LAS James Scholar program requirements

An overview of the requirements is provided below. All LAS James Scholars are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the complete LAS Honors Student Handbook, which includes further requirement details and examples.

Students must be full-time (12 credit hours per semester) to retain eligibility in the James Scholar Program. One underload (semester below 12 hours) is allowed if approved by the College of LAS.

Students must have a cumulative University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign GPA of 3.50 at the end of every academic year to meet the GPA requirement of the James Scholar Program in LAS. At the completion of their first semester at Illinois, first-year LAS James Scholars must have an Illinois cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 in order to continue as a James Scholar.

Illinois Code of Conduct on Academic Integrity and the LAS James Scholar Program:  James Scholars and 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 membership and privileges.

Please see our FAQ page for more information about the James Scholar requirements.

Honors points system

James Scholars must earn at least four points for each academic year they are an LAS James Scholar. The number of years you are an LAS James Scholar before graduation will determine the number of honors points you need to earn overall, as well as how many should be academic (A) points and enrichment (E) points. The academic versus enrichment point breakdown is only a factor at graduation.

Annual James Scholar Certification is completed at the end of spring semester each academic year. To retain their standing as a James Scholar, students must follow the requirements listed previously, and meet the required four-point benchmark for their year.

  • End of first year as an LAS James Scholar: four points
  • End of second year as LAS James Scholar: eight points
  • End of third year as LAS James Scholar: 12 points
  • End of fourth year as LAS James Scholar: 16 points

For James Scholar graduation honors

As indicated above, the number of years you are an LAS James Scholar before graduation will determine the number of honors points you need to earn overall, as well as how many should be academic (A) points and enrichment (E) points.

To graduate with James Scholar Graduation Honors:

  • Four years as LAS James Scholar: 16 honors points - 10 academic and 6 enrichment
  • Three years as LAS James Scholar: 12 honors points - 8 academic and 4 enrichment
  • Two years as LAS James Scholar: 8 honors points - 5 academic and 3 enrichment
  • One year as LAS James Scholar: 4 honors points - 3 academic and 1 enrichment

James Scholars should schedule a James Scholar Graduation Review with LAS Honors staff during their senior year to review remaining requirements.

With these milestones in mind, students should be able to be proactive and plan ahead. Using the points system, you can be proactive. You can bank points, but you cannot borrow them. This means that if you earn points early in your college career, you can save them to complete the point requirements you must reach later in your college career. You are not required to earn honors points every semester. You are simply required to earn the specified number of points by the end of each year. Keep in mind that even if you have banked points, you still must earn at least one honors point each year to maintain your status.

Summer experiences

Summer experiences are eligible for honors points in limited categories (research, conference presentations, publications, short-term study abroad, community service, internships, and limited leadership experiences). Summer experiences will only count toward point requirements for the academic year following the summer in which the experience was completed (they cannot be used for certification consideration at the conclusion of the spring semester just prior to the summer experience).

Tracking your accomplishments

LAS James Scholars will be intentional about the ways in which they will earn their honors points.

Therefore, students must submit any and all experiences they intend to use for honors points to their online James Scholar Portfolio system along with any required preapproval forms by the deadline provided each semester (typically the end of the sixth week of class).

Students must also submit any required documentation of experiences accomplished by the last day of finals in the semester in which the experience was completed in order to be reviewed by LAS Honors. No late submission of semester plans or documentation will be accepted. Refer to the experience descriptions below and in the student handbook for required pre-approval form and documentation information.

Honors point options

LAS James Scholars will earn honors points in both academic and enrichment point categories.

Academic categories

Enrichment categories

Academic or enrichment categories

 

Academic

Honors courses

Honors courses are available either through 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. This agreement is called an Electronic Honors Credit Learning Agreement, and outlines all requirements and expectations for the honors project. The student must submit the EHCLA by the end of the sixth week of the semester, and his instructor can complete her portion of the form at a later time.

nors or "H" grade must be reflected on the student's record before honors points will be awarded for this experience.

