• Professor Margaret Ferguson addresses the 2014 Phi Beta Kappa inductees in the Shields Courtyard.

  • Professors Margaret Ferguson, Naomi Janowitz and Jon Rossini welcome new Phi Beta Kappa students.

  • Two students doing the KBP secret handshake.

Who We Are

About Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society

The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the oldest and most prestigious national academic honorary society in the United States. Its Handbook for New Members begins, “For over two hundred years election to Phi Beta Kappa has been a recognition of intellectual capacities well employed, especially in the acquiring of an education in the liberal arts and sciences.” The Society was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia; the UC Davis chapter, designated Kappa of California, was chartered in 1968.

Kappa Chapter recognizes, by election, juniors and seniors who have compiled outstanding academic records in a curriculum including the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Election as Members in Course and initiation take place annually in spring quarter. 

Notification of election is by e-mail to the ucdavis.edu account, posting at this website, and through the academic department of the major. Potential members who have been elected to Phi Beta Kappa, as indicated on the lists posted here, and wish to be inducted into the society—even if retroactively—are cordially invited to contact the secretary.

Graduate Scholarships Available - Deadline January 15

Phi Beta Kappa of Northern California Association offers several graduate scholarships. Graduate students need not be members of Phi Beta Kappa to apply. Please see the Northern California PBK website for information about the scholarships and the application

Please deliver your application to Professor Emily Albu's campus mailbox, 213 Sproul, between January 6-15.  If you have questions, please contact Emily Albu at emalbu@ucdavis.edu

Read about UC Davis Comparative Literature graduate student Megan Ammirati's 2014 PBK award.

Applications are due by January 15, 2015.

PBK at UC Davis

Kappa of CA Board

  • Naomi Janowitz, President
  • Emily Albu, Chair, Committee for Graduate Fellowships 
  • Karen Olson, Secretary
  • Richard Schwab, Treasurer
  • Jon Rossini, Membership Committee
  • Margaret Ferguson, Past President
  • Kern Holoman, Past Secretary
  • Barbara Horwitz, Eligibility Committee
  • Katherine Mawdsley, Chair, Eligibility Committee
  • Marijane Osborn, Historian
  • Sharon Campbell Knox, Communications and Development
  • Neil Schore, Eligibility Committee


PBK Northern California News

The Northern California PBK Association is very active, offering monthly events, frequent outings, lectures, excursions and an annual three day retreat for members and their families.  They also sponsor teaching excellence awards and several scholarships.    

The chapter offered twelve scholarships in the amount of $5,000 to PBK graduate students attending Norther California universities.

Visit their website to see their upcoming activities.  

PBK National

Who Belongs to Phi Beta Kappa?

Seventeen U.S. Presidents, thirty-eight U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and one hundred and thirty-six Nobel laureates can be counted among the ranks of Phi Beta Kappa members.  

But famous or not, all of our members have one thing in common  —  the pursuit of excellence.