Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most widely recognized scholarly honorary society in America. Founded in 1776, it celebrates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. The U-M chapter, Alpha of Michigan, was founded in 1907 and has inducted almost 7000 exceptional students into its ranks.   

Fewer than ten percent of each year's graduating seniors and a very few juniors may be invited to join Phi Beta Kappa from the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Seniors with outstanding achievements in the liberal arts in other schools and colleges of the University of Michigan may be invited to join if they have earned a substantial number of liberal arts credits. Transfer students with superior academic records in the liberal arts may also receive invitations to join.

Invitations to membership in the national Phi Beta Kappa Society are issued by the local chapter, taking into account achievement in the liberal arts as indicated by a student's cumulative grade point average, strength of curriculum, demonstrated proficiency in foreign language and mathematics, and other factors. The selection committee looks for evidence of both breadth and depth of interest in the liberal arts and sciences. A very high GPA alone is not a guarantee of election to Phi Beta Kappa. Fourth-term proficiency in a language other than English (the equivalent of the LSA language requirement) is required, as is graded work in a sufficiently advanced quantitative area (MATH 115 or higher, STATS 250 or higher, most, but not all, QR/1 courses). A combination of two QR/2 courses is not acceptable. Elements that can mitigate against an invitation include a large amount of pass/fail work, an entire distribution area taken pass/fail, more than one or two academic terms of fewer than four academic courses of at least three credits each, and repeated semesters with light course loads.

Membership in Phi Beta Kappa lasts a lifetime and shows commitment to the liberal arts and sciences and to freedom of inquiry and expression.  It also  provides a competitive edge in the marketplace.  Potential employers regularly contact local chapters or the national office to confirm the membership of job seekers who have listed Phi Beta Kappa among their credentials.

You can contact the local chapter at or by regular mail or phone at:

Phi Beta Kappa
LSA Honors
1330 Mason Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1027

College of Literature, Science, and the Arts 500 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI  48109 © 2015 Regents of the University of Michigan