Nova Awards FAQ

Q: Where do you find the requirements for the Nova Awards?
A: Basic requirements can be found here. Complete requirements can be found in the Nova Awards guidebooks available from your local Scout Shop or ScoutShop.org.

Q: When can youth begin work on the Nova Awards program?
A: The Nova Awards program begins with the Wolf den.

Q: Can youth get credit for a previously earned merit badge, belt loop, or pin?
A: Yes, but we do encourage Scouts to consider earning new ones so they can explore new interests.

Q: Can youth earn a Nova award more than once?
A: Yes. If a Scout completes the requirements a second time, doing completely different activities, they may earn a second Pi pin for the same Nova.

 Q: Who is eligible to serve as a Nova Awards counselor?

A: A Nova Awards counselor must be age 21 or older and be registered under the Nova Awards counselor position code 58. This is a non-unit position and requires no fee. Online training is now available at my.scouting.org (click on “BSA Learn Center” then click on “STEM In Scouting”).

Q: Can a Nova Awards counselor or Supernova mentor be the Scout’s parent?
A: For Nova counseling, yes, but the parent needs to follow the guidelines for becoming a registered counselor.
For Supernova mentoring, the parent must be a council-approved Supernova mentor, and can only mentor their own Cub Scout if there are no other mentors in the council, and the mentoring is done simultaneously for a group of Cub Scouts that includes their own child.  Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scout members must work with a mentor other than their own parent/guardian.  Long distance mentoring via telephone or videoconference is permitted.

Q: Whom do I contact to find a council-approved Supernova Awards mentor?
A: First, contact your local council for a list of mentors. If they have none, try a neighboring council.  You can also recruit someone with STEM experience to register as a mentor – this is a no fee position that requires current Youth Protection Training, so a registered Scouter in a STEM profession would be a good candidate.  You can also solicit mentors in distant councils in Scouting social media groups.  

Q: Who can be a Supernova Awards mentor?
A: A Supernova Awards mentor must be: age 21 or older, a subject matter expert in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) field, and registered under the Supernova Awards mentor position code 52. Online training is now available at my.scouting.org  (click on “BSA Learn Center” then click on “STEM In Scouting”).  

Q: What does a Supernova mentor have to complete to be registered?
A: Yes, for someone to become a Supernova mentor they must complete both a BSA Adult application, and the SuperNova mentor application.  They must have current Youth Protection training.

Q: If I am already registered under another position, do I need to fill out another application to be a Supernova Awards mentor?
A: Yes, you are required to be registered in this position and you will be dual-registered.

Q: To whom do I send my Supernova Awards Mentor Information application?
A: Send your application to your local council service center.

Q: Once a youth has fulfilled the requirements for the Nova Award, what is the next step?
A: Fill out an advancement report with the proper signatures, or use internet advancement to record this and submit a copy to your local council.

Q: What does a Scout receive when a Nova award is completed?
A: When a Scout completes their first Nova award they should be presented the Nova Emblem for their program level. For each Nova award earned after the first they should be presented a Pi pin to wear on their emblem.

Q. Can Supernovas be earned in a group setting?
A:  While Nova awards are often offered in a classroom setting, Supernova awards are meant to be earned individually, under the direct supervision of a Council-approved mentor. Small groups may work together at the Cub Scout level, but each Cub Scout must individually and personally complete each requirement; Supernova awards at the Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scout levels are intended to be completed individually (no group or classroom-style instruction). Absolutely all work for the Albert Einstein Supernova Award must be done on an individual basis, by the Scout and under the direct supervision of their Council-approved mentor.

Q: Once a Scout has completed the requirements for a Supernova award what is the next step?
A: They must obtain all necessary signatures on the Supernova award application, including the applicant (Scout), mentor, unit leader, Council or District Advancement Chair, and Scout Executive.

Q: Once I have all the signatures, what is the next step?
A: Once all signatures have been obtained, the council will return the application to the unit. The unit then completes an Advancement Report or enters the data into the internet advancement system, prints a copy of the report, and can purchase the presentation items.  Note that different councils may do these steps in a slightly different sequence, and documentation of the Scout’s work may be requested with the application.

Q: Are there PAS codes for the Nova Awards program?
A: Yes. Typically for council use only, they are:

1030 Nova Cub Scouts: Science Everywhere
1031 Nova Cub Scouts: Tech Talk
1032 Nova Cub Scouts: Swing!
1033 Nova Cub Scouts: 1-2-3-Go!
1049 Nova Cub Scouts: Down and Dirty
1050 Nova Cub Scouts: Nova Wild
1051 Nova Cub Scouts: Out of this World
1028 Nova Cub Scouts: Uncovering the Past
1029 Nova Cub Scouts: Fearful Symmetry
9213 Nova Cub Scouts: Cub Scouts Can Code
9217 Nova Cub Scouts:  Up and Away

1034 Nova Scouts BSA: Shoot!
1035 Nova Scouts BSA: Start Your Engines
1036 Nova Scouts BSA: Whoosh!
1037 Nova Scouts BSA: Designed to Crunch
1058 Nova Scouts BSA: Let It Grow
9212 Nova Scouts BSA: Hello, World
9215 Nova Scouts BSA: Mendel’s Minions
9218 Nova Scouts BSA: Up and Away
9250 Nova Scouts BSA: Splash
9252 Nova Scouts BSA: Next Big Thing

