College of LAS « Illinois

Honors credit and experiences

The James Scholar requirements in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences are designed to have students engage with broader learning outcomes—specifically the AAC&U's Essential Learning Outcomes.

When students select an Honors Project or Honors Experience, they need to explain (on the Electronic Honors Credit Learning Agreement Form or the Honors Experience Form) which of these outcomes they are attempting to engage with in their project along with detailing their project.

The four broad categories are: Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World; Intellectual and Practical Skills; Personal and Social Responsibility; and Integrative and Applied Learning.

LAS Honors envisions involvement in a variety of ways; the most basic example is as follows:

Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World—described by the AAC&U as engaging in the study of the sciences and mathematics, social sciences, humanities, histories, languages, and the arts and focusing on engagement with big questions, both contemporary and enduring.

LAS Honors believes this is one of the Essential Outcomes of Undergraduate Research Experiences.

Intellectual and Practical Skills—described by the AAC&U as skills that engage with a variety of categories including: inquiry and analysis; critical and creative thinking; written and oral communication; quantitative literacy; information literacy; teamwork and problem solving. These skill are practiced extensively, across the curriculum, in the context of progressively more challenging problems, projects, and standards for performance.

LAS Honors believes that a variety of these skills should be the foundation of any Honors Project.

Personal and Social Responsibility—described by the AAC&U as civic knowledge and engagement, local and global; intercultural knowledge and competence; ethical reasoning and action; foundations and skills for lifelong learning anchored through active involvement with diverse communities and real-world challenges.

The Community Partner Service Learning component of the LAS Honors Experience has been designed to engage with these learning outcomes.

Integrative and Applied Learning—described by the AAC&U as synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies, demonstrated through the application of knowledge, skills, and responsibilities to new settings and complex problems.

LAS Honors views senior thesis as one of the ways students can engage with this type of Essential Learning Outcome.

All LAS James Scholars (regardless of the requirement system they are on) will use our LAS James Scholar Portfolio to enter information about points, credits, or experiences.

Honors credit

In LAS Honors, students are active partners in their education. LAS James Scholars can earn Honors Credit by taking an Honors Integrated Course or working on projects with faculty. Any course in which the student is currently enrolled can potentially be turned into an Honors Course with the agreement of the faculty member. These projects must be mutually agreed upon, with all requirements and expectations outlined in the Electronic Honors Credit Learning Agreement (EHCLA). These Agreements provide students and faculty opportunities to work together on a wide-range of projects, enhancing the knowledge and experience of all involved. These partnerships are most often initiated by the student. Faculty involved in these projects are excited to engage with students and explore their passions and ideas. Projects should expand the knowledge base of the student, and enrich the research, teaching, or knowledge of the instructor.

Students engaging with our new requirements still take courses for Honors Credit. Students in the prior requirements will continue to earn honors credits in the above manner. All students access the Electronic Honors Credit Learning Agreements through the James Scholar Portfolio.

  • All students select the semester they are taking a course
  • Then select either the "2-credit Honors Course" or the "3+ credit Honors Course" option
  • Students then follow the instructions to access the EHCLA

Honors experiences

For students in the prior requirements, there are six types of Honors Experiences available to replace Honors Credit: Study Abroad, Pre-Approved Internships, Pre-Approved Research, successfully completing a 500-level course, Student Teaching, and Pre-Approved Service-Learning with LAS Honors Community Partners. Honors Experiences are not tied to a course in which a student is currently enrolled. Students do not earn course or Honors Credit for completing an Honors Experience, but as we recognize their value, they fulfill the semester requirements for LAS James Scholars. For example, if you are studying abroad in Spain in the Fall, when you return you only need to complete one course for Honors Credit in the Spring. Honors Experiences must be preapproved.

Students in the new requirements have expanded options for Honors Experiences. Please review the options and their associated point value.