Membership Requirements

Phi Beta Kappa maintains a chapter at San Francisco State University. Known as Omicron of California, the chapter selects students in their senior year for membership. Requirements for membership are established by the Phi Beta Kappa Society in Washington, D.C. and by the campus chapter. The minimum qualifications for membership are shown below. If you think you meet the qualifications, please contact one of the current PBK Officers for possible nomination for membership in the society. In addition to liberal arts students, please note that students in professional majors with at least 90 units in liberal arts courses are also eligible for Phi Beta Kappa.

  • A student must have completed at least 100 semester units towards graduation.
  • At least 45 of those 100 semester units must have been earned at San Francisco State University.
  • A student's grade point average must place him/her among the top students in the graduating class. For the past several years, most initiates have earned a grade point average above 3.7. Courses taken on a credit/no credit basis will not be counted, nor will courses with incompletes not yet cleared.
  • A student must be majoring in one of the liberal subjects. That means the major normally would be in some subject taught in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, or the College of Ethnic Studies, or the College of Liberal and Creative Arts, or the College of Science and Engineering.
  • A student must have earned at least 90 semester units of credit in liberal subjects as listed above.
  • Applied, professional, or vocational courses cannot be considered as qualifying for Phi Beta Kappa membership. Work in such courses as business, and practical experience in the creative arts, education, engineering, and journalism are normally considered "professional."
  • The program must include a broad spectrum of studies in the sciences, the humanities, and the behavioral and social sciences. Evaluators are looking for some indication of depth as well as breadth and will, consequently, expect to find that a student has taken some courses beyond a mere introduction to a given subject.
  • A student must have completed at least three units of mathematics beyond pre-calculus. A partial list of mathematics courses includes MATH 110, Mathematics for Business Analysis; MATH 124, Elementary Statistics; MATH 220, Calculus and Analytic Geometry I; MATH 223, Calculus and Analytic Geometry IV; BA 110, Mathematical Analysis for Business; CSC 330, Discrete Mathematical Structures; PHIL 205, Formal Logic I; PSY 371, Introductory Statistics; ECON 310, Mathematics for Economists; ECON 311, Statistical Method and Interpretation; or any course for which these are prerequisite. Remedial courses and mathematics courses for elementary and secondary teachers will not be counted.
  • A student must have studied a foreign language and be able to demonstrate an ability to read and write in that language. Evaluators will look for evidence that a student has progressed at least through three semesters of a foreign language or equivalent at the college level. Some students may have entered San Francisco State University with six units of Advanced Placement credit in a language and could, therefore, go directly into a third semester language course. Students who can demonstrate that their native language was not English may count English competence as fulfilling the foreign language requirement.