Tau Beta Pi Membership
There is now only one "class" of members in Tau Beta Pi, the former classifications of Member with Distinction, Honorary Member, and Associate Member having been discontinued. Election to membership in the Association is accomplished only by vote of a collegiate chapter, and members' chapter designations are always those of the chapters which elected them. Members' class numerals are those of the years in which they received the engineering degrees on which their eligibility was based, although members with no engineering degree are designated by the year in which they were initiated. Candidates eligible for consideration for election to membership by a collegiate chapter fall into five general categories:
- Undergraduate students.
- Graduate students.
- Alumni of the chapter's institution who were eligible as students.
- Alumni of other institutions who were eligible as students.
- Engineers of high attainment in the profession, regardless of college attended, scholastic record, or educational background.
Undergraduate Eligibility Requirements
Undergraduate students whose scholarship places them in the top eighth of their engineering class in their next-to-last year or in the top fifth of their engineering class in their last college year are eligible for membership consideration. These scholastically eligible students are further considered on the basis of personal integrity, breadth of interest both inside and outside engineering, adaptability, and unselfish activity.
Prior to the fall of 1941, Tau Beta Pi's scholastic requirements were that eligible candidates stand in the top eighth of the junior class, but in the top quarter of the senior class. The classes graduating in 1942 were thus the first to be considered under the higher requirements.
Some chapters set a scholastic-grade deadline below which candidates are not considered, such deadline being higher than that required as a minimum by the Constitution.
Elections and initiations are normally held twice a year, in the fall and winter or spring terms of the chapter's institution.
Student electees who are financially unable to meet the initiation-fee obligation may make delayed payment arrangements with their chapters, may borrow from the Association's loan fund, or may accept election but postpone initiation for up to five years.
Until 1969 membership in Tau Beta Pi was limited to men, although qualified women were offered an award called the Women's Badge. From its authorization in 1936 until its elimination by the admission of women to membership, 619 Women's Badges were awarded by 98 chapters. Those women have now been offered membership by their chapters.
Graduate Eligibility Requirements
Engineering graduate students whose scholarship places them in the top fifth of their graduate class or whose high-quality work is attested to by a faculty member may be elected to membership.
Engineering alumni of a chapter's institution or of another recognized institution whose scholastic record placed them in the top fifth of their class may be elected to membership. Such candidates are usually recommended to the chapter by a member who knows them.
In all cases the requisite scholastic attainment makes candidates eligible for membership consideration. They are further considered on the basis of the Association's exemplary character requirement.
Eminent Engineer Eligibility Requirements
Persons who have achieved eminence in engineering may be elected to membership without regard to collegiate records. If they graduated from a recognized engineering college, they must have been engaged in engineering for at least 10 years; if not, they must have practiced engineering for at least 15 years. Such candidates are usually recommended by members who know them. The required degree of eminent achievement is left to the chapters' discretion; and candidates are further considered on the basis of exemplary character.
Eminent Engineer Eligibility Requirements
Tau Beta Pi membership catalogs were published in 1898, 1911, 1916, 1926, 1932, and 1939. The 1946 Convention authorized discontinuance of publication of them because of the excessive cost in future years and limited use to which they would probably be put. In their place the Secretary stands ready to furnish membership information for authorized use. A file of members arranged chronologically by chapters is kept and is made up of the original catalog cards of all initiates. Electronic data processing is used for the storage and retrieval of membership data.
Table of Members Initiated (through 08/2009)
Note: Of the total number initiated, approximately 58,000 are deceased.