Election to Membership

Note: Because of COVID-19, and the universal Pass/Fail grading mode adopted for the spring term 2020, the Phi Beta Kappa election process and timeline will differ slightly from what is described below for the Classes of 2021, 2022, and 2023. The first two elections for each Class will occur after students have completed four or six terms with letter grades, and those elections will take place in the spring term instead of the fall term, typically each February. The third election at Commencement will be based upon seven terms of letter grades, instead of eight terms, excluding spring term 2020. The number of students elected will remain 10% of the Class.
The by-laws of the national Phi Beta Kappa Society permit a local chapter to elect to membership no more than 10% of a Class. The Alpha of Connecticut fills its complement in three elections. The first election is in the fall term on the basis of a student’s record at the close of the previous spring term, after four (or five) terms of course work in Yale College. The second election is also in the fall term, one year later, on the basis of a student’s record at the close of the previous spring term, after six (or seven) terms in Yale College. The third election is at Commencement. At the first election, in accordance with over two centuries of local tradition, around fifteen students are elected. In the second election, about fifty or sixty students are elected. In the third election, a sufficient number of students is elected to bring the total membership to no more than 10% of the Senior Class. 

Guidelines for Election

Normally, election will be based upon the percentage of a student’s Yale grades earned in straight A. Calculations are rounded out to two decimal places. In the event that the number of students defined by these calculations is larger than the number of students that may be elected at a given time, all these students will then be ranked according to the percentage of eligible grades each student has earned in A and A-, and the results of this calculation will be used to determine election. 


Further Information About How Election is Determined

Grades carry the weight of the course credits they bear. Marks of CR in courses taken on a Credit/D/Fail basis are included in the calculations and are considered non-A grades. Marks of P in courses that are graded only on a Pass/Fail basis, such as independent study courses, are not included in the calculations. Marks of W carry no course credit and are not included. Whether students matriculate at Yale as a first-year student, as a transfer student from another college or university, or as an Eli Whitney Student, they are not eligible for election to Phi Beta Kappa until they have completed four terms of enrollment in Yale College and have earned at least eighteen course credits with letter grades (i.e., A-F) at Yale. Enrollment in Yale Summer Session does not count as a term of enrollment, but terms spent on a Year or Term Abroad do count, as do terms spent at Yale-in-London.
Only grades earned at Yale are used in the calculations, including grades recorded on the student’s Yale College transcript while enrolled in Yale Summer Session, Yale-in-London, or in the Eli Whitney Students Program. Grades earned through a Year or Term Abroad program are not included in the calculations, nor are any grades earned at other colleges and institutions, even if they are applied towards the satisfaction of Yale College degree requirements. No grades are associated with acceleration credits, and therefore acceleration credits are excluded from the calculation of terms and grades.