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James Scholar

Priority Registration. Direct Faculty Interaction. Honors Recognition.

James Scholar is a college-level honors program given by each college at Illinois. The program gets its namesake from the university’s fourth President, Edmund J James, who believed scholarship and research were fundamental to human progress.

The James Scholar Honors Program in the College of Applied Health Sciences seeks to recognize the highest academically achieving students and provide opportunities for these students to be challenged and engage in advanced scholarly activity.



Eligible incoming freshmen are invited to participate in the James Scholar Program during the admissions process. Your eligibility is determined by an individual review of your high school GPA and ACT/SAT test scores. These students are encouraged to take AHS 125 to complete their James Scholar project for the semester.

Freshmen who earn a 3.5 Illinois GPA in their first semester and meet other requirements are encouraged to nominate themselves for the James Scholar honors program.

Those requirements include:

  • maintaining a cumulative Illinois GPA of 3.5 or better
  • maintaining a Yearly Illinois GPA of 3.5 or better
  • complete at least 14 graded credit hours each semester
  • complete an honor project each semester that you are in the program. Completion of AHS 125 counts as an honors project.

Sophomores & Juniors

Sophomores and Juniors who meet the following criteria are encouraged to nominate themselves for the program.

  • have a cumulative Illinois GPA of 3.5 or better
  • complete at least 14 graded credit hours per semester while in the program
  • complete an honors project each semester while in the program
  • finish the semester with a 3.5 GPA or better
  • the instructor for your honors project must award a grade of B- or better

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 your 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.


For more information, consult the eHCLA Factsheet.

  • Students 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.

  • Students must maintain a 3.5 yearly Illinois GPA (evaluated at the end of the Spring term)

  • Students must complete at least 14 graded hours each semester (Fall/Spring).

  • Students must complete a honors project each semester (Fall/Spring) you participate in the program. If necessary, students can opt to complete two honors projects in one term. Students who will be studying abroad or completing an internship may find this a necessity.

  • Identify one of your current instructors who are 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.

  • Be sure to work with your professor to complete the honors project so they can enter the honors designation with your final grade.

  • Complete and submit the eHCLA form by the 4th Friday of the semester. This form is used to confirm that you met the James Scholar requirements.


Priority registration

James Scholar students are able to register for classes each semester before the general student population.

Engage your academic work with direct faculty interaction

James Scholar students have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of their academic work as they process their work directly with faculty members.

Enhanced relationships with faculty

The College of Applied Health Sciences is known for being high-touch and values student-faculty interaction. The James Scholar program gives students unique opportunities to build relationships with faculty members that can be helpful for job placement and navigating graduate school after graduation.

Honors recognition

Students who graduate from the James Scholar Honors program are recognized as honors graduates on their transcripts, which can be a nice addition to a resume.