Cub Scout Nova Award Patch Scout Nova Award Patch Venturing Nova Award Patch Pi pin-on device
Cub Scouts and
Webelos Scouts
Scouts Venturers and
Sea Scouts
"Pi" pin

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

This version of the information was effective  until the revisions made on January 1, 2019

To see the CURRENT version of this page, Click here.

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, and 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 August, 2018, there are nine Nova awards for Cub Scouts (Wolf and Bear levels) and Webelos Scouts, six for Boy Scouts, and five for Venturers and Sea Scouts. Originally, there were four Nova awards for each program area, each covering one component of STEM - science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Three additional Cub Scout awards covering Earth Science, Wildlife and the natural world around you, and Space Exploration, were added in 2015, a fifth Boy Scout award, covering Agriculture was added in 2017, and two more Cub Scout awards, covering Symmetry and Archaeology, plus a sixth Boy Scout award and a fifth Venturer award covering water were added in 2018.

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

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. There is one Supernova award for Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts, and one for Webelos Scouts, two Supernova awards are available to Boy Scouts who have earned First Class rank, and three Supernova awards are available to Venturers and Sea Scouts.

  • 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.

Requirements may be found in the Nova awards guidebooks, available through local Scout shops or online at 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 could 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 (and for Cub Scouts, the other previous) requirements and workbooks for all the awards may be seen by following links from the web pages for the current requirements, but the original and other previous requirements and the associated workbooks should no longer be used.

The requirements listed on this site were taken from the
Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Venturer Nova Awards Guidebooks
(34032) (34033) and (34031)
and/or were taken from various pages on

Page updated on: February 20, 2019

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