Nova Award PatchPi pin-on device

 Nova and Supernova Awards Program
Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts,
Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts, and
Venturers and Sea Scouts

The original requirements listed on this site were taken from the
Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Venturer
Nova Awards Guidebooks
(34032 / SKU-614935) (34033 / SKU-614936) (34031 / SKU-614934) 2012 Printing
Updates were taken from various pages on

STEM is an acronym representing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

About the Nova Awards Program

The Boy Scouts of America’s STEM Nova Awards program incorporates learning with cool activities and exposure to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts, and Venturers. These activities and associated awards stimulate interest in STEM-related fields, and show how these subjects appear in everyday life and the world around us. Counselors and mentors help bring this engaging, contemporary, and fun program to life for youth members.

There are awards designed for youth in the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Sea Scouting/Venturing programs, and are optional in each program. Requirements must be completed while registered in the BSA in the appropriate program and subject to standard age limitations.

The Nova Awards

There are multiple Nova awards for each level: Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts, Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts, and Venturers. Each award covers one specific subfield of a STEM subject area.  Upon earning their first Nova award, Scouts receive the distinctive Nova Award patch. For each Nova earned after that, a Scout earns a separate pi (π) pin-on device that attaches to the patch.

As of January 1, 2018, there are seven Nova awards for Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts, five for Boy Scouts, and four for Venturers and Sea Scouts. Each award at each program level covers one component of STEM - science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. The additional Cub Scout awards covering Earth Science, Wildlife and the natural world around you, and Space Exploration, were added in 2015, and the fifth Boy Scout award, covering Agriculture was added in 2017.

  • Cub Scout and Webelos Scout Nova awards:
    • Science Everywhere,
    • Tech Talk,
    • Swing!
    • 1-2-3 Go!,
    • Down and Dirty,
    • Nova Wild!, and
    • Out of This World
  • Boy Scout Nova awards:
    • Shoot!,
    • Start Your Engines,
    • Whoosh!,
    • Designed to Crunch, and
    • Let It Grow!
  • Venturer and Sea Scout Nova awards:
    • Launch!,
    • Power Up,
    • Hang On!, and
    • Numbers Don't Lie

The Supernova Awards

The Supernova awards have more rigorous requirements than the Nova awards. The requirements and activities were designed to motivate youth and recognize more in-depth, advanced achievement in STEM-related activities. For the Supernova awards, a registered and council-approved mentor, who serves much like a merit badge counselor, is required.

Supernova awards were designed to motivate Scouts and recognize more advanced achievement in STEM-related activities, and thus have more rigorous and in-depth requirements than Nova awards. Boy Scouts can earn the Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Bronze Award and then the Thomas Edison Supernova Silver Award. These two Supernova awards are available to all Boy Scouts who have earned First Class rank. The Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Bronze Award requires the Scout to have earned three Boy Scout Nova awards, in addition to other requirements. The Thomas Edison Supernova Silver Award requires completion of a fourth Boy Scout Nova award, in addition to the Harris Award and other requirements.

  • For Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts:
    • Dr. Louis Alvarez Supernova Award
  • For Webelos Scouts:
    • Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award
  • For Boy Scouts:
    • Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Bronze Award
    • Thomas Edison Supernova Silver Award
  • For Venturers and Sea Scouts:
    • Dr. Sally Ride Supernova Bronze Award
    • Wright Brothers Supernova Silver Award
    • Dr. Albert Einstein Supernova Gold Award

For earning the Supernova award, Scouts receive a certificate and a medal, a sample of which is shown above.

All requirements may be found in the Nova awards guidebooks, available through local Scout shops - one for Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts, one for Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts, and one for Venturers and Sea Scouts. The requirements can be completed with a parent or an adult leader as the counselor (for the Nova awards) or mentor (for the Supernova awards). Each guidebook includes a section for the counselor and mentor.

The requirements for each of the Nova and Supernova awards are also available on BSA's official web site, They are also available on this site and may be found using the links in the table below.

We have also created workbooks for use in documenting progress toward earning the various Nova and Supernova awards. There are links to the workbooks at the bottom of the web pages for each award, and in the table below.

  • The word processor versions of the workbooks have been prepared using the Microsoft Office 365 Suite (Word 2013) and are in the DOCX file format, which was introduced in 2007.  Consequently, in many cases they are NOT compatible with earlier versions on Microsoft Office or other word processors which do not support that file format. However, users of Microsoft Office XP, 2000 and 2003 can download a Compatibility Pack, by clicking here: By installing the Compatibility Pack you will be able to use Microsoft Office XP, 2000, or 2003 to open, edit, and save files using the file formats in newer versions of Word (DOCX), Excel (XLSX), and PowerPoint (PPTX) .
  • The PDF versions of the workbooks have been designed with form fields.  Scouts may download these files and then type their notes into the form fields, and save their work locally.  They have been tested successfully with the Adobe Acrobat Reader, the Foxit PDF Reader, and the Nuance PDF Reader.  Each of those programs are available as free downloads.

The workbooks are all Copyright - U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. - All Rights Reserved.
The requirements are all Copyright - Boy Scouts of America - and are used with permission.

Note: Effective June 1, 2015, the rank requirements for Cub Scouts changed (see [or on this site] for these new requirements). Cub Scouts working on the Nova awards or one of the Supernova awards during 2015 had two options: Complete the award no later than December 31, 2015, using the original requirements as published in the original Cub Scout Nova Awards Guidebook (No. 34032 / SKU 614935) or complete the award using the new requirements. Links to both the original and current requirements, and workbooks for each are provided below. In addition, subsequent changes were made by BSA which impact the Adventure loop requirements. Youth now have the opportunity to either earn an Adventure Loop specific to their rank OR complete an option which crosses all Cub Scout ranks. When they were announced, those changes became effective immediately. When earning a Nova, youth can choose whether to use the newly released requirements or the older requirements through 12/31/2017. Effective January 1, 2018, only the new requirements may be used. Links to the requirements as revised in 2015, and to the current requirements, and links to the workbooks for each are provided below.

The requirements for some of the Boy Scout and Venturing program awards have also changed from the original requirements.  Most of those changes were minor in nature. 

The original requirements and workbooks for all the awards may be seen by following links from the web pages for the current requirements, but the original requirements and the associated workbooks should no longer be used. 

Page updated on: February 09, 2018

Scouts Using the Internet Cartoon - Courtesy of Richard Diesslin - Click to See More Cartoons
© 1994-2018 - U.S. Scouting Service Project | Site Map | Disclaimer | Project Team | Contact Us | Privacy Policy

Materials found at U. S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. Websites may be reproduced and used locally by Scouting volunteers for training purposes consistent with the programs of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) or other Scouting and Guiding Organizations. No material found here may be used or reproduced for electronic redistribution or for commercial or other non-Scouting purposes without the express permission of the U. S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. (USSSP) or other copyright holders. USSSP is not affiliated with BSA or WOSM and does not speak on behalf of BSA or WOSM. Opinions expressed on these web pages are those of the web authors. You can support this website with in two ways: Visit Our Trading Post at or make a donation by clicking the button below.
(U.S. Scouting Service Project Donation)

(Ruth Lyons Memorial Donations)