Five students at the College of William and Mary founded Phi Beta Kappa in 1776, during the American Revolution. For over two and a quarter centuries, the Society has embraced the principles of freedom of inquiry and liberty of thought and expression. Laptops have replaced quill pens, but these ideas, symbolized on Phi Beta Kappa's distinctive gold key, still lay the foundations of personal freedom, scientific inquiry, liberty of conscience and creative endeavor.
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. The Society sponsors activities to advance these studies - the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences - in higher education and in society at large.
Images from our 2010 induction ceremony.
New Selection Criteria
On February 2, 2010, the Theta Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa adopted the following selection criteria for new initiates beginning in 2012: "Students should normally have completed either coursework in three different disciplines in at least two divisions (a minimum of two courses, one of which must be beyond the intro level) or a double major or major/minor in two different divisions. These guidelines will obtain for Special Studies and interdisciplinary majors as well."