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  • #3 preferred institution for recruiters Wall Street Journal
  • #6 highest income potential from a Midwestern institution; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was the only public school on the list
  • The ILLINOIS College of Business student teams won the 2006, 2010 and 2011 Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) National Business Case Competitions.

James Scholar Honors Program FAQs

If I transfer to the College of Business from another University of Illinois college, does my James Scholar status transfer with me?

Yes, if you have earned James Scholar status for the academic year prior to your transfer to the College of Business, your James Scholar status will transfer with you. Once you're in the College of Business, you must meet College of Business standards for James Scholar status.

If I transfer to the College of Business from another University of Illinois college, may I petition to become a James Scholar?

Incoming sophomore transfer students may petition to become a James Scholar nominee. College of Business sophomores who wish to be considered for James Scholar status must complete the petition form available in the College of Business Office of Undergraduate Affairs by 5pm on the second Monday in September. The requirements are listed on this site for students who are petitioning to become James Scholars nominees.

How do I petition to be considered a James Scholar?

You are able to petition to be considered as a James Scholar electronically. If you are eligible to petition, you will receive an email from the Office of Undergraduate Affairs with the necessary details. Students who are invited to petition to become James Scholars must attend a mandatory information session where they you will fill out the petition form and learn more about the process. Freshmen (1st-year students) are eligible to petition after their first semester. Deadline for sophomores (2nd-year students) is the 2nd Monday in September. Juniors (third-year students) and seniors (fourth-year students) do not have the option to petition as James Scholars.

How do I register for the Sleeman Leadership Institute?

Freshman James Scholars and freshman James Scholar nominees are invited to register for the Sleeman Leadership Institute by email. Registration is taken on a first-come, first-serve basis. Therefore, it's wise to register as soon as possible. Instructions for registration are included in the email.

If I transfer to the College of Business from off campus, may I become a James Scholar?

Students who transfer after freshman year and begin in the College of Business as sophomores may petition to become James Scholars during the fall semester of the sophomore year—deadline is the 2nd Monday in September by 5pm. Students entering the College of Business after two years in college (approximately 60 credit hours) may petition to become a James Scholar in the College of Business if they have been members of an academic honors program at the college from where they are transferring. Academic honorary societies don't count as honors programs.

What defines a freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior in the James Scholar Program?

The James Scholar Program in the College of Business defines freshmen as 1st-year students; sophomores as 2nd-year students; juniors as 3rd-year students; and seniors as 4th-year students. Early graduation does not influence these definitions.

What constitutes as an international experience for the study abroad requirement?

International experiences include short, semester, or yearlong study abroad programs that are approved by the College of Business or the University of Illinois. Student-led trips by groups like Entrepreneurs without Borders, Global Business Brigades, etc., may also count if approved by Assistant Dean Christine Gozdziak,

How do I take an honors class as a freshman if I petition to become a James Scholar?

Students petitioning to become James Scholars may make any course an honors course by using the Honors Credit Learning Agreement (HCLA). Use of the HCLA enables James Scholars to complete honors activities requirements without enrolling in a special honors course or section. Potential James Scholars with a 3.3 (A=4.0) or higher cumulative grade point average are permitted to transform a "regular" i.e., non-honors course, into an "honors" course and to receive transcript notation for the effort. This is accomplished by a student-instructor agreement whereby the student agrees to complete a course-related activity of an extraordinary nature which may be in addition to or in lieu of regular coursework. Successful completion of the agreement will be noted on the student's permanent record in the same manner as any officially identified honors course or section, with an "H" appearing beside the course entry. Unsuccessful attempts will not be noted. No honors credit will be given for agreements completed in courses taken on a credit/no-credit grading basis. Taking one course as honors in either fall or spring semester satisfies the petition requirement.

Faculty and Student Guidelines for Honors Credit Learning Agreements

The student is responsible for initiating discussion with the instructor with a view to undertaking extraordinary work and independent study in connection with regular courses. It's the student's responsibility to develop the learning agreement, describing the work to be completed; submit the agreement to the instructor; and deliver the completed HCLA form to the College of Business Office of Undergraduate Affairs by the date on the academic calendar established as the last day to drop a semester course (usually in mid-October for fall semester and mid-March for spring semester).

Approval and acceptance of learning agreements is at the discretion of the course instructor who may wish to limit the number of such agreements, accepting them on a first-come, first-serve basis. Topics or areas of investigation may also be specified by the instructor.

It's within the discretion of the instructor to determine whether work to be done under the learning agreement is in addition to regular work in the course or is to be substituted in part for regular work.

A student should expect to devote approximately 15 hours of additional time to an honors project.

The substance of learning agreement proposals will be assessed by the instructor according to professional standards. The work proposed should be extraordinary in the context of the course in which the student is enrolled. The scope of the project must be manageable within the confines of a single semester. It's recommended that the instructor and student meet several times to discuss student progress.

