Membership Criteria

Selection for the Alpha of Oregon Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa is not automatic, but students do not have to apply or be nominated for consideration. Instead, our membership committee, comprised of UO faculty and staff who are themselves Phi Beta Kappans, screens academic records to locate students who meet the minimum requirements for membership.

Annually, the committee screens the records of those students who have applied for spring graduation by the deadline (Sunday at midnight after the fourth week of spring term classes), or in a prior academic term.  Students applying for graduation after the spring deadline will have their records screened in the following year.

Following an election meeting in May, these students are contacted and invited to join the society. Also selected are the Oregon Six: those six students deemed to be the most outstanding among those elected to membership in a given year. Students who accept our invitation to join are initiated at a special ceremony held on the Saturday before spring Commencement. The initiation fee is $85, payable one time only.

Eligibility for membership in Phi Beta Kappa is open only to candidates for bachelor’s degrees completing their original degree program.

Effective Spring 2009, our membership requirements are:

1)      164 credits completed by the beginning of the spring term of the election.

2)      Cumulative UO grade-point average (GPA) of 3.75, or 3.60 if the last five terms’ GPA is at least 3.80. In computing the last-five-term GPA, any term is counted in which a student has earned 9 credits or more of A, B, C, D, or F grades.

3)      Five terms and 85 credits completed at the UO before the term in which the election is held.

4)      Either 123 UO credits or 75 percent of the credits earned at the UO must be in courses considered “liberal” in character. Most courses in the UO’s College of Arts and Sciences, excluding technical or practical courses, and most courses in art history, some in music history and in journalism, and a few in other UO professional schools and colleges are considered liberal.

5)      44 upper-division liberal credits in UO courses of at least 3 credits each. No more than 8 of these 44 credits shall be elective pass/no pass (P/N), i.e., P without an asterisk; at least two breadth courses outside the major subject code must be taken for letter grades.

6)      Breadth requirement–distribution among these 44 credits in one of the following three ways:

    1. at least three courses in each of two groups that correspond to the three undergraduate general-education groups (arts and letters, social science, science) or
    2. at least three courses in one of these groups and two courses in each of the other two or
    3.  at least three courses in each of two subject codes in one group and two courses in a third subject code in any group.

Although some upper-division liberal courses with the same subject code belong to two different groups, only the courses from one of those groups can be counted for breadth.

7)      No evidence of academic misconduct or poor character

8)      Fulfillment of the minimum requirements does not guarantee election to the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

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