UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa, established in 1776, is the nation’s oldest and most respected scholastic honorary society, its purpose being to honor high achievement in the liberal arts and sciences. According to the society’s handbook, the objectives of humane learning encouraged by Phi Beta Kappa include intellectual honesty and tolerance, range of intellectual interests, and understanding—not merely knowledge. The UCSB chapter, California Lambda, was established in 1967 and has maintained a high standard of admission. Election is by invitation only, and is offered to no more than one percent of graduating seniors each year. Election in the junior year is extremely rare.

To be eligible for consideration, a student must have a grade-point average of at least 3.75 for juniors and 3.4 for seniors, have completed four quarters of a single foreign language, and have taken plane geometry and algebra through quadratics. Each senior candidate must have completed 60 units of work at UCSB (junior candidates must have completed 120 units), excluding professional, vocational, technical, recreational, and remedial courses, and all courses taken on the P/NP basis. A record which shows more than 15 P/NP units is normally disqualified, although exceptions are made for candidates in the College of Creative Studies and occasionally for others of extraordinary achievement. Election to Phi Beta Kappa takes place in the spring quarter, and normally requires that the candidate have demonstrated evidence of genuine intellectual curiosity and achievement beyond the minimum outlined above. Most departments at UCSB have members of Phi Beta Kappa on their faculty. Students are urged to contact faculty members, departmental undergraduate advisors, or the UCSB Phi Beta Kappa website for further information (www.oiss.ucsb.edu/pbk).