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Phi Beta Kappa Alpha Alpha Chapter of New York  

The University at Albany's chapter of the national undergraduate honor society, Phi Beta Kappa
Last Updated: Aug 19, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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What is Phi Beta Kappa?

Phi Beta Kappa is the nation's oldest academic honor society, founded in 1776. It 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.

Quick Facts

  • ΦBK —  Greek initials of the motto "Love of learning is the guide of life."
  • Phi Beta Kappa is a leading advocate for excellence in the liberal arts and sciences.
  • We have over half a million members and chapters at 276 American colleges and universities. 
  • Invitation to membership in Phi Beta Kappa is a reflection of outstanding achievement.
(as described on the "About PBK" page at the Phi Beta Kappa website)

Officers of the Alpha Alpha Chapter of New York


Anthony DeBlasi, PhD

Department of East Asian Studies



G. Brian Burke

Center for Technology in Government



Trudi Jacobson, MLS, MA

University Libraries



Jane Kessler, MLS, MBA

University Libraries



Malcolm Sherman, PhD

Department of Mathematics and Statistics



    Phi Beta Kappa on Twitter

    Follow PBK on Twitter!

    Exploring Phi Beta Kappa and Its Members

    You can explore more about Phi Beta Kappa at their site.

    They have a very interesting section called "ΦBK in the News ," where one entry stated, "The name “Phi Beta Kappa” is now a common expression for “excellence” in any profession or endeavor, and references to Phi Beta Kappa appear daily in American newspapers and in other popular media in all parts of the country."

    Who belongs to PBK
    Seventeen U.S. Presidents, thirty-seven U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and one hundred and thirty-one Nobel laureates can be counted among the ranks of Phi Beta Kappa members. And that's not all... 




      Guide for Selection of Undergraduate Members at the University at Albany (abbreviated)

      Faculty and staff members of the chapter review student records each fall and each spring, and then invite qualified students to join. If you are interested in being considered, you will find below the requirements for being invited to join. Currently, chapter members only review students who have earned 102 credits or more.


      Student Status






      (75-87 cr.)

      First Semester

      (88-101 cr.)

      Second Semester

      (over 101 cr.)

      Minimum G.P.A. for a student who has a VERY WELL balanced distribution of courses, including a foreign language and a reasonable representation in EACH of 4 areas: Humanities and Fine Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Math, and Natural Sciences.





      Other Criteria:


      1.         Total credits:  at least three full semesters of coursework or 45 credits in residence at The University at Albany and pursuing a program leading to graduation with a minimum of 56 residence credits.

      2.         Enrollment:  must be registered for the current semester to be considered in a given round of review.

      3.         Majors:  A major in the liberal arts and sciences, with no fewer than 90 credits of liberal arts and sciences coursework among the 120 credits needed for graduation.  Business, finance, and social welfare majors are ineligible, though students with a second major in a suitable field may be considered for election in their senior year, if their course work includes at least 90 credits in the liberal arts and sciences.  Consideration will be given to majors of a liberal nature, even though they may be offered outside the College of Arts and Sciences.     

      4.         Mathematics:  3 credits; courses appropriate for this requirement include any course with a MAT prefix, a statistics course in any department, or any course with a CSI prefix. 

      5.         Foreign language:  Two semesters of coursework with a minimum of 6 credits in a single foreign language, or at least 3 credits above the introductory course.  (Courses taught in English by foreign language departments do not count toward this requirement; nor does Regents equivalency.) 

      6.         Natural Sciences:  6 credits.  Courses that satisfy the Natural Sciences General Education requirement are acceptable for PBK. 

      7.         Social and Behavioral Sciences:  6 credits.

      8.         Humanities and Fine Arts:  6 credits.

      9.         Courses from other institutions:  If a course or courses that have been taken at another institution are needed to fulfill PBK requirements, the G.P.A. must be recalculated, and all courses taken at that institution must be included, not just the course(s) needed to fulfill the requirements.  Please also note that requirements filled by AP courses are acceptable.




        How does one become a member of PBK? 

        Students are invited to become members after a thorough review of their record indicates that they have met all the requirements as outlined on this page. It is not possible to apply for membership.


        Is there a service component?

        No, Phi Beta Kappa is an academic honor society.


        Is there an annual fee?

        No, the initiation fee is the only fee.




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