The Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing was founded in 1922 by Indiana University students seeking to advance the nursing profession as a science and support nursing scholarships. The society’s name comes from Greek words meaning love, courage, and honor. In 1936, Sigma Theta Tau became the first organization in the United States to fund nursing research. The society was incorporated in 1985 as Sigma Theta Tau International to support and connect the global community of nursing scholars who enhance health care worldwide. It is known today simply as Sigma.
The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing chapter, Nu Beta, was established in 1992.
More than 300,000 nurse scholars have been inducted into Sigma Theta Tau. It is the second largest nursing organization in the world. Members are active in more than 90 countries and territories, and the 424 chapters are located in 523 college and university campuses in the United States and countries including Canada, Hong Kong, Pakistan, South Korea, Australia, Taiwan, the Netherlands, and Brazil. Membership is by invitation to baccalaureate and graduate nursing students who demonstrate excellence in scholarship and to nurse leaders exhibiting exceptional achievements in nursing.
To be eligible for membership as an undergraduate, students must have completed half of their nursing curriculum, achieve academic excellence in the form of a 3.0 or higher GPA, rank in the top 35 percent of their graduating class, and meet the expectation of academic integrity.
Registered nurses who wish to become part of the organization must apply for membership and excel in leadership, research, or their professional practice to be welcomed.
Honor society inductees are presented with purple and white honor cords with purple tassels at each end.