Book Awards

The Phi Beta Kappa Book Awards are given each year in December to outstanding scholarly books published in the United States.  Winning works, which are drawn from the fields of the humanities, the social sciences, the natural sciences and mathematics, must be of broad interest and accessible to the general, literate reader. Conditions of Eligibility

The Phi Beta Kappa Book Awards are as follows: 

  • The Christian Gauss Award is offered for books in the field of literary scholarship or criticism. The prize was established by the Phi Beta Kappa Senate in 1950 to honor the late Christian Gauss, the distinguished Princeton University scholar, teacher and dean who also served as President of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. To be eligible, a literary biography must have a predominantly critical emphasis. Gauss Award Winners

  • The Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science is offered for outstanding contributions by scientists to the literature of science. It was first offered in 1959. The intent of the award is to encourage literate and scholarly interpretations of the physical and biological sciences and mathematics. To be eligible, biographies of scientists must have a substantial critical emphasis on their scientific research. Science Award Winners

  • The Ralph Waldo Emerson Award is offered for scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity. Established in 1960, this award may recognize work in the fields of history, philosophy and religion. These fields are conceived in sufficiently broad terms to permit the inclusion of appropriate work in related fields such as anthropology and the social sciences. Biographies of public figures may be eligible if their primary critical emphasis is on the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity. Emerson Award Winners

Submission Procedure

 Books released in calendar year 2016 may be submitted between October 1, 2016 and January 15, 2017. 


Publishers should complete an online submission form, below, for each book submitted.  

Submissions by authors will not be accepted.

Before completing the online submission form, please read the Conditions of Eligibilty

Submission Form

Please download the form and email it to

Please send all questions by e-mail to or call (202) 745-3287.

Love of learning is the guide of life.