College of Business

James Scholar Program

Since at least the 1950s, Illinois has encouraged outstanding undergraduate students by offering participation in the Edmund James Scholar Program. The program has changed over the years. At present, each college has a James Scholar Program -- a college-level undergraduate honors program. The programs are named for the fourth president of the University of Illinois, Edmund J. James. James believed scholarship and research are fundamental to human progress, and in the years of his presidency, from 1904-1920, he brought world-class scholars and researchers to the campus, developed many new graduate programs, and fostered a sense of community among faculty and students. His achievements helped to transform the University of Illinois into a campus of international importance.

Beginning with the College of Business Class of 2011 and continuing with all future entering classes, a revised James Scholar Program in the College of Business will promote professional growth in our students and will encourage all students to meet our educational goals.

Components of the program:

Freshman Year:
Students invited to enter the College of Business as James Scholars as a result of the review of the admissions applications must meet the following requirements to continue as a James Scholar in the sophomore year:

  • Earn an "A" or "B" grade in the honors sections of BUS 101 and successfully complete the assigned honors project. Dr. Collette Niland, Assistant Dean for Advising and Registration, cniland@illinois.edu
  • Successfully participate in the James Scholar Dean's Honors Seminar, a spring semester course which meets weekly with the associate dean of undergraduate affairs. The Dean's Honors Seminar will introduce James Scholars with resources that they may select to build skills in areas such as leadership, teamwork, consulting, technology, community service, entrepreneurship, etc. Dr. Collette Niland, Assistant Dean for Advising and Registration, cniland@illinois.edu
  • Participate in the winter break Job Shadow program administered by the Office of Business Career Services. Ms. Annetta Culver, Senior Director, Business Career Services, arculver@illinois.edu
  • Participate in the Sleeman Leadership Program for James Scholars. The Sleeman Leadership Program, funded a gift to the College of Business from Tom and Nancy Sleeman, is offered by the College of Business Office of Undergraduate Affairs and sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The 2011 Sleeman Leadership institute is scheduled for March 4 and 5, 2011. Mr. Ben Chandler, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Affairs, bschandl@illinois.edu
  • Earn at least 3.5 GPA in 14 graded, Illinois hours in the fall semester and at least 3.5 GPA in 14 graded, Illinois hours in the spring semester with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 for the freshman year.

Sophomore and Junior Years:
Students continuing as James Scholars must complete two of the following options, one during sophomore year and one during junior year and complete the academic requirements to continue as James Scholars.
Complete two of the following:

  • Participate in an international experience approved by the College of Business Office of International Programs. Contact Ms. Christine Gozdziak, Assistant Dean for International Programs, gozdziak@illinois.edu
  • Earn leadership certificate sponsored by the Illinois Leadership Center- option can count for both sophomore and junior year requirement. Students must make successful progress toward meeting the requirements of the leadership certificate in the sophomore year as determined by the Illinois Leadership Center. http://www.illinoisleadership.uiuc.edu/getinvolved/otherleadership.asp
  • Tutor College of Business students for 40 hours in one academic year under the supervision of the College of Business Office of Undergraduate Affairs. Contact the students who run the tutoring program at cobtutors@gmail.com
  • Peer Advisor for 56 hours to be fulfilled within one semester during the academic year under the supervision of the College of Business Office of Undergraduate Affairs.  Ms. Teresa D'Urso, Director of Advising and Registration, tdurso@illinois.edu
  • Successful participation in Illinois Business Consulting. http://www.ibc.illinois.edu/
  • Successful participation in OTCR (The Office for Technical Consulting Resources). http://otcr.uiuc.edu/?p=apply
  • Junior year membership in the College of Business Finance Academy. Ms. Mary Barker, Assistant Director, Department of Finance, mdietz@illinois.edu
  • Membership in the Golder Center for Private Equity Research. http://www.goldercenter.uiuc.edu/index.htm or Mr. Dan O?Connell, Director of the Golder Center, dano1@illinois.edu
  • Successful participation in Social Entrepreneurship Summer Program (SESP). Dr. Collette Niland, Assistant Dean for Advising and Registration, cniland@illinois.edu
  • Junior year membership in the Hoeft Technology and Management Minor. http://www.techmgmt.illinois.edu/prospective/? or Darcy Sementi, Director of Technology and Management, dsementi@illinois.edu
  • Work as a research assistant for a faculty member in the College of Business. James Scholar Executive Committee at jamesscholarexec@gmail.com
  • Students in the Campus Honors Program are able to maintain James Scholar status by taking a CHP course in sophomore or junior years. This option may not be repeated. http://honors.illinois.edu/?q=about
  • Serve on the James Scholar Student Executive Committee. James Scholar Executive Committee at jamesscholarexec@gmail.com
  • Serve on the Sleeman Leadership Program Executive Committee. Mr. Ben Chandler, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Affairs, bschandl@illinois.edu
  • Successful participation in the James Scholar Case Competition. Mr. Ben Chandler, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Affairs, bschandl@illinois.edu
  • Successful participation in the PricewaterhouseCoopers xACT competition by finishing among the top three teams. Dr. John Hedeman, Assistant Dean Honors, hedeman@illinois.edu
  • Serve as a fellow in the Market Information Lab during junior year. Dr. Martin Maurer, Visiting Associate Director of the Market Information Lab, mil@business.illinois.edu
  • Serve on the student leadership team for the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership. academy@business.illinois.edu
  • Serve as a Social Entrepreneurship Institute fellow. Dr. Collette Niland, Assistant Dean for Advising and Registration, cniland@illinois.edu
  • Serve on the BUS 101 student leadership team.Professor C.K. Gunsalus, course director, BUS 101, gunsalus@illinois.edu
  • Serve as a ACCY 301 & 304 Tutor for 55-60 hours. Application required to Professor Susan Thomas, sthomas8@illinois.edu

