James Scholar Honors

DGS offers James Scholar Honors for high-ability students so they can develop valuable skills in leadership, research, creativity, and service-learning.

Current Students

Benefits of the Program

Why Be a James Scholar?

  • Register early for courses (starting with second semester registration).
  • Access smaller courses (30 or fewer students) reserved only for James Scholars.
  • Foster close relationships with faculty that enrich your education and lead to future opportunities.
  • Conduct research projects and work one-on-one with faculty members.
  • Remain a James Scholar in your new college once you declare your major.
  • Gain honors recognition on official transcripts and at graduation.

Becoming a James Scholar

Admitted Freshmen

  • Based on academic achievement in high school, the top 10% of DGS admitted freshmen are invited to participate.
  • All DGS admitted freshmen are automatically considered based on their application for admission.

Continuing Students

  • Continuing DGS students may self-nominate with a 3.8 cumulative Illinois GPA.
  • All qualified students will receive an invitation from our Honors Director at the start of the semester.
  • James Scholar students who transfer into DGS from other colleges on campus maintain their honors designation, assuming all requirements were met through their previous college.

Admitted Transfer Students

  • DGS transfer students may self-nominate with a 3.8 cumulative GPA from their previous institution.
  • Qualified transfer students will receive an invitation from our Honors Director at the start of their first semester.
  • Any transfer student who was a member of an official honors program at their previous institution may submit documentation to be considered as a full James Scholar upon their first semester at Illinois.

Maintaining Honors Status


At the end of each semester, your progress will be reviewed. To remain an active and certified DGS James Scholar, you must:

  • Maintain a semester and Illinois cumulative GPA of at least 3.5.
  • Complete 2 honors requirements each academic year, 1 each semester.
  • Enroll in at least 12 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters.
  • Should a student be found to have committed any infraction of the UIUC Rules of Academic Integrity, they would automatically forfeit their James Scholar membership and privileges.

Maintaining Honors Status in Your New College

Each college offers a James Scholar program, but requirements may vary. Familiarize yourself with your new college once you declare your campus major:

*Nursing- Students transferring to UIC College of Nursing may continue an honors experience through UIC's Honors College