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Phi Beta Kappa Alpha Alpha Chapter of New York: Home

The University at Albany's chapter of the national undergraduate honor society, Phi Beta Kappa

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.
  • There are over half a million members and chapters at 283 American colleges and universities. 
  • Invitation to membership in Phi Beta Kappa is a reflection of outstanding achievement.


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



Tyler Norton

University Libraries



Jane Kessler, MLS, MBA

University Libraries



Phi Beta Kappa on Twitter

Follow PBK on Twitter!

Exploring Phi Beta Kappa


The Nation's Most Prestigious Academic Honor Society

Since our founding in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa has celebrated excellence in the liberal arts and sciences and championed freedom of thought. As America’s most prestigious academic honor society, we are uniquely equipped to advocate for the value and benefits of liberal arts and sciences education.

We do this because we believe the curiosity and creativity cultivated by a liberal arts and sciences education are essential to making the most of life’s experiences. This is why we:

  • Honor the best and brightest liberal arts and sciences undergraduates from 286 top schools across the nation
  • Grant lifelong membership through a highly selective, merit-based invitation process that takes into consideration academic success and breadth of study.
  • Connect members to a diverse network of high achievers who are active in science and health care, business and technology, the arts and humanities, and law and philanthropy.
  • Advocate for the importance of liberal arts and sciences education to the individual and to society through our National Arts & Sciences Initiative.
  • Provide opportunities to participate in engaging events, programs, and community service projects offered by the national office, our local chapters, and alumni associations.
  • Equip members with information and tools to thoughtfully engage in American society as leaders, volunteers, and citizens.
  • Offer members quarterly publications and monthly newsletters, which provide perspectives on public affairs, literature, science, history, culture, and career development.
  • Recognize the exceptional achievement of writers and scholars in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics. 

 At Phi Beta Kappa, we are the key that opens doors to lifelong opportunity.

(Material was reproduced from with permission of the Phi Beta Kappa Society)

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 110 credits or more, of which at least 87 must be in the liberal arts and sciences.



Student Status






Fewer than 88 UA credits


88-101 UA credits 


More than 101 UA credits

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.  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 57 residence credits. At least 87 credits must be in the liberal arts and sciences.

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

3.   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. 

4.   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.) 

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

6.    Social and Behavioral Sciences:  6 credits.

7.    Humanities and Fine Arts:  6 credits.

8.    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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