Membership in Phi Beta Kappa is for life. There will be no renewal fees. A primary benefit is being recognized as being among the top students in the country; only 10% of undergraduate institutions host a chapter, and no more than 10% of their undergraduate students are elected.

What benefits are there after I join?

There are opportunities for continuing education and professional networking through Phi Beta Kappa’s alumni associations and donor groups, like the Secretary’s Circle and the Fellows of Phi Beta Kappa, and access to social network for members through the Phi Beta Kappa website and on LinkedIn. There are active associations in regions such as Northern California and major U.S. cities including Boston, Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C. See the Association Directory for complete details. 

You will receive The Key Reporter, discounts on The American Scholar, a highly regarded journal in the liberal arts, discounts from Colonial Williamsburg (the birthplace of Phi Beta Kappa), and Financial Times online. There are also book awards and scholarships for graduate students and senior scholars in some fields.

Who are some notable members?

Members join the ranks of trailblazing figures from this century, like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Sonya Sotomayor, who stand alongside revered historical figures like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mark Twain. The Phi Beta Kappa website maintains a list of members of distinction.

What is the “Key”?

The Key is a gold medallion that only members may purchase and wear. It features a pointing finger, three stars, and the Greek letters from which the society takes its name. The stars are said today to represent the ambition of young scholars and the three distinguishing principles of the Society: friendship, morality, and learning. On the reverse are found the initials "SP" in script, which stand for the Latin words Societas Philosophiae, or "Philosophical Society". The name of the member and the school and date of initiation is engraved on the key.

Purchasing this is completely optional. For those interested, keys can be purchased through Phi Beta Kappa's online store.