The form or product of the independent study learning agreement is limited only by the creative imagination of the student, subject to professional standards of the discipline and to approval of the instructor. Possible Honors Credit Learning Agreement projects include:

  • research papers
  • essays
  • research for preparation of new course units or segments
  • special laboratory experiments
  • stratified opinion surveys
  • course or course unit evaluations
  • preparation of films or photographic essays
  • research for development of new courses and new teaching methods

At the end of the semester the instructor will indicate whether the work agreed to has been completed and whether honors credit is to be granted by marking the honors column of the grade roster as shown on Brief Instruction for Completing Grade Rosters. Honors credit will be granted if (1) the appropriate portion of the grade roster is marked, (2) the student is accorded a grade of at least "B-" for the course, and (3) the student was eligible to receive and turn in an HCLA form. The instructor may decline to grant honors credit if the work has not been completed satisfactorily. The instructor is the sole judge of the grade earned and whether honors credit is to be granted; however, all grading decisions, including the question of granting honors credit, are subject to appeal under campus rules and regulations governing capricious grading.

May I meet a James Scholar obligation by repeating my participation in one of the approved activities?

Yes, all the approved activities may be repeated with the exception of the Campus Honors Program course that can count for one year only.

What are the specifics of the Undergraduate Research Assistant requirement?

There are two types of Undergraduate Research Assistant programs—full-year RA and semester RA. For the full-year position, students will be notified by the James Scholar Executive Committee in the fall regarding the application process. If accepted, the student is required to hold the position for the entire year and must be on campus for fall and spring semesters. The semester program option will be offered in the spring semester in order to allow students who were not accepted in the fall to apply to become an RA. Some professors need research assistants only for the spring semester. Students are required to work as an RA for the spring semester only but may be expected to provide more hours than the full-year RAs. The appointments are for one academic year or semester. Students must reapply to continue as an RA. Any questions may be directed to the James Scholar Executive Committee at

If I complete a requirement in the summer, for what academic year does that work count?

Summer honors activities and courses will be evaluated as part of the academic year that follows the summer work.

What hours count toward the 14 graded ILLINOIS hours required each semester for James Scholars?

Credit hours with grades A+, A, A-, B+, etc., taken on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus during the regular fall or spring semesters count toward the required 14 hours. For example, GIS (Guided Individual Study) hours, Parkland College concurrent enrollment hours, and UIC hours do not count.

After I petition to become a James Scholar, when do I learn if I've been named a James Scholar?

James Scholar petitions are reviewed in the summer. Students are notified in late July or early August of the status of their petitions. James Scholar privileges will begin in the following fall semester for students whose petitions are successful. Early registration privileges begin for spring registration in the fall following the summer notification.

When will I learn if I'm not eligible to continue as a James Scholar?

James Scholar status is reviewed after the fall and the spring semesters. Seniors are notified of final James Scholar status for graduation recognition in the spring of the senior year prior to graduation.

If I graduate as a James Scholar, will I be recognized at graduation?

Students who have completed all the James Scholar requirements through the fall semester of their senior year (4th year) will be recognized at the May convocation ceremony with a James Scholar Medallion. Any student, who maintains James Scholar status as of the beginning of the semester in which they graduate, will graduate with James scholar status. This new policy removes any semester considerations that were evident in the prior standard. This policy will come into effect for students graduating in May 2013

Are there ever any exceptions to James Scholar policies?

On rare occasions, students are allowed exceptions to the James Scholar policies. Students may submit in writing via email a plea for an exception. The request for an exception should be addressed to Richard Johnson, Assistant Dean of Honors, at The requests will be reviewed by a committee. Students will be notified of the decisions in July. Deadline for submitting requests for an exception is June 1.

Is it possible to be reinstated as a James Scholar if I lose my standing?

Yes, students are able to regain their status as a James Scholar in the following situations.

Freshmen: If you enter the College of Business as a James Scholar but lose your standing after first semester, you are able to petition to regain your status if you have a 3.5 cumulative GPA in at least 28 graded ILLINOIS hours after your freshman year.

Sophomores and Juniors: If you have a semester GPA below a 3.5 but maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA you are able to apply to be reinstated to the James Scholar program. In order to be reinstated, you must complete all of the traditional James Scholar requirements.

Seniors: Students who lose their James Scholar standing in their senior year are unable to be reinstated into the program.

Why do I have to sign a code of conduct agreement as a James Scholar?

Being a member of the James Scholar Program in the College of Business is a privilege. The students who administer the program as members of the James Scholar Executive Committee believe that honors students and James Scholars in the College of Business should be held to high standards of professional and personal responsibility. Therefore, the privilege of being a James Scholar includes a requirement to meet minimal standards of conduct as specified in the student code.