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306 N. Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
Ph: (217) 333-2300
Fax: (217) 244-7075

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ECE James Scholar Program

James Scholar Program: Summary | Rules | Contracts | Advisors
                                         College of Engineering James Schlolars

Summary of ECE James Scholar Program


  • Entering freshmen are in the top 1% of their high school class or have a 33 ACT composite or 1450 SAT (approx).
    • To stay in the program ECE students must have a 3.5 GPA (top 25%). The rest of the College of Engineering uses a 3.3 cutoff.
  • To enter the program after arriving, students must have a 3.5 GPA and register - ONLY during the first two weeks of each term - at the College of Engineering portal.


  • James Scholars are assigned ECE faculty mentors who become their James Scholar Advisors and help them with honors contract development.
  • Sophmores must develop an honors contract online --- See College of Engineering James Scholar Program for a description of honors contract.
    • Subject area for honor contracts is wide open -- research, advanced coursework, foreign study, archaeology, ...
    • All minors will count.


  • Freshmen take one per year of an honors course or section --- these are indicated by an "H" in the section designation in the Class Schedule.
  • Sophomores take either one honors course or section, or one course from their honors contracts during their second year on campus.
  • Freshmen and sophomores can arrange honors credit with the professor of one of their classes using an "honors credit learning agreement" that specifies the extra work required to earn “honors”. The form is available in 151 Everitt or 206 Engineering Hall.
  • Contracts must be submitted by the end of the second year on campus (e.g. sophomores -- but not first year "sophomores" who have lots of AP credit).
  • Contracts may be modified at any time.
  • Contracts are completed over the junior and senior years.

Record Keeping and Validation

  • The Dean's Office checks GPAs in the summer and dismisses students whose GPAs are low.
  • The Honors Contract is entered by the student on .The JS Advisor also enters approval via
  • Formally, the College Honors Council must approve all contracts and acts as a coordinating body. It is unlikely it will veto anything approved by an honors adviser, but it will help by issuing guidelines as it reviews contracts.


  • Preregister first!
  • Stack pass to the main library
  • Notation on transcript

ECE Special Rules

  • 3.5 GPA instead of 3.3.
  • Scholars must take ECE 200 once per year, sophomore through senior -- the goal is to expose them to a variety of ECE topics more frequently and earlier in their careers.
  • Oral / poster report for those doing research, at the spring ECE Undergrad Research Symposium


  • The challenge for sophomores is to envision what they can and want to do while they are still taking basic classes.
  • They should be encouraged to modify the contract as needed.

Range of Contracts

  • College of Engineering and the ECE Department recognize all minors except CS minors for computer engineering majors.
  • ECE Honors Advisors believe that the proposed course work should be capped with an ECE 396 project or an ECE 496/499 thesis.