PHYS 101 :: Physics Illinois :: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

James Scholar Credit

Page Contents

James Scholar Project Eligibility

Timeline and Deadlines

Project Description - Track 1 - Track 2

Paperwork - College Forms

Proposal Evaluation

Paper Evaluation


In order to obtain James Scholars credit in Physics 101, you must:

Please note that the grades on these assignments DO NOT affect your overall PHYS 101 grade IN ANY WAY.

Timeline and Deadlines


Where to turn in Project component
College dependent Your College Honors Credit Learning Agreement
5:00pm on September 29, 2023 Gradescope Proposal (web form)
October 2 through Ocbober 20 Gradescope Proposal feedback and resubmission
5:00pm on November 10, 2023 Gradescope Paper First Draft due(document upload)
November 15 through December 6 Gradescope Paper feedback and resubmission
5:00pm on December 7 Gradescope Final deadline for papers

This semester, your James Scholar grader is John Slimak (
Please join the Gradescope course for this semester using the code: 3J4E5B
Office hours will be held via zoom and are available by request.

James Scholar Project Description

This semester we are offering two tracks for the James Scholar Assignment: (1) Physics History and (2) Current Physics.

Your honors credit will be based on an assignment that involves:

  1. Choosing one of the two tracks and identifying your topic and/or article that is relevant to Physics 101 material.
  2. writing a <1000 word summary of the topic or article with your interpretation that is relevant to Physics 101 material.

Track 1: Physics History

In this first option, you will choose a concept related to Physics 101 and do some research related to the history of that concept. By the end of the semester, you will turn in a >1000 word paper summarizing the history of the concept at the level a high school student can understand, explaining the ideas involved, how they changed over time and why, and who was involved in these ideas. Wikipedia can be a great resource to get started with these topics, but your research should utilize other reputable and citable resources such as the Center for History of Physics, journals like History of Science, Science in Context, and Perspectives on Science, or books like Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Some options you may wish to investigate include:

The proposal must identify the topic you wish to cover, summarize how it is of historical interest, and provide at least three resources you plan to use for that topic.

Track 2: Current Physics

In this second option, you will find a recent journal article that contains material related to the concepts covered in Physics 101. By the end of the semester, you will turn in a >1000 word paper summarizing the article at the level a high school student can understand, explaining the ideas involved and identifying how the work in the article connects to Physics 101.

The article must:

The proposal must include a link to or pdf copy of the article and at least one paragraph explaining how it is relevant to Physics 101.


If you are already a James Scholar, you should complete an Honors Credit Learning Agreement form, get it signed, and submit it to your college office.

How do I get the form signed?

Proposal Evaluation

Your James Scholar Project proposal will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Proposals that satisfy all these criteria will be approved to move forward with a James Scholar Paper. If your proposal does not satisfy these criteria you will have an opportunity to respond to feedback and resubmit your proposal in Gradescope for approval.

Paper Evaluation

Your paper will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

We will require you to satisfy all paper criteria in order to earn honors credit for Physics 101. We are using a revise and resubmit approach to this project: We will provide feedback on each draft you submit and you will be able to make revisions and resubmit in Gradescope until either (1) all criteria are satisfied or (2) the final deadline passes. If your first draft satisfies all the paper criteria you will not need to resubmit. Papers submitted after the first draft deadline will have reduced opportunities to receive feedback. Please work with the grader if you run into any difficulties.