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Chapter Activities


Several times a year we send a newsletter to all resident members detailing recent activities and ways to get involved.

Nominating New Members

Our primary activity is nominating new members each spring and initiating them. Membership in Phi Beta Kappa has always been by invitation only. Each spring a committee of chapter members considers students who meet a minimum set of requirements and selects those who fulfill all of the criteria for membership. The National Society of Phi Beta Kappa stipulates general rules that chapters must follow, and chapters have some latitude in setting the details. Follow these links to find out more about the eligibility criteria at UC San Diego and to read about the advantages of becoming a member.

Graduation Honor Cords

Pink and blue honor cord with tasselsEach student who has been invited into Phi Beta Kappa and joined the Society receives an honor cord at the initiation ceremony to wear at commencement. The honor cord is blue and pink because those were the official colors chosen by the founders of the Society. (In 1776 these colors were expensive and considered to be very special because they were exceedingly difficult to produce with the dyes in use at the time.)

Chapter Awards

During the initiation ceremony we also give monetary awards to outstanding initiates to support their upcoming graduate studies. Initiates must apply for these awards, and we send instructions along with the e-mail message notifying students of their nomination.

Five students standing in a row holding award envelopes

Campus Events for New Initiates

If you were initiated into Phi Beta Kappa at the end of the previous academic year and are still on campus, we would love to have you get involved with the chapter. We are planning to organize gatherings for resident PBK faculty and students and need your help designing these events. Contact us if you are interested in helping with this new initiative.