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Requirements - Freshman Year

Freshman requirements apply to all first year students, regardless of advanced academic standing due, for instance, to AP or IB credits.  These requirements do not apply to transfer students.

At least one honors activity is required during the freshman year. James Scholars may complete this activity in the Fall or in the Spring semester although many students often prefer to do so during the second semester of the freshman year. The following courses and activities are recognized as freshman honors experiences:

  • Completion of an honors section of any course. Such sections are tipically explicitly designated as such in the course description or have "Honors" in the title, for instance Honors Project or Honors Seminar.
  • Completion of a course with an honors credit learning agreement (HCLA). It represents an agreement between the student and the instructor regarding the additional work to be done in a course in order to receive honors credit. This can be done for any course and with instructor approval. Upon successful completion of the honors work, the student is awarded honors credit for the course.
  • Any course or activity which involves effort beyond normal academic requirements may be considered as an honors experience, upon review and approval by the Engineering Undergraduate Programs Office. Such requests should be submitted to 206 Engineering Hall.

James Scholars are expected to maintain a 3.3 GPA to remain in the program, with the exception of ECE students who need 3.5 GPA.  Annual "certification" for engineering students takes place in the Summer.  Therefore, if the GPA goes below the prescribed level after the Fall semester, students may still make up for the deficiency in the Spring semester and remain James Scholars.  Those students who maintain the prescribed GPA at the end of the Spring semester and have completed the necessary honors requirements for the academic year are "certified" and receive a mention in the transcripts for the full year.  Students who maintain the prescribed GPA but have not completed the necessary honors activities, do not get certified but are continued as James Scholars for the next year.

NOTE: Annual certification takes place in the Summer and, therefore, summer courses cannot be used to make up for a GPA deficiency in the preceding academic year.  However, if the GPA moves back above the prescribed limit after the Summer, a student may immediatly apply in the beginning of the Fall semester to be reinstated as a James Scholar.  Applications to join the Engineering James Scholar Program can be made at the front desk in 206 Engineering Hall in the first two week of any semester.  Only grades obtained at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign can be counted for the honors GPA requirement.

Special Requirements for Electrical or Computer Engineering Majors

The ECE department requires a 3.5 GPA rather than a 3.3 GPA and juniors and seniors must take ECE 200 in either the fall or spring semester of each year. Details are at

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