Members of the society are known as fellows and are entitled to use the post-nominal letters FSA after their names. Fellows are elected by existing members of the society, and to be elected persons shall be "excelling in the knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other nations" and be "desirous to promote the honour, business and emoluments of the Society."
The society retains a highly selective election procedure, in comparison with many other learned societies. Nominations for fellowship can come only from existing fellows of the society, and must be signed by at least five and up to twelve existing fellows, certifying that, from their personal knowledge, the candidate would make a worthy fellow. Elections then occur by anonymous ballot, and a candidate must achieve a ratio of two 'yes' votes for every 'no' vote cast by fellows participating in the ballot to be elected as a fellow.
Fellowship is thus regarded as recognition of significant achievement in the fields of archaeology, antiquities, history and heritage.
The first secretary for the society was William Stukeley.