Phi Alpha FAQs
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 Hours: Complete a minimum of 4 philanthropy hours per semester
- Membership Dues: There are membership dues per semester that need to be submitted upon acceptance into the Phi Alpha Honor Society
- 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.
*Information will be sent out through email when membership availability is open to students.
What is the cost of membership?
- Initial dues for new members are $65.00 and are inclusive of induction fees and material mailing fees
- Renewal dues will be $45.00
Do I need to renew each semester?
- You must renew EVERY semester (deadlines will be provided at the start of each new semester)
- If you do not renew you will be considered INACTIVE
- All ACTIVE members will be able to attend the Phi Alpha Gala in the Spring
How long before I am notified of acceptance?
After submitting the application, it will take 2-3 weeks max. for formal decision response
What happens if I miss a deadline?
- Unfortunately, because our membership is so large we cannot accommodate missed deadlines
- We will do our part to make sure you stay informed, please make sure to check your emails or our social media platforms for updates
What if I am a student on the VAC?
Active terms will be based on UPC on campus Fall/Spring semesters and will be inclusive for summer/winter terms for those on the VAC
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 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. If using email please reach out to the correct person (ex. membership, philanthropy, etc..)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: USC Phi Alpha Honor Society
- Instagram: uscphialphahonorsociety
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.
For more information about general Phi Alpha, please visit the national website phialpha.org