Chapter Information

  • Phi Beta Kappa Epsilon of California

  • The USC Chapter, Epsilon of California, was founded in 1929.

Membership & Invitation to Join

  • No. Membership to PBK is by invitation only. Students are selected each year based on membership criteria. Those who are eligible are notified via email in spring (February/March).

  • The offer to join Phi Beta Kappa is extended to undergraduate students (Juniors and Seniors) who are pursuing a liberal arts degree (major), which includes a BA conferred at any school at the University and/or a BS conferred only through the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.  A minor is not considered for eligibility.

    Students must have a USC minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.9 at the time of invitation.  Invitations are extended in Spring, after Fall semester grades have been posted.

    Additional requirements can be found on the Phi Beta Kappa National website: PBK Membership Requirements.  The USC chapter adheres to the national organization’s guidelines and stipulations.


  • No. You must follow the instructions provided on the invitation to join, register with Phi Beta Kappa National Society, and submit the USC New Registrant Form.

  • Yes. Membership involves a once only life-time fee, as set by PBK National Society.

  • The invitation to join remains open.  However, only those registering by the date provided in their invitation email will be given a certificate and be invited to attend the induction ceremony.  If registering past that date, contact to confirm your invitation and receive the appropriate registration code.

  • No. Once you accept membership and the one-time membership fee is paid, you are a lifetime member. There is no renewal fee to stay active.

  • Phi Beta Kappa alumni associations exist in many areas of the United States, and membership is open to anyone elected to Phi Beta Kappa. The associations exist to foster friendship and learning in their communities, and they provide a means for members to continue their active affiliation with the Society after graduation.

    Check out the links and resources at

  • Both!  When joining Phi Beta Kappa, you become a member of the National Society and of course also a member of the Epsilon of California Chapter.

Induction Ceremony

  • The induction ceremony is a formal event to welcome and induct the newest members of the Epsilon of California Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The ceremony opens with a procession of the executive board and inductees. Remarks are delivered by the President of the Phi Beta Kappa Epsilon Chapter and by a keynote speaker. Inductees then proceed on stage to receive their certificate. (If restrictions are in place, certificates may be distributed by other means.) The ceremony is followed by a reception with hors d’oeuvres and beverages.

  • No. The ceremony is a celebration of the accomplishments of inductees and is not a mandatory step towards membership. New members are encouraged to attend to be a part of this exciting and important event, but are not obligated to do so.

  • Phi Beta Kappa alumni, supporters, friends of the organization, and guests of the inductees are welcome to attend. Inductees are also encouraged to invite faculty members who have had a significant positive impact on their educational experience.  The total number of guests that an inductee may invite will depend on the particular ceremony (location, expected number of students being inducted, and any possible restrictions.)

  • The USC Phi Beta Kappa Induction Ceremony takes place in April of each year.

  • Invitations to the event will be emailed approximately three weeks prior to the event.  You will then be asked to RSVP.


  • The certificate is complimentary to new inductees who register their membership by the date provided on their invitation to join.

    If you register after the date on your invitation letter and would like to have a certificate, you can purchase one directly from Hand and Hammer through the Phi Beta Kappa Society website.

  • Certificates will be available for pick-up from a campus office after the induction ceremony.  Email  If you cannot pick-up your certificate, you are welcome to send someone to pick it up for you. That person must show an email from you authorizing them to pick-up your certificate.

    You also have the option of purchasing a certificate directly from Hand and Hammer through the Phi Beta Kappa Society website.

USC PBK Undergraduate Award

  • The USC Phi Beta Kappa Undergraduate Award recognizes excellence in liberal arts studies as expressed through creativity, scholarship, and leadership in the community.

  • The invitation to apply for the award is sent via email in Fall of each year to graduating USC PBK students. Instructions are included in the email.

  • Yes. The $ amount of the award may fluctuate year-by-year.

  • The number of awards given each year is at the discretion of the Executive Committee and available funding.

Phi Beta Kappa Key and Other Insignia Items

  • The symbol of Phi Beta Kappa is a golden key bearing three stars, a pointing finger and the Greek initials of the Society, Phi Beta Kappa.  The stars represent the three distinguishing principles of the Society: friendship, morality and learning. The pointing finger symbolizes ambition of the members to attain these principles.  On the reverse, the initials SP stand for the Latin words Societas Philosophiae, or “Philosophical Society.

  • Official keys and other memorabilia can be purchased from Hand and Hammer through the  Phi Beta Kappa Society website.