Honors at Illinois

What is Illinois Honors?

Illinois Honors is an interconnected array of special opportunities for undergraduate students of high ambition and academic achievement. At Illinois, we offer honors options of several kinds: support for students applying for nationally competitive scholarships; honors work in academic departments; the college-wide James Scholar honors programs; and the community of "Chancellor's Scholars" in the Campus Honors Program.

Because graduation requirements for these programs often overlap, it's possible to complete more than one without a great deal of additional course work. Every year, many Illinois students graduate with several kinds of academic distinction.

What's Special About Illinois Honors?

College students can excel in different ways. Sometimes their special strengths and enthusiasms are brought to life when they find a major. Other students thrive in interdisciplinary seminars and co-curricular activities: in interactions and friendships with distinguished scholars and scientists; in adventurous and intellectually challenging experience abroad; or in independent research, leadership, and service.

It's not unusual for Illinois students to reach their own academic "high gear" later than their first semester. Young people on our campus change, and as a cooperating confederation of programs, Illinois Honors can be there for you when you?re ready for honors-level work.

Your Freshman Honors Experience

When you are admitted as a James Scholar or Chancellor's Scholar, your first year will include special opportunities and events with the following objectives:

  • To help build friendships with other students who share a special interest in intellectual adventure and professional growth;
  • To introduce the vast variety of resources and events at Illinois, the worlds of learning and culture just beyond the classroom door.

Beyond the Freshman Year

The university promotes and supports students applying for nationally competitive awards. The National and International Scholarships Program challenges aspiring scholars to make the most of their time at Illinois and assists applicants for awards such as the Fulbright, Rhodes, and Truman Scholarships in sharing their profiles with selection committees.

For further information about these opportunities, please visit the National and International Scholarships Program website.

When you continue as a James Scholar or Chancellor's Scholar, you can expect to participate in honors seminars or research experiences offered by your chosen major department or your college.

Some of these programs offer study abroad options and numerous co-curricular activities, or internships and field experiences for professional development.

To learn more about these possibilities, please consult the specific James Scholar descriptions under "College Honors," in the left-hand navigation of this page.

Honor Societies

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recognizes more than 50 independent honor societies.

Among the prestigious national honor societies with campus chapters at Illinois are Tau Beta Pi (Engineering), Beta Gamma Sigma (Business), Kappa Delta Pi (Education), Phi Beta Kappa (LAS), Phi Kappa Phi (campus-wide), and the freshman honor societies Alpha Lambda Delta, Gamma Sigma Delta (ACES), and Phi Eta Sigma.

Membership in these societies is usually decided in your junior or senior year. For more information, confer with the local representative of the society that offers membership to you, or consult with a dean or academic advisor in your departmental or college office.

Dean's List

For each fall and spring semester, a Dean's List is compiled and published by each college, recognizing students who have completed on campus a full course-load of traditionally-graded semester-hours, achieving at least a "B" average for that term, and ranking in the top 20% of the class. Additional criteria are established by each college.

Honors Upon Graduation

Qualifying seniors are eligible for recognition based upon scholastic merit. Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and Summa Cum Laude are citations conferred by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for high grade-point averages and completion of an intellectually-challenging curriculum.

Honors, High Honors, and Highest Honors are distinctions conferred by the following University of Illinois colleges: Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, Applied Life Studies, Business, Media, Engineering, Education, and Fine and Applied Arts.

Qualifications for Cum Laude, Honors and higher designations are determined by each college. Also conferred in spring semester, Bronze Tablet honors the top 3% of graduates from each college.

These students receive special recognition and regalia at graduation ceremonies, and their names are inscribed on the tablets in the first-floor corridors of the University Library.

In addition, many Illinois academic departments award Distinction, High Distinction, or Highest Distinction for the completion of honors-quality work as specified in these curricula.