Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key features of CHP?

The Campus Honors Program (CHP) offers special challenges and opportunities to a small number of academically talented and highly motivated undergraduate students. It fosters collaborative relationships between students and distinguished faculty through small intensive classes, a faculty mentor system for introducing students to the intellectual standards and methodologies of academic disciplines, and informal contacts encouraged by cocurricular offerings. CHP sponsors four series of noncredit cocurricular events: a "Scholar Adventurers" lecture series on faculty research; a "Study Abroad at Home" series of seminar-workshops centering on other cultures; and a series of dress-rehearsal visits at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The aim is to encourage breadth and excellence from the outset of the student's college career, and to facilitate interaction with scholars at the cutting edge of their disciplines.

Only approximately 125 new students can be admitted to the CHP each year as first-year students. A few additional students, however, may join the program on an off-cycle basis at the beginning of the sophomore year. These students will apply to the program by February 1 their freshman year and then begin their sophomore year in CHP. Designated as "Chancellor's Scholars," CHP students may be enrolled in any undergraduate curriculum. Those who meet retention requirements continue as Chancellor's Scholars throughout their undergraduate career. Required CHP coursework is concentrated in the freshman and sophomore years, when students take intensive and specialized versions of general education courses. At the junior and senior level, when students are necessarily involved in their majors, they are required to take one advanced CHP seminar. In short, our emphasis is on fundamental principles and interdisciplinary connections, because the CHP is directed at students who desire an undergraduate education that is broad and general as well as professionally specialized.

It is as important to understand what CHP is not, as to understand what it is. CHP courses represent additional opportunities for academically gifted and adventurous students; they are not an alternative curriculum. Basically, they provide an honors-quality way of satisfying general education requirements for graduation and of helping students to discover the interrelations between their own discipline and other disciplines. Nor does CHP supplant or conflict with departmental honors programs. In consultation with their departmental academic advisors, Chancellor's Scholars develop their own combination of regular and CHP courses. Accordingly, most of the courses our students take are regular University offerings.

Most important, CHP is a challenge. A Chancellor's Scholar must make a special commitment to intellectual life, and to the dialogue and community in the Honors House.

How does being a Chancellor's Scholar benefit me?

As a small general studies program within a large state university, the Campus Honors Program seeks to combine the advantages of a major public institution with those of a small liberal arts college. Opportunities offered by the program include:

  • challenging courses designed especially for CHP students, with limited enrollment (usually 18 students or fewer)
  • summer grants to fund student research projects and to support student domestic and foreign travel
  • social and intellectual activities outside the classroom, including cultural events and seminars on topics of interest
  • access to the University Library stacks
  • transcript notation of Chancellor's Scholar status
  • access to computer facilities in the Honors House, and to a special communications electronic bulletin board
  • orientation and senior sibling programs for incoming students
  • Honors House, the honors student center which offers an atmosphere conducive to study and relaxation
  • priority registration for classes
  • interaction with an outstanding group of peers

What are the critera for admission to CHP?

Entering freshmen with high ACT/SAT scores and exceptional high school records are invited by CHP to apply for admission to the program, but any incoming or currently-enrolled freshman may ask to be considered. Acceptance is based upon such factors as standardized test scores, high school class rank and grade-point average, evidence of creative and leadership abilities as displayed in extracurricular interests and activities, the strength of the application essays, and evidence of willingness to accept CHP challenges and contribute to the program. The Honors Program is open to students in all majors offered on the Urbana-Champaign campus, and an effort is made to ensure that each incoming class of Chancellor's Scholars is broadly representative of the curricula of the University as a whole. We seek students who are strongly motivated not only to excel but also to make a difference at Illinois.

What kinds of courses does CHP offer?

Since CHP emphasizes breadth and integration, our courses cover a wide range of disciplines. Basically, we offer two types of courses: general education courses for freshmen and sophomores and interdisciplinary seminars for juniors and seniors. Each semester, we offer a selection of honors variants of general education courses in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences as well as a few special elective courses. In addition, upperclass Chancellor's Scholars are able to choose among two or three junior-senior seminars each semester. Sometimes these seminars are team-taught by faculty members from different departments and sometimes a single professor with primary responsibility for the course calls upon the services of guest lecturers from other departments. Typically, the seminars are taken by more advanced students from a variety of major fields so that the subject matter can be approached from the perspective of several disciplines.

