In 1976, Professor Albert Clark, F.S.C., established Theta Alpha Kappa at Manhattan College in Riverdale (the Bronx), New York for the purpose of recognizing the academic achievements of religion and theology students. Since then, Theta Alpha Kappa has grown to more than three hundred chapters nationally in four-year educational institutions ranging from small religiously affiliated colleges to large public research institutions. It is the only national honor society dedicated to recognizing academic excellence in baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate students and in scholars in the fields of Religious Studies and Theology.
Induction requires nomination by a local chapter and, to be eligible, students must have a 3.5 GPA in Religious Studies and/or Theology and a 3.0 GPA overall. Residency, class ranking when available, and unit requirements must also be met.
In addition to encouraging the activities of local chapters, Theta Alpha Kappa maintains a vigorous national program of scholarship awards and fellowship competitions. Every other year, the Undergraduate Achievement Award provides for each chapter to claim a $100 scholarship for the student it nominates. For a chapter designated as small, this in effect returns to the chapter two-years-worth of its annual dues. Each year TAK awards fellowships to three TAK members towards graduate programs in Religious Studies or Theology. Additionally, its primary publication, the Journal of Theta Alpha Kappa, offers annual prizes and the publication of outstanding student papers.
Theta Alpha Kappa is a related scholarly organization of the American Academy of Religion, an affiliated program of the Society of Biblical Literature and is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies.