4 students hanging out at the Illini Union outdoors on a warm day

James Scholar Honors Program

Challenge yourself to impact the future.



In order to remain in the James Scholar Honors Program, students must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Maintain a 3.50 cumulative Illinois GPA average (evaluated at the end of the spring semester).
  • Maintain a 3.50 yearly Illinois GPA (evaluated at the end of the spring semester).
  • Complete at least 12 graded hours on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus each fall and spring semester.
  • Complete an Honors Plan, and appropriate honors project, each fall and spring semester (if necessary, students can opt to complete two honors projects in one semester). The Honors Plan must be submitted by the 4th Friday of the semester.


Completion of an honors project each fall and spring semester will provide opportunities for growth in one of the four foundational areas of the program: academics, research, community and global engagement, and leadership. Every fall and spring semester each student is required to submit an Honors Plan that includes their choice of honors project. The College must approve the Honors Plan. Students who do not fulfill the specific requirements of each option will not fulfill the honors project requirement.

Students will choose between one of the following options for completion of an honors project:


  • CHP (Chancellor’s Honors Program) course
  • James Scholar course/section
  • Regular course with honors project
  • Internship (RST 485, CHLH 485, IHLT 475, KIN 387)
  • Courses must be at least 2 graded credit hours. (To check how many graded hours the student is enrolled in, the student can log on to Self-Service > Registration and Records > Enhanced Registration > View Class Schedules. If the grade mode for the course is “Standard Letter,” then it will count toward the 12 hours.)
  • Students must receive a grade of B- or higher to fulfill the honors project.
  • Courses cannot be taken as Credit/No Credit, with the exception of RST 485 and CHLH 485.


  • Undergraduate research
    • 50 clock hours in lab/semester
    • Students will enroll in a graded research course (e.g. KIN 385, SHS 390) or AHS 399
  • Presenting research at a campus symposium or regional/national professional event
    • Documentation from event or primary investigator/graduate student required

Community and Global Engagement

  • Study abroad
    • Courses abroad cannot be taken as Credit/No Credit
    • Submit portfolio from LAS 292 or AHS 292 assignment
  • Volunteer
    • 50 clock hours/semester in one setting
    • Documentation from volunteer supervisor required


  • Completion of an I-Program through the Illinois Leadership Center
    • Submit 2-3 page response paper
    • Verification of completion from The Illinois Leadership Center required
  • Attending The Institute™ by Leadershape® through the Illinois Leadership Center
    • Verification of completion from The Illinois Leadership Center required


After grades are posted for the spring semester, academic records will be evaluated. Students who meet all eligibility criteria for both the fall and spring semesters in an academic year will be awarded the James Scholar designation on their transcripts. The designation is added AFTER the academic year is complete.

For questions, feel free to contact Dr. Tonya Pulley, AHS Honors Program Coordinator, or Dr. Gretchen Adams, AHS Honors Dean.