Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the more frequently asked questions about the BScN-Honors Program.

Who can apply?

Students in the second year of the four-Year BScN Collaborative Program can apply to the Honors Program. After Degree students must apply directly to the After Degree Honors Program prior to the start of the first year of the After Degree Program. Students studying at other Collaborative sites are not eligible.

Can I apply as an After Degree student?

Current After Degree students cannot apply to the After Degree Honors Program. Students with a non-nursing undergraduate degree from another university who want to join the Honors Program have to apply directly to the After Degree Honors Program when they apply for admission.

How do I apply?
  1. Contact the Nursing academic advisors (, who will provide you with a form that will allow the Honors coordinator to evaluate whether the Honors program is a good option for you. The Honors coordinator, Dr. Hannah O'Rourke, may contact you and follow up with a couple of questions.
  2. You will be asked to submit the Special Programs form in order to access the Honors Program application form. Complete and submit the application by the application deadline of March 1. Once you have submitted your application, please check your application status in Launchpad. If you meet the admission requirements, you will be offered admission with conditions and will need to change your program from Collaborative to Collaborative Honors in Bear Tracks. Then register for your courses according to the Honors Registration Tip sheet. With the help of the Honors coordinator, you will also identify a supervisor.
  3. Final admission will be offered once the final transcript is evaluated and you've maintained the admission GPA.
Is Honors just extra courses or a separate degree in Nursing?

The BScN – Honors Degree is a distinct program and you will have BScN-Honors on your Baccalaureate Parchment. The Honors Degree contains all of the core theoretical and clinical courses but includes a special focus on extended learning about nursing knowledge development and completion of an Honors research project.

Do I have to take extra courses in the Honors Program?

There are an additional nine credits in the Honors BScN compared to the Collaborative BScN. There are two Honors courses - NURS 399 and NURS 499, weighted for three and six credits. The Honors project is part of the NURS 499 course and is completed over the summer months between years 3-4 in the Collab program.

After Degree students will complete NURS 399 in their first year, complete their research project in summer between year 1 and 2 and complete NURS 499 in fall of Year 2. The Honors courses are extra to the standard After Degree program.

What GPA do I need to apply to Honors?
Collaborative program students
You need to have an average GPA of 3.3 (a grade of B+) in the last 24 credits of your program in year 2.
After Degree Honors Program
Applicants must have a competitive GPA in their prior degree and must have completed the following prerequisite courses: English (★3), Human Anatomy (★3), Human Physiology (★3), Medical Microbiology (★3), and Statistics (★3). Applications are competitive.

NOTE: Acceptance is dependent upon obtaining approval from a potential research supervisor prior to starting NURS 399.

What GPA must I maintain in the Honors Program?

Honors Program Students must maintain A GPA of 3.0 throughout their program. Most Honors students say that the organization required to complete their work helps improve their grades overall!

Can I switch back to the BScN Program if I do not like Honors?

If you find that the Honors Program is not the right match for you, you can request a change of program status through the student advisor. This will require that you formally reapply for admission to the BScN Collaborative program. If admitted, the credits completed would go toward your Collaborative BScN program.

Will I need to extend my nursing program?

No, all Honors Program requirements are designed to be completed within the standard four-year BScN Collaborative Degree Program or two years for the After Degree Program. Collaborative students need to be able to work on the Honors research project during the summer between Year 3 and 4 in their program. After Degree students need to be able to work on their research project between Year 1 and 2 while also doing two clinical courses.

What does the Honors coursework involve?

The two Honors seminar courses are a mixture of discussion and practical activities. Student groups determine learning needs and strategies to achieve learning goals. In NURS 399, we focus on research skills to prepare you for your project. Students also talk to beginning and established researchers to discover the variety of career pathways open to them and how clinical experiences shape a researcher’s approach to knowledge development through their research. Students develop their research proposals with their supervisors and explore a scholarly topic of their own interest.

What about Clinical time?

Clinical time is protected as much as possible, depending on course configuration. Students are supported in attending scholarly events such as our local conferences as attendees or presenters and this may replace clinical time with the support of the clinical instructors.

Is the class grade-curved?

No, each student has the opportunity to work closely with their supervisor and Honors coordinator to set learning goals and challenge themselves. Personal goals and the opportunity for repeated submission and feedback cycles for assignments allow students to reach high levels of accomplishment.

How does Honors benefit me?
  • You will have diverse skills that set you apart from other BScN graduates. Employers want nurses who have demonstrated the capacity to extend their knowledge and skills in a wide range of competencies in evidence-informed practice, project work and presentation/writing skills.
  • Honors is a safe way to see if you like to research and whether you would enjoy graduate studies or an academic career. It consists of two courses and a project – ample opportunity to see if a longer graduate program is for you. Imagine knowing you have contributed to improving nursing practice and policy.
  • Graduates have a huge feeling of accomplishment – completing their own research, contributing to a larger program of research, not to mention the pleasure of seeing their name listed in publications and in conferences! It's excellent preparation for graduate school.
  • Your competitiveness is exponentially increased because you have actual research experience, presentation experience and opportunities to work toward publishing your work. If you imagine your future career including leadership in clinical practice, education or administration, you will need graduate school at some stage.
  • The Honors Program is a significant launching pad for your success. You will be eligible for a range of grants and awards to fund and support your research, and it looks great for your résumé.
  • Imagine presenting your work at local, national and international conferences. Our graduates have been funded to present at many conferences, including the International Council of Nurses Biennial Conference.
  • Reduce time spent in Graduate School. Honors helps you complete the Master of Nursing By-pass program – just one year in Master’s and then transferring into the PhD Program.
What kind of research will I do?

Students engage in a wide variety of research, depending on their interests and match with a supervisor. Students are encouraged to pair with another student for their projects.

Learn more about research conducted by current and past honors students »

But how can I do my own research? I am not a researcher.

As an Honors student, you are in a mentored relationship. Your supervisor supports you throughout your project. This is what one Honors student commented about the experience:

“I was a beginner at research, and the great part about being in the Honors program is that you have so much support and mentorship: your supervisor and their team (which can include graduate students, other undergraduate students or other faculty members), your supervisor's network, your Honors instructor, and your fellow classmates. This support network truly facilitates learning, and everyone recognizes that you are an undergraduate and don't have a lot of experience.”

See more student testimonials »

How do I find a supervisor?

The Honors coordinator will help you identify faculty who do research that matches your interests. You will have the opportunity to interview them to determine if there are mutual interest and compatibility. Most matches are between a supervisor and one student, but there are opportunities to develop group-based projects with two or more Honors students.

Find current researchers who are available to supervise honors students »

What other ways are there to get involved in nursing research, within and beyond the Honors program?

The Oct. 31, 2022 session reviewed some current opportunities to be involved in research and will be updated each fall. These opportunities are open to students within the Honors program as well as those who are not.

Watch Research Opportunities in Nursing

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