UMaine PBK Membership Criteria

This page will show how the National Phi Beta Kappa Stipulations are interpreted at the University of Maine. The national Phi Beta Kappa stipulations are in italic.

Stipulations Concerning 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.

We accept any coursework from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as fitting under the umbrella of liberal arts and sciences. In addition, we accept courses from the following disciplines as falling under the liberal arts and sciences designation.

• Public Management
• Biochemistry
• Clinical Lab Sciences
• Earth Sciences
• Marine Sciences
• Microbiology
• Biology
• Molecular Biology
• Zoology
• Food Sciences and Human Nutrition
• Communication Sciences & Disorders

Some of these disciplines were in the College of Arts and Sciences at one time, but moved to other colleges because of reorganizations.

We have addressed the question of excellence in the following way up to now.

Standards for seniors:

1. Senior standing
2. At least 105 earned credit hours
3. At least 3.5 GPA
4. No missing grades or incompletes except for honors thesis and other multi-semester courses

Standards for juniors:

1. Junior standing
2. At least 75 earned credit hours
3. At least 3.7 GPA
4. No missing grades or incompletes except for honors thesis and other multi-semester courses

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 constituteConsideration shall also be given to the number of elective courses taken above the introductory, or general education, level. 

The depth issue can be addressed as follows. If the student is majoring in one of the liberal arts and sciences discussed in Stipulation 1, we will accept that as evidence of depth in the liberal arts and sciences. If the student is not majoring in liberal arts and sciences, but has at least 90 credits in liberal arts and sciences, we will require to have at least a minor in one of the liberal arts and sciences.
 
The breadth issue will be addressed as follows. By Stipulation 1, the student must have at least 90 hours in liberal arts and sciences. We can require breadth by requiring that the student take at least 40 credits in liberal arts and sciences courses that are not in the major or some closely related major.
 
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.
 
This stipulation is relatively clear. International students who have mastery of a language other than English are considered to have met this stipulation. Similarly, if students can provide evidence of knowledge of another language because of activities such as Peace Corps, they will be considered to have met this stipulation. Since the language requirement has not been a UMaine Delta Chapter requirement for a number of years, we are introducing it gradually. In particular, this stipulation will be interpreted as follows.
  1. Seniors invited in 2014 will have to have or be on track to have the equivalent of 1 semester of college level (1 year of high school level) language study or a GPA greater than or equal to 3.7.
  2. Juniors invited in 2014 will have to have or be on track to have the equivalent of 1 semester of college level (1 year of high school level) language study. Juniors who would have otherwise qualified except for the language requirement will be notified of their eligibility for Phi Beta Kappa in 2015 provided they continue to have an excellent GPA and have or be on track to have the equivalent of at least 1 year of college level (2 years of high school level) language study completed in 2015.
  3. Seniors invited in 2015 will have to have or be on track to have the equivalent of 1 year of college level (2 years of high school level) language study.
  4. Juniors invited in 2015 will have to have or be on track to have the equivalent of 1 semester of college level (1 year of high school level) language study with an indication that they intend to complete at least another semester of college level language study in their senior year.
  5. Seniors invited in 2016 or later will have or be on track to meet Stipulation 3 completely.
  6. Juniors invited in 2016 or later will have to have or be on track to have completed the equivalent of 1 year of college level (2 years of high school level) language study and be on track to meet Stipulation 3 completely as a senior.
 
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.
This stipulation poses little problem for UMaine students since the Gen Ed requirements ensure that students take at least one year of college-level mathematics.
 
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.
We don’t have any reasonable way to check this stipulation from the transcript. It requires attention from our members to bring any problems to our attention.
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.