Phi Beta Kappa, which was founded at the College of William and Mary in 1776, is the oldest and most prestigious of the national honor societies. The first chapter was founded to promote the ideals of freedom of inquiry within a broad liberal education, and these concerns have remained a hallmark of the organization ever since. Only the top 10% of four-year colleges nationwide have been granted Phi Beta Kappa Chapters.
Student Selection Criteria: Students are nominated for membership in the society primarily on the basis of their scholarly achievement, good character, and broad cultural/academic interests. Our chapter nominates the top 2% of each junior class, and the top 10% of each senior class (including those nominated as juniors). At least three/fourths of a candidate's courses must be liberal arts courses (as opposed to applied or professional courses). Seniors must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50, and juniors 3.75, in order to be considered for membership. Aside from GPA, weight is given to breadth of academic program (number and variety of courses taken outside the major), faculty recommendations, service to the department or university, good character, academic awards and achievements, and extracurricular activities.