Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most celebrated of the college honor societies in the United States. Membership in the ASU Chapter lasts a lifetime and opens the door to a vast network of successful individuals in nearly every career field.
Phi Beta Kappa (ΦΒΚ) stands for Φιλοσοφία Βίου Κυβερνήτης (Philosophia Biou Kybernētēs), which means “love of wisdom is the guide of life,” or “philosophy is the governor of one’s life.”
Phi Beta Kappa selection criteria
Undergraduate students (earning their first bachelor’s degree) and majoring in any ASU degree program are eligible for PBK membership provided they meet the following criteria:
School year classification
Students who have earned 75 to 94 credits hours are classified as juniors.
Students who have earned 95 or more credit hours are classified as seniors.
Junior candidates must have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.85 or higher at ASU and an overall GPA of 3.85 or higher that includes all transfer hours.
Senior candidates must have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.70 or higher at ASU and an overall GPA of 3.70 that includes all transfer hours.
Senior candidates must have earned 60 graded credits at ASU or be enrolled in enough hours to reach 60 graded credits at ASU by graduation.
Junior candidates must have earned at least 64 graded credits at ASU.
Minimum liberal arts and sciences credits
Senior candidates must have earned 90 credits in approved arts and sciences courses (including those in progress) by graduation.
Junior candidates must have earned enough liberal arts and sciences credits to reach 90 hours by graduation (this assumes that the same ratio of arts and sciences courses to non-arts and sciences courses are taken in the semesters remaining to graduation).
Mathematics course requirements
All candidates must fulfill the university’s mathematics (MA) requirement with a grade of C or better.
Foreign language requirements
All candidates must have completed or be in their fourth semester (for seniors) of an approved foreign language course of study (that is, the second intermediate semester or higher) with a grade of C or better.
In cases where a course is repeated, grades for both the original and the repeated course are used to compute overall GPA.
Transcripts for all candidates are individually reviewed for rigor. Students whose transcripts include poor grades in individual courses, course repeats, or relatively few upper-division courses relative to the total number of courses taken may be denied invitation for membership to Phi Beta Kappa.
About Phi Beta Kappa
Supreme Court justices
Today there are 290 PBK chapters at American colleges and universities. Less than 10% of all colleges and universities have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.
Phi Beta Kappa’s legacy includes: 17 presidents, 42 Supreme Court justices, and more than 150 Nobel Laureates among its members.
Authors such as Michael Crichton, actors such as Glenn Close, astronauts such as Eileen Collins, entrepreneurs such as Jeff Bezos, and one NFL MVP, Peyton Manning – are among some of the most noteworthy Phi Betes.
The society's founding
Phi Beta Kappa was founded by five students at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, in the Apollo Room at the Raleigh Tavern on December 5, 1776.
John Heath, the first president of Phi Beta Kappa, was determined to develop a student society that would be much more serious minded than others at his institution.
What he wanted, in short, was a society that would be devoted to the pursuit of liberal education and intellectual fellowship.
The Beta of Arizona Chapter
The ASU chapter was founded in December 1973, when a former president of the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, Lawrence Gould, a professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona, installed the Beta Chapter of Arizona in Tempe.
George Peak, the then dean of The College of Liberal Arts and Science, prepared a 187-page report which qualified Arizona State University to have a chapter on its campus.
The Beta of Arizona’s first initiation celebration was held at the Memorial Union in May 1974.