We do not require our students to take specific CHP courses, but only to choose five courses total (over a three- or four-year period) from a varied menu of CHP offerings those four courses plus one capstone seminar that best fit their personal interests as well as their college and departmental curricular requirements.

Are CHP courses more difficult or more work than regular courses?

The principal difference between CHP courses and regular courses is qualitative rather than quantitative. Honors work is not usually greater in time demand, but different in kind. As a rule, students can expect less lecturing and more interacting, less notetaking and more critical writing, less memorizing and more thinking. Because the classes are small and typically conducted seminar-style, more is expected of the individual student in terms of personal involvement and active participation. Students benefit from more individualized attention on the instructor's part, greater opportunity for discussion and debate, and assignments that encourage them to think, write, and speak with rigor and clarity. Courses must be taken for credit and receive at least a "B-" for it to be counted as one of the five courses required for the program.

Won't my grades suffer if I'm taking classes with and competing against other really good students?

Although you are taking CHP classes with other really good students, your grades will probably not suffer. In CHP courses there is no class curve, and CHP students do not compete against each other for a limited number of A's or B's. We have found that our students do as well in their CHP courses as they do in their regular courses, or better. We believe this is because the intellectual stimulation of excellent instructors and lively classmates in a small-class setting motivates our students to perform well and to earn good grades.

How is CHP related to other honors programs at the University, like the James Scholar Program and departmental honors programs?

In contrast to the Campus Honors Program, which provides a systematic program of instruction at the campus level addressed to the intellectual needs of superior students, the James Scholar Program exists in the individual colleges, on a decentralized basis. Currently, "James Scholar" designates undergraduates who have met certain criteria established by the individual colleges. James Scholar Honors programs by each College, but our programs can work very well together. In most Colleges, two or three of the CHP course requirements will count together James Scholar requirements as well; thus doing double duty. These criteria vary, but typically involve a minimum cumulative grade-point average and the successful completion of one honors course per semester or per academic year. Similarly, each department establishes its own requirements for graduation with honors. Requirements vary from one department to the next, but usually involve a minimum GPA, a certain amount of honors coursework, and a thesis or senior research project. CHP students are encouraged also to participate in honors programs established at the college and departmental levels.

How do CHP requirements fit in with other university requirements?

Like other UIUC students, Chancellor's Scholars must fulfill the University's general education requirements, which include a minimum of six hours each in the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences; and conform to the requirements of their own curricula regarding prescribed subjects, electives, and number of hours for graduation.

CHP requirements are designed to dovetail with your curriculum. Many of our courses satisfy general education requirements (directly or by petition) and are taken during the first two years of undergraduate study. In fact, four of the five CHP courses our students must take before graduation are either honors versions of general education courses, or in a few cases, special topics courses that may be taken as electives. The fifth CHP course is an interdisciplinary seminar taken either the junior or senior year, when our students are concentrating on courses in their major field and are occupied with honors programs at the departmental level. Most majors can accommodate the five-course CHP requirement quite easily, but students in highly structured curricula with little scheduling flexibility (like chemical engineering, for example) will have to plan carefully in order to complete requirements.

Some changes in general education requirements are currently being implemented. Thus, new students should confirm these requirements by consulting college and departmental offices, handbooks, or advisors.

If I am admitted, what must I do to stay in the program?

Being a Chancellor's Scholar is a privilege. You are expected to participate in the Program's courses and co-curricular activities, to maintain the required grade-point average, and to conduct yourself honorably and constructively.

You are expected to make steady progress in completing course requirements and co-curricular activities. By the beginning of your fifth semester at UIUC, you should have completed at least three CHP courses or seminars, or be in the process of completing your third. You should also have completed at least two Scholar Adventurer Series events and one Krannert Dress Rehearsal (KDR) event. Students with deficient records can be dropped from the program. If there are extenuating circumstances which impede you from making progress at this pace, it is your responsibility to confer with CHP staff and work out an alternative plan for completing your required curricular and co-curricular activities.

Chancellor's Scholars are required to maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.30 or better.

Chancellor's Scholars are expected to conduct themselves lawfully and responsibly, in full compliance with the UIUC Code of Policies and Regulations Applying to All Students and the laws of the United States, and the State and municipalities of Illinois. Dishonesty cannot be tolerated, either in academic work or in interactions with fellow students and with CHP faculty and staff. Violations can result in immediate dismissal from the Campus Honors Program. Abuses of CHP privileges (the use of the Honors House and its equipment, registration privileges, etc.) will also constitute grounds for dismissal from the Program. Students who are dropped from the CHP for conduct may appeal in writing to the Honors Advisory Committee, which will confer with representatives of the Honors Student Council and make a recommendation to the Director.

