Requirements - James Scholar Program | Gies College of Business (2024)

3.5 GPA Minimum
All sophom*ore, junior, and senior 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 end of every fall and spring semester. Should GPA fall below 3.50, the student will be dismissed from the program and lose all associated privileges. If extenuating circ*mstances 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.

20 Hours of Service
In addition to the GPA and credit hour requirements above, sophom*ores, juniors, and seniors must fulfill a commitment to at least 20 hours of voluntary (unpaid) service each academic year. This service can be completed through volunteer community-based service, unpaid service within Gies College of Business, or a combination of both. Neither community-based service nor Gies College of Business service can be for pay. Internships, course work, paid work, or work for a family business cannot count toward service hours.

Tracking Service Hours
Students must track their 20 hours of service activity on a spreadsheet that includes the following:

  • Student's Name and Net ID
  • Dates and times the service hours were completed
  • Full name of community-based organization or Gies department/event the hours were in service of
  • Description of work completed
  • Contact information for a supervisor/organizer who could verify that you completed the hours
  • Total number of hours

Students may use the service hours tracking template. This spreadsheet will then be uploaded through the online reporting form by April 30, 2024. (December graduates must submit form by December 5, 2023.)

Guidelines for Community-Based Service
The Gies James Scholars program values community service because spending time enriching your community is a great way to broaden your perceptions of the world. By immersing yourself in a community and surrounding yourself with people who are dedicated to bettering the world, you can learn so much about how the world works. You gain a unique sense of purpose by serving those around you, one which often manifests in other areas of your life - and isn't the Gies experience all about purpose?

Of course, it’s also important for your community! Without volunteers, many of the services and events we enjoy in our communities would not be so readily available. Spending time helping out at local shelters, food banks, or afterschool programs provides an important service to your neighbors. Giving back to the place you call home (even if just for four years) helps to unite the community and bridge some of the social, economic and political gaps.

When considering how to best fulfill your community service requirements, it will help to ask yourself and research the following:

  • What do I care about?
  • What are the greatest needs in my community?
  • What non-profits/charitable organizations are working toward meeting these needs?
  • How can I best invest in these non-profits/charitable organizations?
  • How can I add value to these non-profits/charitable organizations?
  • What do I have the opportunity to learn about myself through community service?
  • Who can I ask to serve with me? (Doing community service with a friend or two can be more fun and less intimidating than doing so alone)

You are highly encouraged to connect with non-profits/charitable organizations in the Champaign-Urbana area, but many students also find ways to engage in community service when home over breaks. Both means for fulfilling community service hours are great, just make sure to track the required information. Information about local opportunities will also be provided in the weekly James Scholars Updates newsletter. Additionally, you can get information about volunteer opportunities through the Office of Civic Life. Other service opportunities must first receive approval by Assistant Director for Gies Honors Rachel Newell

1. Simply "volunteering" for something isn't the same as community service. For example, attending choir rehearsals for your religious organization's holiday concert or mentoring other members of an RSO does not count toward community service hours. However, if your religious organization or RSO hosts a food pantry or winter coat distribution event, volunteering for this could count toward community service hours.

2. Donating money or items to a non-profit/charitable organization will not count as community service. However, service as a volunteer at a fundraising or outreach event hosted by and in benefit of that non-profit/charitable organization could count toward community service hours.

3. Virtual volunteer service hours must be limited to no more than 5 of the required 20 hours. The majority of hours should be spent in work that allows you to have direct contact with the organizations and/or those being served by the organization.

Options for earning service hours through Gies College of Business Service Hours
(time must still be tracked and submitted; time served must equal at least 20 hours)

  • Serve as an unpaid Peer Advisor for at least one semester (following satisfactory completion of BUS 199: Coaching for Success).
  • Serve as a Gies Ambassador
  • Volunteer for large Gies College of Business events such as New Student Welcome, Career Fair, Fall Fest, Signing Day, etc.
  • Gies Scholar Student Leadership Council
  • James Scholar Student Leadership Council
  • Dean's Student Advisory Board
  • Council of Presidents Advisory Board
  • Provost's Undergraduate Student Advisory Board
  • Gies Community Program group representative (satisfactory fulfillment of this role determined by Dean Jewell White)
  • Other activities directly related to and in service of Gies College of Business must first receive approval by the Assistant Director of Gies Honors (Rachel Newell -

Membership on a RSO or fraternity/sorority board cannot be counted toward this service hour requirement.

Online Reporting Form

Sophom*ores, Juniors, and Seniors are required to complete the online reporting form by December 5, 2023 (fall graduates) or April 30, 2024 (spring graduates and continuing students). As part of the form, you will upload your service hours tracking spreadsheet and provide a brief reflection.


  • 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.
  • If you will be studying abroad for a full semester or will not be enrolled during one semester of the academic year (due to December graduation, stopping out, winter internship, etc), you may complete 10 hours of service and submit the online reporting form by December 5, 2023 (fall enrollment) or April 30, 2023 (spring enrollment).
  • Students requesting an underload from the college for extenuating circ*mstances may also be granted an exception to the 12-hour graded credit hour minimum.
  • If there are extenuating circ*mstances (such as a health concern) that would prevent you from participating in the required 20 hours of service, 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 sophom*ores, 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 circ*mstances 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.

Requirements - James Scholar Program | Gies College of Business (2024)
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