Student Organizations

Pi Sigma Alpha

Pi Sigma Alpha is the National Honors Society in Political Science, and is affiliated with the American Political Science Association. The Alpha Alpha Tau Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha was established at University of Michigan-Flint in March 2003.

What is PSA?

Pi Sigma Alpha is a national organization that was founded in 1920, and currently has 460 chapters in the US. The first chapter in Michigan was organized at Wayne State University in 1930, and 14 universities and colleges in the state now have active PSA chapters.

The purpose of Pi Sigma Alpha is "to stimulate scholarship and intelligent interest in political science." The society functions at the national level, sponsoring programs and events of value to the profession and teaching of political science, and at the chapter level.

Pi Sigma Alpha is an excellent way to learn leadership and organizational skills, allows members to participate in community outreach activities, enhances solidarity among students, and is a venue for discussing careers and planning for the future.

Among the Requirements for Admission are:

  • Completion of 3 semesters in the program for the POL major
  • Completion of 10 credit hours of political science courses (including at least one course not open to students in the first year of collegiate work)
  • Ranking in the upper third of the class in general scholarship
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in political science courses

Students who are inducted into the Society are eligible to wear the Pi Sigma Alpha honor cord and medallion at graduation. Membership is an earned honor which is for life. A permanent record of membership is preserved at the Pi Sigma Alpha National Office and may be used for reference purposes such as applications for graduate schools and jobs. Eligibility for membership is determined  by the UM-Flint Chapter, following national guidelines.

PSA offers a number of academic awards:

  • Best Paper Awards for Graduate and Undergraduate Students, for which each chapter advisor may nominate one undergraduate and one graduate student paper per year.
  • Howard Penniman Scholarships for Graduate Study, awarded annually to three undergraduates entering graduate programs in political science.
  • Best Chapter Awards, are cash awards of $500 to one or two chapters in each of three college enrollment categories.
  • APSA Student Membership Awards. Each chapter is entitled to award a one-year student membership in the American Political Science Association to one outstanding student each year.
  • The Franklin L. Burdette Award for the best paper presented at the APSA Annual Meeting.
  • Best Paper Awards at Regional Political Science Association Meetings.

Contact Professor Kim Saks-McManaway (Faculty advisor) for answers to further questions. Membership application forms are available at the Political Science office. Visit the National Pi Sigma Alpha website for additional information and resources.

Moot Court 

Moot court and its simulated appellate arguments provide rich opportunities for undergraduate students (from ANY major!) to discover their love of the law, develop their analytical reasoning skills, and practice their oration in a competitive yet supportive environment.

The moot court season runs from May 1 when the case problem is released to January of the following year when the National Moot Court Competition is held at a rotating set of universities nationwide. The rules are governed by the American Moot Court Association. While the oral argument is stressed as the fundamental exercise for competitors, there is also a brief writing competition that occurs during the same time frame.

UM-Flint’s Moot Court team is co-coached by Drs. Kim Saks McManaway and Kevin Lorentz. If interested in joining, please contact Dr. Saks McManaway at