College of Education

James Scholar Honors Program

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Frequently Asked Questions

The College of Education is here to help you with any questions regarding the James Scholar Program. We hope the Frequently Asked Questions below will help with most queries. If you cannot find the answer to your question, feel free to contact us to find out more.


If I enter the James Scholar Program as a Freshman, what are the requirements to earn cords at graduation?

Following campus notification of admission to the University of Illinois, freshmen who qualify as a James Scholar will receive information from the College about the program and will also be officially invited by the College in September. Freshmen are registered for their first honors course, EDUC 102 during their first meeting with their adviser. First semester freshmen who earn an Institutional and Overall GPA of 3.25 during their fall semester are eligible to continue in the spring. This applies to only freshmen for their first semester. Students must complete a James Scholars Project in both the Fall and Spring semester in order to be certified for the year.

To receive honor cord recognition, students must have been awarded at least three James Scholar academic certifications. In addition, two research projects are required, and they MUST participate their senior year.

I lost track of time and didn't complete my eHCLA by the deadline. Can't I just do one anyway if it's only a little late?

No. eHCLA's are not accepted after the deadline. Students are notified multiple times and have ample opportunities to submit their eHCLA in a timely manner.

Do I have to complete one project from each James Scholar Theme?

No, you don't! You only have to complete specific types of projects if you are pursuing James Scholar cords at graduation. We put the themes into place to encourage students to expand their learning horizons and try to get involved in a new kind of learning opportunity.

How do I submit the eHCLA (Honors Credit Learning Agreement)?

You can submit the using the online system. The process will begin with an invitation to the eHCLA link. If you are completing research or a course related project, it is your responsibility to initiate discussion with the instructor and electronically complete and submit the form.  You will be asked to provide the instructors , as well as a short description of the project. If you choose to complete an eHCLA for an enrolled course, you will be required to submit the CRN, and course subject and number corresponding to your project idea. Once submitted, the instructor will receive a link to your eHCLA via e-mail. The instructor will accept the agreement, ask for a revision, or reject the form. Once the has been approved by the instructor, it will be sent to the SAAO office for final approval.

Do I have to take an approved James Scholar Course?

No, you can submit an eHCLA on any graded course or do research with a faculty member. You can also study abroad, participate in Leadership Center I-Programs or leadership courses, complete a service learning/LINC course or complete a professional development project during your student teaching semester.

My friends and I want to work on this James Scholar project together since we are all in the same class. That way, we can share the work and contribute to one presentation. Can we do that?

No. Since James Scholar projects are individually earned and awarded credit, you MUST complete your own project and presentation. While your instructor may have you work on similar projects within the course related project, you must do all work individually involving research, creating your unique findings and presentation.

What are the benefits of being a James Scholar?

Aside from the opportunity to work with faculty on cutting edge research, our James Scholars receive early registration privileges, meaning you would be able to register earlier than almost anyone else on campus, despite your class standing. James Scholars who complete 2 semester projects successfully get notation on their transcript. If you complete a course related project for James Scholar credit, you will receive an honors grade in that course. James Scholars also have stack passes to the main Undergraduate Library which is one of the largest libraries in the world and houses more than 14 million books.

Will my eHCLA not be approved if my instructor doesn’t approve it by the deadline?

Your eHCLA will be approved as long as you submitted it by the deadline, even if your instructor doesn't approve it by the deadline.

I submitted an eHCLA for a leadership center I-program, but haven't gotten the approval yet. Why not?

Approval of a leadership program can't occur until the student forwards the registration confirmation e-mail. Once you have forwarded that e-mail and it has been verified that you haven't used to leadership center I-programs for James Scholar credit, your eHCLA will be approved.

Can I do James Scholar projects during my student teaching year?

The professional development theme offers College of Education James Scholars special options during their student teaching semester. Please refer to theJames Scholar Honors Program page for details

What is the due date each semester for submitting your James Scholars eHCLA?

The fall deadline is October 1st. The spring deadline is March 1st.

If my GPA is less than the required 3.5 for the fall semester, can I still be a James Scholar in the spring to bring it back up to the 3.5?

No, you will not be a James Scholar in the spring and you will not earn James Scholars Honors for the year. Note: first semester freshmen who earn an Institutional and Overall GPA of 3.25 during their first (fall) semester are eligible to continue in the spring. This applies only to freshmen for their first semester.

If you are a continuing student who earned less than a 3.5 GPA in the fall your GPA to 3.5 after the spring semester, you will be invited to participate again the following year.

When is the last day I can turn in my James Scholars project? Is it the last day of classes or the last day of finals?

That is determined by the professor OR by the Admissions and Records Officer (who will send out notifications with due dates).

If I do not complete my JS project for the course related project does that affect my grade in the class?

No, course related James Scholar projects have NO effect on the students grade in the course. However, if you do not complete the requirement in the fall you will not be invited to participate in the spring. If you complete it in the fall and do not complete it in the spring, you will not have James Scholar notation on your transcript for that academic year.


Can I use a Chancellor’s Honor’s Class as a James Scholar Honors Class? Yes.
If I do an eHCLA, which class should I choose?

You should choose a class that interests you or explore classes with subjects you might want to learn more about and in which you would enjoy doing an extra project. The course can be for any number of credit hours. It cannot be a practicum or a physical activity (bowling, tennis, etc.) course. It must be a graded course.

Is there a list of James Scholar classes?

The College of Education has two designated honors courses EDUC 102 and CI 205 (spring only). There are also a number of service learning and leadership courses that will also fulfill the James Scholar requirement. Refer to the James Scholar homepage for details.

Is there a minimum number of hours required?

No, there is not a minimum number of hours the class must be nor is there a minimum you must take for the semester outside of the 12 hours required by the college to be a full-time student.

Does doing a James Scholar project add credit hours to the course?

No, there are no additional credit hours given other than the credit for the course. The James Scholar project you complete for a course doesn't act like extra credit. If you complete the project to the satisfaction of your instructor, you will receive an honors grade for the class, but your letter grade will not be higher because you completed the James Scholar project.

Am I allowed to take two honors classes a semester?

Yes, but you will receive no additional recognition.

Can I use a credit/no credit course?

No, you must earn a B- or better to receive James Scholars certification.


If I do an eHCLA to do research with a faculty member, do I earn any credit?

No, however you will receive James Scholar transcript notation.

How do I complete an eHCLA if I’m doing research with a faculty member instead of taking a course?

On the form, you have the option to choose an eHCLA project for an enrolled gradable course or conduct research outside the classroom with a faculty member. If you select the research option, you can complete the form by submitting the instructor and a short description of research. Once you submit the form, the instructor you have listed will receive an email with the URL to your eHCLA. They will have the option to approve the research you wish to conduct, ask for a revision, or reject your proposal. Final approval will be the responsibility of the Student Academic Affairs Office.