Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa

History

The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the oldest and most prestigious liberal arts honor society in the United States. Established in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, the Society now boasts 290 chapters at the most notable colleges and universities in the nation. At the heart of its mission, Phi Beta Kappa celebrates and advocates for the advancement of studies in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences in education and society at large. To become a member of Phi Beta Kappa is a distinct honor that follows students for the rest of their lives.

The Rutgers University chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of New Jersey, was chartered in 1869. For the past 150 years, Rutgers has nominated the most outstanding juniors and seniors across the University to join its chapter. Upon induction into the Society, students become a lifetime member of Phi Beta Kappa and gain access to scholarships, awards, and programs beyond what is available on campus. Students also join a diverse network of achievers and trailblazers in all walks of life. Notable members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 41 Supreme Court Justices, more than 140 Nobel Laureates, and Rutgers’ very own Paul Robeson.

Eligibility & Induction

Membership for Phi Beta Kappa is invitation-only. Each spring, the University nominates juniors and seniors who have fulfilled all of the minimum requirements listed below. There are no applications.

  • Juniors must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.80 or above and have completed 36 credits at Rutgers by the end of the fall semester.
  • Seniors must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.70 or above and have completed 48 credits at Rutgers by the end of the fall semester.
  • Students must have demonstrated proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to completion of at least the second semester of the intermediate level. The language proficiency may be met by placing above the intermediate level on the foreign language placement test.
  • Students must be pursuing a liberal arts major and have a minimum of 90-course credits in the liberal arts.
  • Students must have successfully completed one course in college-level mathematics, logic, or statistics.
  • Students must have no record of disciplinary action.

Selected students will be notified via email of their invitation during the spring semester. To be inducted, students must accept the invitation by the date specified in the email. The induction ceremony typically takes place in April, and parents, friends, and faculty members are invited to attend. Honor cords will be provided for each inductee to wear at graduation, and students who wish to purchase a Phi Beta Kappa key may do so here.

Contact Us

Do you have questions about the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Rutgers?

Email: pbk@echo.rutgers.edu or call: 848-932-7865

Additional Resources

  • The Phi Beta Kappa Society website provides information about the history of the society, membership, scholarships, awards, and programs beyond what is available on campus.
  • The Key Reporter is a journal for Phi Beta Kappa members and includes information for members about the Visiting Scholar Program, the National Arts & Sciences Initiative, other programs, and awards.
  • The American Scholar is a quarterly magazine of public affairs, literature, science, history, and culture.