Honors Society

Public Affairs and Administration, Pi Alpha Alpha

Pi Alpha Alpha is the national honor society formed to recognize and promote excellence in the study and practice of public affairs and administration. Membership is open to qualifying undergraduate and graduate students. Members are inducted once a year in the spring.

The mission of Pi Alpha Alpha is advanced through the national organization and through the work of local Pi Alpha Alpha chapters established by collegiate programs in public affairs and administration which are affiliated with the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

Currently, there are 117 Pi Alpha Alpha chapters, with a total membership of 21,898 individuals. A total of 1,461 members were inducted into the Honor Society last year. Pi Alpha Alpha is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies, the coordinating agency for collegiate Honor Societies which is dedicated to maintaining high standards for the recognition and promotion of academic excellence in higher education.

Membership Information

Membership is limited to persons who demonstrate academic achievement in public affairs and administration program in NASPAA member schools and/or outstanding public service, and who fall within the following classes, student, alumni, faculty and honorary. All membership is national membership with local chapter affiliation. All categories of membership enjoy the same rights and privileges.

Undergraduate Students

Candidates for undergraduate degrees who meet the following criteria may be inducted provided:

  • 15 hours of public administration major course work or its equivalent;
  • maintained an average grade of 3.5 on a scale of 4.0 in all courses in public affairs and public administration, and at least a 3.0 in all course work.

Graduate Students

Graduate students may be inducted from among the master’s degree students in the department, institute, or school wherever the Pi Alpha Alpha chapter membership is based. Candidates for graduate degrees who meet the following criteria may be inducted provided:

  • They have maintained a GPA of at least 3.7.
  • An individual chapter may set higher GPA requirements if it chooses to do so.
  • They must have completed 18 units of program course work.

To view the national Pi Alpha Alpha website click on the following website: http://naspaa.org/initiatives/honor.asp
Students who are eligible will be contacted by the Pi Alpha Alpha faculty advisor.

Criminal Justice, Alpha Phi Sigma

SDSU started a chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma in 2005. Our chapter is called Eta Psi and Dr. Dana Nurge is the advisor for the organization. We have had approximately 30 members each year, both undergraduate and graduate students in criminal justice. Last year our students participated in a number of different community service events and organized several speaker campus presentations, which included experts from the Secret Service and the field of forensics. For more information on the National Organization go to: http://www.alphaphisigma.org/.


The mission of Alpha Phi Sigma is to “promote critical thinking, rigorous scholarship, and life long learning; to keep abreast of the advances in scientific research; to elevate the ethical standards of the criminal justice professions and to sustain in the public mind the benefit and necessity of education and professional training.”The organization’s goals are to honor and promote: academic excellence, service, leadership and unity.


To qualify, you must have at least a 3.2 GPA (grad students must have a 3.4) and have completed at least 4 criminal justice classes and at least one-third of your overall classes. Essentially, you must be at least a junior (some juniors may not qualify based on the number of cj classes completed; I would need to review your application and let you know).


Student Membership Fee (a one-time fee) = $40.00
This fee gets you a lifetime membership, a key pin, and a membership certificate.

Membership Requirements

  • Fees: Aside from a $40.00 induction fee, there may be a small chapter membership fee to be determined (e.g., $20 annually) and paid at a later date; this would be used to offset other organizational costs (e.g., if we hold any events/functions that include refreshments).
  • GPA: You will need to maintain at least a 3.2 (or 3.4 for grads) to remain an active member of the group.
  • Service: You are expected to participate in designated community service activities/events. These will probably be limited to one activity/event (approximately 5-10 hour commitment) per semester. You will help to determine what type of service activity the chapter engages in (and with which organization/s), and the date/s for these events will be planned and announced well in advance.


Aside from receiving this prestigious honor and serving as leaders among your criminal justice peers, you will have an opportunity to take part in meaningful service activities that will benefit community-based criminal justice agencies and/or individuals.
* As members, you will be honored at the Department’s Criminal Justice Honors Luncheon held each Spring. It is likely that we will also hold an induction ceremony and dinner event each Spring (to welcome new members and new officers).