Department of Languages and Literatures

Sigma Tau Delta - International English Honor Society

The Mission

Referred to by members as "The Society," Sigma Tau Delta is an international non-profit organization. The initials of the Society's name also represent its official motto and ideals: sincerity, truth and design.

The Society's purposes are literary, educational and charitable. Sigma Tau Delta represents high achievement in undergraduate, graduate and professional studies of English language and literature. One of the objectives of the organization is to provide cultural stimulation on college campuses and to promote interest in literature in a multitude of areas, including creative and critical writing.

Sigma Tau Delta is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS), and its members reflect its dedication to high standards of academic excellence. The UNI chapter of Sigma Tau Delta is Omega Rho.


The original founder of Sigma Tau Delta was Judson Q. Owen, who sponsored the English Club at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota, in the 1920s. From the beginning, the English Club was only open to outstanding students. The success of the club attracted the attention of many other campuses nation-wide. This popularity encouraged Owen to make the English Club a national English honor society.

On May 1, 1924, at Dakota Wesleyan University, Sigma Tau Delta made its first appearance. The order promoted the mastery of written expression, encouraged reading and fostered fellowship among students in English language and literature. At the first national convention it adopted the first twelve chapters, insignia and started the discussion of The Rectangle, the newsletter and publication of the Society.  


Students must have a minimum GPA of B in English courses above the General Education level. Students must also rank within the highest thirty-five percentile of their class and have completed at least four semesters of college-level work. Transfer equivalencies are permitted.

Lifetime membership in the organization is $65.  


Sigma Tau Delta offers a number of awards and services for its members. New inductees are awarded at their induction ceremony, and scholarships and internships are available to members within the organization.


Among the awards given to inductees of Sigma Tau Delta are a membership pin, card and a certificate. These are presented at the induction ceremony held each fall. The lapel pin shows the Sigma Tau Delta initials. The card states the inductee's name and identifies the card holder as a "duly elected and initiated member of Sigma Tau Delta." The certificate is signed by the chapter sponsor and international president.  


In addition to the awards given to new members, Sigma Tau Delta offers a variety of scholarships to students of good standing in the organization. Five academic scholarships are awarded each year. The scholarships include: Junior International Scholarship, Senior International Scholarship, Graduate International Scholarship, The Regenery Scholarship, and the P.C. Somerville Award for First Year High School, Middle School or Elementary School Teaching.

Information about Sigma Tau Delta awards, scholarships and internships are sent to and remain with the chapter sponsor.  


Sigma Tau Delta also offers an internship in cooperation with Regenery Publishing, Inc., a nonfiction publisher based in Washington, D.C. All members of Sigma Tau Delta are eligible. The stipend is $1000 for a nine-week period. Applicants must provide two copies of the applications and one copy of their transcripts.  


The Rectangle is the literary journal of Sigma Tau Delta. This journal is published semi-annually, in the fall as well as the spring. The Rectangle includes works of poetry, short fiction, literary nonfiction and analytical essays. This publication only accepts submissions from members of Sigma Tau Delta.  


Sigma Tau Delta holds an international convention every year, usually in the southern part of the United States. This convention features speakers and a chance for students to submit their own papers for panel discussion. The three-day convention is comprised of sessions on all three days, finishing on the third day with an awards banquet. There is also the opportunity to explore the host city and tourist attractions in the time between sessions. Both the international organization and the chapter at UNI provide financial support for convention participants. 

Click here for the department's general Honor Societies page.