Sophomores & Juniors

If you are a Sophomore or Junior and are not currently participating in the program, you are encouraged to consider nominating yourself at the beginning of any academic semester. (Note: The latest possible time to self-nominate yourself for the James Scholar Program is within the first four weeks of your junior year during the fall term, unless you have approval to stay enrolled as an undergraduate for a fifth year.)

Below are the basic requirements:

  • You must currently have a 3.5 cumulative Illinois GPA average.
  • You must complete 14 graded credit hours this semester.
  • You must complete an honors project this semester. See the HCLA process outlined for current James Scholars above.
  • You must finish this semester with a 3.5 semester GPA.
  • The instructor must award a final grade (B- minimum) with "honors" designation.

Sophomores or Juniors who comply with the requirements above will be given the James Scholar attribute for the next semester. For your first semester you will not have the benefit of early registration as our eligibility is not verified until the completion of your first term and grades are posted. As a James Scholar you must adhere to the program requirements outlined for current James Scholars above. If you have questions about this, please contact your Academic Advisor and they will be glad to assist you.


Who is eligible?

Eligible incoming freshmen are invited to participate in the James Scholar program as a part of the admission process. Eligibility is determined after a review of individual high school GPA and ACT and/or SAT scores. Students are encouraged to take AHS 125. This is for James Scholar freshmen only and counts as their project for the fall.

  • AHS 125 is only offered in the Fall semester. If you cannot take this course due to a conflict with another course, that is not a problem. You will still need to fill out the eHCLA form and talk with your Academic Advisor or Assistant Dean Adams ( on how to proceed. We realize not all students will have the flexibility in their schedule to take this course.

Freshmen who earn a 3.5 GPA in their Fall classes are encouraged to consider nominating themselves for the Spring term. If you adhere to the eligibility requirements (see below), you will begin the next academic year as a James Scholar!

What are the eligibility requirements for Freshmen?

  • You must maintain a 3.5 cumulative Illinois GPA average (evaluated at the end of the Spring term) to remain eligible to participate in the program.
  • You must maintain a 3.5 yearly Illinois GPA (evaluated at the end of the Spring term).
  • You must complete at least 14 graded hours each semester (Fall/Spring).
  • You must complete an honors project each semester (Fall/Spring) you participate in the program. If necessary, students can opt to complete two honors projects in one term. Completion of AHS 125 counts as one honors requirement!
  • Invited freshmen should complete AHS 125 -- Freshmen Scholars Seminar.

What do you have to do?

Identify one of your current instructors who is willing to help you identify/sponsor your honors project. Remember, the course must be at least a 2-credit hour course and must be taken for a grade (C/NC is not allowed). This does not need to be a course in AHS. Honors credit simply means that you and the instructor of that course identify an additional project -- something that enhances your understanding/appreciation of the class material -- to complete while you are registered for the course. We give a wide berth to faculty members in this process, but in general the project should represent a significant investment of your time and challenge you to learn in different ways. For further project information, consult the eHCLA Factsheet.

  • Complete the eHCLA form before the 4th Friday of the semester.
  • Be sure to work with your professor to complete the honors project so they can enter the honors designation with your final grade.

Still have questions about the program? Feel free to email Assistant Dean Adams ( She will be glad to assist you!