Membership Criteria

Election of members in course (student members) is by vote of the faculty and staff keyholders of Phi Beta Kappa at Austin College.  No student will establish a right to membership simply by achieving a given GPA or by satisfying prescribed requirements.

New members in course are chosen in the spring semester.  To be eligible for election with a year’s class, a student must have graduated in the previous summer or December, or be ready to graduate in May.  Normally, prospective members must have the following minimum qualifications:

  • They must have completed at least three full semesters of work at Austin College and be fully registered for a fourth semester.
  • They must have a GPA of 3.65 or higher in Austin College courses. Grades earned in applied or professional work (see below) or transfer work shall not be counted in computing the grade-point average for purposes of eligibility.
  • They must satisfy the Austin College graduation requirements for math and foreign language.  Additional courses in these areas will be considered in the student’s breadth of study.

Faculty and staff members will consider all students who meet these basic requirements and will elect those who, in their judgment, best exemplify the principles espoused by Phi Beta Kappa.  The bylaws provide that new members “shall be elected primarily on the basis of broad cultural interests, scholarly achievement, and good character.”  They also state that “weight in the selection process shall be given not only to the relative strength of the candidate’s academic record, but also to the breadth and proportion of the candidate’s program as shown by the number and variety of courses taken outside the major.  Preference will be given to candidates who have demonstrated ‘a spirit of intellectual adventure’ by meeting any of a number of criteria including, but not limited to, the following: significant coursework across all three divisions of the college, independent research or scholarly activity, or significant advanced work in a field other than the major.”

Applied and Professional Courses

In accordance with national Phi Beta Kappa Membership Criteria, grades in the following applied and professional courses will not be counted in computing student grade-point averages for the purpose of eligibility for Phi Beta Kappa Membership:

  1. Studio Art Courses:  Art 114, 251, 252, 255, and 256
  2. Applied Music Courses: Those .25 credit applied courses listed in the AC Bulletin, plus Music 256, 257, 258, 261, and 262
  3. Courses in Accounting: BA 261, 262, 363, 364, 366, and 367
  4. Applied Courses in Exercise and Sports Science: 115, 241, 243, 353, 354, and 471
  5. Education 475: The Learner, the Teacher and the Curriculum
  6. Leadership Studies 480: Internship

In addition, grades in January Term courses will not be counted for this purpose.