Undergraduate Programs FAQs

Undergraduate & Programs FAQs

Answers to commonly-asked questions about UCalgary undergraduate nursing programs

Admissions Questions

Information about the admission requirements for students entering into Year 1 is available here.

Students with prior post-secondary education who have completed certain course requirements may be able to enter directly into Year 2 of the BScN degree (starting in Fall 2025). Admission requirements for this route are available here.

You will be considered for admission to the appropriate program based on your academic history and the courses you present at the time of admission. 

Current University of Calgary students can apply for a Change of Program into the Faculty of Nursing. Change of Program applications are competitive and admission is not guaranteed. 

All students will apply to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, and will be considered for admission to the appropriate entry year (Year 1 or Year 2) based on your academic history and the courses you present at the time of admission. 

For courses completed in Canada, you can search the Transfer Credit Database.

If a course is not in the transfer credit database or was taken internationally, it does not mean that it isn’t accepted; it may mean that the course hasn’t previously been assessed by the University of Calgary. Courses cannot be assessed until a student has formally applied to the program. 

The University of Calgary is not able to offer pre-assessment of credentials, degrees or courses. You can search to see if the courses you are wondering about are in the Transfer Credit Database. Otherwise, you will need to apply for admission to have your documents evaluated.

If you have questions about the status of your application, items on your to list or outstanding documents, you will need to contact Undergraduate Recruitment & Admissions.

If you are a current University of Calgary student and have questions about a Change of Program application, please contact the Undergraduate & Graduate Programs Office.

We do not offer a specific LPN to RN bridging program, however we admit LPNs to our programs through our existing admission routes, depending on their educational backgrounds. 

Students may enter into either Year 1 or Year 2 of the BScN program, depending on their previous education. You will be considered for admission to the appropriate program based on your academic history and the courses you present at the time of admission. 

We do not offer any online programs at this time. 

For students located outside of Calgary, we have several off-site offerings available through our Rural Community Route, Indigenous Community Route, and Collaborative Program at Medicine Hat College

If you hold a previous bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in nursing, you cannot obtain another baccalaureate degree within the same discipline/major  (see the University of Calgary Calendar for details).  If you wish to work in Alberta, you will need to contact the College of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CRNA) for information on how to obtain nursing registration. Only if your degree is not recognized by CRNA will you be eligible for admission to the University of Calgary's BScN program. If you are referred to a "bridging" program, you are not eligible as the University of Calgary does not presently offer this.

BScN Program Questions

It is standard practice for all nursing programs, including our own, to refresh and revise programs every 10-15 years. The Bachelor of Nursing curriculum was last revised in 2010, and as a normal part of the evolution of knowledge, we address structural, pedagogical, and content-related aspects as well as student, faculty, and stakeholder feedback.  Industry and regulatory requirements are also considered in such changes. 

There is no one singular distinction between the current BN and the BScN, and both degrees will prepare students for entry to practice as an RN in Alberta and beyond. Graduates of our current BN program (and preceding curriculums) practice across Canada and around the world, and all of our degrees will continue to be recognized for licensure and employment. The name change distinguishes the forthcoming program from the current one and follows a national and international trend in degree nomenclature.  

Students presently enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing will remain in the BN program and will not be permitted to transfer to the BScN program. BN students will continue in the present program, following the outlined progression sequence.  

Students will have placements in each term of the nursing program from the start of Year 2 onwards. In order to give students a breadth of experience in all areas of nursing practice, students will be assigned placements in many different practice settings throughout the course of the program. Placements can occur during days, evenings and weekends and may be in locations that are not accessible by public transit. 

The University of Calgary's BScN, like most nursing programs in Canada, is a generalist program that prepares graduates to work in all areas of health care. Students receive clinical and theory education in a wide variety of populations and settings and are qualified to work in all areas of health care after graduation. 

There are no majors, minors or specializations in the BScN program. In order to meet all of the educational requirements needed for nursing licensure, students have a very limited number of option courses that are all taken in the first year of the program. As such, there is no option to minor in a subject outside of nursing. 

The BScN program is already offered in a condensed format, which accelerates the degree completion time. Students admitted to Year 1 will complete their degree in 3.25-3.5 years, while students who enter into Year 2 will complete their program in 2.25-2.5 years. There is no way to speed up degree completion beyond this. 

After the completion of a certain number of practice hours and/or certain practice competencies, nursing students are eligible to work in roles such as Health Care Aides (HCAs) and Undergraduate Nurse Employees (UNEs). The faculty does not help students secure employment, however information about requesting the required education verification documents is available here.

There are currently no study abroad options in the nursing degree program. 

Students admitted to Year 1 of the BScN program may complete an exchange or group study in the Spring/Summer terms after their first year, and use those courses towards Open Option requirements. 

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

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 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 CRNACRPNA, and CLPNA. 

As outlined in the University of Calgary Calendar, Nursing students require certain basic skills and abilities to progress through a nursing education program and for initial entry to practice as a Registered Nurse in Alberta. Prospective students are encouraged to review the document CRNA Entry Level Competencies for the Practice of Registered Nurses (2019) to identify their fit with the requirements of becoming a registered nurse and/or identify their potential need for accommodation(1) in becoming a member of the nursing profession.

(1)Accommodation is the process of making alterations (to the point of undue hardship) to the delivery of services so that those services become accessible to more people, including people with disabilities. (Alberta Human Rights Commission). 

Graduates of the University of Calgary (BN Program) seeking RN licensure outside of Canada can find information regarding education verification document requests here.