In Brief

Many alumni of the psychology honor society, Psi Chi, say that the interpersonal, leadership, teamwork and networking skills they developed while active in the society continue to help them in graduate school and their careers, according to a national survey.

Respondents also attended graduate school at a higher rate than the national average--43 percent verses 27 percent, respectively.

In the study, researchers--Joseph R. Ferrari, PhD, of DePaul University, Drew Appleby, PhD, of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, and DePaul graduate student Robert Athey--surveyed 580 Psi Chi undergraduate alumni from the class of 2000 and 2003 on their demographics, undergraduate institution and research experiences. They will present the survey's findings as part of Psi Chi's annual meeting during APA's 2005 Annual Convention in Washington, D.C., Aug. 18-21.

"So many famous psychologists have been through Psi Chi, but no one has ever looked at what happened to the alumni," Ferrari says about the survey.

Among the study's findings:

  • Eighty percent of respondents were enrolled in master's-level graduate programs at public urban institutions--with the majority pursuing psychology degrees. Fourteen percent were enrolled in a PhD program and nearly 8 percent in a PsyD program.

  • Nearly 58 percent of alumni reported they have been employed full time since graduation; of those, 24 percent were in education, 22 percent in corporate settings, nearly 20 percent in nonprofit settings and 16 percent in community and social agencies.

  • More than half of respondents conducted a thesis research project but less than a quarter presented that work at a professional psychology conference and less than 7 percent published the results in professional journals.

  • Thirty-two percent of respondents did not graduate with academic honors. That said, Ferrari encourages faculty and staff advisers to monitor Psi Chi members' overall grade point average in courses outside of psychology to boost their overall academic success.

Appleby hopes the survey encourages involvement in Psi Chi.

"If students take advantage of what they can develop as an officer and the opportunities Psi Chi gives them, that can help them stand out," Appleby says.

Psi Chi--which is open to psychology undergraduate and graduate students who maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average--boasts more than 467,000 members in 1,027 chapters.