What is Phi Alpha Honor Society - Omicron Epsilon Chapter?  

The Purpose of Phi Alpha Honor Society Omicron Epsilon Chapter at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is to provide a closer bond among students of social work and promote humanitarian goals and ideals. Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites into membership those who have attained excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work.

What are some of the membership benefits?

  • Professional/Academic development opportunities, including networking with DSWs, graduate-level research, guest lectures, and other events.
  • Recognition at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work commencement ceremony.
  • Medallion & Certificate honoring your achievements.
  • Mentorship program with incoming MSWs.

What are the requirements to join the society?

  • 3.75 cumulative GPA & completion of at least 12 units at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the time of membership application.
  • Philanthropy: completion of at least one philanthropy event per semester or two per academic year. 
  • There are membership dues per semester that need to be submitted along with your Philanthropy Hours.
    • DO NOT submit membership dues until you have officially been accepted to the organization. Per our bylaws, we will not issue a refund if you fail to meet the requirements of the Omicron Epsilon Chapter of Phi Alpha Honor Society.

*More information will be sent out through email when membership availability is open to students.

What is "philanthropy" and what are Phi Alpha's guidelines for completing philanthropy hours?

By definition, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, philanthropy is:

  • Goodwill to fellow members of the human race; active effort to promote human welfare
  • an act or gift was done or made for humanitarian purposes: an organization distributing or supported by funds set aside for humanitarian purposes 

As social workers, we have a duty to address the 12 Grand Challenges. Our philanthropy chair organizes at least 4 or more, 4+ hour philanthropy events per semester to ensure we are making an effort to address those challenges. These events are coordinated to accommodate renewing and prospective members and provide organized opportunities for you to complete your 4-hour minimum requirement.

If you are unable to attend the organized events, you may seek to complete your hours by using the following guide: 

Volunteer your time (for the required minimum of 4-hours or more, at your leisure) for a non-profit organization and/or event of your choice. Examples of events which would be considered as philanthropy include:

  • Assisting the elderly in a senior center.
  • Socializing animals at animal shelters.
  • Performing habitat restoration.
  • Contributing to the operations of volunteer fire departments.
  • Helping with civic beautification.

You must not be paid in any form, although you may accept a meal or a snack while volunteering. 

Events that DO NOT count:

  • Volunteering, tabling or participating in a conference.
  • Running/walking/biking in a walk for a cure – unless you are solely
    volunteering at the event with set-up, clean up, etc.
  • USC Community Immersion.
  • Any work that is done for your internship (unless otherwise approved by the Phi Alpha Executive Board).

If I cannot attend a Phi Alpha sponsored event, how do I receive credit for hours?

Obtain a copy of the Philanthropy Hours Approval Form and have it completed at the time of attending a philanthropy event (form must be signed by an agency representative).
 Submit the Philanthropy Hours Approval Form to Phi Alpha by email or turn in the form to a member of the Executive Board. The form must indicate that the minimum of 4 hours was completed. 

How do I receive credit for hours at a Phi Alpha sponsored philanthropy event?

You can sign in with a Phi Alpha board member at the sponsored event in which you registered for.
 You then, submit a Philanthropy Hours Approval Form to Phi Alpha by email or turn in the form to a member of the Executive Board. 

If I do more than 4 philanthropy hours, can I count the extra hours towards the following semester's renewal requirements?

While we encourage you to complete as many hours of philanthropy you can for the betterment of our communities, per our bylaws, we can not carry over an excess of hours. Each semester, renewing and prospective members are required to complete a minimum of 4 separate hours. 

Are the mixers, events, and/or general members’ meetings mandatory to attend?

No, they are not mandatory; however, we strongly encourage all members to attend in order to provide members with a closer bond, networking, as well as important society information.

Are there any scholarships associated with joining the society? 

Yes, every semester, we provide selected students with scholarships. All applicants must be active members of the Omicron Epsilon Chapter of Phi Alpha at USC.

  • 1 scholarship application and 1 personal statement
  • 2 letters of recommendation (one from a professor and the other from a professional relationship).

*Phi Alpha also partners with Research Council and departments to offer additional scholarship information to eligible MSW students.

What partnerships are the society associated with?

The New Social Worker Magazine, The Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors, National Association of Social Work and the Council on Social Work Education. 

How can I contact USC’s Phi Alpha Honor Society?

You may contact us through social media or email:

  • Email: phialpha@usc.edu
  • Facebook: USC Phi Alpha Honor Society
  • Instagram: uscphialphahonorsociety

What kind of scholarships and awards does Phi Alpha provide for their members?

  • Advisor of the Year
  • Chapter Service Award
  • Poster Presentation Competition
  • Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg Scholarship
  • Student Leadership Award
  • Chapter Grants

How do I request a refund from Phi Alpha if I have purchased Phi Alpha merchandise and/or event packages?

Per our bylaws, we do not issue refunds. All sales are final, as stated on our shop page and event tickets. 

May I apply for a position on the e-board?

Yes! Applications are currently open! Click the 'Submissions' tab above for more information.

How to apply specifics: Personal statement (200 words or less) discussing why you feel you are a good fit for the selected position(s), what are your plans for the honor society during the 2018 - 2019 school year, and any other experience that makes you qualified for the selected position. 

What are other positions available for the e-board that I may apply for when they open?

President, vice president, secretary, research liaison, fundraising, philanthropy, membership & recruitment, communications, VAC rep, treasurer

For more information about general Phi Alpha, please visit the national website phialpha.org

Thank You!