Undergraduate members of the Alpha of Wisconsin Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa are elected in their junior or senior years upon recommendation of the Membership Committee that meets each Fall. The local chapter adheres to the national organization’s membership guidelines and stipulations.
Membership in Phi Beta Kappa is by invitation only (there is no application process). L&S students whose superlative scholastic accomplishments reveal breadth of exploration and depth of achievement in a broad range of the liberal arts are invited to membership in the Society.
Minimum requirements for consideration include:
- Outstanding academic achievement as demonstrated both by cumulative GPA and by grades in the major(s)
- A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.80 (for seniors with a minimum of 90 credits)
- The average course load should be a minimum of 12 credits
- College level math, statistics, or logic course (200 level or above; or AP calculus or AP statistics)
- Excellence in depth and breadth of study in the liberal arts as determined by
- Number and variety of courses taken outside the major and the balance and proportion of the candidate’s program as a whole
- Demonstrated achievement beyond the introductory level in two of the following three areas: humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences (physical, natural, biological)
- Phi Beta Kappa is an accolade for an undergraduate liberal arts education, thereby requiring evidence of both breadth and depth of study in the liberal arts and sciences. This normally means that the student should be enrolled in the College of Letters & Science and be a candidate for the liberal bachelor degree. Senior candidates must have 90 credits of work in the College of Letters & Science; Juniors must have virtually all credits in Letters & Science.
- A minimum of 3 intermediate or advanced L&S courses are required to demonstrate the PBK standard for breadth. These courses must be distinct from the area of study of one’s major; and illustrate pursuit of diverse subject matter and/or variety of viewpoints.
- Non L&S applied or pre-professional coursework shall not be considered in the breadth evaluation. Only courses that qualify as L&S degree credit are considered.
- Academic or non-academic misconduct may disqualify a student from election to Phi Beta Kappa.
Although the honor bestowed by membership in the Society recognizes academic achievement, qualifications for election to Phi Beta Kappa are entirely independent of any college or university regulations.
It should especially not be assumed that the degree requirements for the College of Letters & Science are sufficient for election to Phi Beta Kappa (even with a very high GPA). The minimum cumulative GPA is periodically reviewed and adjusted.
The minimum qualifications set forth here do not constitute eligibility or entitlement to election into Phi Beta Kappa. The Membership Committee-comprised of members of the faculty and academic staff-examines the academic record of each and every individual who approximates these minimum standards, and seeks to ensure that there is sufficient breadth and depth in liberal studies to justify an invitation to the Society.
Selected students will be invited to join Phi Beta Kappa by the end of the fall term.