shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Phi Alpha Honor Society

Page address:

Picture of the Seal

Phi Alpha
National Social Work Honor Society
Eta Alpha Chapter

"Through Knowledge ~ The Challenge to Serve"

History of Phi Alpha

The concept of a national social work honor society came from a group of undergraduate social work students at Michigan State University in 1960. Investigation revealed that local chapters existed at three schools. Those three schools along with a few other schools formed a National Honor Society committee in November 1960. For more than a year this committee worked on the constitution and other administrative matters. The name Phi Alpha and the key were adopted from the local chapter which existed at Florida State University. The constitution and formal organization were completed in 1962, and six chapters qualified to become "charter Chapters." They were: Florida State University, Michigan State University, Ohio Northern University, Central State College, University of Dayton and the University of Tennessee. Over 450 chapters are now in existence and the addition of new chapters is continuing.

Phi Alpha offers membership to social work students, faculty, and practitioners. Each chapter is free to develop a program to meet local needs. The International Council is the policy-making body and meets each year at the time and place of the Annual Program Meeting of CSWE. Each chapter may have one voting representative on the Council.


The purposes of Phi Alpha Honor Society are to provide a closer bond among students of social work and promote humanitarian goals and ideals. Phi Alpha fosters high standards of training for social workers and invites into membership those who have attained excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work.

Benefits of Membership

  • Formal recognition of academic excellence in the social work profession
  • Membership in the world's largest social work honors network
  • Noticed by social workers, graduate schools, and employers
  • Lifetime membership after induction
  • Access to society-wide scholarships and awards from the Society's International Office 
  • LEARN MORE at Phi Alpha International

BSSW Membership Criteria

  1. Admitted to the BSSW program/social work major AND currently enrolled in or have successfully completed SOWK 441 Generalist Social Work Practice.
  2. Have earned at least overall 3.3 GPA AND have achieved at least a 3.3 social work GPA, including foundational general education courses required in the major.
  3. Agree to participate in Phi Alpha Eta Alpha chapter meetings and activities and perform 3 hours of community service each semester.

MSW Membership Criteria

  1. Completed 1 semester of the MSU, Mankato MSW program
  2. Achieved at least a 3.5 GPA (overall) for graduate courses taken at, or transferred to, MSU, Mankato 
  3. Agree to participate in Phi Alpha Eta Alpha chapter meetings and activities and perfrom 3 hours of community service each semester
  4. NOTE: We invite first semester MSW students to participate in activities, but students need to have completed 1 semester of coursework and earned the requisite GPA to be inducted.

[PDF] Common Application Form (165 KiB)


Faculty Advisors 

Sky Niesen Smith, DSW, MSW, LICSW

Phone: 507-389-5084,

Annelies Hagemeister, PhD, MSW, LISW 

Phone: 507-389-5078, 

Current Officers (Spring Semester 2019)                                                                                

President: Lindsey Gilbert,                                 

Vice President:  Karen Hernandez,                                    

Treasurer: Kallie Trutnau,

Secretary:  Paxson Menard,                                                   

At-Large Representative: Madeline Forsythe,