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Honor Societies

JMU hosts chapters of the national honor societies Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. Both honor societies provide fellowships and scholarships for outstanding students.

Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most prestigious academic honor society in the United States. Founded in 1776 by five students at the College of William and Mary, Phi Beta Kappa “celebrates and advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences." Election is highly selective and membership is for life. The JMU chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was established in spring 2010 as the Xi of Virginia chapter. The JMU chapter works to promote scholarship at JMU by recognizing outstanding students with nomination to membership in the society, and working in other ways to support and honor intellectual achievement.

Phi Kappa Phi

Phi Kappa Phi is a highly prestigious honor society open to all majors, providing many fellowships and scholarships supporting foreign and graduate study. The JMU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi was formed in 1974 and was the first general honors society at the university.The JMU chapter works to promote scholarship at JMU and to help students continue their education after graduation.


Best Senior Honors Thesis Awards

Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi each present an annual award for the best Senior Honors Thesis, with a cash prize of $250. Students are nominated by their academic departments and attend the annual awards luncheon co-sponsored by Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi where the presidents of each chapter present a Best Thesis Award for their respective chapters.

2013 Award Winners
  • Phi Beta Kappa: Jessica Holland (Biology)
    The Interaction of the Lethal Fungal Pathogen Batrachochytrium Dendrobatidis (Bd) and Combinations of Anti-Bd Bacterial Species
  • Phi Kappa Phi: Caitlyn Chalfant and Molly Picard (both Intelligence Analysis)
    Weapons of Mass Destruction and America: Assessing the Risk of a Possible Future Scenario and Its Implications
2012 Award Winners
  • Phi Beta Kappa: Matthew Wallace (Biology)
    Topographic and Patterned Axonal Projections in Control and Mutant Ephrin-B2 Mice Prior to the Onset of Hearing
  • Phi Kappa Phi: Sam Lasky (International Affairs)
    Causes of US Humanitarian Intervention in the Post-Cold War Era

Information about discipline-specific national honor societies may be found on departmental websites.