Phi Beta Kappa

Click here for a special message from Hank Greely, Chapter President, to the new members of Phi Beta Kappa, June 11, 2021. 


Phi Beta Kappa is a nationwide society honoring students for the excellence and breadth of their undergraduate scholarly accomplishments. Membership in the Stanford Chapter (Beta of California) is open to undergraduates of all majors. To be elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Stanford, a student must achieve academic distinction in the major as well as in courses across a broad range of fields.

Election to Phi Beta Kappa

Elections are guided by stipulations set forth by the national office of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Ten percent of the members of each graduating class are elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Among these, up to one fifth are chosen in their junior year and the remainder in their senior year.

Elections to Phi Beta Kappa are held annually during spring quarter, and elected students are notified by the middle of May. To be considered for election with the appropriate graduating class, spring quarter graduates must meet the application deadline for spring quarter conferral of their undergraduate degree as set by the Registrar's Office. Students whose undergraduate degree is conferred in summer, autumn, or winter quarter are considered for election during the spring following their undergraduate degree conferral. Students who transferred to Stanford must have completed at least 75 units of academic work at Stanford by the time of election.

No action is needed to be considered for election to Phi Beta Kappa. The academic records of all eligible students are automatically reviewed. Anonymity in the election process is ensured by removal of students' names from their academic records prior to consideration.

Students are elected on the basis of excellence of study across the liberal arts and sciences, as exhibited by grade point average and breadth of completed coursework.

Minimum breadth requirements for election include having earned, by the time of election, a letter grade of B- or better in at least three Stanford courses of three or more units in each of the following three major domains of scholarship: humanities; social sciences; and natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics. Students who transferred to Stanford in their sophomore year must have completed at Stanford at least two courses in each of the major domains. Students who transferred to Stanford in their junior year must have completed at Stanford at least two courses in two of the major domains and one course in the third domain.

In light of Stanford University's grading basis policy for 2019-2020 Spring Quarter courses, 2019-2020 Spring Quarter courses completed with a grade of S by the time of election will count toward the minimum breadth requirements for election as if they had been completed with a letter grade of B- or better.

The courses that are considered toward each major academic domain are decided upon by each year's election committee upon examination of the content of individual courses, and may or may not correspond to departmental or General Education Requirement categorizations. PWR 1, PWR 2, a first THINK course, IHUM, and first-year language courses are not considered toward the breadth criterion for election. The election committee’s deliberations are confidential.

Students convicted of a violation of the Honor Code or Fundamental Standard are not eligible for election.

PBK students.

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Students Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

2010, 20112012, 20132014, 2015, 20162017201820192020, 2021


For inquiries about the Stanford chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, please email Chapter Secretary Raymond Chen at .

Position Name
President Professor Hank Greely
Secretary Raymond Chen
Treasurer Mark Tendall

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Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize

The Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize recognizes excellence in teaching and the ability to inspire intellectual and personal development in and beyond the classroom. This may include, but is not limited to, encouraging critical, analytical, and creative thinking, taking an active interest in students as individuals, and influencing the way students think about the world.

Every year, members of Phi Beta Kappa present this award to an outstanding member of the faculty. Nominations are accepted from members of the senior class. The winner is selected by a committee of previous award recipients and Phi Beta Kappa Council members.

Past recipients are listed below:

Year Recipient Department
2021 Brian Coyne Lecturer, Political Science
2021 Dafna Zur Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures
2020 Paul Fisher The Beirne Family Professor of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology
2020 Marci Kwon Assistant Professor, Art and Art History
2019 Helen E. Longino C.I. Lewis Professor, Philosophy
2019 Kathryn Olivarius Assistant Professor, History
2018 Alia J. Crum Assistant Professor, Psychology
2018 Kären Wigen Professor, History
2017 Bridgette Martin Hard Coordinator and Lecturer for the Psychology One Program
2016 Audrey K. Bowden Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering
2016 Mary Beth Mudgett Professor, Biology
2015 Jeremy Sabol Lecturer, Structured Liberal Education and Master of Liberal Arts
2015 Edith Sheffer Assistant Professor, History and, by courtesy, German Studies
2014 Julie Kennedy Professor, Environmental Earth System Science
2014 Cintia Santana Lecturer, Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages
2013 Russell Berman Professor, Comparative Literature and German Studies
2013 Kathleen Coll Lecturer, Anthropology
2013 Allyson Hobbs Assistant Professor, History
2012 Daniel Carlos Garza Assistant Professor, Orthopedic Surgery and Emergency Medicine
2012 Stephen Haber Professor, Political Science and History
2012 Michael Rosenfeld Associate Professor, Sociology
2011 James Campbell Professor, History
2010 Donald Barr Associate Professor, Pediatrics
2009 James Gross Professor, Psychology
2008 Rob Reich Associate Professor, Political Science
2007 Elizabeth Tallent Professor, English
2006 Alyssa O'Brien Lecturer, Program in Writing and Rhetoric
2005 Steve Tadelis Professor, Economics
2004 Gavin Jones Professor, English
2003 Armin Rosenkrantz Lecturer, Human Biology
2002 Wanda Corn Professor, Art
2001 Robert Gregg Professor, Religious Studies
2000 Marsh McCall Professor, Classics
1999 Christopher Edwards Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
1998 Thomas Wandless Assistant Professor, Chemistry
1997 James Watanabe Lecturer, Biological Sciences (Hopkins Marine Station)
1996 Robert McGinn Professor, Management Science and Engineering
1994 Donald Kennedy Professor, Biological Sciences and Human Biology
1993 Robert Waymouth Professor, Chemistry
1992 Jody Maxmin Associate Professor, Art
1991 David Brady Professor, Political Science

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Phi Beta Kappa Graduate Student Scholarship

Each year, the Northern California Association of Phi Beta Kappa invites Stanford students currently pursuing graduate studies or professional degrees to apply for graduate scholarships. The 2022 scholarship awards are in the amount of $10,000.

  • Applicants must have been elected to Phi Beta Kappa by a chapter anywhere in the United States, and must be currently enrolled graduate or professional students. 
  • Application materials include:
    • application form
    • statement of interests, objectives, and achievements
    • research summary
    • writing sample, and
    • three confidential letters of recommendation submitted directly by the writer to Raymond Chen at .

Applicants apply to the Stanford chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, which will select up to six applications to forward to the Northern California competition.  

For the 2022 scholarship, the campus deadline is Monday, February 7, 2022 at 12 noon. Completed application materials should be submitted to Raymond Chen at .

For the application form and guidelines, visit (and click Scholarship > Apply for a scholarship). It is important for word limits to be adhered to in those sections for which a limit is specified.

Inquiries can be addressed to Raymond Chen at .

Public Service Scholarship

Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's most prestigious academic honor society, celebrates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences and champions freedom of thought. The Society invites online applications for its Key into Public Service Scholars program. This initiative will award $5000 undergraduate scholarships and participation opportunities for networking and job training for up to 20 sophomore and junior liberal arts and sciences students interested in pursuing public service careers.

Students must attend a Phi Beta Kappa chapter institution (which Stanford is), but membership in Phi Beta Kappa is not required.

Characteristics of ideal recipients include intellectual curiosity, interdisciplinary breadth and depth of arts and sciences coursework, leadership propensity, and service to others.

The application deadline is January 23, 2022. For more information: . Application: 

Announcements of Phi Beta Kappa's Key into Public Service Scholars: 2020, 2021

Phi Beta Kappa Internships

The national office of Phi Beta Kappa offers several internships. Details are linked below:

Writing internship

Events and advocacy internship; Communications and member engagement internship

Learn More About Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa Society National Site

Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association

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