Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society Scholarships: Your Guide to this Prestigious Award

The Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society offers numerous scholarship opportunities to engineering students across the United States. As one of the oldest and most prestigious engineering honor societies in existence, Tau Beta Pi is dedicated to recognizing excellence and promoting integrity in the engineering field. Their scholarship programs aim to support outstanding students who have demonstrated academic achievement, leadership abilities, and a passion for their engineering studies.

About Tau Beta Pi

Founded in 1885 at Lehigh University, Tau Beta Pi is the second oldest engineering honor society in existence. It recognizes academic excellence in over 250 colleges and universities across the United States. Eligibility for membership is typically extended to the top 1/5 or 1/8 of juniors or the top 1/5 of seniors in ABET-accredited engineering programs. Students selected for membership must demonstrate “distinguished scholarship and exemplary character.”

The society’s purpose is to “markedly accelerate the progress of civilization by elevating the standard of excellence in engineering education.” It strives to foster a spirit of liberal culture in engineering colleges and to unite engineering students and graduates of all fields. Today, Tau Beta Pi has over 550,000 lifetime members across the globe. Its headquarters are located in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Beyond rewarding academic achievement through membership selection, Tau Beta Pi supports and encourages excellence in engineering through various scholarship programs. Let’s explore these opportunities in more detail.

Tau Beta Pi Engineering Scholarships

Tau Beta Pi offers a wide array of merit-based scholarships to undergraduate and graduate engineering students each year. The main scholarship programs include:

Freshman Scholarships

Offered to exceptional incoming freshman engineering students. Awards of $2,000 are given to select students based on their academic promise and leadership potential. The application window is typically in late fall/early winter, and the deadline is in early March.

Sophomore Scholarships

Awarded to outstanding sophomore engineering students. Recipients receive $2,000 to support their academic pursuits. Applications open in late fall and are due in early March.

Junior/Senior Scholarships

For exceptional junior or senior engineering students. Awards range from $2,000 to $8,000 based on merit and need. Applications are accepted between late fall and early spring, with a deadline in early April.

Graduate Fellowships

Support for graduate students pursuing an MS or PhD in engineering or engineering management. Fellowships provide $15,000 for master’s students and $20,000 for doctoral candidates. The application period is January-March.

Continuing Education Grants

Provided to members continuing their education in engineering or a closely related field. Grants of up to $5,000 are awarded each year. Applications are accepted between December 1 and 31.

Special Scholarships

Includes named scholarships honoring past presidents, district directors, and individuals who have made significant contributions to Tau Beta Pi and the engineering profession. Often have unique eligibility requirements – check the Tau Beta Pi website for details.

As you can see, Tau Beta Pi offers financial support from the freshman year all the way through graduate school. Award amounts range from $2,000 to $20,000, depending on the program. Let’s explore the application process and requirements to qualify.

Applying for Tau Beta Pi Scholarships

While each scholarship type has its own distinct application, the general process and requirements remain similar:


To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be enrolled full-time in an ABET-accredited engineering program at the time of application
  • Have a minimum 3.50 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale
  • Demonstrate leadership abilities, participation in extracurricular engineering activities, and community service
  • Present an excellent character and meet high moral standards

Citizenship is not required except for a few named scholarships with donor specifications.

Application Materials

All applicants must submit:

  • Completed online application form
  • Official academic transcripts
  • Resume highlighting engineering work, projects, leadership roles
  • Two recommendation letters (preferably from engineering professors)
  • 500-1000 word essay on goals, qualifications, and how the scholarship would be used
  • Additional requirements depending on specific scholarship

Applications are typically submitted online through the Tau Beta Pi website between late fall to early spring. Check individual deadlines carefully.

Selection Process

Applications are reviewed by the Tau Beta Pi Scholarship Committee, which is composed of past recipients, alumni, and engineering professionals. Selection considers academics, leadership, activities, recommendations, unique achievements, and how the applicant would benefit from and represent Tau Beta Pi. Interviews may be required for some awards. Recipients are notified by late April/early May.

Now that the process is clear let’s dive into some tips and strategies for assembling a winning application.

