College of LAS « Illinois

James Scholar Honors Program

Being a James Scholar | First-Year James Scholar Designees | Self-Nominating Students | Maintaining Eligibility | Participation in Honors Courses | James Scholar Graduation Honors

The LAS James Scholar Honors Program offers a number of curricular and cocurricular opportunities to high-achieving students. This program is designed specifically for students with a passion to push beyond the typical classroom experience.

Being a James Scholar

Participation in the James Scholar Honors Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences complements and enriches a student’s educational experience. As part of the honors experience, a James Scholar can:

  • participate in honors courses, including those designed for incoming students
  • transform standard courses into honors courses
  • receive early registration privileges
  • work closely with professors
  • apply for upper-level undergraduate research awards
  • receive invitations to cocurricular and leadership activities
  • be designated as a James Scholar on his or her transcript, awarded annually
  • receive recognition at graduation

First-Year James Scholar Designees

The James Scholar Honors Program offers a number of curricular and cocurricular opportunities to entering first-year students who are invited to participate in the honors program as James Scholar Designees. Opportunities are designed to build a foundation towards discovering a student’s voice, readying the student to make a difference, and becoming a competent and agile learner in the realms of citizenship, stewardship, and leadership. These incoming students are notified of their eligibility by a letter from the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. No additional information or application, other than the admissions application, is necessary for students to be considered.

Self-Nominating Students

The application period for self-nomination into the LAS James Scholar Program for Fall 2014 is June 1-18, 2014. The application process consists of four stages:

1. Application: The application is available June 1-18, 2014. The information needed for the application are: the application form; cumulative University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign GPA as of May 2014 (summer grades are not factored into this application process); your academic history (the information from Enterprise is fine for this); and essay answers to the questions provided in the application. The application must be submitted no later than June 18, 2014, for fullest consideration. Please note that the submission of the online application requires you to first save it, then go back and indicate that you are ready to submit it for review.

There are two distinct categories of eligibility for Fall 2014 self-nomination: continuing University of Illinois students and transfer students.

Continuing Students (those who began college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

  • Continuing students beginning their second or third semester at Illinois who have earned a cumulative Illinois GPA of 3.70 or higher.

NOT Eligible to Apply for Fall 2014

  • Continuing Illinois students who have completed three or more semesters of undergraduate education.*

Transfer Students

Transfer students must apply before their first semester at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to be considered eligible for the LAS James Scholar program, with the notable exception of students who completed only one semester prior to enrolling at Illinois explained below.

  • Students who transferred directly to the College of LAS in Spring 2014 from a prior institution (approximately 15 credit hours or one semester) and who are about to begin their second semester at Illinois (still first-years) and have earned a cumulative Illinois GPA of 3.70 or higher.
  • Newly admitted transfer students about to enter the College of LAS with two semesters (approximately 30-45 credit hours) in at a prior institution with a transfer cumulative GPA of 3.70.
  • Newly admitted transfer students entering the College of LAS after completing more than two semesters (approximately 45-60 credit hours) in college with a transfer cumulative GPA of 3.70 and documentary verification of successful, sustained, ongoing participation in an Honors Program at their prior institution.

NOT Eligible to Apply for Fall 2014

  • Transfer students entering the College of LAS after one semester in college (approximately 15 credit hours) are not eligible for Fall 2014 self-nomination and should review the LAS Honors website in November for information regarding Spring 2015 self-nominations.
  • Transfer students not meeting eligibility guidelines above.*

*Ineligible students wishing to review upper-level opportunities for enrichment, recognition, and/or distinction may attend an LAS Enrichment Meeting during the fourth week of the semester. More information will be available in August 2014. A sign-up sheet with be available in the LAS Honors Office in 2002 Lincoln Hall in the third week of the semester. No information will be available prior to that time—so please hold all inquiries until the meetings in the fourth week of the semester.

The online application can be found at:

2. Application Review: The members of the LAS Honors Community will review applications during June and July.

  • After you submit the application, you should get a confirmation email. If you do not receive a confirmation email, then your application was not successfully submitted. You will need to go back to the form and submit it.
  • If you receive an email requesting additional information, please submit the necessary information through the application form within two weeks of receiving the email.

3. Notification: Applicants will be notified the week of August 4, 2014.

4. Self-Nomination Orientation: In order to ensure potential applicants have a solid understanding of the James Scholar Program and the Self-Nomination Process, students who successfully self-nominate into the program are required to attend a Self-Nomination Orientation (SNO) during the first two weeks of the semester. More details on the SNO will be provided with the notifications of successful application.

Maintaining Eligibility

James Scholars must meet program requirements each academic year to remain in good standing and to continue receiving the program’s benefits. To be certified as a James Scholar in LAS each year, scholars must fulfill the following requirements:

At the end of each academic year, the transcripts of James Scholar Designees are examined to determine if the college’s requirements have been fulfilled. Successful completion of the two requirements results in the placement of “Edmund J. James Scholar” for that academic year on the transcript and nomination for the next year.

James Scholars and James Scholar self-nominees are held responsible for adherence to the rules for Academic Integrity at Illinois (Code of Policies and Regulations Applying to All Students, Article 1, Part 4). Students who are found to have been penalized within the scope of Article 1, Part 4 will automatically forfeit their LAS James Scholar memberships and privileges.

Participation in Honors Courses

James Scholar Designees (First-Year Students)

James Scholar Designees are required to enroll in one required honors course and one additional course for honors during their freshman year. In the fall, they are required to enroll in LAS 122: “Leadership and Society.” In addition to LAS 122, James Scholar Designees are required to enroll in one additional 3-hour course for honors credit, preferably during the fall term of freshman year.

James Scholar Requirements

All sophomore, junior, and senior James Scholars (regardless of admission or self-nomination date) must enroll in two 3-hour courses for honors credit per academic year. There are two ways of doing so:

  • Enrolling in an Integrated Honors Course during registration; this is a course with integrated topics and assignments offered only to honors students that—upon completion of the course with a grade of B- or higher—results in honors credit on the transcript.
  • Completing an Electronic Honors Credit Learning Agreement (EHCLA), a special agreement between a student and instructor that permits James Scholars to transform a “regular” course into an honors course. The student is required to complete additional, course-related assignments or projects as per this agreement. The assignments or projects agreed upon between student and instructor must be academic in nature and serve as enrichment to the regular syllabus. This work may be in addition to or in lieu of regular course work.

James Scholar Graduation Honors

See LAS Distinction and Recognition.