Information for Nominees

What's the big deal about Phi Beta Kappa?

As the oldest undergraduate academic honor society in the United States, Phi Beta Kappa membership is recognized by many people worldwide as a sign of your academic excellence. From its founding in 1776, members of Phi Beta Kappa have included many U.S. presidents, supreme court justices, legislators, Nobel prize winners, and leaders in academia, business, science, and the law. Membership in Φβκ recognizes a student's excellent performance in a broad range of subjects across the liberal arts. Fewer than 10% of colleges and universities in the entire United States have been approved to have their own Phi Beta Kappa chapters.

Why should I join?

I've been invited into other honor societies; isn't Phi Beta Kappa just more of the same?

Membership in Phi Beta Kappa indicates to graduate schools, professional schools, and future employers that you were an outstanding and broadly educated undergraduate student at an outstanding university. Even people who may not recognize the excellence of UC Davis will understand the meaning of your membership in Phi Beta Kappa. 

I'm just not interested in joining a fraternity or sorority.

Don't be fooled by its Greek-letter name; Phi Beta Kappa is not a social fraternity. Your invitation offers you an award recognizing the excellence of your academic performance at UC Davis, and the breadth of your education. 

Register online

We provide step-by-step instructions for online registration here. You will receive the necessary password in your email invitation to join. Please register with your name exactly as you wish it to appear on your certificate: traditionally we print full first, middle, and last names.

You've invited me; can't you just sign me up?

No, unfortunately we can't. The National Society of Phi Beta Kappa requires that you register online and pay the $85 initiation fee just once. Once you join PBK, you will be a member for life, wherever you go; no further effort or money are required unless you want to broaden your commitment.

OK, you've made some good points, but $85 is a lot of money

We think it's a pretty reasonable price for a membership that lasts your lifetime. But if it poses a serious problem for you, we urge you to talk with Dr. Eric Rauchway, who is the President of the UC Davis Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Some generous chapter members may provide financial assistance for this very important investment in your future.