Tips for Standing Out in Your Application

With so much talent applying each year, you’ll want to make your application shine. Here are some suggestions:

  • Highlight engineering-specific experiences like research, design teams, internships, or work-study jobs in your resume and essay. Experience directly related to your major increases relevance.
  • Emphasize leadership roles in engineering organizations on and off-campus, such as Tau Beta Pi chapter offices, engineering club presidency, design competition captain, etc.
  • Quantify your impact and leadership influence through numbers like dollars raised, members recruited, projects completed, outreach hours provided.
  • Connect your extracurricular activities back to improving or advancing the engineering field through new solutions or serving communities.
  • Request letters of recommendation from former employers, research mentors, or professors who know your work well and can speak authentically to your character and impact.
  • Proofread everything thoroughly – sloppy errors undermine your credibility no matter how strong the content. Ask others to proof for you too.
  • Customize your essay for each application rather than using a generic copy. Highlight how you specifically meet that award’s purpose.
  • Highlight unique experiences that set you apart, like international experiences, entrepreneurial pursuits, overcoming hardships, or diverse passions.
  • Check formatting requirements closely and follow all instructions to avoid automatic disqualification.

Taking the time to craft a polished, error-free application that clearly conveys your qualifications is key. Remember, these awards are highly competitive, so try to stand out positively in every section.

With a strong application in hand, you’ll be well-positioned to earn one of these exceptional scholarship opportunities from Tau Beta Pi. But what if you don’t receive an award – don’t lose hope. Let’s explore some alternatives.

What If You Don’t Win? Alternative Options

While Tau Beta Pi scholarships are among the most prestigious in engineering, receiving one is never guaranteed, no matter how strong your application may be. Competition is fierce, with countless qualified applicants annually. If you’re not selected as a recipient, don’t get discouraged. Here are some alternatives to consider:

Reapply Next Year

If you meet all eligibility criteria, you can reapply to Tau Beta Pi or other honor society scholarships the following application cycle with an improved application. Learn from any reviewer feedback and continue enhancing your experiences and resume.

Explore Other Scholarship Resources

Engineering departments, private companies, professional societies, and foundations all offer scholarships. Explore internal and external options through online searches, your academic advisor, or careers office. Having Tau Beta Pi on your application still shows merit even without winning their award.

Consider Academic-Based Scholarships

Programs based on major, GPA, financial need, or other academic metrics rather than separate applications. Speak to your financial aid office about institutional and departmental options to supplement the costs of attendance.

Apply for Private Grants and Fellowships

Foundations like NASA, NSF, DOE, and private industry award competitive funding. While research or internship-based, these stand out professionally and financially support your goals long-term.

Explore Crowdfunding Platforms

Websites allow personal fundraising for education costs. Create a memorable page detailing your story and goals to appeal to donors. Even small donations add up.

While not winning your desired scholarship may feel disappointing, don’t let it derail your plans or self-belief. These alternatives can still help you achieve your education and career dreams. Keep your head high – with persistence, your time will come.

Now that you understand Tau Beta Pi scholarships in-depth and have some alternatives in your back pocket, hopefully, you feel prepared to take advantage of these prestigious opportunities. But you may still have lingering questions – let’s address some frequently asked ones.


This section addresses five commonly asked questions about Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society scholarships:

1. How competitive are Tau Beta Pi scholarships?

Extremely. With over 2,000 applicants annually and awarding only around 200 scholarships total, your chance of winning is roughly 10% or less. With so many talented applicants, strong differentiation in your application materials is critical. Expect stiff competition from top students nationwide.

2. Can international students apply?

For most Tau Beta Pi scholarships, international students are eligible to apply if they are enrolled full-time in an ABET-accredited engineering program in the United States. Some specially named scholarships funded by donors may have citizenship requirements – be sure to check the details for each opportunity.

3. What if I have a lower GPA than 3.5?

While the minimum GPA requirement is typically a 3.5, exceptional accomplishments or experiences in other areas can make up for a slightly lower GPA. Be sure to highlight strengths beyond academics to emphasize your qualifications. Continued academic improvement each semester also shows a positive trajectory.

4. How long should my essay response be?

Essay length requirements vary between 500-1000 words depending on the specific scholarship. Sticking precisely to the stated limit is important – neither exceeding the count, which could frustrate readers nor leaving it too short of answering the prompt fully. Practice fitting your message concisely within the parameters.

5. Can I apply for multiple Tau Beta Pi scholarships?

Yes, you are able to apply to as many Tau Beta Pi scholarship opportunities as you are eligible for in a single application period. Just be sure to slightly tailor each application response and materials to fit the individual award rather than using identical content across submissions.

Leave a Comment