Sigma Tau Delta, National English Honor Society

The Xi Chi Chapter, Canisius College

What Is Sigma Tau Delta?

Sigma Tau Delta is the National English Honor Society. A member of the Association for College Honor Societies, it was founded in 1924 at the Dakota Wesleyan University. The purposes of the society are:

  • To confer distinction for high achievement in English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies;
  • To promote interest in literature and the English language on local campuses and their surrounding communities; and
  • To foster the discipline of English in all its aspects, including creative and critical writing.


There are more than 50,000 members who have been initiated into Sigma Tau Delta's 350 chapters located throughout the United States. Among these esteemed individuals include Eudora Welty, James Dickey, Laurance Perrine, Howard Nemerov, Robert Bly, Frank Herbert, Walter J. Ong, S.J., and Stephen Spender. A national convention is held every two years.

Who Is Eligible To Join?

Membership in Sigma Tau Delta is available, in general, to English majors or dual majors with a minimum of a "B" average, who rank at least in the highest thirty percent of their class, and who have completed at least three semester (45 hours) of college work. (Local chapters may raise, but not lower, these criteria.) Full-time faculty members who sponsor a chapter are also eligible.

What are the Advantages of Membership in Sigma Tau Delta?

Sigma Tau Delta membership is an outward recognition of personal accomplishment. It serves, additionally, as an incentive for continued high scholarship. It provides opportunities for those interested in English language and literature to join with like-minded persons on the local, regional, and national levels. Members receive the national Newsletter while they remain active in their local chapters. They also receive, and have the opportunity to contribute to, the award-winning literary publication, The Rectangle, and are eligible to compete for a number of prizes for excellent writing. Student members are also eligible to compete for several $1,000 scholarships.

How Much Does It Cost?

New members pay a one-time national fee of $26.80, which may be paid by local chapters.