Johns Hopkins Phi Beta Kappa Criteria

Selection Criteria

To be considered for the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society, students must not only meet the criteria laid out below, but the student’s transcript must be complete without M or I grades, must be known by the JHU community to be ethical and without a disciplinary history. Students who are selected will be notified in late-March/early-April.

Criteria for Undergraduates

  1. Eligible students shall be candidates for a bachelor’s degree from the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences or whose primary major in the Whiting School of Engineering is Applied Mathematics and Statistics. The Alpha Chapter of Maryland at Johns Hopkins University considers (1) junior level students who have completed five semesters at Hopkins with a minimum of 48 graded credits and (2) senior level students who have signified their intent to graduate by completing the Application to Graduate and be listed on the official graduation list and have met the minimum of 48 graded credits residency requirement.
  2. They shall be majoring in an area of the liberal arts or sciences.
  3. They shall include not less than 90 semester hours (or the equivalent) of liberal work among the 120 hours required for the degree, exclusive of required courses in physical education and any military science.
  4. They have demonstrated a knowledge of a second or non-native language by either successfully completing the intermediate college level coursework in a second, or non-native, language, or its equivalent, or by having the placement exam results indicating a waiver beyond the level of intermediate noted on their JHU transcript by the director of the foreign language program.
  5. Their undergraduate record shall include at least one course in college-level mathematics, logic, or statistics, with content appropriate to a liberal arts and sciences curriculum. This includes all Hopkins courses that are at least 3 credits with an area designator of Q, courses transferred to JHU with a Q area designator, or math or statistics exam credits that have been noted on the student’s JHU transcript.
  6. Students electing a combined curriculum in such fields as law, medicine, dentistry, or engineering may be considered if they take at least 90 semester hours or the equivalent of liberal work in the School of Arts and Sciences, complete at least half of the requirements for a liberal major, and meet all of the other requirements defined in these criteria.
  7. Grades earned in applied or professional work shall not be counted in computing the grade-point average for purposes of eligibility. Applied and professional work shall be understood to include those courses intended primarily to develop skills or vocational techniques in such fields as business administration, education, engineering, home economics, journalism, library science, military science, physical education, communications, secretarial studies, speech, and applied art and music.
  8. Weight shall be given to the breadth and proportion of the program of each candidate as shown by the number and variety of courses taken outside the major.
  9. Only the top 10% of the current Senior, and graduating Juniors, class graduating from KSAS will be considered. For non-graduating KSAS Juniors, only the top 3% of the current class will be considered. For Applied Mathematics and Statistics graduating Seniors, the cumulative GPA of the top 10% of the graduating Juniors and Seniors will be used as the cut-off GPA for students who will be considered. Therefore, the cumulative GPA range of students under consideration can and does change from year-to-year.

Criteria for Graduate, Masters, and PhD Candidates

  1. To be eligible the graduate student must have attended an undergraduate college/university that did not have a Phi Beta Kappa Chapter.
  2. They must be completing their thesis by the May of the current academic school year.
  3. Their Registrar’s Office will submit upon their behalf a letter of nomination from the faculty advisor, an official transcript of graduate work, and a copy of the undergraduate transcript.
  4. The nominee must have completed a truly distinguished dissertation after taking an exceptional course of studies.

The nomination must provide substantial evidence of “the attainment of a liberal education, the possession of liberal culture.” It should present a liberal education in same tradition used for electing undergraduate students to Phi Beta Kappa. A superior vocational education and record is insufficient for election.