Main Content

Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU)

International Geographic Honor Society


A Brief History of GTU

On May 15, 1928, a local professional fraternity by the name of Gamma Theta Upsilon was formed at Illinois State Normal University under the guidance of Dr. R. G. Buzzard. Before that, it was the Geography Club at Illinois State Normal University. After three years, letters were sent out to other geography clubs suggesting the formation of a national fraternity.

On May 15, 1931, the organization, consisting of four chapters, was announced. On March 5, 1936, Gamma Theta Upsilon was incorporated, then with 10 chapters, as a professional fraternity in geography under the laws of Illinois.

Gamma Theta Upsilon became an International Honorary Geographical Society in January 1969.

Eligibility for Membership

Persons seeking membership must be initiated through an established chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon. A chapter is also maintained for alumni after graduation. There are two classes of membership in GTU:

Regular Member: Initiates must have completed a minimum of three geography courses, have a B average in geography, rank in the upper 35% of their class, and shall have completed at least three semester or five quarters of college course work.

Honorary Member: A chapter may extend honorary membership to anyone whom it feels has, by exploration, research, lecturing, publishing, teaching, or any other way contributed to marked advancement in any phase of geography. The fees for honorary membership are paid by the local chapter.

The Purposes of GTU are:

  1. to further professional interest in geography by affording a common organization for those interested in the field
  2. to strengthen student and professional training through academic experiences in addition to those of the classroom and laboratory
  3. to advance the status of geography as a cultural and practical discipline for study and investigation
  4. to encourage student research of high quality, and to promote an outlet for publication
  5. to create and administer funds for furthering graduate study and/or research in the field of geography.

Why should you join GTU?

Gamma Theta Upsilon membership is earned through superior scholarship; it is an honor, and a professional distinction.

Members receive a handsome certificate, suitable for framing.

No further membership dues are paid to the national organization after the initiation fee.

Many members choose to remain active in GTU after graduation, by joining Omega Omega, the Alumni Chapter of GTU.


Benefits of GTU Membership

Most chapters sponsor speakers, campus-wide programs, field trips, and social events and participate in service functions.

Members can participate in numerous extracurricular activities.

Membership provides a network where you can become better acquainted with other geography students and can meet and talk with geography faculty informally.

Members can improve their expertise in the field of geography by learning things not normally dealt with in the classroom.

Members are eligible to apply for Gamma Theta Upsilon scholarships.

Membership in an academic honor society is evidence of your dedication and competency in your career field. Some employers give hiring preference to honor society members.

For Membership Information: Ask your local chapter officers or GTU faculty advisor for information on membership procedures, and the many benefits of joining Gamma Theta Upsilon.

At SCSU, the GTU faculty advisor is:  Dr. Leon Yacher


The Geographical Bulletin

This scholarly journal is published twice a year by GTU. Articles concerning any area of geographical interest are solicited from students and faculty. Initiates receive two free issues after initiation and may subsequently renew their subscription.

Educational Fund

An educational fund was established to support publications, scholarships, and other activities.


Four scholarships are awarded annually to Gamma Theta Upsilon members: two to undergraduates, one to a senior entering graduate school, and one to a continuing graduate student.

Visiting Geographical Scientist Program (VGSP)

The Visiting Geographical Scientist Program, funded by GTU and administered by the Association of American Geographers (AAG), provides an opportunity for chapters to host a distinguished geographer on their campus. The visiting geographer will give a lecture on a topic in geography and meet with faculty, students, and administrators.

Chapters should contact the AAG for information about the Visiting Geographical Scientist Program.

Local Chapters

Local chapters are chartered by Gamma Theta Upsilon at colleges and universities. GTU chapters sponsor a variety of activities that support geographical learning.

International Organization

The society is governed under a constitution and by-laws. Nine elected officers, including two student representatives, form the executive committee. The annual business meeting, held in at the fall meeting of the National Council for Geographic Education, is open to all GTU members and other interested persons.

Alumni Chapter

The Omega Omega chapter serves alumni of all chapters. After graduation, alumni members are encouraged to join the Omega Omega and receive continuing benefits from active affiliation with the society.