Requirements for Current James Scholars

GPA & Credit Hour Requirement

James Scholars are required to maintain a GPA above a certain threshold and maintain a minimum number of graded credit hours in order to continue in the program:

3.5 GPA Minimum

All James Scholar students must earn a semesterly Illinois GPA of at least 3.50 (transfer credit from other institutions is not included in the Illinois GPA). Illinois GPA will be reviewed at the conclusion of the first year, then every fall and spring semester thereafter. Should GPA fall below 3.50, the student will be dismissed from the program and lose all associated privileges. If extenuating circumstances prevented a James Scholar from maintaining the minimum GPA, they may fill out the appeal form (see Appeal Process section at bottom of page) to request reinstatement into the program.

12 Graded Credit Hour Minimum

All James Scholar students must complete 12 graded credit hours at the University of Illinois each fall and spring semester. Graded hours do not include Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, Credit/No Credit, or Guided Individual Study courses. You must receive a letter grade for the class to count towards this requirement. Please note that if you receive a MAP or Pell Grant, you will be required to complete 15 credit hours a semester.


There is no minimum graded credit hour requirement during the final semester prior to graduation.

There is no required minimum graded credit hours for James Scholars studying abroad for a semester during that semester. James Scholars completing a winter internship and/or semester long cooperative internship are also granted an exception to this requirement. Registration in ACCY 290 or departmental confirmation of the internship is required.

Students requesting an underload from the college for extenuating circumstances may also be granted an exception to the 12 hour graded credit hour minimum.

Freshman Year Requirement

In addition to the GPA and credit hour requirements above, incoming students admitted with James Scholar status must complete the following requirements during their first year on campus:

  1. 1

    BUS 101 - James Scholar Section

    Satisfactory completion of a James Scholar Section of BUS 101 during the fall semester

  2. 2

    Sleeman Leadership Institute

    Participate in Sleeman Leadership Institute. This unique leadership experience partners with units across campus, the college, and our friends at PwC. It will take place in Spring 2022 and the date will be provided via email later in the Fall. Students must register through Gies Groups. All freshman James Scholars are required to attend.

Sophomore, Junior & Senior Year Requirements

In addition to the GPA and credit hour requirements above, each academic year upperclassmen must fulfill a commitment to a Gies College of Business activity from the list below OR complete 20 hours of community-based service. Activities and service cannot be for pay. Students must report their activity through the online reporting form by the end of the academic year (Friday, May 13, 2022).

Exemptions: If there are extenuating circumstances (such as a health concern) that would prevent you from participating, please complete the online reporting form to request an exemption from completing the James Scholar Activity/Service requirement.


Appeal Process

For freshmen, James Scholar status is evaluated at the end of the first year. For sophomores, juniors, and seniors, James Scholar status is evaluated at the end of each semester (based on GPA and credit hours for fall, and based on GPA, credit hours, and online reporting form for spring). James Scholars who do not successfully complete all requirements may be removed from the program. However, we recognize that sometimes unforeseen situations beyond students' control may occur. If extenuating circumstances affected the completion of requirements, we offer an appeal process for possible reinstatement of James Scholar status. Students will need to upload a personal statement and any relevant documentation. Appeals are reviewed by the Honors team on a case-by-case basis, and students will be contacted about the decision within a few weeks of submitting the form.