Image of students hanging out

James Scholar Honors Program

Priority Registration. Direct Faculty Interaction. Honors Recognition.

The honors program in the College of Applied Health Sciences is a part of the University of Illinois James Scholar program. It is named after the fourth president of the University, 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 provides opportunities for these students to be challenged and engaged in advanced scholarly activity.

Participants in the James Scholar program are expected to demonstrate excellence in their academic performance throughout their undergraduate career, maintaining a minimum specified GPA. Program participants will be afforded the opportunity to build closer relationship with faculty through the completion of honors projects, be granted early registration priority when scheduling classes, and will receive honors recognition on their final transcripts and at graduation.

James Scholar Program Information

The James Scholar Honors Program is among the most prestigious honors that an undergraduate can earn at the University of Illinois. All AHS students are encouraged to explore this program and, if eligible, consider participating. Program participants receive several benefits, including:

  • Priority registration times. As a James Scholar you can register before the general student population does!
  • Opportunities to engage academic material differently with more direct interaction with faculty. Enrich your education or develop experiences that will make your resume or application for graduate school stand out from the rest!
  • Enhanced relationships with faculty. In AHS we believe it is our personal touch that distinguishes us from other academic units on campus. These strengthened relationships result in better learning experiences in the classroom and only strengthen the ability of our faculty to recognize and recommend your talent.
  • Receive honors recognition on final transcripts and at the AHS convocation graduation ceremony. At the AHS convocation (graduation) ceremony, James Scholars will wear special regalia, and are given special recognition.

Students are invited to participate in the James Scholar Program if they meet the following criteria:

  • Incoming freshmen in the top 10% of the admitted class.
  • Transfer students with a minimum 3.65 cumulative grade point average from their previous institution.
  • Continuing AHS students with a minimum 3.5 cumulative Illinois grade point average.

Program Requirements & Eligibility

On this web page you will see reference to an eHCLA form. It refers to the document you will need to fill out and submit each term you are entering or participating in this program. The full name of the document is the AHS James Scholar Honors Credit Learning Agreement Form. Please read through the eHCLA Factsheet for more information.

Current James Scholars

To continue participating in the program, you will need to:

  • 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.
  • Complete and submit the eHCLA form by 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.

Important facts:

  • 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.
  • For more information, consult the eHCLA Factsheet.

Potential James Scholar Students

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.

Freshmen

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 (gadams4@illinois.edu) 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 (gadams4@illinois.edu). She will be glad to assist you!

Benefits

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.

2019-20 James Scholar Student Advisory Board

Rachel Brokenshire, Angela Tzortzis, Anna Tulley, Veronica Lane, Shruthi Mekala

From left: Rachel Brokenshire, Angela Tzortzis, Anna Tulley, Veronica Lane, Shruthi Mekala

Get Started with AHS

It’s a great time to join AHS. Build your career making a difference.