Phi Beta Kappa membership is one of the most prestigious honors a student can receive. The general criteria for membership are established by the National Society (follow this link to learn more.). In particular, all candidates must have taken at least one course in college level mathematics, logic or statistics and must have demonstrated knowledge of a second (non-native) language.
These criteria are interpreted by our faculty as follows:
1. Graduating seniors considered for membership are in the top 10% of the class by GPA (typically this cutoff falls at or above 3.8, but is determined annually by inspection of the A&S graduating class). GPA is determined in the penultimate semester (so grades in the final semester aren’t taken into account), except for summer graduates, who are elected the following fall semester.
2. At least 90 credit hours must be in the “liberal arts and sciences.” AP credits count toward this requirement, but not credits earned by exams like CLEP. (However, if a student satisfies the foreign language requirement via CLEP we will consider that stipulation has been met even though we don’t count those credits.) Transfer credits apply toward this requirement if they were earned in institutions with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. APPLIED OR PRE-PROFESSIONAL COURSEWORK AND COURSEWORK DEVOTED TO THE ACQUISITION OF PRACTICAL SKILLS DOES NOT COUNT. (However, we do count courses in journalism.) Study abroad credits in approved programs count. Audited courses do not.
3. We must have grades for at least three complete semesters at UC (at least 45 credit hours completed at UC).
4. Reviewers have discretion to eliminate students who qualify superficially according to the above criteria if it is determined that fewer than half of the college courses taken (leaving aside AP credit) are in the liberal arts, or if too much of the coursework taken outside the major is at the introductory level. When transfer credits make up part of the 90 required liberal arts credit hours, the GPA at previous institution(s) may be considered.
5. Each spring the top 20 members of the junior class are invited to join. Students who have completed at least 75 credit hours and have a GPA of at least 3.9 are considered, using the criteria above.