Earn at least 3.5 GPA each semester in 14 graded hours and continue to have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5. Students on study abroad programs need to be enrolled in at least the minimum number of hours required by the host institution for full-time status; there is no requirement for the number of graded hours during a study abroad semester.
Senior Year:
Students continuing as James Scholars into the senior year (fourth year) will be able to graduate with College of Business James Scholar Distinction if they complete the senior year requirements.

Complete one of the following activities in the fall semester of senior year:

Earn at least 3.5 GPA in fall semester of senior year in 14 graded, Illinois hours. Students on study abroad programs need to be enrolled in at least the minimum number of hours required by the host institution for full-time status; there is no requirement for the number of graded hours during a study abroad semester.

Participate as a student facilitator in the Sleeman Leadership Institute, March 4 & 5, 2011.

Maintaining James Scholar Status

Students must meet the yearly requirements to continue as James Scholars. James Scholars and James Scholar nominees are evaluated each summer to determine if they will continue as James Scholars or be recognized as James Scholars.

Because students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.5 each semester in at least 14 graded Illinois hours, students will be dropped from the James Scholar Program at the end of the semester when they fail to meet the grade and credit hour requirements for continuing as a James Scholar.

Each spring James Scholars and James Scholar nominees will be asked via email to complete a form asking them to list the activities that they participated in to meet the James Scholar requirements. Students who fail to complete this online form may jeopardize their James Scholar status.

Students who have completed all the James Scholar requirements through the fall semester of their senior year (fourth year) will be recognized at the May convocation ceremony with a James Scholar Medallion. Students who graduate in less than 7 semesters will not be recognized at convocation. There are no additional requirements for students who graduate early. Students who remain undergraduates for a 9th semester continue with James Scholar status in the 9th semester with no additional requirements.

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 John Hedeman, Assistant Dean for Honors, at hedeman@illinois.edu. The requests will be reviewed by a committee convened by Dean Hedeman. Students will be notified of the decisions in July. Deadline for submitting requests for an exception is June 1.

Benefits of the Program:

The College of Business James Scholar Honors Program offers many benefits and privileges to enhance the academic and professional experience of its participating students.

  • Priority early registration.
  • Assistant Dean for Advising as academic advisors for James Scholars.
  • Dean's Honors Seminar and BUS 101 honors section during freshman year.
  • Professional development by attending the Sleeman Leadership Program as freshmen and by participating in the job shadow program.
  • Scholarships to fund participation in an international program--$200 for each student who meets the James Scholar requirement with an international experience.
  • Use of Business Instruction Facility breakout rooms by junior (3rd year) and senior (4th year) James Scholars.
  • Participation in special programs sponsored by the College of Business.
  • Graduation as a College of Business James Scholar with a certificate of achievement, a commemorative medallion, and the University James Scholar designation listed on your academic record.
  • Guarantee of MBA x 2 Scholarship.

