The Delta Phi Alpha National German Honorary Society began with the founding of the Alpha chapter at Wofford College in 1929, and now has constituent chapters at over three hundred colleges and universities throughout the United States.

What is Delta Phi Alpha?

Delta Phi Alpha serves since 1929 as a post-secondary academic honorary society for students of German studies broadly understood. It is not a social society in the manner of a sorority, fraternity, or a Studentenverbindung.

Delta Phi Alpha seeks to recognize academic achievement in the field of German studies and promotes student scholarship.
Delta Phi Alpha, an independent non-profit organization, is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization. 

The American Association of Teachers of German administers the high-school honorary society, Delta Epsilon Phi. https://www.aatg.org/page/DEP 

Why are the colors black, red, and gold and why is the eagle a symbol of the society?

The bylaws of the organization indicate that the colors of the organization are black, red, and gold –reflecting the organization’s founding during the Weimar Republic. Just as the colors, black, red, and gold, recall Germany’s first democracy, so does the Weimar Eagle–all symbols harkening back to the time of Delta Phi Alpha’s founding.


SECTION 1: The name of this society shall be Delta Phi Alpha, and the Greek 

capital letters  Δ Φ Α shall appear on all insignia of the Society. 

SECTION 2: The letters shall stand for  Δαδουχος  Φρευωυ ′Αυθρωπωυ 

signifying “Torchbearer of Human Spirit”.

SECTION 3: The colors of the society shall be black, red and gold.

Coats of arms of the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) (Wikipedia)
Coat of arms of the German Reich
(Reichswappen) 1919–28.
Coat of arms of the German Reich
(Reichswappen) 1928–35.
The Reichsschild (Reich’s escutcheon) used on governmental
flags of the Weimar Republic between 1921 and 1933.
Small coat of arms as used on official seals and for federal institutions, 1921–1935
Historic DPA Eagle (1929) Current DPA Eagle

Do you have required initiation rituals?

No. Each chapter may initiate students in the manner best suited to its program. We do not require an “oath” or “pledge”. Our requirements focus solely on academic performance and standing. For the initiation ceremony, please see the text on the web site for a sample text. 

Is this only for students and faculty interested in the Federal Republic of Germany?

No. The German Honorary Society is a society for all postsecondary students interested in the academic study of the German-speaking world.

Do other language societies exist?

Yes. See the national language honorary societies for French and Spanish as examples. 

French: https://www.pideltaphi.org/

Spanish: https://sigmadeltapi.org/

An older history of Delta Phi Alpha is available from Monatshefte1939.