Eligibility for Membership in Course

Eligibility for election to membership in course shall be contingent upon fulfillment of the following minimum requirements. Chapters are expected to determine the specific application of standards stated in these stipulations.

Stipulation 1.  Eligible students shall be candidates for a bachelor’s degree. The student's record shall include coursework in the liberal arts and sciences equivalent to at least three-quarters of the credits ordinarily required for a bachelor's degree in these fields (e.g., not less than 90 semester hours of work if 120 hours are normally required for such a degree). The liberal arts and sciences encompass the traditional disciplines of the natural sciences, mathematics, social sciences, and humanities. Select courses in other programs of study may be included only if they unambiguously embody the liberal arts and sciences.

Because Phi Beta Kappa honors excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, applied or pre-professional coursework shall not be considered in determining eligibility. This stipulation excludes professionally focused courses and courses devoted to the acquisition of practical skills.

Stipulation 2.   Weight shall be given to the breadth and depth of study in liberal arts and sciences, taking into account the number, variety, and level of courses taken outside the requirements of the major, and the proportion of the candidate's overall program those courses constitute. Consideration shall also be given to the number of elective courses taken above the introductory, or general education, level. 

Stipulation 3.  Candidates shall have demonstrated, by successful work in high school or college, or in the two together, a knowledge of a second or non-native language at least minimally appropriate for a liberal education. In no case shall this mean less than the completion of the intermediate college level in a second, or non-native, language, or its equivalent.

Stipulation 4. The candidate's 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. The course should introduce the student to mathematical ideas, abstract thinking, proofs, and the axiomatic method.

Stipulation 5. In keeping with the Founders’ interest in fostering not only academic excellence but also friendship and morality, invitation to Phi Beta Kappa should be extended only to persons of good moral character.

These stipulations concerning eligibility for membership in course were adopted by vote of the chapters and certified by the Executive Committee on behalf of the Senate on June 1, 2011.

Mercer University Policies on Election of Members-in-Course

Only juniors and seniors with majors in the College of Liberal Arts are eligible for election to Phi Beta Kappa as members-in-course in the spring semester of each academic year. Students who have earned at least 75 credit hours at Mercer University are considered "juniors."  Students who have earned at least 100 credit hours (including up to 60 transferred credit hours) and have applied for graduation are considered "seniors."

To be eligible for consideration, seniors must have a minimum GPA of 3.5, and juniors must have a minimum GPA of 3.75.  Up to 10% of the graduating class each year may be inducted, so attainment of the minimum required grade point average does not guarantee election. Membership in Phi Beta Kappa is based on a demonstration of scholarly achievements, broad cultural interests, and high moral character. The scholarly work of a member-in-course must emphasize liberal arts rather than applied or professional studies.

The breadth and depth of a candidate’s coursework in the liberal arts is considered prior to election to Phi Beta Kappa. A student must complete at least 90 hours of coursework in the liberal arts, including a variety of courses at the upper and lower division in a range of subject areas.  In addition, students must satisfy Phi Beta Kappa stipulations regarding mathematical reasoning and foreign language. Completing the College of Liberal Arts mathematical reasoning requirement satisfies the stipulation on mathematical reasoning. To satisfy the foreign language stipulation, students must complete or place beyond CHN, FRE, GER, or SPN 252; or 300-level GRK or LAT; or prove intermediate reading, writing, speaking, and listening proficiency in an alternate language by taking an equivalency exam. To arrange an equivalency exam in an alternate language, contact the chair of Foreign Languages and Literatures.  Juniors must satisfy these stipulations as well as most general education requirements by the end of their junior year and be on track to complete at least 90 hours of coursework in the liberal arts to be eligible for election.