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

pbk-emblem.jpgPhi 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 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.

2021 Award Winners
  • Phi Beta Kappa: Lily Fisher (Sociology and Anthropology)
    Undocumented Lives: Exploring Previously Unknown Occupations Predating the Presbyterian Manse, Staunton, VA

  • Phi Kappa Phi: Lillie Jacob (English)
    Drawn Queer: Queer Graphic Narratives as a Literary Movement

Best Thesis Award Archives

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