Three female students outside smiling

Continuing to Recognize the Talents of Academically Outstanding Students

Since the 1950s, the University of Illinois has encouraged outstanding undergraduate students by offering participation in the Edmund James Scholar Program. Each college has a James Scholar undergraduate honors program. The programs are named for the fourth president of the University of Illinois, Edmund J. James, who believed scholarship and research are fundamental to human progress. In the years of his presidency (1904 – 1920), he brought world-class scholars and researchers to the campus, developed many new graduate programs, and fostered a sense of community among faculty and students. His achievements helped to transform the University of Illinois into a campus of international importance.

At Gies College of Business, the James Scholar program supports  students who have demonstrated high academic potential and motivation to pursue their academic, professional, and personal goals to create future business leaders and scholars. James Scholars represent a diverse Gies student body with a mindset of being inclusive of all backgrounds, experiences, and interests.

Who can be a James Scholar?

There are several ways to become a James Scholar in Gies College of Business.
Incoming First-Year Students

High-achieving  first-year students admitted to Gies will be invited to join the Gies Honors program as James Scholar Honors Students.  No separate application is required, as the Gies College of Business will review new first-year students admission applications to determine invitation to the James Scholar Honors Program.

Rising Sophomores

At the conclusion of the spring semester, the top 5% of first-year students who were not invited to the university as James Scholars, including students entering Gies via intercollegiate transfer, will be identified based upon Overall GPA. Over the summer, these students will be invited to apply to the James Scholar Program by completing a short application. Juniors and Seniors are not eligible for entry into the James Scholar Program.

Inter-Collegiate Transfers (ICT)

Students who complete Inter-Collegiate transfer to Gies and are a certified James Scholar at the conclusion of their first year in their originating college will maintain their James Scholar Status in Gies.

Off-Campus Transfers (OCT)

Students who transfer to Gies from another institution will be extended an invitation to the James Scholar program upon certifying membership of an honors program at their originating institution.

James Scholar Program Benefits

  • Priority early registration
  • Exclusive spring break study abroad opportunities
  • Academic advising
  • Access to honors sections of courses with smaller class sizes
  • Sleeman Leadership Institute for first-year students
  • Service opportunities
  • Social and professional development events
  • Peer mentorship program

Gies News and Events

Graebner named Robert C. Evans Endowed Professor of Business

Melissa Graebner is the director of the Initiative for Qualitative Research in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (INQUIRE), which supports qualitative research exploring the complex social processes underlying the creation of novel ideas, development of innovative business models, and growth of new organizations.