Originally conceived as Kappa Phi Omicron at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, in 1918, Phi Theta Kappa is an international honorary society for two-year colleges that was modeled after Phi Beta Kappa, the prestigious senior college honorary society. The name “Phi Theta Kappa” is derived from three Greek words Phronimon (Phi), Thumos (Theta), Katharotes (Kappa) that simply mean wisdom, aspiration, and purity. Phi Theta Kappa’s constitution stipulates its two-fold mission: “to recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students, and provide opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming”.
Phi Theta Kappa today is proud to be the “largest honor society in American higher education with more than 1.5 million members and 1,200 chapters located in all 50 of the United States, U.S. territories, Canada, and Germany”. Each year, an estimated 200,000 students participate in Phi Theta Kappa programs and roughly 100,000 students are inducted annually.
To be eligible for membership in Phi Theta Kappa, a student must have accumulated a minimum of 12 college-level credit hours, and have a grade point average equivalent to not less than a 3.60. To retain membership, a student, should maintain a cumulative grade-point average of not less than a 3.25, and have no grade lower than a “C” on their academic transcript. In the event that a member’s GPA falls below 3.25, or they attain a grade less than a “C” in a subject, they would be given one semester to raise their GPA or to repeat the subject. If they fail to meet these requirements, they would be removed from the chapter and national membership rolls.