Phi Beta Kappa at LSU

Phi Beta Kappa is the nation's oldest academic honor society. It was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary.  For more than two centuries, it has advocated the ideas of liberal education as a basis for a lifelong love of learning and as a way to broaden the perspectives of students, whatever their chosen field of endeavor.

The LSU chapter was installed in 1977 as Beta of Louisiana. (The Alpha of Louisiana chapter is at Tulane University.) The chapter at LSU was made possible due to the hard work of many LSU faculty who were themselves members of Phi Beta Kappa.

  Angela Kopynec proudly displays her certificate of membership in Phi Beta Kappa after the 2006 initiation ceremony.  Click here for additional pictures of recent initiation ceremonies for the LSU chapter.

Requirements for Election

Election to Phi Beta Kappa is not automatic. A faculty committee screens the records of seniors in the Colleges of Humanities & Social Sciences, Basic Sciences, and General College who have at least a 3.6 GPA (and juniors with at least a 3.9 GPA) to determine whether they have met our minimum standards. At present, these requirements include:

1. Satisfactory completion of LSU's general education requirement.

2. Two literature courses. Typically, this requirement is met by taking six semester hours from the literature courses listed in the general education humanities requirement. In unusual circumstances, foreign-language literature courses outside the student's major may satisfy this requirement.

3. Basic rigorous courses in several of the humanities and social sciences, and at least two courses at the 3000 or 4000 level in different humanities or social sciences outside the major. (For example, a Psychology major might take a 3000 level Sociology course and a 3000 level History course, but two 3000 or 4000 level Sociology courses [and no other humanities or social sciences outside the major] would not suffice in this instance.)

4. Six hours of a life science and six hours of a physical science, with an additional two hours of related laboratory work in one of these fields. Typically, this requirement is met by taking a one-year life science sequence and a one-year physical science sequence, but science courses that are not sequential may also satisfy this requirement. (Note that this item asks for more science than the minimum requirement in the College of Humanities & Social Sciences.)

5. One year of a foreign language.

6. Electives that demonstrate a commitment to a broad, liberal education. Generally, this item means that the student has taken courses that go beyond the university- or college-specified minimum requirements. Courses that go beyond items 2-5 above are also viewed favorably.

7. There should be no pattern of dropping courses on a regular basis, or of dropping required courses. Withdrawal from the university under conditions requiring the granting of W grades will not count against the student, if it happens one time only. The apparent dropping of courses to maintain a high GPA may be grounds for non-nomination to membership.  In recent practice, this requirement has meant that no more than three Ws should appear on the student's transcript.

For more information, contact a counselor in your college, or the Secretary of our chapter (see the list of officers below).

Photos from Initiation Ceremonies

Phi Beta Kappa Initiates at LSU

LSU Faculty Phi Beta Kappa Members

Current Officers of Our Chapter

The Phi Beta Kappa Society (Washington, D.C.)


LSU Home Page

The statements and opinions included on this page are those of the LSU chapter of Phi Beta Kappa only. Any statements and opinions included here are not those of Louisiana State University or the LSU Board of Supervisors.

Last Modified March 19, 2015