How to establish a Tau Beta Pi chapter
We appreciate your interest in Tau Beta Pi, the honor society for all engineering students recognized for their distinguished scholarship and exemplary character.
If you wish to learn about the process to petition for a college chapter of Tau Beta Pi, communication with the Executive Director at the Headquarters is essential. Please contact us by
or letter, and furnish your mail address and the name of your college or university. All required materials will be sent to you. Certain international institutions are eligible for international chapters. Note that engineering technology students are ineligible for membership in Tau Beta Pi.
The recommended requirements are stated in Tau Beta Pi Bylaw IV. Tau Beta Pi strongly prefers that U.S. institutions eligible to petition for a charter have established at least three undergraduate engineering curricula that have been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). A group of students of an institution should not petition for a charter if the institution offers fewer such curricula, unless the institution offers either a unified undergraduate engineering curriculum or only two engineering curricula (exclusive of curricula in pure science and architecture), all of which are accredited by ABET/EAC. Tau Beta Pi requires that non-U.S. institutions have at least three undergraduate engineering programs accredited by an ABET-approved or ABET/EAC-equivalent agency. An institution should have a minimum of 40 engineering graduates per year. At least three faculty members should be members of Tau Beta Pi.
If an institution wishes to obtain a Tau Beta Pi chapter,
it must first organize a local engineering honor society with members selected
from the top fifth of the senior class and the top eighth of the junior class.
Since technology students are ineligible for Tau Beta Pi, they cannot be
included in this organization. This society should govern itself and elect
members exactly like a Tau Beta Pi chapter for at least two years before
a formal petition can be accepted for consideration. The purpose of this
requirement is to give the local people full opportunity to see how an organization
of this type can serve its students and institution before becoming committed
to national affiliation. Our first recommendation is to review the Model
Chapter Bylaws for a typical Tau Beta Pi chapter and to model your local
societys bylaws after these. We would like to review your bylaws after
they are established.
Tau Beta Pi Constitution Art. VI, Sec. 2, describes the petitioning process for new chapters. Essentially, preliminary petitions reproduced by inexpensive means in 25 copies along with 25 college catalogs are to be sent to this office when the basic requirements have been met and prior to June 1 of that year. A sample preliminary petition will be sent to you when you are ready. In response to your preliminary petition, the Executive Council would review the materials and, if appropriate, direct that an inspection visit be made during the following fall.
If the report and recommendation of the inspecting group were favorable, Tau Beta Pi would ask the petitioners to prepare their formal request in final fashion prior to June 1 of the following year.
The petitioning group would be asked to send at its own expense at least two representatives, a student and an advisor, to the next Tau Beta Pi national Convention, always held in October. Only the Convention of Tau Beta Pi can grant new chapters. Following Convention approval, the new chapter would be formally installed and its first members initiated on a mutually agreeable date the following winter.
Our concept of Tau Beta Pi as an honor society is that we must be more than simply a key-hanging society in order to excel as broadly based engineers in our society. We believe that our members have been blessed with many gifts and that we have an obligation to give something back to our college, our campus and university, and our community. Therefore, our chapters are involved in a wide variety of projects, some of which are described in our Index of Chapter Projects on this website.
The Tau Beta Pi Association, Inc., Petitioning Process Flow Chart
|Sample time line
| Local society started
April, Year 0
| Operate for minimum of two full years like TBP chapter.
| Preliminary Petition deadline
June 1, Year 2
| Send 25 preliminary petitions and 25 catalogs to HQ.
Executive Council reviews preliminary petition and, if appropriate, authorizes inspection visit during the following fall, usually September.
| Inspection visit
September, Year 2
| Inspection visit held, report made to Executive Council, and notification made to petitioners.
| Final Petition deadline
June 1, Year 3
| If approved, send 50 final petitions and 50 catalogs by June 1 to HQ.
| Attend Convention
October, Year 3
| At least one student and one advisor attend the national Convention in October and review petition with Petitions Committee.
| Chapter installed
Winter, Year 4
| If charter is granted, chapter is installed the following
Winter Jan. through March.
Bylaw IV - Establishment of Collegiate Chapters
SECTION 4.01. Petition.
- In addition to complying with Article VI of the Constitution of this
Association, a petition for a Charter and the establishment of a Chapter
at an institution must set forth:
- The requirements for admission to
the entering class of the institution.
- The net number of weeks required
to be spent on the campus in strictly academic classroom and laboratory
work, exclusive of examination periods, for a first degree in engineering.
- The gross length of the college curriculum for a first degree in engineering.
- The petition shall give in tabular or graphical form, or both, the
numbers of regular engineering students in each of the engineering classes
and the names and numbers of the undergraduate engineering degrees awarded
in each curriculum during the last five years.
