Phi Beta Kappa celebrates and advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. It is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious national honors society. Only the most outstanding undergraduates at America’s leading colleges and universities who meet the Society’s rigorous and comprehensive standards are elected to membership each year. It is arguably the highest academic honor that undergraduate students can achieve.

The ideal PBK member has demonstrated intellectual integrity, tolerance for other views, and a broad range of academic interests.  Members are committed to the liberal arts and sciences, to freedom of inquiry and expression, and to the love of wisdom and knowledge for its own sake. Membership also provides a competitive edge in the marketplace and looks great on your résumé. Joining Phi Beta Kappa adds your name to an extended list of notable members.

At UC Irvine, only 5% of the graduating seniors and 1% of third year juniors are invited to join Phi Beta Kappa each year, making it more selective than Latin Honors. Only those students who meet the rigorous academic standards set by the Chapter are invited to join. Consideration is given to the breadth and variety of courses taken in the liberal arts and sciences, especially those taken outside the student’s major and beyond the normal general education requirements of the campus. Additional information on membership can be found on this website.

Each year approximately 5% of the graduating seniors and 1% of the juniors are invited to join. Please note that meeting the minimum qualifications does not necessarily guarantee membership. Each year many more students meet the minimum qualifications than can be elected to PBK. Final decisions regarding membership are made by faculty members of Phi Beta Kappa.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is eligible for membership in Phi Beta Kappa?

Juniors and graduating seniors who are majoring in a liberal arts and sciences area and who meet certain criteria are considered for membership in Phi Beta Kappa.  Only those students with majors in the following schools are eligible:

  • Arts
  • Biological Sciences
  • Business
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Humanities
  • Information and Computer Sciences
  • Nursing
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Physical Sciences
  • Public Health: Public Health Sciences, Public Health Policy
  • Social Ecology
  • Social Sciences

2. May I apply for membership in Phi Beta Kappa?
No, students may not apply for membership. Those who are eligible, according to Chapter By-Laws, will be considered and then nominated by their School for membership. Students selected for membership will be notified in the Spring Quarter of their junior/senior year.

3.  If I’m invited to join, does that mean I’m automatically a member of Phi Beta Kappa?
No, you must agree to join and register officially online. In order to remove the financial barrier to membership, the one-time, life-time membership fee in order to become a member is being paid for – for all new UCI initiates – by UCI. After you register online, your name will be registered with the national Phi Beta Kappa Society.

4. I’ve been invited to join Phi Beta Kappa.  Why should I join?
On the membership page, please see our section called “Why Join?”

5. I’m graduating this summer. Am I considered for PBK membership this year?
No, you will be considered for membership the following year with other students who graduate in Fall, Winter, and Spring of next year.

6. Last summer, I enrolled in UCI Summer Sessions.  Does that work count as a quarter at UCI? 
Yes, if you completed at least eight units that summer (June through September).

7. I’m a transfer student.  Am I eligible for membership in Phi Beta Kappa?
, transfer students are eligible for Phi Beta Kappa, if they meet all of the criteria for membership, including the residency requirement.

8. I’m a second baccalaureate student.  Am I eligible for membership in Phi Beta Kappa?
, second baccalaureate students are eligible for Phi Beta Kappa, if they meet all of the criteria for membership, including the residency requirement, and have not previously been elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

9. Where can I find out more about Phi Beta Kappa and its history?
More information can be found on the History of PBK page.

10. Who should I contact if I have other questions?
Please contact the PBK Coordinator Brenda Fisher.