Colby’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa invites students to join the chapter annually in accordance with the guidelines established by the national society. Within this framework, chapter officers have outlined criteria for membership that are specified below. In brief, students’ candidacy for chapter membership is based on the breadth and depth of their scholarly achievement and often involves assessment at the discretion of the Membership Committee, the members of which evaluate student transcripts anonymously before making their recommendations to the chapter.  All qualified students will be considered by the Chapter—no application or declaration of interest is necessary.  Students invited to join Phi Beta Kappa in a given year will be notified by early April.

Chapter Bylaws Governing Membership in Phi Beta Kappa

  1. To ensure that Colby’s PBK chapter upholds the high moral values of the organization, the Dean of Students will examine the list of students whose GPA would qualify them for election to PBK and report to the Membership Committee on students guilty of:
  1. academic dishonesty
  2. sexual misconduct, as indicated by a finding or admission of guilt
  3. an incident of serious misconduct or a pattern of general misconduct

This Dean’s review will be done in accordance with Colby’s laws and practices governing confidentiality.  Students reported in this manner will not be elected to PBK.

  1. To ensure fairness in the election process, we propose that where possible, all credits transferred at the time of matriculation be averaged in the GPA, as well as those credits accrued during Off-Campus Study Programs required for French, Spanish, Russian, German, International Studies, Latin American Studies, and any other programs that require study abroad.
  2. Students with excessive numbers of 100-level courses and/or more than one semester with fewer than 13 credits will be reviewed carefully to confirm that they have completed coursework consistent with the depth and breadth of a liberal learner.
  3. Only students with at least five semesters of completed college credit and at least four semesters of Colby grades will be considered for PBK.
  4. The Chair of the Membership Committee will email advisers of Honors and Senior Scholars for a fall grade, which will be factored in to our consideration of candidates.
  5. Acknowledging guidelines 1-5, we will accept the top 9% (by GPA) of the senior class and the top 2% of the junior class (by GPA).
  6. When considering students within the top 9-11% of the senior class, the Chapter will look for exceptional candidates whose scholarly achievements most strongly reflect Colby’s precepts and the values of the national PBK organization. Criteria for election might include extensive independent scholarship, an exceptional diversity of scholarly pursuits, and evidence of leadership in a scholarly realm.
  7. The target final number of candidates is 10% of the graduating class. Additional candidates might be considered under truly exceptional circumstances.