1038 Nova Venturers and Sea Scouts: Launch!
1039 Nova Venturers and Sea Scouts: Power Up
1040 Nova Venturers and Sea Scouts: Hang On!
1041 Nova Venturers and Sea Scouts: Numbers Don’t Lie
Nova Venturers and Sea Scouts: Wade
9216 Nova Venturers and Sea Scouts: Execute!
9214 Nova Venturers and Sea Scouts: What a Life
9219 Nova Venturers and Sea Scouts: Up and Away
9253 Nova Venturers and Sea Scouts: Something from Nothing

1042 Supernova Cub Scouts: Dr. Alvarez
1043 Supernova Webelos: Dr. Townes
1044 Supernova Scouts BSA: Dr. Harris-Br
1045 Supernova Scouts BSA: Edison-Silver
1046 Supernova Venturers and Sea Scouts: Dr. Ride-Bronz
1047 Supernova Venturers and Sea Scouts: Wright Bro-Sil
1048 Supernova Venturers and Sea Scouts:  Einstein-Gold

Q: What are the Adventure Base Novas (previously High Adventure)?
A: These Nova awards can only earned through the STEM Nova program at each Adventure Base. If interested, search for STEM on the web site of the Adventure Base you are interested in attending.

1052 Nova Scouts BSA: Philmont Nova
1056 Nova Scouts BSA: Summit Nova
1057 Nova Scouts BSA: Jamboree Nova

1055 Nova Venturers and Sea Scouts: Philmont Nova
1056 Nova Venturers and Sea Scouts: Summit Nova
1057 Nova Venturers and Sea Scouts: Jamboree Nova

Q: Where can I obtain the presentation items (emblems, pins, and medals)?
A: These items are available at your local Scout shop with an Advancement Report or a copy of the printed report from internet advancement. You can also order online and follow up by submitting an Advancement Report to your local council.

Q: Will any more Nova modules be released?
A: Yes. More Nova awards are being developed for all three program levels.

Q: For the Wolf/Bear Alvarez Supernova, the requirement is to “Complete the adventure appropriate for your rank”, with both a Wolf and a Bear adventure.  If a scout earns the appropriate Wolf adventure in their Wolf year, but doesn’t finish the rest of the requirements that year, can they finish the Supernova in their Bear year, using the already completed Wolf adventure?  Or, since they would be finishing it as a Bear, do they need to earn the Bear adventure as well?

A:  The Scout should complete the adventure designated for the rank during which they have done the vast majority of the work for the award, as determined by their Supernova mentor.  Under no circumstances should Wolf and Bear adventures be mixed in a single Supernova award.  

Q: My scout only wears the Supernova medal to special events. Is there a recognition item that can be worn every day?
A: There is now a bar pin that can be worn above the left pocket on the field uniform for Scouts who have earned a Supernova Award.

Cub Scouts who have earned the Dr. Luis W. Alvarez Supernova Award or the the Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award may wear the bronze bar pin (SKU # 643290 – Bar Supernova Awd Bronze) on their Cub Scout uniform.  It is not to be worn on the Scouts BSA, Venture, or adult uniform.

Scouts BSA members who have earned the the Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Award may wear the bronze bar pin (SKU # 643290 – Bar Supernova Awd Bronze) on their Scouts BSA uniform.  Scouts BSA members who have earned the Thomas Edison Supernova Award may wear the silver bar pin (SKU # 643054 – Bar Supernova Awd Silver) on their Scouts BSA uniform.  Only one bar pin can be worn at a time. If you have earned multiple Supernova Awards, only the highest award earned should be worn.  

Venturers/Sea Scouts who have earned the Dr. Sally Ride Supernova Award may wear the bronze bar pin (SKU # 643290 – Bar Supernova Awd Bronze) on their Venture uniform.  Venturers/Sea Scouts who have earned the Wright Brothers Supernova Award may wear the silver bar pin (SKU # 643054 – Bar Supernova Awd Silver) on their Venture uniform. Only one bar pin can be worn at a time. If you have earned multiple Supernova Awards, only the highest award earned should be worn.  

The gold bar pin is reserved for Scouts who have earned the Dr. Albert Einstein Supernova Award, for wear on their Venturer/Sea Scout uniform. The gold pin is the only one that may be worn by adult Scouters who earned the award as a youth. Please contact the National STEM Nova Committee to purchase the gold bar pin. 

Only one bar pin should be worn at a time. If you have earned multiple Supernova Awards, only the highest award earned should be worn, and only on the uniform for the program in which it was earned.  The only exception is the Dr. Albert Einstein Supernova Award bar pin, which may be worn on the adult uniform by adult Scouters who earned the award as a youth.

Q: Is there a pin for Supernova mentors?
A: Yes. It is available from national supply, and the SKU number is 617895.

Q: If I have additional questions or a comment or suggestion, whom do I contact?
A: You may send an email to myscouting@scouting.org.