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David Sosa, President

512-471-6524


Common Questions

What is PBK? How is it different from other honors societies?

PBK is the oldest and most prestigious collegiate honor society in the U.S. Originally founded in 1776, at the College of William and Mary as a society of scholars and letters, it focuses on honoring students with a traditional liberal education—a broad core curriculum in the arts and sciences. PBK is among the most competitive honor societies in that it has some of the highest academic standards.

What does the society do?

At the national level, PBK supports activities promoting the value of a liberal education. The national society has a partnership with the National Honor Society to encourage student achievement in high school. Also, the national PBK distributes quarterly The American Scholar, an award-winning publication of essays. The Alumni chapters of the association are active in raising money for scholarships and fellowships. Locally, the Alpha of Texas chapter sponsors annual awards for outstanding students and teachers.

What is the Alpha of Texas?

Every state has an original chapter, an “alpha chapter.” In order to be the Alpha, in our case of Texas, UT Austin applied to the national organization in Washington, D.C. After a thorough evaluation of the academic rigor and achievements of the university and its students in the liberal arts and sciences, in February of 1905 the University of Texas was granted a chapter and given the right to elect its best students to membership. There are ten chapters in the state of Texas of which the Kappa of Texas at Texas A&M University (granted in 2004) is the most recent.
Can I apply to join?

No. Membership to Phi Beta Kappa is by invitation only.

What are the minimum membership eligibility requirements?

Students must be enrolled in a major recognized by Phi Beta Kappa in the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Natural Sciences, the College of Fine Arts or the Jackson School of Geosciences. The minimum eligibility requirements for Phi Beta Kappa depend on one’s hours and GPA at The University of Texas at Austin.

Students eligible for early membership must have at least 60 hours of credit in residence at The University of Texas at Austin and at least a 3.90 GPA at the time of the election.

Students eligible for regular membership as a degree candidate must have at least 60 in residence hours at The University of Texas at Austin and have applied for graduation. Students with fewer than 30 transfer hours must have a 3.70 GPA at the time of election. Students with more than 30 transfer hours must have a 3.75 GPA at the time of election.

Students eligible for regular membership as a recent graduate must have at least 60 in residence hours at The University of Texas at Austin and have graduated from UT immediately prior to the most recent election eligibility period. Students with fewer than 30 transfer hours must have a 3.70 GPA at the time of election. Students with more than 30 transfer hours must have a 3.75 GPA at the time of election.

Please note: If a student has restricted his or her directory information, the student’s name will not appear on eligibility ballots. If a student wishes to be considered, he or she will need to petition for membership in a given election period.

These are only the minimum standards for eligibility. Final selection for membership is determined by the election committee of the Alpha of Texas chapter.

Can you tell me if I am eligible for membership?

Students can only be notified of eligibility by receiving an invitation. Staff at the University Honors Center are unable to declare whether a student is eligible for membership. Students may evaluate for themselves whether they think they meet the eligibility requirements. If invitations have been distributed and you believe you should have been notified, please check here for more instructions. A notification of when invitations have been sent will appear on the chapter website as well as the University Honors Center chapter page.

If you have restricted your directory information you may not appear on eligibility ballots. If you wish to be considered, you will need to petition for membership in a given election period.

When are elections held?

Elections for Phi Beta Kappa are held four times a year. In the Fall elections are held after the 12th class day and after the last day to apply for an undergraduate degree. In the Spring, elections are held after the 12th class day. In the Summer, elections are held after the official date of Spring Graduation. Please consult the Academic Calendar to see when these dates fall in a particular year.

How am I notified that I have been elected?

Students who have been elected to join will receive an email and a letter sent to the addresses on file with The University of Texas at Austin. To ensure that you receive notification, please make sure your contact information is current on UT DIRECT.

If you have restricted your directory information you may not appear on eligibility ballots. If you wish to be considered, you will need to petition for membership in a given election period.

How do I join?

Instructions for joining are included in the invitation for membership.

I am currently studying abroad. Can I still join?

Yes. Students who are studying abroad may still join by following the instructions provided with their invitation letter. Students are not required to attend the induction ceremony. Members who are unable to attend and collect their membership certificate and materials will be notified by email about how to obtain them. Members who wish to attend a later induction ceremony due to study abroad should still join and contact the chapter when they return to make arrangements.

How much does it cost to join?

Membership in Phi Beta Kappa is $100. This is a one-time membership fee and covers all national and local chapter dues.

If you are for unable to pay these dues, contact the chapter directly to inquire about alternative arrangements.

How do I pay?

Instructions for payment are included in the invitation for membership. Students may pay online by credit or debit card when they register their membership. Students who are unable to pay online should contact the University Honors Center to make alternative arrangements.

What level of participation is required of members? How much time will I need to devote to this organization?

Phi Beta Kappa has no participation requirements for new members.

Do I have to attend the induction ceremony to join?

No. Although new members are encouraged to attended their induction ceremony, attendance is not required for membership.

How do I collect my certificate and pin if I am unable to attend the induction ceremony?

Members who are unable to collect their membership certificate at the induction ceremony will be notified by email of how to obtain it. Please ensure that your email address is current.

Does the chapter provide honors cords or other graduation materials?

At this time the chapter is unable to supply new members with honors cords or other graduation materials. Members are eligible to purchase these items directly from Hand & Hammer. Please review shipping times and policies to ensure your materials reach you in time for graduation.

How do I apply for scholarships?

Information about scholarships offered to members is available in the Spring semester. All members will receive an email detailing how to apply for that year’s scholarships. Recent electees will receive information along with their invitation.

I think I am eligible to join, but I have not received an invitation. What should I do?

First, check the sidebar to see if invitations have been sent for the current eligibility period. If invitations have not yet been sent, please refrain from submitting a petition, even if it is after the 12th class day. If invitations have been sent and you have not received one, proceed to the following steps.

Next, check the contact information you have on file with the University. If you believe your invitation has been sent to the wrong address, contact the University Honors Center. The center will be able to tell you if you were invited to join and can make alternative arrangements for you to receive your invitation materials.

If you have restricted your directory information you may not appear on eligibility ballots. If you wish to be considered, you will need to follow the directions below.

If you find that you were not invited to join but believe that you meet the eligibility requirements, you will need to submit a petition for membership. Please download and complete the Membership Petition Form. Follow all instructions on the form. You will also need to bring a printed academic summary from the Registrar’s office to the University Honors Center. These will be evaluated against the eligibility requirements and you will be notified of the results in the timeframe indicated on the form. Please make note of all deadlines on the form, as petitions submitted either early or after the deadline will not be accepted.

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