Selection Criteria

Criteria and Selection Process

Quick Facts

  • Φβκ — Greek initials of the motto Philosophia Biou Kybernētēs, "Love of learning is the guide of life."   
  • Phi Beta Kappa is a leading advocate for excellence in the liberal arts and sciences.  
  • We have over half a million members and chapters at 283 American colleges and universities.  
  • Invitation to membership in Phi Beta Kappa is a reflection of outstanding achievement.

Criteria for election to Phi Beta Kappa at UC Davis:

  • An overall UC grade point average of 3.7 for seniors and 3.8 for juniors. For transfer students, the total undergraduate record and cumulative GPA must meet this standard.
  • Knowledge of a foreign language at an "intermediate level," the equivalent of one year of college-level study. Extensive high school study (four years or AP credit) is accepted.
  • Letters and Sciences units totaling 135 for seniors and 90 for juniors.
  • Seventy-five units completed for letter-grade credit at Davis.
  • College preparatory level mathematics.
  • Breadth in the course record: twelve units completed for letter-grade credit in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. 
Selection Process: 

The Committee on Members in Course, composed of academic members of Phi Beta Kappa, reviews transcripts and recommends to the resident members of the Society students whose records meet the criteria. There is no automatic right to election. The committee may apply judgment, for example, in cases where there is extensive student-option pass-fail grading, especially in the major. Questions about qualification are welcome and will be considered.

Transcripts of juniors and seniors in the College of Letters and Sciences, and the College of Biological Sciences are automatically reviewed if the GPA and units in residence requirements are met. Names of additional students who may meet the requirements are solicited from faculty and staff advisers.