Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society

Edward Alexander Bouchet (1852-1918) graduated from Yale College in 1874. He went on to be the first self-identified African American to earn a doctorate from an American university when he earned a PhD in physics at Yale University in 1876. At that time, Bouchet was the sixth person in the western hemisphere to earn a doctorate in physics. He was also one of the first African Americans to be elected to the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.

The Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society (Bouchet Society) recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate. The Bouchet Society was inaugurated on Thursday, September 15, 2005 with a simulcast ceremony held at Yale University and Howard University. As the co-founding chapters, Yale University and Howard University seek to recognize and continue Dr. Bouchet’s pioneering contributions to doctoral education. The Bouchet Society seeks to develop a network of preeminent scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence, foster environments of support, and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy. In the spirit of Bouchet’s commitment to these pursuits both within and without the academic realm, inductees into the honor society bearing his name should also exhibit these qualities.

The Bouchet Leadership Medal

The Bouchet Leadership Medal is a national award given to leaders in academia and the community who are outstanding in their own fields of study, and who serve as inspirational role models to people of all ages.

Bouchet Graduate Honor Society Membership

Nomination Forms for Membership

Membership into the Bouchet Honor Graduate Society is by nomination only and approved by the National Steering Committee. The levels of membership are as listed below:

  • Doctoral Student Membership is available to any individual who is currently a doctoral student in good academic standing, and through initial research achievement in a humanities, social sciences and sciences field, has shown outstanding promise as a scholar, as evidenced by independent investigation or current work on a dissertation project.
  • Post-Doctoral Membership is available to any individual who has received their PhD degree over the last 6 years, and through initial research achievement in a humanities, social sciences and sciences field shown outstanding promise as a scholar, as evidenced by independent investigation, completion of the dissertation and publications.
  • Faculty Membership is conferred upon any individual who has shown noteworthy achievement as a scholar and exemplar of the Bouchet Society’s mission. The faculty should currently hold an appointment in the humanities, social sciences, or sciences fields, with a record of publication and evidence of research and teaching in their field of study. Individuals who are invited to membership have (by virtue of their scholarship, research, teaching and service) shown their commitment to ensuring excellence and equity in graduate education.

Membership into the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society is by nomination only. All student nominees must be ABD (i.e., completed qualifying exam, orals, qualifying papers or equivalent) and submit all materials listed below.

Nomination criteria for students and post-doctoral fellows:

  1. Three letters of recommendation to the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society must be submitted from each of the following:
    •  the nominee’s dissertation advisor
    • a graduate faculty member invested in the nominee’s research
    • a faculty member, dean or director at the nominee’s institution
  2. A nomination evaluation form from each of three recommenders above (indicating strengths of nominee as regards to the five thrusts of the Honor Society)
  3. Transcripts from all graduate and professional schools attended
  4. A current curriculum vitae
  5. Scholarly writing sample
  6. A personal statement capturing how the nominee embodies the characteristics of Dr. Bouchet as expressed through the five thrusts and the mission of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society. Additionally, the candidate should address their anticipated contributions to the Society (2 - 3 pages).

Faculty should submit the following upon invitation:

  1. Curriculum vitae or résumé
  2. Personal statement depicting anticipated contributions to the Bouchet Society

All materials must be received on or before February 15.

  • Upon receipt of completed application materials for nominees, the Membership Selection Committee will review all applications.
  • The Membership Selection Committee will then provide a recommendation of inductees for consideration.
  • December 1: Application information and materials available on-line
  • February 15: Deadline for receipt of nomination letters and application materials
  • March 1: Announcement of new members
  • March/April: Annual Inaugural Induction Ceremony at Yale's annual Bouchet Conference on Diversity and Graduate Education

One national charter with two chapters was inaugurated by Yale University and Howard University on September 15, 2005, in commemoration of Bouchet’s birthday. Please refer to the charter regarding the eligibility requirements and application process for obtaining individual membership in the society or establishing an institutional chapter.

  • Yale University*
  • Howard University*
  • Cornell University
  • Emory University
  • Florida International University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Michigan State University
  • Northwestern University
  • Rutgers University
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • The George Washington University
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Florida
  • University of Miami
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Washington University in St. Louis

*Denotes Founding Chapters 

Contact us