Students majoring in the liberal arts and sciences are considered for membership in Phi Beta Kappa. Many of these majors are in the College of Arts and Sciences, but at TU some of the liberal arts and sciences disciplines, such as Biology, Mathematics, and Physics, are located within the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The chapter historically has also extended membership to students with other majors within the College of Business and the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences who fulfill the criteria as stated below.
In selecting new students for membership in Phi Beta Kappa (referred to by the Society as "Members in Course"), the chapter selection committee (Committee for the Selection of Members in Course) meets to review student achievements with the basic criteria of a high GPA combined with a broadly based liberal education. Candidates must be presently in their junior or senior year and have attended the University of Tulsa for a minimum of three semesters of full-time work, and be enrolled in a fourth. (The completion of transfer work at another institution during a regular semester of enrollment at TU is not regarded as a favorable indicator of eligibility for Phi Beta Kappa.) In addition, students must have taken at least 90 hours of liberal arts courses (not counting professional courses), demonstrating breadth as well as depth of course study. A proficiency in math and foreign languages is also required. Two years of a foreign language and a math course beyond College Algebra (preferably Calculus) strengthen a candidate's chances of being selected. While a high GPA is necessary, it is not the sole deciding factor. A GPA 4.0 taken by itself is not a sufficient indicator of scholastic distinction.
Finally, the local chapter is limited by a constitutional stipulation that a number equivalent to no more than 10 to 15 percent of those graduating from the traditional Arts and Sciences disciplines may be selected in any one year. Within this numerical cap, and taking the three undergraduate Colleges into consideration, the selection committee determines the most qualified candidates. The transcripts of all students having taken at least 90 hours of liberal arts courses are examined by the committee, and the committee spends much time in discussing and comparing the accomplishments of the students in making their final selection. After the committee has completed its work, the University of Tulsa chapter meets in March to vote on whether to offer membership to those students who have been recommended by the committee.