Academic Regulations & Procedures
Election to Phi Beta Kappa
Phi Beta Kappa is a national honor society, founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, with chapters at many leading colleges and universities. The motto of the society, derived from the three Greek letters, is “Love of learning is the guide of life." Phi Beta Kappa celebrates and advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. Its campus chapters invite for induction the most outstanding arts and sciences students at America’s leading colleges and universities.
In the past, students were elected to the Carleton chapter (Beta of Minnesota) by current faculty and staff members strictly on the basis of their cumulative GPA at the beginning of spring term, typically of their senior year. (A very small number of exceptionally qualified students are elected as juniors, usually no more than two or three.) A check is done with the dean of students’ office to make sure that students are in good standing in keeping with the society’s stipulation that invitation should be extended only to persons of “good moral character.”
The society also urges that chapters give weight to breadth and depth of study in the liberal arts and sciences, “taking into account the number, variety, and level of courses taken outside the requirements of the major.” Beginning with the class of 2014, we will remove from consideration any student who has elected the S/CR/NC option for more than two of the six curricular exploration requirements, or who has not completed all of their “Curricular Exploration” requirements at the time of consideration. If a student takes both graded and S/CR/NC courses that would fully satisfy the same requirement, that student will remain eligible for Phi Beta Kappa, because the requirement will be understood to have been satisfied by the graded coursework.