What if I decide that CHP isn't for me?

If you decide that CHP isn't right for you, you may withdraw from the program at any time. You should notify the Director, in writing, and you may be asked to come in for an exit interview. You will receive credit for all CHP courses you complete.

Can I leave the University for a semester without losing my place in the program?

Yes, you may leave the University for a semester without losing your place in CHP. However, you must be in good standing in the CHP when you leave, and you must make arrangements with the Honors Office prior to leaving. When you are ready to come back, you will have to follow the University's readmission process and meet established deadlines for applying for readmission (November 1 for Spring; March 15 for Fall). You will also need to notify the CHP as to which semester you plan to return.

What if I want to take a semester or even a year off to do something special, like study abroad, a work/study co-op, or an internship?

It is common for students to take a semester or year off to do something special. After notifying your college office and securing whatever approvals are necessary, you will need to inform the Honors Office of your plans in writing. By request and justification (submitted to the Director), such activities may be substituted for CHP coursework in meeting program requirements.

Can I get research experience through CHP?

Chancellor's Scholars may apply for a CHP Summer Research Award and/or a Travel Award. The Summer Research Award Program provides recipients a stipend for 8 weeks during the summer to explore a topic of their choice, working under the supervision of an appropriate faculty sponsor. Another form of support for student scholarly activities is the CHP Summer Travel Award Program, which provides grants of up to $1,000 each for such purposes as studying abroad, taking advantage of an internship opportunity, or gaining access to research resources during the summer. Only Chancellor's Scholars are eligible for CHP research or travel awards.

Priority for these awards will be given to students who are making good progress toward completion of CHP curricular and co-curricular requirements.

Who will advise me on academic matters?

Your primary sources of information and assistance on academic matters will be undergraduate studies advisors in your home college and major department. They will help you with selecting courses and making arrangements to complete all degree requirements. They can advise you on special programs and opportunities, including the various kinds of honors recognition for superior academic achievement given by the University and by the colleges and departments when you graduate. Moreover, as a Chancellor's Scholar, you will have CHP staff members and your faculty mentor to assist you.

Does CHP sponsor social activities?

Annual CHP social events include an informal reception early in the Fall to welcome each new class of Chancellor's Scholars and another reception late in the Spring to honor graduating seniors. Everyone associated with the CHP is invited to these events. Additionally, the Honors Student Council arranges social activities for students in the program and their friends, such as pizza parties and picnics, soccer and volleyball games, and movie and game nights. CHP students also participate in student government, lead CHP orientation sessions, and coordinate Honors Convocation discussion groups.

Is there special housing for honors students?

Yes. We are pleased to announce that starting in Fall 2016, the residence halls will be offering an Honors Living and Learning Community. For further information, go to: Honors Living and Learning: Other Living and Learning options:

Is there financial aid for honors students?

One of the attractions of the University of Illinois is its low cost, compared to many other top-rated American colleges and universities. Beyond that, CHP can offer a limited number of partial tuition-waiver scholarships to students who are not Illinois residents. These waivers defray part of the out-of-state portion of tuition for the first year, and may be renewed for the second year if the student meets all requirements for continuance in CHP. First-year Chancellor's Scholars from Illinois receive a $1,500 scholarship to help with educational expenses.

Honors-caliber students who can demonstrate financial need have an excellent chance of being granted additional financial aid beyond what the CHP is able to provide. To receive University-awarded financial aid, undergraduate students must be enrolled for at least 12 credit hours and must complete a "need-analysis document" in the Office of Student Financial Aid. The deadline date for first-priority processing and equal consideration of financial aid applications is mid-March prior to the academic year for which aid is desired.

What will it cost to participate in CHP?

It costs nothing to participate in the CHP. There are no extra fees for applying to CHP or being a Chancellor's Scholar.

How do I apply for admission to CHP?

Please see the admissions page for updated information on admission.

If I have other questions, what should I do?

The best way to get more information is to visit the campus. You can tour the Honors House, sit in on classes, talk with an honors staff member, and meet some students. All of us will be happy to answer your questions and tell you about the opportunities and benefits provided by the CHP.

For further information about the CHP, please write or call:

Campus Honors Program
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1205 West Oregon Street
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 244-0922

For a University application form or information about undergraduate admissions, please write or call:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Administrations and Records Building
901 West Illinois Street
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 333-0302