Phi Beta Kappa

Criteria for Regular Membership (Last revised 10/2007)

Membership in Phi Beta Kappa reflects the attainment of the highest level of scholarship in the liberal arts and sciences.

Membership is not by application but by invitation. Invitations are sent out automatically in October of each year to juniors, seniors, and recent graduates in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences who meet the following criteria (also described here). Criteria may be changed by a vote of the chapter at any time; the criteria for membership in the University of Illinois chapter have been changed twice since the year 2000.

Membership invitations are mailed to a student's on-campus address, as recorded in the University PH database; each student is responsible for keeping his or her own campus records up to date.

The United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa specifies certain minimum requirements for induction into Phi Beta Kappa, to wit: a student must have taken a university-level course in science and a university-level course in mathematics, must have achieved intermediate competence in a second language (usually defined by completion of the fourth semester of university-level second-language courses), and must be in the top ten percent of his or her class. As you can see from the requirements listed below, requirements for induction at the University of Illinois are slightly more strict than the national standard, befitting our status as the preeminent university in the state of Illinois.

Junior Election

  1. Attainment of (a minimum) of junior status.
  2. A declared LAS major.
  3. Academic achievement which places the student among the highest one percent of UIUC juniors according to UIUC cumulative GPA after the completion of (exactly) four regular (academic year) semesters of enrollment at UIUC.
  4. Satisfactory progress toward completion of the Science & Letters foreign language requirement for LAS, with no exceptions granted to chemistry, chemical engineering, LAS physics, and mathematics or statistics/computer science majors.

Senior Election

  1. Attainment of senior status.
  2. A declared LAS major.
  3. Academic achievement which places the student among the highest seven percent of UIUC seniors according to UIUC cumulative GPA after the completion of six or more regular (academic year) semesters of enrollment at UIUC or, in the case of transfer students, after completion of four or more regular (academic year) semesters of enrollment at UIUC. Seven percent GPA cut-off is determined by the LAS Honors Dean for magna cum laude awards in the upcoming academic year (e.g., for Fall 2007 PBK elections, the 2007-2008 cut-off applies.)
  4. Forty-five graded credit hours completed at UIUC.
  5. Satisfactory progress toward completion of the Science & Letters foreign language requirement for LAS, with no exceptions granted to chemistry, chemical engineering, LAS physics, and mathematics or statistics/computer science majors.

Graduates

  1. LAS earned baccalaureate degree the preceding August.
  2. Academic achievement which places the student among the highest seven percent of UIUC seniors according to UIUC cumulative GPA after the completion of six or more regular (academic year) semesters of enrollment at UIUC or, in the case of transfer students, after completion of four or more regular (academic year) semesters of enrollment at UIUC.
  3. Forty-five graded credit hours completed at UIUC.
  4. Completion of the Science & Letters foreign language requirement for LAS, with no exceptions granted to chemistry, chemical engineering, LAS physics, and mathematics or statistics/computer science majors.