James Scholars

About the James Scholar Program

Since the 1950s, the University of Illinois has encouraged outstanding undergraduate students by offering participation in the Edmund James Scholar Program. Each college has a James Scholar Program undergraduate honors program. The programs are named for the fourth president of the University of Illinois, Edmund J. James. He believed scholarship and research are fundamental to human progress, and in the years of his presidency (1904 – 1920), he brought world-class scholars and researchers to the campus, developed many new graduate programs, and fostered a sense of community among faculty and students. His achievements helped to transform the University of Illinois into a campus of international importance.

Principles of the James Scholar Program in the Gies College of Business

  • To challenge its students to achieve academic excellence during each semester throughout their college careers.
  • To provide diverse, stimulating, and challenging leadership opportunities to its students.
  • To build meaningful and constructive relationships within the Gies College of Business, the University of Illinois, and the community.
  • To advance the mission of the Gies College of Business, and the University of Illinois in all of its activities.
  • To provide considerable value in the development and enacting of the students’ professional sense of leadership.
  • To support its students with various programs as they pursue leadership opportunities.

Benefits of the Program

  • Priority early registration.
  • Associate Director of Honors and/or Assistant Dean for Advising as your academic advisor.
  • Job Shadow experiences for freshman and sophomore.

Admission to the James Scholar Program

The James Scholar program recognizes the top tier of students in the Gies College of Business as measured by academic achievement. Students are invited to join the James Scholar program based upon their application for admission to the college as an incoming freshman.

The top 10% of first year students at the conclusion of their spring semester will be identified based upon cumulative Illinois GPA.  Any student who was not admitted to the college as a James Scholar and completes the first year in the top 10% of the class will receive an invitation to join the program.

Inter-College Transfer

Students who transfer to the Gies College of Business and are certified James Scholar in their originating college will maintain their James Scholar status.

Off-Campus Transfer

Students who transfer to the Gies College of Business from another institution will be extended an invitation to the James Scholar program upon certifying membership of an honors program at their originating institution.

Maintaining James Scholar Status

GPA Requirement

James Scholar students must earn a semesterly Illinois GPA of at least 3.50 (transfer credit from other institutions are not included the Illinois GPA).  Illinois GPA will be reviewed at the conclusion of the first year, then every fall and spring semester thereafter.  Should your GPA fall below 3.50, the student will be dismissed from the program and lose all associated privileges.

Graded Credit Hours Required

James Scholar students must complete 14 graded credit hours at the University of Illinois each fall and spring semester. Graded hours do not include Pass/Fail, Credit/No Credit, or Guided Individual Study courses. You must receive a letter grade for the class to count towards this requirement.

James Scholars who are studying abroad are granted an exception and only required to complete 12 credit hours.  The 12 credit hours can be a combination of study abroad classes and University of Illinois online course for the semester studying abroad.

James Scholars completing a winter internship and/or semester long cooperative internship are also granted an exception to this requirement. Registration in ACCY 290 or departmental confirmation of the internship is required.

There is no minimum graded credit hour requirement during the final semester prior to graduation.

College of Business Service/Activity Credit

James Scholar students must complete at least 40 hours of service/activity credit for the academic year.  Please see this list of approved service/activity credits.

Leadership Requirement

Developing leadership skills is an essential part of being a James Scholar student. To help hone these skills, James Scholar students must complete one leadership activity per academic year. Please see list of approved leadership options.

Freshman James Scholar Requirement

As an incoming first year student admitted with James Scholar status, you must complete the following requirements:

  • Enroll in a James Scholar Section of Business 101 (fall semester)
  • Enroll in the James Scholar Dean’s Seminar (spring semester)
  • Attend the Sleeman Leadership Institute (spring semester)
  • Compete in one case competition sponsored by the Gies College of Business
  • Earn a cumulative GPA of 3.50 (evaluated at the conclusion of the first year spring semester, then every fall and spring semester thereafter)
  • Complete 14 graded credit hours at the University of Illinois every fall and spring semester. Graded hours do not include Pass/Fail, Credit/No Credit, or Guided Individual Study courses. You must receive a letter grade for the class for it to count towards this requirement.