Undergraduate Programs FAQs

Answers to commonly-asked questions about UCalgary Nursing undergraduate programs


You can apply online at ucalgary.ca/future-students/undergraduate/apply.

This is the only method of application.

Detailed admission requirements can be found under each entry route page:

Direct Entry Transfer Degree-holder

Admission is determined based on competitive GPA.

The competitive GPA varies from intake-to-intake, depending on the applicant pool.

The Direct Entry, Transfer route and Degree-holder route all have different course requirements. 

One half course (HCE) is equivalent to a three to five unit course and one full course (FCE) is equivalent to a six or more unit course.

In order to be considered "official", transcripts must be forwarded “directly” to Enrolment Services from the institution(s) a student has attended. If you have a transcript in your possession, it would be considered “unofficial."

Students only qualify for one entry route at a given time. If you already hold a bachelor’s degree, you must apply through the Degree Holder Route.

Each route is designed for students with different levels of prior education. The Direct Entry Route is for students entering from High School. The Transfer Route is for students who have completed some university-transferable coursework (but have not completed a degree) or who have a two-year diploma from a recognized institution. The Degree Holder Route is for students who have a recognized baccalaureate degree (or higher). 

Information on fees can be found here

For a complete estimate of expenses for the Bachelor of Nursing Program, please refer to “Estimate of Expenses” in the Student Handbook.


Students are not permitted to change program streams. For Degree Holder and Transfer Route students, the program is already accelerated as much as possible. For Direct Entry students, there is no option to accelerate.

RNs are prepared as generalists; therefore, Bachelor of Nursing degrees do not have majors, minors or specializations. Graduates will be confident in skills and knowledge to practice in any area of nursing and in any health-care setting.  Continuous learning, including the completion of certifications in speciality areas, can be obtained once you are a RN.

Yes, students are permitted to complete course work during the Fall Session prior to joining the Faculty of Nursing in the Winter Session. Please note that admission is calculated on courses from the Summer Session and prior, so no Fall Session course work will be counted towards your admission requirements or admitting GPA.

If you are completing course work at an institution that is not the University of Calgary, you must declare this on your application.

If you are a current University of Calgary student and wish to complete this course work at another institution, you will require a letter of permission from your home faculty.

If you enroll in a baccalaureate Nursing program at another institution, you will be required to comply with the requirements for Attendance in a Prior Nursing Program as outlined in the University of Calgary Calendar.

Professional Requirements

The University of Calgary Bachelor of Nursing Degree Program prepares students to become Registered Nurses (RNs).

There are three groups of professional nurses in Alberta:  Registered Nurses (RNs), Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who are responsible to their respective professional nursing colleges or associations which serve as regulatory bodies for licensing health professionals. 

Provincial legislation directs these three professional nursing regulatory bodies to ensure that nurses provide safe, ethical, competent nursing care. The regulatory bodies do this by setting requirements for licensure (initial and annual renewal), for standards of practice, and for approval of nursing education programs.  Processes are also established for addressing complaints regarding unsafe or incompetent practice. Each regulatory body also defines the scope of practice of their members.

The curriculum for each nursing program varies according to the scope of knowledge and skills required for practice by these different groups. All students study from the same body of nursing knowledge.  Entry to practice for RNs and RPNs requires a bachelor’s degree from an approved university program. Nursing education for Registered Nurses prepares nurses to practice in diverse settings, from hospitals to community sites and patients’ homes.  The depth and breadth of foundational knowledge includes the following areas:  clinical practice, decision-making, critical thinking, leadership, research utilization and resource management.  RPN programs prepare clinicians for practice for nursing roles with a mental health focus. The LPN program is shorter in length with a more focused foundational knowledge of clinical practice appropriate to management of stable patients in more predictable service environments.

Compensation for nursing jobs varies depending on a variety of factors, including the professional designation (RN, RPN, LPN), the job location, as well as the area and scope of the position.  
For more detailed information about the scope of practice for RNs, RPNs, and LPNs, refer to the websites for CARNACRPNA, and CLPNA. 

Nursing students need certain basic skills and abilities to attain the entry-to-practice competencies to become a registered nurse in Alberta. These basic skills and abilities are called requisite skills and abilities (RSAs) and all are required for progression through a nursing education program and for initial entry to practice as a registered nurse.

Students are encouraged to review the document Requisite Skills and Abilities for Becoming a Registered Nurse in Alberta to identify their fit with the requirements of becoming a registered nurse and/or identifying their potential need for accommodation in becoming a member of the nursing profession. The Alberta Human Rights Commission interpretive document Duty to Accommodate Students with Disabilities in Post-Secondary Educational Institutions stipulates that accommodation does not require post-secondary institutions to lower the academic or non-academic standards to accommodate students. 

If you are a student with a documented disability who may require academic accommodation, you must officially register with Student Accessibility Services.  Students who have not registered with the Student Accessibility Services are not eligible for formal academic accommodation.

Detailed information regarding academic accommodations, Student Accessibility Services and the University of Calgary’s Student Accommodation Policy can be found below.  

It is important for students with documented disabilities, who have met the admission criteria, to note that the University of Calgary will provide academic accommodations to all students who have provided documentation of disability to the satisfaction of Student Accessibility Services, to the extent that the accommodation does not cause undue hardship to the University of Calgary or lower the performance standards of any given academic program. 

