James Scholar Honors Program

The College of Fine and Applied Arts James Scholar Honors Program creates an opportunity for high-achieving students to develop knowledge independently under the guidance of their instructors and to learn how to work with a team of students to creatively solve real-world problems.


  • Annual opportunity to apply for funds to conduct your own research
  • Direct work with professors
  • Annual designation as a James Scholar on your transcript
  • Early registration privileges
  • Recognition at graduation


  • Complete two honors projects in two separate semesters. An honors project is a course-related activity of an extraordinary nature, which may be completed in addition to or instead of regular coursework. Consult the general guidelines for honors projects for more information. The Honors Credit Learning Agreement is available in 110 Architecture or can be downloaded as a pdf.
  • Complete two public engagement courses. Students in these courses work on teams conducting research and developing and implementing solutions for real-world problems.
  • Maintain full-time (twelve semester hours) enrollment at the University of Illinois each semester the student is receiving early registration privileges.
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA ≥ 3.30.

How Do I Become a James Scholar?

Complete a self-nomination form and return it to the FAA Office for Academic Affairs, 110 Architecture, during the first two weeks of the semester.

  • Freshmen may not self-nominate prior to completion of one semester at the University of Illinois.
  • Transfer students may self-nominate during their first semester in residence at the University of Illinois if their transfer GPA is ≥ 3.50. Transfer students who have completed one semester at the University of Illinois may apply if their cumulative (University of Illinois and transfer) GPA is ≥ 3.30.

Self-nominations will not be accepted after completion of the sophomore year.

Honors Projects

An appropriate honors project is developed by a student with an instructor for a particular class (see the guidelines for details). Once an agreement on the requirements for the honors project has been reached, the student must submit the details to the FAA Office for Academic Affairs. Each student should download an Honors Credit Learning Agreement (HCLA) or pick one up in the FAA Office for Academic Affairs and return the completed form prior to the fourth week of classes.

Students will not receive early registration privileges until they have successfully completed one HCLA.

Public Engagement Courses

The following courses have been approved as public engagement courses. Not all courses are offered every semester.

  • AHS 365 (Civic Engagement in Wellness)
  • ARTE 260 (Museums in Action)
  • ARTE 475 (Art Museum Exhibition Practice)
  • ENG 315 (Learning in Community)
  • FAA 391 (Action Research Seminar)
  • LIS 418 (Community Education)
  • MUS 199, section SCH
  • SPAN 232 (Intensive Spoken Spanish)
  • SPAN 332 (Spanish and Entrepreneurship)
  • UP 448 (Environmental Planning Workshop)
  • UP 455 (Economic Development Workshop)
  • UP 456 (Sustainable Planning Workshop)
  • UP 478 (Community Development Workshop)

Requirements and information for students who entered the James Scholar Honors Program prior to fall 2013

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