College of LAS « Illinois

FAQ: James Scholar program requirements

What's so special about being a James Scholar?

  • Specialized faculty engagement through honors courses and research experiences
  • Individualized education and control over your own honors path
  • Interdisciplinary education through honors experiences that encourage you to think across traditional academic boundaries
  • Undergraduate research is supported and encouraged, including presenting at conferences, and publishing your own work
  • Co-curricular experiences through campus engagement, leadership, and community service
  • Preparation for graduate and professional school
  • James Scholars get priority course registration (you can register for classes within the first two days that registration is available for the following semester)

What does it mean to graduate as a James Scholar?

Graduating James Scholars are recognized with a medallion that they wear as part of their regalia at commencement. Graduating James Scholars and their families are also invited to attend an LAS Honors Ceremony to recognize their achievements before spring commencement. Read more about college distinctions for James Scholars.

How many honors points do I need each semester?

You technically are not required to earn a certain number of honors points each semester, but you must earn at least four honors points each year in order to reach the specified number of points needed for certification at the end of each academic year. If you have banked honors points, you must still earn at least one honors point each year to maintain your status.

How many honors points do I need each year?

Check out the detailed description under Honors Points System on the program requirements page.

Can I earn more than four honors points each year?

Yes, students can bank points, but not borrow. Students may bank more than four points in a year and that will decrease the number of points required of them in the following year.

What happens if I don't fulfill my requirements?

Students may or may not be allowed to petition for a probationary semester if they did not fulfill the specified requirements for LAS Honors. In order to be considered for a probationary semester, the student must have met at least one of the requirements for certification (either the required number of honors points, or the required GPA). If the student met the GPA requirement and half of the required points, he or she can petition. If the student achieved the required honors points, but earned between 3.25-3.49 Illinois cumulative GPA, he or she can petition. If the student only has one or less honors points for the year, and a GPA below 3.50 for the academic year, he or she is not eligible to petition for a probationary semester.

What if I self-nominated?

If you self-nominated to be a James Scholar, then you are not required to take LAS 122. However, if you self-nominate for a spring semester, then you still must earn four honors points to be certified as a James Scholar at the end of that academic year. Check out examples of self-nominated student plans in the LAS Honors Student Handbook.

What if I transferred?

If you transferred to the College of LAS as a James Scholar, then you only need to worry about earning the required number of points for the years you have left until graduation. However, if you transferred during a spring semester, then you still must earn four honors points to be certified as a James Scholar at the end of that academic year. Check out examples of transferred student plans in the LAS Honors Student Handbook.

Are summer experiences eligible for honors points?

Yes, with some exceptions. Please review the honors points system section on the requirements page, as well as the honors point options categories for additional information.

How can I meet other James Scholars?

Get on the James Scholar Student Advisory Board (JSSAB) mailing list to find out about activities and events with other James Scholars. Contact JSSAB.

How do I get to the online James Scholar Portfolio?

Access the James Scholar Portfolio system by following this link. The link is also included in any LAS Honors emails reminding you of your requirements at the beginning and the end of each semester.