Academic Regulations & Procedures

Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa is a national honor society, founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, with chapters at many leading colleges and universities. The motto of the society, derived from the three Greek letters, is “Love of learning is the guide of life.” Phi Beta Kappa celebrates and advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. Its campus chapters invite for induction the most outstanding arts and sciences students at America’s leading colleges and universities.

In the past, students were elected to the Carleton chapter (Beta of Minnesota) by current faculty and staff members strictly on the basis of their cumulative GPA at the beginning of spring term, typically of their senior year.  A smaller number of exceptionally qualified students are elected as juniors. The chapter consults with the Dean of Students office to make sure we are in keeping with the society’s stipulation that invitation should be extended only to persons of “good moral character.”

The society also urges that chapters give weight to breadth and depth of study in the liberal arts and sciences, “taking into account the number, variety, and level of courses taken outside the requirements of the major.” Therefore, we will remove from consideration any student who has completed fewer than four of the six “Curricular Exploration” requirements with graded courses at the time of consideration. If a student takes both graded and S/CR/NC courses that would fully satisfy the same requirement, that student will remain eligible for Phi Beta Kappa, because the requirement will be understood to have been satisfied by the graded coursework.

Last Revised: January 30, 2013

For: Faculty, Students

Last Reviewed: September 9, 2021

Maintained by: Office of the Provost