Experience Point value per experience Total points possible Preapproval required Final documentation required
LAS 122 1 1 None, just add the course to your semester James Scholar Plan None, earn a B- or higher in the course to be eligible for an honors grade
Description: All incoming first-year, first-semester James Scholars (except chemical engineering majors who will take ENG 100) will enroll in LAS 122, our first-year seminar course. Students who earn a B- or higher in the course are eligible to earn an honors grade.
2 credit-hour honors course 1 2 Submit an EHCLA if not an integrated honors course. None. Earn a B- or higher in the course to be eligible for an honors grade.
Description: These courses may be integrated honors courses or EHCLA courses. Whether the course is an integrated honors course or an EHCLA course, students must earn a B- or higher in the course to earn an honors grade. An honors or "H" grade must be reflected on the student's record before honors points will be awarded for this experience.
3 credit-hour honors course 2 8 Submit an EHCLA if not an integrated honors course None. Earn a B- or higher in the course to be eligible for an honors grade
Description: These courses may be integrated honors courses or EHCLA courses. Whether the course is an integrated honors course or an EHCLA course, students must earn a B- or higher in the course to earn an honors grade. An ho
REACT for Chemistry 2 8 (for all 3 credit-hour honors courses) Just add the REACT category to your plan, and be sure to register with REACT. None. Earn a B- or higher in the course to be eligible for an honors grade.
Description: This acts the same way as a 3 credit-hour honors course. In eligible chemistry courses, students may use REACT as an honors project to make their chemistry course eligible for an honors grade. Students must still earn a B- or higher in the course to earn an honors grade and the honors or "H" grade must be reflected on the student's record before honors points will be awarded.
500-level course 2 6 None. Just add the course to your semester James Scholar Plan. None. Your final grade in the course will be reviewed for point consideration.
Description: Students may not earn an honors grade in a 500-level or graduate-level course, but successful completion of the course is eligible for honors points. The course must be taken for a letter grade to be eligible for honors points.
Honors LLC course 1 1 None. Just add the course to your semester James Scholar Plan. None. Earn a B- or higher in the course to be eligible for an honors grade.
Description: Only Honors Living Learning Community members are eligible to enroll in these courses. Please consult with the Honors LLC for additional information on the course.
 
Research experiences

Research experiences are encouraged and available for academic honors points as well. Want to learn more about getting involved in research at U of I? Starting to think about presenting or publishing your work? Check out the resources available through the Illinois Office of Undergraduate Research. Visit the LAS Life + Career Design Lab to learn how to reach out to faculty about potential research opportunities.

# Denotes that this category is eligible to be used for a summer experience.

Experience Point value per experience Total points possible Preapproval required Final documentation required
#Faculty-directed independent study or research 1-2 4 Submit an Honors Experience Request Form. If enrolled in credit hours, no documentation is required. If not enrolled in credit hours, provide a signed letter from your research supervisor verifying the number of research hours completed.
Description: Students who are conducting research or independent study under the supervision of a faculty member, staff member, or graduate student are eligible to use that experience for honors points. Complete at least 50 hours of research in a single semester to earn one academic point, and at least 100 hours or more of research in a single semester to earn two academic points.
#Presentation at a regional conference 1 1 Submit an Honors Experience Request Form. None
Description: The Undergraduate Research Symposium on campus each spring is eligible in this category. The regional conference must be preapproved with an Honors Experience Request Form.
#Presentation at a national conference 2 4 Submit an Honors Experience Request Form. None
Description: The national conference must be preapproved with an Honors Experience Request Form.
#Publication in an undergraduate journal 1 1 None. Just add the proposed experience to your semester James Scholar Plan. Letter/email of acceptance or URL of publication
Description: To count in this category, your work should be selected for publication through a peer review process. Check out these undergraduate research journals on campus. Don't forget to submit proof to the online portfolio system by the required deadline.
#Publication in a professional journal 2 4 None. Just add the proposed experience to your semester James Scholar Plan. Letter/email of acceptance or URL of publication
Description: To count in this category, your work should be selected for publication through a peer review process. Don't forget to submit proof to the online portfolio system by the required deadline.
Senior thesis 2 4 Submit an EHCLA if not an integrated honors course. None. Earn a B- or higher in the course to be eligible for an honors grade.
Description: In order to use a senior thesis experience for honors, students must either be enrolled in an integrated honors course for their thesis hours, or complete an EHCLA for each semester of thesis coursework for which they are enrolled.
 