The provision of academic accommodations is based on a balance of rights and shared responsibilities, and, as such, reflects the responsibilities and obligations of students with disabilities, course instructors, staff, and practicum supervisors for the provision of academic accommodation and the ongoing development of an accessible learning environment.  

Graduates of the University of Calgary (BN Program) seeking RN licensure outside of Canada must begin the process by contacting the appropriate licensing agency, for the jurisdiction where they wish to practice, for information including the steps/forms/process required. Once you have identified the appropriate agency/process/forms, please send those documents to  nursing@ucalgary.ca.

  • Please ensure that you carefully complete and sign all sections of the forms required as the applicant/student; failure to do so will result in a delay in the process.
    Please note that completion of documentation/forms for RN licensure outside of Canada can take 6-8 weeks.

Transfer & Transfer Credits

LPN/RNA, RPN, PCA and EMS programs do not transfer to the U of C; however, transfer credit may be awarded for a two-year Diploma Program (to a maximum of 10 half junior options) or for other university level transferable coursework. Please contact a Student Advisor in the Faculty of Nursing for further information.

The curriculum of nursing programs across Canada varies greatly; therefore, students wishing to transfer from another BN/BScN Program would be required to enter into Year 2 of our program by applying to the BN Transfer Route (or BN Degree Holder Route, if applicable).

In addition, applicants who have previously been enrolled in a baccalaureate Nursing program at another institution must submit: 

1) a letter which outlines their academic plans and explains their reasons for transferring to the University of Calgary Nursing program and

2) a reference letter from the Dean or Designate of the current/prior Nursing program that the applicant is transferring from, confirming that the applicant is/was in good academic standing and that they are eligible to continue in the program.

A follow-up interview with the Associate Dean may be required as part of the review process.  Admission is not automatic; applicants will be considered on an individual basis.

In instances where applicants have failed prior nursing courses or have been required to withdraw from a prior nursing program, the letter must also explain why they are now likely to be successful.  Refer to section A.6 Required to Withdraw Students for more detailed information if applicable.

​​​​​​If you are mid-way through a baccalaureate degree at UCalgary, you will most likely qualify for  the Transfer Route. Students must meet the prerequisite requirements as well as the competitive GPA for the term they have applied to. A “Change of Program” application must be submitted through your Student Centre.

If you plan to complete your degree prior to applying, or already hold a recognized degree, you would need to apply to the Degree Holder Route.

You can contact a student advisor to inquire about course transferability. Please be aware that an “official” assessment of your documents (eg. detailed course outlines, transcripts, etc.) will not take place until you have formally applied to a program and paid the application fee.

Prerequisite courses can be taken through any recognized post-secondary institution. Examples of institutions include: the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, Athabasca University and Thompson Rivers University.

Some examples of commonly completed Anatomy & Physiology courses include:

  • University of Calgary: KNES 259 & KNES 260
    There are limited seats available in KNES 259 & KNES 260 for open registration. For details about prerequisite courses, refer to the University of Calgary Calendar.
  • Athabasca University: BIOL 235 (Online)
  • Thompson Rivers University: BIOL 1593 & BIOL 1693 (Online)
  • MacEwan University: HLSC 120 & HLSC 126 & HLSC 128 (Online; all three courses required)

There are a number of other Anatomy & Physiology courses accepted from many different institutions. If you have questions about courses, please contact a student advisor.

International Students & Internationally Educated Students

If you hold a previous bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in nursing, you cannot obtain another baccalaureate degree within the same discipline/major.  If you wish to work in Alberta, please go to nurses.ab.ca for information on how to obtain nursing registration.

If you wish to further your education within the field of nursing, you may want to consider enrolling in a Master’s of Nursing (MN) Degree Program; however, it is important to note that students in the MN Program at the University of Calgary must hold active/current nursing registration with the College & Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA).

Detailed information on the University of Calgary MN Program can be obtained by clicking the link below.

Please access the University of Calgary Calendar (A.11 English Language Proficiency) for more information on the English Language Proficiency requirement.

International education documents, including degree, transcripts and syllibi must be assessed by one of the University of Calgary’s International Evaluators. Such evaluations cannot be completed until students have applied for admission and paid the application fee.

The University of Calgary employs a team of International Evaluators who review documents specifically to the University of Calgary’s requirements. Assessments from third-part evaluators (eg. WES, IQAS) may be similar to how the University of Calgary will assess credentials, however evaluations from third parties will not be accepted.

If you have completed a course that you believe fulfills a prerequisite requirement, you will need to submit a copy of the detailed course outline/syllabus from the term that the course was completed for review by the University of Calgary when you apply for admission.  Detailed course outlines must include the course objectives, textbooks/resources, breakdown of units and the evaluation criteria.  Brief course descriptions, such as those found in a University Calendar, are not specific enough.

Please be aware that courses cannot be reviewed for content prior to application. Should a course be approved for the prerequisite requirement, you will be eligible for admission based on meeting the competitive GPA for the intake you have applied to. Should the course be found not to meet the prerequisite requirement, you will be denied admission for being deficient a prerequisite requirement.

At this time, the Faculty of Nursing is unable to accommodate exchange or visiting students from other institutions.