Frequently Asked Questions

What is Golden Key?

Golden Key is an internationally recognised, non-profit organisation affiliated with over 400 universities throughout Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, the Bahamas, South Africa, India and the United States. The society's mission is to enable members to realise their potential by connecting individual achievement with service and lifelong opportunity. Golden Key is the world's largest honour society and is a mission focused, values based and demographics driven organisation. With 37 years of rich tradition, Golden Key remains committed to scholarship, career development, leadership and community service. Golden Key South Africa started in 2000, has 14 active chapters currently and touched lives of more than 70 000 South Africans.

Golden Key is a non-profit organisation under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and a registered Section 21 company in South Africa.


When and how was Golden Key founded?

Golden Key National Honour Society was founded by a group of undergraduate students and faculty members at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 29, 1977. In 2001, the society modified its name to Golden Key International Honour Society to reflect its diversity and global presence. The spelling of 'Honour" was utilised to observe the more globally accepted spelling.


What is an honour society?

Honour societies have been recognised by universities in the United States for more than two centuries. The primary function of this academic honour society includes: providing academic recognition to high achieving students, establishing professional and social contacts for these students within a network of universities, bringing together students from diverse faculties and degree programmes within each university, reinforcing students' interaction with university staff.


What are the benefits of joining Golden Key?

  • Lifetime Membership Certificate
  • Academic international recognition on your campus and internationally
  • Add Golden Key membership to CV to add prestige to your qualifications
  • Opportunity to apply for Golden Key member only Scholarships & Awards
  • Leadership development opportunities
  • Opportunity to attend international and national summits
  • Interaction with other students and university leaders
  • Access to an international network of universities
  • Membership benefits are transferable from campus to campus
  • Community engagement service opportunities
  • Targeted Career Opportunity e-communications
  • Events on Campus (professional development, leadership, CV tips etc.)


What are the requirements for membership?

  • Degree courses only
  • Students must have completed at least one full year of study at a university
  • Top 15% of students per field of study in any undergraduate and post-graduate degree
  • Ranking within the top 15% is based on an accumulative academic percentage average as determined by the University
  • Full and part-time students can receive invitations
  • Local academic average cut-off is 65%


Who are Golden Key members?

Golden Key membership has grown to a very large network of over one million members from 151 nationalities. There are more than 2 milion Golden Key members worldwide, of which more than 70 000 are South African. Members include teachers, doctors, engineers, university presidents, social workers, entrepreneurs, politicians, military leaders, and many more.

Well known US honorary members include: Colin Powell, John Glenn, Bill Clinton and Renald Reagan. Well known South African honorary members include: Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Judge Edwin Cameron, Minister Trevor Manuel, Minister Naledi Pandor, Mr Francois Pienaar, Mr Tito Mboweni, Shaka Sisulu and Mr Clem Sunter.

Published by Tanya Nkosi

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