Academic accomplishments

Academic accomplishments that you may complete during your college career can be used as academic honors points.

Experience Point value per experience Total points possible Preapproval required Final documentation required
Applying for a nationally competitive scholarship or fellowship 1 2 Just add the experience to your semester James Scholar Plan, and your application will be verified. None
Description: Scholarships eligible for this category are limited to those administered by the National and International Scholarships Program. You must work with that office on your application in order to be eligible to receive an honors point for your experience. They will verify your application once you add it to your James Scholar Plan.
Induction into Phi Beta Kappa 1 2 Just add the experience to your semester James Scholar Plan, and your application will be verified. None
Description: Juniors and seniors are eligible. For more information on Phi Beta Kappa eligibility, please see the campus chapter's website. The Phi Beta Kappa coordinator will verify your induction once you add it to your James Scholar Plan.
Complete second major 1 1 Submit the name of your second major. None
Description: You can earn 1 academic honors point during the semester that you are completing the second major (typically your final semester).
Complete dual degree 2 2 Submit documentation that shows approval of dual degree. None
Description: You can earn 2 academic points during the semester that you are completing your dual degree (typically your final semester). Use these instructions for to apply for a second degree in LAS.

 

Enrichment

Volunteer service

Volunteer service opportunities in the local community are eligible for enrichment points. Just don't forget to submit the required documentation. Check out the Office of Volunteer Programs website, or CUVolunteer. Look for an email early each semester with information about additional community service opportunities.

# Denotes that this category is eligible to be used for a summer experience.

Experience Point value per experience Total points possible Preapproval required Final documentation required
#Community service 1-2 4 Submit an Honors Experience Request Form. Log of completed service hours signed by service supervisor.
Description: All hours must be completed in a single semester and benefitting a single Champaign-Urbana organization. Complete at least 25 hours of service in a single semester to earn 1 enrichment point, and at least 50 hours or more of service in a single semester to earn 2 enrichment points.
Alternative seasonal break 1 2 Submit an Honors Experience Request Form. Signed letter from a coordinator of the experience verifying that you participated.
Description: To be eligible for honors points, the experience must be sponsored by the University of Illinois.
 
Leadership experiences

Leadership experiences on campus are eligible for enrichment honors points.

# Denotes that this category is eligible to be used for a summer experience.

## To be eligible for summer points, your leadership role must be directly impacting Illinois students and you must be active in this role during the summer (preparations for the upcoming academic year are not eligible). You must be able to demonstrate that you were actively leading Illinois peers for a significant part of the summer.

Experience Point value per experience Total points possible Preapproval required Final documentation required
Participate in a day-long leadership program (I-Program, for example). 1 2 Just add the experience to your semester James Scholar Plan Completion certificate from the program
Description: Participation in a day-long leadership program hosted by the Illinois Leadership Center can earn you 1 point. Please see the I-Programs websitefor more information. We encourage you to register early as these programs fill up quickly.
Full participation in The Institute by LeaderShape 2 2 Just add the experience to your semester James Scholar Plan Completion certificate or group photo from the program.
Description: The application for The Institute by LeaderShape is available each fall semester through the LAS Honors Office. Please see the LeaderShape website for more information.
Hold an office on the JSSAB 1 2 Just add it to your semester James Scholar Plan. Verified by the JSSAB executive board.
Description: Information about getting involved with the James Scholars Student Advisory Board will be made available via email each semester.
#Other leadership activities 1 2 Just add it to your semester James Scholar Plan. Documentation that indicates your role with the group.
Description: ##For example, you can earn 1 point for serving in a leadership position in a registered student organization or other student organization.
Serve as an undergraduate teaching assistant 1 2 Add the course to your plan; the professor will verify your role. None
Description:Earn 1 enrichment point per semester serving as an undergraduate teaching assistant for a University of Illinois course.
 
