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The Honors College does not administer honorary and professional societies with active chapters on the JMU campus. However, JMU hosts chapters of the national honor societies Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. Both of these honor societies collaborate with the Honors College and provide fellowships and scholarships for outstanding students through their local and national offices.

Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa emblemPhi 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 emblemPhi Kappa Phi is a highly prestigious honor society open to all majors, providing many fellowships and scholarships supporting foreign and graduate study.

In addition to Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi, JMU has many national chapters of discipline-specific honor and professional societies:

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 each. 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.

2017 Award Winners
  • Phi Beta Kappa: Madeline Johnson (Sociology)
    Queer University: An Ethnographic Case Study of the Trans Student Experience of College Campus Space

  • Phi Kappa Phi: Naomi Gilbert (Biotechnology)
    Survey of microbial urea degrader diversity in two freshwater ecosystems: Lake Shenandoah and the Shenandoah River
2016 Award Winners
  • Phi Beta Kappa: Kirstie Ann Thompson (Chemistry)
    The Effect of Hofmeister Series Counterions on the Colloidal and Antimicrobial Properties of Triple-Headed Cationic Amphiphiles
  • Phi Kappa Phi: Meagan Riley (English)
    American Gothic Families: Identity and Kinship in the American Gothic Tradition

2015 Award Winners
  • Phi Beta Kappa: Jacob Bosley (Political Science)
    Lexicons of Colonialism: A Grounded Theory Examination of Indian and Supreme Court Definitions of Sovereignty
  • Phi Kappa Phi: Rosemary Girard (Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication)
    The Professional Writer’s Many Personae: Creative Nonfiction, Popular Writing, Speechwriting, and Personal Narrative

2014 Award Winners
  • Phi Beta Kappa: Matthew Dent (Chemistry)
    Understanding metal-organic framework assembly in hydrotris (1,2,4-triazolyl) borate materials
  • Phi Kappa Phi: Andrea Morgan (Art History)
    After Rembrandt: Captain William Baillie and Print Culture in Eighteenth-Century London

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
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