- A copy of the petition, marked copies of the college’s catalog
or bulletin which are descriptive of the curricula and courses offered,
and the equipment available for student use, and such other printed matter
as may be available and which will be helpful to the Executive Council
in reaching its decision, shall be submitted for each member of the Council
and for the Secretary-Treasurer, with extra copies for inspectors.
- The petition shall give the professional, scientific, technical, and
honor societies to which each member of the engineering faculty belongs.
- A group of students of an institution should not petition for a Charter
- The institution confers less than forty strictly engineering
bachelor’s degrees each year; or,
- Its numbers of students are tending to decrease
to or below this minimum limit; or,
- The institution gives degrees
in fewer than three undergraduate engineering curricula, which have been
accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation
Board for Engineering and Technology (A.B.E.T.) or by an A.B.E.T.-approved
agency (exclusive of curricula in pure science and architecture), unless
the institution offers three or fewer such curricula, all of which are
accredited by A.B.E.T. or by an A.B.E.T.-approved agency; or,
- The petitioning group of students has not been organized and operated as
a local society patterned after a Tau Beta Pi Chapter, and so proved its
intentions for at least two full years after the adoption of a charter
and installation of charter members; or,
- The petitioning group cannot
be represented at the Convention by at least one alumnus or member of
the faculty and preferably by one who is a member of the Association,
and also by a member of the petitioning group; or,
- There are not at least three members of the faculty who are members of the Association;
- A majority of the engineering professors and associate professors
are not members of their respective technical, professional, and scientific
national societies; or,
- A complete preliminary petition cannot be
submitted prior to the June 1 deadline.
SECTION 4.02. Inspection.
Before approving, conditionally approving, or disapproving the preliminary
petition for a charter, the Executive Council shall:
- Delegate one of its members, and/or other well-qualified representative,
preferably the Secretary-Treasurer, to visit and inspect the institution
as a whole as well as the engineering departments from whose students
a petition has been received.
- Request neighboring chapters, if practicable, to send visiting delegations
to inspect the institution with the representative(s) of the Council.
- Require the Inspection Committee, upon completion of the inspection
visit, to submit a written report to the Council with recommendation for:
- Conditional approval (based upon specific reasons), or
- Obtain the written opinions of members of the Association living in
the vicinity as to the reputation of the institution and of its engineering departments.
- Obtain, if practicable, the written opinions of the membership of
the neighboring Chapters as to the qualifications of the petitioners for membership in the Association.
Constitution Article VI - Collegiate Chapters
SECTION 2. Petition for Chapter.
- A preliminary petition for the establishment of a Collegiate
Chapter may be made by students and graduates of any regionally
accredited college or university who are eligible under Article
VIII of the Constitution. This petition shall be addressed to the
Executive Council to reach headquarters prior to June 1 of the calendar
year before the Convention would take action on it. The petition
shall be made in accordance with the requirements of Bylaw IV, shall
set forth the desires of the petitioners, and shall pledge their
willingness to subscribe to and obey the Constitution and Bylaws
of the Association. The petition shall include a statement of approval
for the establishment of a Chapter by appropriate authorities of
the institution. The petition shall contain a statement certified
by authorities at the institution that each of the petitioners meets
the eligibility requirements specified in Article VIII of the Constitution
and in the Bylaws of the Association.
- The Executive Council shall review the preliminary petition
and determine if the institution is qualified for detailed inspection.
If the Council determines that the institution is qualified for
it, this inspection shall be made in accordance with the Bylaws.
If the Council determines that the institution is not qualified
for inspection, the petitioners shall be so advised and the reasons
therefor given to them, and this action shall be reported to the
next Convention. The Convention may sustain the action of the Council,
or it may vote to request the Council to proceed with an inspection
in accordance with the Bylaws.
- The Executive Council shall consider the report and recommendation
of the Inspection Committee as prescribed in Bylaw IV, Sec. 4.02.
The decisions of the Inspection Committee and the Council will be
reported to the Convention following the inspection.
- If the Council approves, the petitioners shall submit copies
of a formal petition and catalog in accordance with the Bylaws for
the Petitions Committee of the Convention. The formal petition will
include any required updates or changes to the preliminary petition.
- If the Council considers further actions by the petitioners
necessary, conditional approval may be given to allow correction
of the specified deficiencies prior to June 1 of the year in which
the Convention would take action on the petition. The Council would
then reconsider its decision and visit the institution if necessary.
- If the Council disapproves, the Convention may approve the preliminary
petition and request the petitioners to submit a formal petition
in accordance with the Bylaws, to be considered by the next Convention.