James Scholars

Mission: Leadership in Action

* Note: If you are a current freshmen or sophomore interested in petitioning to become a James Scholar, per the new process, you will be extended an invitation at the end of this academic year if you meet the requirements.



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 at the 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 College of Business, the University of Illinois, and the community.
  • To advance the mission of the 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.

If you have any questions, contact us at admissions@business.illinois.edu or the James Scholar Executive Committee, a group of students who assist in administering the James Scholar Program, at jamesscholarexec@gmail.com.

Benefits of the Program

  • Priority early registration.
  • Assistant Dean for Advising as your academic advisor.
  • Dean’s Honors Seminar and Business 101 honors section during freshman year.
  • Freshman James Scholar trip to Brazil. You’re eligible to apply for a professional trip to Brazil, which occurs during the two weeks immediately after final exams in May. 18 freshman James Scholars will be selected for the trip and the course that accompanies it. The costs of the trip are partially subsidized by the Office of the Provost and the College of Business.
  • Professional development by attending the Sleeman Leadership Program as freshmen and participating in the job shadow program.
  • Use of Business Instructional Facility breakout rooms by James Scholar students of junior or senior standing.
  • Approval for course overload requests after your first semester at Illinois.
  • Participation in special programs sponsored by the College of Business.
  • Graduation as a College of Business James Scholar with a certificate of achievement, a commemorative medallion, and the University James Scholar designation listed on your academic record.
  • Guarantee of MBA x 2 Scholarship.

Becoming a James Scholar