The Tau Beta Pi bent in front of Bainer Hall

Website (national)

The UC Davis chapter of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society, California Lambda, was officially chartered on May 3, 1969. Students from all disciplines in the College of Engineering are eligible for membership in Tau Beta Pi, and initiation ceremonies are held each Winter and Spring quarter. Eligible students are notified and invited to join as they qualify. Members are elected not only for their exemplary academic record, but for the strength of their character as well. Furthermore, while members are elected for life, they are differentiated as Active and Inactive members. The active member requirements must be completed on a quarterly basis, but are not time-intensive and are intended to give something back to the community of students at UC Davis.

In front of Bainer Hall is a bronze figure of the group's symbol (the bent) in one of the planters.

Tau Beta Pi is the second oldest nationally recognized honor society in the U.S., second only to Phi Kappa Alpha. It was founded in 1885 at Lehigh University in order to recognize the achievements of a rapidly growing number of engineering students. Eventually, chapters across the nation grew, and in 1974, Tau Beta Pi merged with Sigma Tau, another upper division engineering honor society. Currently, there are over 469,000 members across the nation.

It is the goal of the California Lambda Chapter of Tau Beta Pi to fulfill all its responsibilities as described by the National charter. We strive to use our skills and resources to improve our community and help foster an environment dedicated to exceptional academic study. Furthermore, we wish to aid in the development of not only technically skilled engineers but of the leaders of the future. To meet these goals, the California Lambda Chapter of Tau Beta Pi strives to promote student interests in the following areas: Improved Education: The chapter seeks various opportunities to help educate our members on issues outside of the classroom, through speakers, internship opportunities, and company visits.

  • Social Outlet: All work and no play would make UC Davis engineers an awfully dull group. We promote various breaks from academics by offering a wide variety of activities for members.
  • Networking Opportunities: Through meetings and presentations by industry representatives.
  • Service and Outreach: Tau Beta Pi attempts to serve in both the university and public forums, including tutoring of undergraduate courses, community service projects, and high school outreach programs.
  • Academic Recognition: A group photograph is posted after every initiation ceremony, and members are allowed to wear a special honors stole during Graduation ceremonies. It's an extremely dorky white satin bib thing, but engineers are not known for style.
  • Resume fodder: Indeed.

Becoming a Member

To be a member of Tau Beta Pi (TBP), you must show outstanding performance in the field of engineering. Member candidates, or initiates, are chosen each fall and spring based on their GPA. To be chosen, a student must be in the top eighth of his or her junior class, or the top fifth of his or her senior class. However, fulfilling the GPA requirement is only one part of becoming a true member of TBP. Initiates must complete a number of tasks such as community service projects and personal enrichment activities to show that they possess not only good grades, but exemplary character. These requirements for membership ensures that future members of TBP will maintain the honor and reputation that the society is respected for.


We normally have several events per quarter to allow members to stay active. These include some friendly competition with our neighbor chapter, Sac State in football, ultimate frisbee, or softball once a quarter. We also have other activities like Steal The Bent Night, Poker Night, Resume Workshops, Engineering Futures Workshops, an Annual Ski Trip, etc.