Theta Alpha Kappa was initially conceived by the Religious Studies faculty at Manhattan College in Riverdale (the Bronx), New York during the 1975-76 academic year, and was formally instituted at the annual meeting of the College Theology Society held in Manhattan College in 1976. This was done not only to promote the purposes already stated but to fill a vacuum in national honor societies dedicated to the academic study of religion and theology at private and public institutions of higher learning.
By 1977 a Constitution had been created and the first officers elected, and Theta Alpha Kappa had taken took on nineteen campuses in twelve states. In short and subsequent order the Society created a Journal (1978), became a member of the Association for College Honor Societies (1985), was accepted into the American Academy of Religion as a "Related Scholarly Organization" (1994), and (by 2000) had over one hundred fifty chapters across North America representing a diverse range of institutions both large and small, public and private.
In 1998 a completely new constitution was ratified, and an amended set of incorporation papers was filed with the State of New York. With these and other new documents in hand, the Society looks forward to continued growth in and service to these academic fields of study.