Becoming a James Scholar

There are multiple entry points into the College of Business James Scholar Program:

1. Upon Admission to the College of Business

Approximately 100 incoming freshmen students (including freshmen students in the College of Business Honors Program) will enter the College of Business as James Scholars based on an individual evaluation of their admissions application to the College of Business. All students admitted to the freshman class of the College of Business will be reviewed for James Scholar honors. The evaluation is based on high school class rank and standardized test scores in addition to the individual reading of the application by the College of Business. Approximately, the top 15% of admitted students are invited to enter the College of Business as James Scholars. Notices are emailed and mailed to invited students in March.

2. Freshmen in the College of Business who do not enter as James Scholars

Freshmen who do not enter the College of Business as a James Scholar and who earn at least a 3.5 GPA in at least 14 graded Illinois credit hours will be invited to nominate themselves for to be evaluated as a James Scholar. The email invitation will be sent in mid January to eligible students who must then complete a nomination form available in the College of Business Office of Undergraduate Affairs by 5 PM on the second Monday in February. To complete the requirements to become a James Scholar, these eligible freshmen must:

  • Complete an honors class of at least three credit hours with a grade of B- or better. (See the procedures for taking an honors class in the FAQs for James Scholars.
  • Earn a GPA of 3.5 for the spring semester in at least 14 graded Illinois hours with a cumulative average of at least 3.5 for the freshman year.
  • Participate in the Sleeman Leadership Institute or an approved substitute.

The Office of Undergraduate Affairs will evaluate the James Scholar nominees during the summer after their freshman year to determine if they have qualified as James Scholars. If they qualify, the students will be eligible for James Scholar benefits starting with the sophomore (or second) year.

3. Sophomores (2nd year students) in the College of Business who are not James Scholars after freshman year

All sophomores in the College of Business who are not recognized as James Scholars may nominate themselves to be considered as James Scholars if they have a freshman year GPA of at least 3.5 with at least a total of 30 graded credit hours.
College of Business sophomores who wish to be considered for James Scholars status must complete a nomination form available in the College of Business Office of Undergraduate Affairs by 5 PM on the second Monday in September. To complete the requirements to become a James Scholar, these eligible sophomores must:

  • Complete an honors class of at least three credit hours with a grade of B- or better. (See the procedures for taking an honors class in the FAQs for James Scholars.)
  • Earn a GPA of 3.5 for the fall semester in at least 14 graded Illinois hours with a cumulative average of at least 3.5 for the freshman year.
  • Earn a GPA of 3.5 for the spring semester in at least 14 graded Illinois hours
  • Have cumulative average of at least 3.5
  • Complete one of the following:
    • Participate in an international experience approved by the College of Business Office of International Programs.
    • Enroll in leadership certificate sponsored by the Illinois Leadership Center. Students must make successful progress toward meeting the requirements of the leadership certificate in the sophomore year as determine by the Illinois Leadership Center.
    • Tutor College of Business students for 40 hours in one academic year under the supervision of the College of Business Office of Undergraduate Affairs.
    • Peer Advisor for 40 hours to be fulfilled within one semester during the academic year under the supervision of the College of Business Office of Undergraduate Affairs. 
    • Successful participation in Illinois Business Consulting.
    • Successful participation in OTCR (The Office for Technical Consulting Resources).
    • Successful participation in Social Entrepreneurship Summer Institute (SESI).
    • Work as a research assistant for a faculty member in the College of Business.
    • Successful participation in the PricewaterhouseCoopers xACT competition by finishing among the top three teams.

The Office of Undergraduate Affairs will evaluate the James Scholar nominees during the summer after their sophomore year to determine if they have qualified as James Scholars. If they qualify, the students will be eligible for James Scholar benefits starting with the junior (or third) year.

4. Transfer Students to the College of Business from another college on the Champaign-Urbana campus.

University of Illinois students who have earned James Scholar status for the academic year prior to their transfer officially to the College of Business, the James Scholar status will transfer with the student. Once students are in the College of Business, they must meet College of Business standards for James Scholar status.

Incoming sophomore transfer students may petition to become a James Scholar. College of Business sophomores who wish to be considered for James Scholars status must complete a nomination form available in the College of Business Office of Undergraduate Affairs by 5 PM on the second Monday in September.?

Petitions are available in the College of Business Office of Undergraduate Affairs, 1005 BIF. Deadline for sophomores is the 2nd Monday in September.

5. Transfer Students to the College of Business from another university or college not on the Champaign-Urbana campus.

Students who transfer to the College of Business from another university or college 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 5 PM. Students entering the College of Business after two years in college (approximately 60 credit hours) made 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 do not count as honors programs.