes) With Susan T. Fiske". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  15. "Some Implicit Assembly Required With Anthony Greenwald, PhD". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  16. "Myths of Aging". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  17. "Fostering the Heroic Imagination: An Ancient Ideal and a Modern Vision". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  18. "Eye on Psi Chi". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  19. "Chapter Service Projects". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  20. "Psi Chi Constitution". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  21. "Psi Chi Board of Directors, 1929–2013" (PDF). Retrieved May 2015. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  22. Davis, Stephen; Wertheimer, Michael (2000). An Oral History of Psi Chi: The National Honor Society in Psychology. Chattanooga, TN: Psi Chi. ISBN 0970645406.
  23. Current and Past Members of the Psi Chi National Council (Fall 2003). "Remembering Kay: The Psi Chi National Council". Eye on Psi Chi. Psi Chi. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  24. Andreoli Mathie, Virginia (Summer 2008). "A Farewell to Psi Chi". Eye on Psi Chi. Psi Chi. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  25. Zlokovich, Martha (Fall 2008). "Planning for the Future of Undergraduate Education in Psychology". Eye on Psi Chi. Psi Chi. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  26. Miller, Paula (Winter 2007). "Farewell Psi Chi". Eye on Psi Chi. Psi Chi. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  27. "2010-11 New Leaders for PSI CHI" (PDF). Eye on Psi Chi. Psi Chi. Summer 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  28. "Central Office". Retrieved May 2015. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
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