General Criteria for Phi Beta Kappa Eligibility

Election to membership in Phi Beta Kappa is an honor typically conferred upon fewer than ten percent of each graduating class. Students do not apply for membership but are selected during the spring semester each year by the Phi Beta Kappa chapter as a whole, after a careful review of the academic records of each eligible candidate. Members are generally elected in their senior year, but the chapter may elect deserving juniors as well.

Election is based upon the evidence of broad cultural interests, scholarly achievement, and good character. Candidates for membership should have a distinguished record of performance in liberal arts courses, exclusive of professional and vocational training, internships, and practica. They should demonstrate a broad exposure to the liberal arts -- fine arts, humanities, languages, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences -- as well as substantial work in areas outside their major.

Election to membership in Phi Beta Kappa is wholly within the discretion of the members of the local chapter, subject only to the limitations imposed by the chapter constitution and bylaws. There is no right to election solely by reason of fulfillment of a minimum grade point average. Although the honor bestowed by membership in the Society recognizes academic achievement, the qualifications for election to Phi Beta Kappa are entirely independent of the academic policies of Eckerd College, and it should not be assumed that fulfillment of the requirements for graduation with high honors renders one automatically eligible for election to Phi Beta Kappa.

Some Specific Minimal Criteria for Selection

  1. Senior standing (except in rare cases).
  2. The completion of at least three semesters at Eckerd and being registered for a fourth.
  3. 24 of 32 semester-length classes must be in liberal work. Liberal work is defined as courses in traditional liberal arts subjects (humanities, fine arts, languages, sciences, social sciences), excluding courses in vocation-oriented areas such as management and international business. In addition, courses that focus on the acquisition of specific skills and techniques do not count as liberal work. Examples of such courses are studio art and music classes, composition classes, applied speech and communication classes, and internships.
  4. Majoring in a liberal arts discipline (for example, something other than international business, management, or information systems).
  5. At least a 3.75 grade point average in liberal arts classes, excluding courses in “applied or professional work”—that is, courses in vocation-oriented areas such as management and international business, or courses that focus on the acquisition of specific skills and techniques. (See #3 above)
  6. The demonstration of knowledge of a foreign language equivalent to completion of the intermediate college level (that is, two years). This requirement may be met by a proficiency test.
  7. The demonstration of knowledge of mathematics at least minimally appropriate for liberal education. The mathematics requirement must be fulfilled by a course that is substantially quantitative in nature.  A logic course will not fulfill this requirement.