Stipulations for Membership
Stipulations set forth by the PBK Society
Only students at a college or university may be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Membership is invitation-only and contingent upon fulfillment of minimum requirements. Chapters are expected to determine the specific application of standards stated in these stipulations. If you have questions on your eligibility, please contact your chapter officer.
Eligible students shall be candidates for a bachelor’s degree. The student's record shall include coursework in the liberal arts and sciences equivalent to at least three-quarters of the credits ordinarily required for a bachelor's degree in these fields (e.g., not less than 90 semester hours of work if 120 hours are normally required for such a degree). The liberal arts and sciences encompass the traditional disciplines of the natural sciences, mathematics, social sciences, and humanities. Select courses in other programs of study may be included only if they unambiguously embody the liberal arts and sciences.
Because Phi Beta Kappa honors excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, applied or pre-professional coursework shall not be considered in determining eligibility. This stipulation excludes professionally focused courses and courses devoted to the acquisition of practical skills.
Weight shall be given to the breadth and depth of study in liberal arts and sciences, taking into account the number, variety, and level of courses taken outside the requirements of the major, and the proportion of the candidate's overall program those courses constitute.
Consideration shall also be given to the number of elective courses taken above the introductory, or general education, level.
Candidates shall have demonstrated, by successful work in high school or college, or in the two together, a knowledge of a second or non-native language at least minimally appropriate for a liberal education. In no case shall this mean less than the completion of the intermediate college level in a second, or non-native, language, or its equivalent.
The candidate's undergraduate record shall include at least one course in college-level mathematics, logic, or statistics, with content appropriate to a liberal arts and sciences curriculum. The course should introduce the student to mathematical ideas, abstract thinking, proofs, and the axiomatic method.
In keeping with the Founders’ interest in fostering not only academic excellence but also friendship and morality, invitation to Phi Beta Kappa should be extended only to persons of good moral character.
Students must have completed a minimum of 66 credit hours toward their degree plan at the University of Houston.
If a student is not invited through the standard selection process, faculty may nominate a student for transcript review by the chapter director, along with the officers and nominating committee. All courses taken throughout the undergraduate career will be considered for “breadth and depth” of liberal arts and sciences qualification.
If the non-native language requirement is not met at the University of Houston, students must show proof of proficiency at the intermediate level (“functional literacy”) either through a language test or other documentation, such as a high-school transcript (four years).
For questions about Phi Beta Kappa, please contact the chapter director, Keri Myrick.