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Phi Beta Kappa Society

Phi Beta Kappa was established in 1776 as a philosophical society. Eventually, it evolved into the paramount honor society for the liberal arts in America. Its major goal is to support, foster, and recognize the excellence of liberal arts scholarship in the institutions of higher education in America. There are presently 262 chapters in the United States; the Saint Joseph’s University chapter was established in 2001. The chapter is sheltered by the University and consists of the faculty and staff members who are members of the Society. These members carry on the business of the chapter and elect the student members each year.

Student members are elected in the second semester of the junior or senior year primarily on the basis of broad cultural interests, scholarly achievement, and commitment to the intrinsic value of learning. Eligible students must present a program including not less than 90 credit hours of liberal studies among the 120 or more credit hours required for the bachelor’s degree. In addition, they must have completed at least three full semesters of work (45 credit hours) in residence at Saint Joseph’s University and be fully registered, as a full time student, for the fourth semester. They must have obtained the minimum grade point average (at Saint Joseph’s University) specified by the chapter. While this may vary slightly from year to year, usually it is 3.75 for juniors and 3.5 for seniors.

Liberal studies shall be considered to be those designed principally for knowledge or understanding or appreciation of the natural and social world in which we live. Grades earned in applied or professional work may not be counted in computing the liberal arts hours or the grade point average for eligibility. Applied and professional work shall be understood to include all training intended to develop skills or vocational techniques; this work often leads to licensure or certification. Such courses generally are taken by students who are preparing for a specific type of job. Examples of courses not recognized by the national office of Phi Beta Kappa under the heading of "liberal studies" would be those in business administration, accounting, education, journalism, library science, military science, applied physical education, speech, applied art, applied music, social work, applied communication, and computer science.

Weight will be given to the breadth of the program of each candidate as shown by the number and variety of courses taken outside of the major. Weight will also be given to the balance and proportion of the liberal arts in the student’s degree program as a whole. Students who have violated the academic honesty policy of the University will not be eligible for membership.

Students who complete their college studies at the end of the Summer session or at the end of December, shall be considered for membership during the following spring.

Election to membership in Phi Beta Kappa is wholly within the discretion of the local chapter, subject only to the limitations imposed by the Constitution and By-Laws of the Chapter. No right to election shall adhere to any student solely by reason of fulfillment of the minimum grade point average for election to "membership in course," and no reason need be given for non-election.