Campus involvement

Campus involvement in the below approved experiences can earn you enrichment honors points as well.

Experience Point value per experience Total points possible Preapproval required Final documentation required
Participate in JSSAB 1 2 Just add the experience to your semester James Scholar Plan Will be verified with JSSAB executive board.
Description: Information about getting involved with the James Scholars Student Advisory Board will be made available via email each semester.
Perform in a university-sponsored concert, play, or recital 1 2 Just add the experience to your semester James Scholar Plan. Documentation of you as a performer such as a program from the event.
Description: Orchestra, Marching Illini, and student organizations that perform are all eligible in this category.
Having a piece of art displayed at a university gallery or exhibit 1 2 Just add the experience to your semester James Scholar Plan. Documentation of your participation such as a program from the event.
Description: An item, such as a program from the event opening, that indicates you as a contributing artist will count as proof.
Full season of intramural, club, or varsity sport 1 2 Just add it to your semester James Scholar Plan. A team roster or similar item.
Description: Participation in a full season sponsored by the University of Illinois can earn you an enrichment honors point.
Complete an iBox 1 2 Add it to your semester James Scholar Plan and download the iBox instructions from the portfolio. Submit your completed iBox document.
Description: iBox is a collection of experiences that encourage you to explore traditions and resources around campus. If you complete a certain number of those experiences within a semester, collectively, they are worth one honors point.
 
Internships

Internships are experiences that allow you to gain skills and explore areas related to your future career goals. They may be paid or unpaid, and may also be taken for credit or not. Take a look at Handshake @ Illinois for some available internship opportunities, and explore additional resources by visiting the Life + Career Design Lab.

# Denotes that this category is eligible to be used for a summer experience.

Experience Point value per experience Total points possible Preapproval required Final documentation required
#Internship 1-2 4 Submit an Honors Experience Request Form. Signed letter from your internship supervisor verifying the number of hours completed.
Description: In order for your internship to be eligible for honors points, you must be able to indicate how your experience is relevant to your discipline and/or future career goals. Complete at least a 50-hour internship in a single semester to earn 1 enrichment point, and a 100-hour or more internship in a single semester to earn 2 enrichment points.

Academic or enrichment

Study abroad

Study abroad experiences can be used as academic points or enrichment points. Check out the Illinois Abroad and Global Exchange website and LAS International Programs for more information on study abroad opportunities. Not sure how study abroad can help you achieve your academic and professional goals? Visit the Life + Career Design Lab to investigate and explore.

# Denotes that this category is eligible to be used for a summer experience.

Experience Point value per experience Total points possible Preapproval required Final documentation required
#Short-term study abroad 1 2 Just add the course to your semester James Scholar Plan. None. Points cannot be awarded until final grades are available for this experience.
Description: Short-term studies abroad must be university-sponsored experiences. Many short-term LAS Abroad opportunities exist, including over Winter Break and Spring Break.
Semester-long study abroad 2 6 Submit proof of acceptance to your study abroad program. None. Points cannot be awarded until final grades are available for this experience.
Description: Students must be studying on university-sanctioned programs to count for honors points.

 

Academic leadership

 

Academic leadership experiences can be used as academic points or enrichment points.

Rising juniors and seniors are eligible to apply. Applications are available annually beginning in January for the following academic year. This experience is eligible for academic points or enrichment points.

Experience Point value per experience Total points possible Preapproval required Final documentation required
Serve as an LAS 100/101/102/122 intern 2 4 Just add the intern course to your semester James Scholar Plan in the semester in which you are serving as an intern (not eligible in your training semester). None
Description: Students must be studying on university-sanctioned programs to count for honors points.
Student teach/complete secondary education requirements 2 2 Submit an Honors Experience Request Form. None
Description: Restricted to students completing the secondary education minor. You can earn 2 academic points or enrichment points for student teaching/completing your secondary education program requirements.