The ideal Phi Beta Kappan has demonstrated intellectual integrity, tolerance for other views, and a broad range of academic interests. Membership also shows commitment to the liberal arts and sciences, to freedom of inquiry and expression, and love of learning. Membership in Phi Beta Kappa is by invitation only; students may not apply. Membership is based on outstanding academic achievement in the liberal arts and sciences. The caliber of the candidate’s work should be of exceptional distinction and shall be elected primarily on the basis of broad cultural interests, scholarly achievement, and good character. A review of an individual candidate’s academic record reveals that they have participated in a broad, and strong liberal arts academic program and that candidates meet liberal unit numbers and GPA requirements. The following majors are included:
- Biological Sciences
- Information and Computer Sciences
- Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Physical Sciences
- Public Health: Public Health Sciences, Public Health Policy
- Social Ecology
- Social Sciences
Only graduating seniors and high achieving juniors (third year students who entered UCI as freshmen) are considered for membership. A faculty committee of Phi Beta Kappa members makes the final decisions regarding membership. Additional criteria are listed below:
High scholarship: Graduating seniors elected to Phi Beta Kappa typically have a cumulative GPA of 3.60 or higher; juniors typically have a GPA of 3.75. However, no one is elected to Phi Beta Kappa solely on the basis of GPA.
Coursework in the liberal arts and sciences: Candidates must have completed a broad and rigorous course of study in the liberal arts and sciences. The term “liberal arts and sciences” refers to courses designed principally for knowledge, understanding, or appreciation of the natural and social world in which we live. The liberal arts and sciences include most courses in the humanities, social sciences, biological sciences, and the physical sciences. In general, primary consideration is given to the breadth and variety of courses taken outside the student’s major and beyond the campus general education requirements. Indicators may include Campuswide Honors Program, EAP/UCDC/Sacramento Programs, senior thesis, a second major or a minor, or undergraduate research and High GPA. However, no student is selected based on GPA alone.
Residency requirements: Students must have completed at least six quarters of work in residence at UCI. This residency requirement also applies to transfer and second baccalaureate students.
Good character: All UCI students are assumed to be of good character unless there is evidence of academic dishonesty. In accordance with UCI policy, students with recorded evidence of academic dishonesty may be excluded from consideration for academic honors at graduation, including election to Phi Beta Kappa.