The Wellesley (Eta of Massachusetts) chapter of Phi Beta Kappa usually holds three election meetings during each year.

The first, held after Commencement each summer, considers students who have completed their junior year and are scheduled to graduate in the following spring. Students elected at this time are classified as being "elected as juniors" which represents a signal achievement, as it means that the student has demonstrated, before acquiring a more extensive record, that she has met the Chapter's criteria for election. The second election, held in mid-spring, considers students in the graduating class who were not elected as juniors. The third and final election occurs after classes end in May, and considers those students who are about to graduate and who have not yet been elected to the Chapter.

According to the by-laws of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, "the number of undergraduates elected from any class, including any who may be elected in their junior year, shall ordinarily not exceed 10 percent and in no case shall exceed 15 percent of those expected to receive liberal bachelor degrees in that class." The number elected at Wellesley has fluctuated around 12% each year.

All Wellesley students who meet the following eligibility requirements will be considered for election. There is no nomination process for election to the Chapter. At a minimum, each candidate:

  1. Shall ordinarily have completed at least four semesters of work at Wellesley and shall have at least 16 graded Wellesley units. To be elected as a junior, a student shall have completed at least one semester of work at Wellesley during her junior year.
  2. Shall have shown depth in a field by having completed at least four courses in the major, normally at Wellesley.
  3. Shall ordinarily have shown breadth of program by demonstrating graded work, at Wellesley, in each of three categories -- humanities (courses fulfilling distribution in the LL and ARS categories), social sciences (courses fulfilling distribution in the SBA, EC, REP, and HS categories), natural sciences and mathematics (courses fulfilling distribution in the NPS and MM categories) -- as well as graded work at the 200-level or above in at least two of the three categories.
  4. Shall have shown academic excellence as indicated by grades and by such attributes as creativity, intellectual curiosity and broad cultural interests.
  5. Shall be a student with integrity. (As stated in the Chapter Constitution, Article IV, "In addition to scholarship, good moral character shall be a qualification of membership.") Integrity will be assumed unless there is contrary evidence.
  6. Shall ordinarily have taken no more than 1/8th of her Wellesley units on a CR/NCR basis. This applies only to courses that the student voluntarily chooses to take on a CR/NCR basis; courses that are mandatory CR/NCR are exempted from the requirement.