Membership & Criteria For Invitation

Membership is an accolade for inclusion on résumés, CVs and applications. In addition to Phi Beta Kappa being the oldest and most prestigious academic honor society in the country, it is also the most well-known. When graduate programs, professional schools, and future employers see membership in Phi Beta Kappa, it is recognized as an extraordinary accomplishment.

Phi Beta Kappa members represent outstanding academic achievement in the liberal arts and sciences and a commitment to the spirit of learning for all of life. Notable members include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, U.S Secretary of Transport Pete Buttigieg, civil rights activist and author W.E.B. Du Bois, and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to name but a few.

A Prestigious Community

Membership provides a scholarly community with others—undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and employers—who embrace the pursuit of knowledge and understanding via the liberal arts. Opportunities for engagement and networking exist at the Theta Chapter and national Phi Beta Kappa associations throughout the United States. At the national level, opportunities for scholarships, internships, and employment are also available.

A student carries a watch key, stole, and certificate that she received during a Phi Beta Kappa induction ceremony.


As part of membership in Phi Beta Kappa, inductees are presented with a personalized ΦΒΚ watch key to mark members’ ongoing quest for wisdom; a stole which should be worn at the College’s graduation ceremony; and a certificate to bear testament to their belonging in the nation’s most prestigious honor society in the liberal arts.

A student signs the official registry of the Theta Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

Official Registry Book

New members sign the official registry book of the Theta Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at the induction ceremony each March. The book is permanently displayed in Olin Library for all who visit this academic institution to review.

A graphic with photos and logo for Phi Beta Kappa's Key Connections events.

Engagement Opportunities

Rollins generously pays each new inductees’ membership dues, and unlike other honor societies, there are no future dues to pay for continued membership. New members also receive a one-year subscription to The Key Reporter, the Phi Beta Kappa newsletter. In addition, Phi Beta Kappa members are eligible to join in the activities of 50 Phi Beta Kappa alumni associations in cities across the world and to participate in the work of chapters on more than 290 college and university campuses.

Criteria for Invitation

An invitation to join Phi Beta Kappa recognizes and honors exceptional academic achievement in the arts and sciences. Election to membership in Phi Beta Kappa is an honor typically conferred upon fewer than the top ten percent of graduating majors within the liberal arts, and in exceptional cases, as juniors. Students do not apply for membership. Membership is invitation-only and contingent upon fulfillment of nationally recognized requirements and rigorous criteria set by the Theta Chapter of Rollins.

  • Election is based upon the evidence of broad cultural interests, scholarly achievement, and and good standing with the Academic Honor Council and Community Standards.
  • Candidates for membership should have a distinguished record of performance in liberal arts courses, exclusive of professional and vocational training, internships, and practica. At least 75 percent of coursework, or 105 credit hours, must be in liberal arts courses.
  • Candidates should demonstrate a broad exposure to and serious pursuit of the liberal arts—a major in the fine arts, humanities, languages, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences—as well as substantial work in areas outside their major.
  • That education should be both broad (wide-ranging) and deep (thorough).
  • Students should exemplify the highest values possible in the areas of scholarship, engagement, and integrity while fulfilling their academic promise.
A student is honored during Phi Beta Kappa induction ceremony.

Invitation Timing & Induction Ceremony

Invitations are issued in early February, with acceptance due within the month. The annual induction ceremony takes place in March, and inductees are expected to be present unless abroad. As this is a formal ceremony celebrating a remarkable honor of scholarly achievement, inductees may invite guests for the in-person ceremony. The ceremony conveys the honor and meaning of Phi Beta Kappa’s purpose and marks the beginning of lifelong membership.

See Members in Course