The Phi Beta Kappa Society grants charters for new chapters after an extensive, multi-step application and review process.

The Phi Beta Kappa Society grants charters for new chapters to Phi Beta Kappa faculty on college and university campuses after an extensive, multi-step and multi-year application and review process. Currently, 290 chapters representing small liberal arts colleges, private universities, and public universities regularly induct new students into the Society. 

Application Process and Timeline

The cycle for consideration for the approval of new chapters in 2021 is now open. Faculty organizing committees must complete a Preliminary Application no later than November 1, 2018. A $2,000 application fee should accompany the submission. Interested faculty committees are encouraged to download, review, and complete the Preliminary Application package for this cycle.

Phi Beta Kappa’s Committee on Qualifications will review Preliminary Applications in late 2018 – early 2019, a rigorous evaluation to assess an institution's commitment and ability to uphold Phi Beta Kappa's ideals and nourish a foundational education in the liberal arts and sciences. At a meeting in the spring of 2019, the Committee on Qualifications will determine which institutions demonstrate such promise and invite those institutions to submit a General Report, due no later than October 1, 2019. These schools will also prepare for a site visit in the first quarter of 2020. The Society requires a $12,000 examination fee. Schools not chosen to advance to this stage will receive detailed feedback on their submission and may apply again in a future cycle. 

The Committee on Qualifications will meet again in summer of 2020 to decide whether to recommend to the Phi Beta Kappa Senate that charters be granted to any of the institutions visited. For the 2018-2021 review cycle, the Committee on Qualifications will present its recommendations to the Senate at its December 2020 meeting.Should the Senate concur, it will make recommendations to the Council of Phi Beta Kappa. The Council of Phi Beta Kappa, the assembled representatives of the existing chapters and associations of Phi Beta Kappa, must approve the granting of new charters. If two-thirds of the combined number of chapter and chartered association delegations present and voting at the August 2021 Council agree with an affirmative recommendation from the Senate, the Society will grant a charter for a new chapter and begin planning for the chapter’s installation and first student induction. 

Chapter Selection Criteria Preliminary Application

Concluding Note

Throughout the process, applicants are encouraged to remain in contact with Phi Beta Kappa’s national office for guidance. Applicant committees should not approach members of the Committee on Qualifications but rather channel all inquiries and correspondence through Ann McCulloch, Director of Chapter and Association Relations,, 202-745-3249. We look forward to working with you!

Our earning a Phi Beta Kappa chapter...was the culmination of a tenacious and protracted effort led by a group of staunch faculty members. But what a wonderful accomplishment! In many ways, I point to the Phi Beta Kappa chapter as the achievement I’m proudest of so far, because it validates our transformation of UH into a student-centric university. Simply put, you don’t qualify for Phi Beta Kappa unless you have clearly established a culture that supports your students at every turn.

— Renu Khator

President, University of Houston

A Rare Honor

10% of U.S. colleges and universities have Phi Beta Kappa chapters. These chapters select only 10% of their arts and sciences graduates to join.

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