Students do not apply for Phi Beta Kappa. Although the honor bestowed by membership in the Society recognizes academic achievement, the qualifications for election to Phi Beta Kappa are entirely independent of the academic policies of Rhodes College, and thus it should not be assumed that fulfillment of the requirements for graduation automatically renders one eligible for election to Phi Beta Kappa. Invitation to membership remains at the discretion of the chapter.
The membership committee meets every spring to elect students who have distinguished themselves through academic achievement in the liberal arts. Grades are just one of the indicators of this achievement. The membership committee also evaluates achievement based on breadth of study in the liberal arts, on evidence of broad cultural interests, and on evidence of an intellectually rigorous course of study that may include, for example, independent research, directed inquiries, honors research, or upper division work outside of the major. Prospective inductees are also expected to be of sound moral character and integrity. Students are notified of election via email from the chapter in the second half of the Spring semester (after mid-term grades have been evaluated).
The following describes the minimum requirements for a student to be considered for election. Fulfillment of these requirements in no way guarantees election. The Gamma Chapter may elect up to 10% of the senior class and up to 2% of the junior class. The national organization requires that senior inductees have a GPA of at least 3.6; junior inductees must have a GPA of at least 3.8. However, in practice, the average GPA for inductees at Rhodes is much higher than this (often near 4.0).
For eligibility, students must also have fulfilled a minimum number of credits in liberal (that is, not applied or pre-professional) subjects, as well as a minimum number of credits at Rhodes. Seniors graduating in 2015 must have at least 64 credits earned at Rhodes and 96 credits in liberal subjects. To be inducted as a junior in 2015, a student must have at least 96 credits earned at Rhodes and 77 credits in liberal subjects.
Announcements of prior inductees: