Criteria


Each year, the Beta of Texas chapter invites as many as 10% of Rice graduating undergraduates for membership in Phi Beta Kappa. Candidates are selected on the basis of the national Phi Beta Kappa guidelines, as implemented for the Rice University campus.

The basic criteria for undergraduates who entered Rice prior to 2017 are as follows:

  • At least 90 credit hours of liberal coursework
  • At least 10 liberal courses taken outside the division of one declared major
  • Good standing with both SJP and the Honor Council
  • A grade point average within the top 10% of those eligible, given the criteria above


Beginning with students who entered Rice in 2017, the criteria are as follows:

  • At least 90 credit hours of liberal coursework, excluding credit earned through AP or IB courses
  • At least 12 liberal courses taken outside the division of one declared major, excluding credit earned through AP or IB courses
  • Good standing with both SJP and the Honor Council
  • A grade point average within the top 10% of those eligible, given the criteria above


Selection is made in the early spring each year. Courses taken during the semester of the selection will be used to determine course eligibility, but the GPA used to determine eligibility will be calculated from courses completed in prior semesters.


The Liberal Coursework Requirement

While other honoraria societies recognize academic excellence in pre-professional fields such as engineering or architecture, the purpose of Phi Beta Kappa is to honor outstanding achievement in the liberal arts and sciences, in courses that reflect a breadth of intellectual interest and a love of learning for its own sake. For purposes of determining eligibility, therefore, PBK does not count any courses that are intended primarily to develop specific skills or vocational techniques in such applied or professional fields as business administration, education, architecture, the armed forces, engineering, computer science, physical education, or the applied arts and music. In addition, the following courses will not be counted toward the liberal course requirements:

  • Lab, studio, and internship hours
  • Credit hours for senior thesis or capstone research
  • Independent studies
  • Graduate courses (500-level and above)
     

The Extra-Divisional Coursework Requirement

The United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa emphasize in their Stipulations Concerning Eligibility for Membership in Course, that "weight shall be given to the breadth and proportion of the program of each candidate as shown by the number and variety of courses taken outside the major." Accordingly, of all the liberal coursework taken, a minimum number must come from outside the student's major division.

TRANSFER COURSES

Transfer credit will be considered on a case-by-case basis, when the information is available to the course review committee.