Phi Beta Kappa

In 2003, the University of San Diego joined a select group of the nation's colleges and universities with a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society.

The process of applying for and receiving a chapter involved a rigorous review of the quality of the faculty and educational programs offered at our university, and only five percent of colleges and universities have qualified.

Our USD chapter invites the top eight to 10 percent of the graduating class to be inducted into our chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. An invitation to Phi Beta Kappa at USD is a mark of distinction that places you in the company of numerous United States Presidents and Supreme Court Justices, and is an honor of which you can truly be proud.


As America’s most prestigious academic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa:

  • Honors the best and brightest liberal arts and sciences undergraduates from 290 top schools across the nation through a highly selective, merit-based invitation process.
  • Advocates for the importance of liberal arts and sciences education through its National Arts and Sciences Initiative, and equips members with information and tools to thoughtfully engage in American society as leaders, volunteers and citizens.

  • Connects members to a diverse network of high achievers, and provides opportunities to participate in engaging events offered by the national office, our local chapters and alumni associations.

  • Engages members through quarterly publications, monthly newsletters and podcasts, providing perspectives on public affairs, literature, science, history, culture and career development.

  • Recognizes the exceptional achievement of writers and scholars in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and mathematics to show how curiosity and creativity cultivated by a liberal arts and sciences education are essential to making the most of life's experiences and should be available to everyone.

Events and Announcements

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 the second year of its Key into Public Service Scholars program. This initiative will award $5,000 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. Society membership 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.

Interested students should learn more and apply online by January 15, 2021


About Phi Beta Kappa

10 percent of U.S. colleges and universities have Phi Beta Kappa chapters.

Chapters select less than 10 percent of graduates in their arts and sciences programs to join.

Members include 17 U.S. Presidents41 Supreme Court Justices and more than 140
Nobel Laureates

There are 290 chapters at American colleges and universities.

There are nearly 50 active alumni associations located in all regions of the country.

USD's Faculty and Staff

President: Dr. Kristen McCabe, Psychological Sciences

Vice President: Dr. Kathryn Statler, History

Treasurer: Dr. Matt Zwolinski, Philosophy

Secretary: Dr. Jena Hales, Psychological Sciences

Historian: Dr. Clara Oberle, History


USD Students Inducted into Phi Beta Kappa

  • Class of 2020
  • Class of 2021

"You are here because you've made a habit of excellence. Occasional brilliance will not get you into Phi Beta Kappa. You are not one-subject wonders. You've established your intellectual credentials in a wide range of subjects. The excellence that brings you here is not accidental. You have chosen to pursue it, and you have earned it. You’ve broken the code of how to get it done. And that stays with you for life."

— John D. Zeglis, Phi Beta Kappa member and former Chairman and CEO of AT&T Wireless