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Phi Beta Kappa


What does it take to become a Phi Beta Kappa member?  The qualifications outlined below (with editorial comments inserted to clarify certain items) are the basis for our decisions.  The process works as follows:  1) in early January, Institutional Research runs a list for us based upon the criteria listed below; 2) we check the list to be sure that there are no disciplinary actions and no discrepancies; 3) the list is distributed to the Phi Beta Kappa faculty for further comment; 4) the list is finalized; 5) candidates are invited to join; 6) the candidates wishing to join return their information forms and fees to the Secretary of the Delta Chapter; 7) the induction is held, and the candidates become New Members in Course.  The requirements listed below can change from year to year as the Phi Beta Kappa chapter considers the various ramifications of new programs, the number of candidates each year, and so forth.


1. Potential members for election to Phi Beta Kappa must be candidates for an undergraduate degree at Clemson University.

2. Potential members must have completed at least 90 hours to be considered for election, exclusive of AP or International Baccalaureate courses.

3. Of the hours completed, at least 50% must be completed through the Clemson campus.

4. Of the hours completed (exclusive of AP credits, etc), at least 75% must be in the “liberals arts and sciences,” as defined by the document “Courses Currently Defined as “Liberal Arts and Sciences” at Clemson University.” (Liberal arts and sciences means no nursing, education, engineering, architecture, business, marketing, management, etc, as those are considered professional coursework for PBK purposes).

5. Potential members must have a grade point average in the “liberal arts and sciences” courses of at least 3.7 on a 4 point scale. (Also, no “F” grades)

6. Potential members must have completed the general education requirement in Mathematics.

7. Potential members must demonstrate a knowledge of a foreign language at least minimally appropriate for a liberal education. (Clemson considers this to be a least completion through the 2000 level (i.e. 2010 and 2020))

8. Potential members may not have violated the provision of either the Academic Integrity sections of the Undergraduate Announcements or the “Student Code of Conduct” as outlined in the Student Handbook.  Conviction of a serious crime will also bar a candidate from election to the Society. (Academic integrity issues and academic dishonesty will be considered a sufficient reason not to elect a candidate).

9. The candidates will be vetted by the Phi Beta Kappa resident members of their departments and/or colleges for further review before the election takes place.

10. Notwithstanding the requirements listed above, election to membership is wholly within the discretion of the resident members of the chapter.  No right to election shall adhere to any student solely by reason of fulfillment of the above requirements.