The James Scholar Program is a University-wide program established to encourage undergraduate research and independent study and can involve opportunities to work with renowned faculty who support research and scholarship. 

In the College of Education, the James Scholar Program provides a rewarding educational experience for students with exceptional academic skills. James Scholars in Education are civically engaged, global citizens and leaders able to use research based decision making skills. James Scholars are creative, collaborative and think critically as they prepare to enter the work force. As a James Scholar we expect you to view the world from all different perspectives and become change agents in society. It is our hope that the honors community in the College of Education will allow you to find and discover opportunities and take risks that broaden your thinking so you leave here ready to make a difference in the field of education. Diversity is a key element of the College of Education and we expect you to become enlightened and compassionate about current educational issues related to social, environmental and economic justice. To this end, Education James Scholars are encouraged to develop transferable skills and academic discipline around the following themes:

  • Research
  • Service Learning/ Social Justice
  • Leadership
  • Professional Development

Overview of the James Scholar Program

Incoming Freshmen will be expected to select James Scholars options in accordance with the requirements of the designated four themes in order to be eligible for cords at graduation. Two research projects are required.

Incoming transfer students are not bound to the four themed requirements - but are encouraged to participate in any options offered.

Students must complete a James Scholars Project, in the Fall and Spring semester, in order to be certified for the year. For all requirements, please see Program Details

Themes of the Program

I.  Research – (2 REQUIRED)

  • EDUC 102 – Freshmen only
  • CI 199 (repeatable option)
  • eHCLA (research option only, refer to Participating Faculty Researchers)
  • eHCLA Research Lab Site: Adult Learning Lab
  • HDFS 494- Research Methods (Developmental Assessment and Screenings with Young Children or STRONG Kids Program sections) 

II. Service Learning /Social Justice/ Study Abroad (1 Recommended)

Please consult the campus Class Schedule for availability and times.

CI 260- Serving Child in Schools/Community

ENG 298- Special Topics (only specified sections, examples include but not limited to Lego Robotics Mentoring or Learning in Community with Don Moyer’s Boys and Girls Club)

ENG 315 - Learning in Community (examples include but not limited to Campus Middle School for Girls and the Walking School Bus Program). See the course schedule for details. 

ARTE 260- Museums in Action

ARTS 299- The Everyday Arts Lab (EAL)

FAA 199/499 - Choreographing Leadership

LIS 418- Community Engagement

SPAN 232- Spanish in the Community

SPAN 332- Spanish and Entrepreneurship

UP 478- Community Development Workshop

CHEM  199 – Undergraduate Open Seminar (only specified sections such as Sci Ed and Research for Children, Kids and Chemistry Outreach program)

EPS 390 -Education & Social Justice

Study Abroad – If participating in a spring/winter break or summer study abroad program (taken from Illinois), students can  earn James Scholar credit by presenting their experience AT A SPRING SEMESTER EVENT. NOTE: James Scholar Credit must be the immediate semester but is based on the commitment to present at a spring venue.  So students who study abroad in the summer will earn fall James Scholar credit but it is based on their presentation in the spring and does not constitute their spring project since it counted for fall. Students interested in earning James Scholar credit for study abroad will need to create a 4-5 minute video about their educational experience and present at one of the James Scholar spring events.  Contact the College of Education Admissions and Records Officer at with questions and for video and presentation details. 

PLEASE NOTE: Semester long study abroad trips automatically fulfill the James Scholar requirement for the semester the student is abroad. The semester long study abroad does not require a presentation.

III. Leadership (1 Recommended)

Attend one LEADERSHIP Center Program per semester for credit for a maximum of 2 semesters.

To register for an Illinois Leadership Center Program, you will need to navigate to the Illinois Leadership Center website. Directions on how to register are available through this website. Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email from the Leadership Center with information about the event. Please note, students may register for a maximum of two programs to count toward James Scholar credit. 

To receive James Scholar credit for attending an Illinois Leadership Center program, students are expected to be an active and positive participant. Students must submit copy of I-program certificate to 142 EDUC by the end of the semester in which the program was attended.

  • Create a Clinical Experiences Interactive Blog 
  • Attend a District Professional Development Opportunity
  • Create a Workshop for the Office of School and Community Experiences Professional Development Series
  • Service-Learning Project
  • A Study on Teacher Supervision/Evaluation


  • James Scholar designated Course /Section.  Example:  EPSY 200 (repeatable option) (eHCLA not required)
  • Course related eHCLA (Repeatable option)
  • Campus Honors Program Course (Repeatable option)