Frequently Asked Questions

What is Tau Beta Pi?

  • Tau Beta Pi is the oldest engineering honor society in the United States of America.  Instead of the other single type societies, the Tau Beta Pi society encompasses all of the disciplines in engineering.


How does membership in Tau Beta Pi benefit me?

  • Being the oldest engineering honor society in the United States of America, membership in Tau Beta Pi will showcase your academic excellence, you will be in an organization that contains many of the most famous engineers in the United States, and you even get benefits from companies.
  • Benefits include things such as a discount on car insurance from GEICO for being a member in Tau Beta Pi, a 30% discount on preparation materials for the FE/EIT and PE engineering licensing exams which often provide greater career opportunities, access to an online job board connecting talented engineers with top engineering companies, and more


Why are you called Tau Beta Pi - California Tau?

  • As of March 2011, there are 245 collegiate chapters of which, 238 are active and 7 are inactive chapters.  When a chapter is accepted into the organization they are given a Greek letter to signify the order of initiation into the society based on the state.  For example, the Tau Beta Pi chapter at the University of California, Irvine is the 19th chapter to be initiated and so we are called, California Tau.  Tau is the 19th letter in the Greek alphabet.  So far, only California has exceeded the 24 letters in the Greek alphabet and so, the 25th chapter would be called California Alpha Alpha, based on a two letter system.


How can I join Tau Beta Pi?

  • Membership in the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society is based upon academic qualifications.  The top eigth of the junior class and the top fifth of the senior class are invited to become candidates for membership.  Graduate students who are halfway through their degree requirements in addition to being in the top fifth of their class are also available.  Eminent engineers are also invited to join the society by individual chapters.  Upon candidacy, initiates fulfill certain requirements in order to be initiated and become lifetime members of the honor society.


Who else is in Tau Beta PI?

  • Tau Beta Pi includes many famous engineers and leaders. Some of them include:
  1. Buzz Aldrin: second astronaut on the moon
  2. Jeff Bezos: founder of
  3. Linus Pauling: two time Nobel prize winner
  4. Michael Bloomberg: mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomber L.P
  5. and many more.


What are the colors of Tau Beta Pi?

  • Seal brown and white


What is a Bent?

  • A Bent is a watch key in the shape of the bent of a trestle and is the insignia of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society.  As part of initiation, every initiate will have to hand polish a crude bronze Bent and mount it in order to initiate. A picture of a Bent is included below for reference.

Bent Insignia