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Athabasca University

Post-RN Bachelor of Nursing Degree Program (120 credits)

Regulations effective September 1, 2020.

The Faculty of Health Disciplines offers the post-RN BN degree program. This program is designed to provide the Registered Nurse with the opportunity to acquire a broad liberal university education with particular emphasis on advanced theoretical and practical knowledge related to nursing informatics, nursing research, primary health care, leadership, management, and family and community health promotion. All AU nursing courses are mapped to the most current entry to practice competencies, as determined by the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA).

Program Plans

Our online program plans can assist you in selecting the courses needed to fulfill your program requirements.

Counselling Services offers an assessment website, Mapping Your Future. Athabasca University has also developed program learning outcomes that describe the career options that may be available to you upon graduating.

For additional program information, please email

Enrolment Requirements

To enrol in the post-RN BN program, the following is required:

  1. Graduation from an approved Registered Nurse (RN) diploma program.
  2. Regulated (Practicing) Registered Nurse (RN) registration/licensure with a Canadian province or territory. Proof of registration must be submitted at time of application and maintained while completing the program.

Students with Non-Canadian/Non-United States Education

Those students presenting non-Canadian/non-United States Nursing diplomas who have completed a Canadian RN bridging program are eligible for admission.

Those students presenting non-Canadian/non-United States degrees for admission and/or possible transfer credit, must obtain:

Official transcripts for any completed Canadian or United States courses or programs in Nursing, taken to obtain licensure in Canada, must be submitted.

* Students who leave the post-RN BN program for another program at AU will be required to provide a specialized or course-by-course assessment.

For more information, see the Evaluations and Transfer Credit section of the Calendar that explains the foreign transcript evaluation process for international students.

Program Requirements

Students are required to complete the degree regulations that are effect at the time they enrolled in their program. Students are responsible for ensuring that prerequisites (including specified program GPA requirements) and co-requisite course requirements are met throughout their program. Students who are inactive (have not registered for a course within 12 months from their last contract date) must re-enrol and will follow the regulations in effect at the time of re-enrolment. Students are strongly encouraged to register in their English course early in their program.

Program Structure

Total credits required to complete the Post-RN BN degree*

* Transfer credit may be awarded for non-nursing university transfer credit taken as part of an RN diploma program. Non-nursing transfer credit will not be awarded, however, for anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, microbiology, or health assessment courses included in the RN diploma program. Credit will not be awarded for non-nursing required, support and option courses that are more than 10 years old at the time of the request.

Additional credit may also be awarded for university-level courses completed before admission to the post-RN BN program on the basis of Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition.


The 45 credits required to complete a post-RN BN degree are distributed as follows:

Required nursing credits   27
Required non-nursing credits   6
Non-nursing option credits   12

Residency requirement. A minimum of 15 nursing credits* must be obtained through Athabasca University.

*Note: HLST 320 is a non-nursing course and does not qualify for the residency requirement and is subject to the 10-year stale-dating rule.

Graduation with Distinction or Great Distinction. At least 24 credits must be obtained through Athabasca University in order to be considered. 24
Maximum Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) credits   9

Course Requirements

Students may register in post-RN BN courses as unclassified students. Before registering in a course, students should determine whether or not they may be eligible for transfer credit for the course. Please review the Syllabus for each course for details. Students should also ensure that they have completed all prerequisite and corequisite course requirements in accordance with the prerequisite declaration form.

NOTE: 300-level nursing courses should be completed before 400-level nursing courses.

Required Nursing Courses (27 credits)
NURS 322 Nursing Informatics (3)
NURS 324 Concepts and Theories in Nursing Practice (3)
NURS 328 Understanding Research (3)
NURS 432 Management and Leadership in Nursing Practice (4)
NURS 434 Community Health Promotion (4)
NURS 436 Family Health Promotion (4)

Plus 6 credits selected from the following list:

HLST 320 Teaching and Learning for Health Professionals* (See note above in Residency Requirement.) (3)
NURS 326 Health Assessment (3)
NURS 438 Trends and Issues in Nursing and Health Systems (3)
NURS 442 Gerontological Nursing (3)
NURS 604 Leadership Roles in Health** (3)
NURS 618 Community Development for Health Care Leaders** (3)
NURS 621 Coaching and Leading: The Human Side of Organizational Change** (3)
NURS 622 Understanding Organizations: Theory, Analysis and Application** (3)
  Transfer credit for senior university-level nursing courses taken elsewhere (3 to 6)
  ** A paced (within a specific four-month time frame) nursing graduate course that is open for registration by June 10 (Fall start), October 10 (Winter start), and February 10 (Spring start). Credit for NURS 604, 618, 621, or 622 if taken to fulfill the Bachelor of Nursing elective requirement, cannot be applied for credit toward another undergraduate or graduate degree. Please note the fee for this graduate course differs from that of an undergraduate course. Please fill out the Graduate Programs: Course Registration Form to register for NURS 604, 618, 621, or 622.
Required Non-Nursing Courses (6 credits)
ENGL Any junior or senior university-level or equivalent English course. (3)
MATH 215 Introduction to Statistics

MATH 216 Computer-oriented Approach to Statistics
Non-Nursing Option Courses (12 credits)
May be selected from Humanities, Science or Social Science, and Applied Studies other than nursing (NURS); at least six credits must be at the 300/400 level) (12)

Computer Requirements

Access to a computer with basic word processing, and Internet access, is required. Refer to the glossary.

Specific Regulations

Given the unique and professional nature of the post-RN BN program, some of the general policies governing academic studies at Athabasca University are superseded by the regulations below.

  1. RN diplomas from approved institutions will be accepted regardless of the year of graduation.
  2. Athabasca University will not normally award additional transfer credit for nursing courses/certificates that are more than 7 years old at the time of the request. If evidence of current practice in the content area is submitted, this regulation may be waived. Credit will not be awarded for non-nursing required, support and option courses that are more than 10 years old at the time of the request.
  3. Students will be permitted a maximum of five years to complete all degree requirements from date of enrolment.
  4. Students who have been awarded two failing grades in one or more nursing courses will be automatically withdrawn from the post-RN BN program, with no opportunity for re-admission.


Information effective Sept. 1, 2020 to Aug. 31, 2021.

Updated April 08 2021 by laurab

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