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Eligibility Requirements

Membership acknowledges achievement and an outstanding academic record in the liberal arts and sciences. Members are elected on the basis of scholarly accomplishments, broad intellectual and cultural interests, and good character*.

In order to become a candidate for election in the senior year, a student must meet the following requirements:

  • At least 135 quarter units in liberal arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics (internships, practica, and applied courses in programs including Communication, Theatre and Dance, Music, and Studio Art are not accepted)
  • At least two courses in university mathematics from Math 4, 6, 8, 11, 12, 30, 31, 35, 36
  • At least one year in university of a modern or classical language other than English (the third course of an elementary language sequence or above), unless the student demonstrates that English is a second language
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.8 or above (Please note that the national office sets a strict limit on the number of initiates and so the minimum GPA requirement may be higher in a given year)
  • Completion of the last five quarters at Santa Clara and registration for a sixth (excluding classes taken in the summer session)
  • Completion of 90 quarter units at Santa Clara

Transfer credit and Advanced Placement credit are acceptable as long as 90 quarter units are completed at Santa Clara. 

A candidate does not apply for admission. If all the requirements are fulfilled, a student is invited to become a candidate for the chapter and continue the process of selection with an interview and written essay in the spring quarter of the student's senior year (or junior year if the student has a GPA of at least 3.95 and meets all other requirements). An invitation does not ensure membership, which depends entirely on election by the current chapter members.

If you have specific questions about Phi Beta Kappa, please contact Professor Greg Corning, Secretary, Pi of California, Political Science Department, College of Arts & Sciences, Vari Hall, Second Floor Rm. 237. Telephone 554-4336, e-mail  

*The curricular requirements for membership are established at the national level and subject to change at any time.