This Year's Theme

Contest Rule Book

What Is National History Day?

NHD, a non-profit education organization based in College Park, Maryland, offers year-long academic programs that engage over half a million middle- and high-school students around the world annually in conducting and presenting original research on historical topics. Since 1974, NHD has continuously improved history education by providing professional development opportunities and curriculum materials for educators. It provides the organizational structure for students like you to enter contests at the local and affiliate levels, with top students advancing to the national competition at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Do all students compete together?

There are two divisions in the National History Day program:

  • Junior Division — grades 6-8
  • Senior Division — grades 9-12

Within these divisions are nine categories of participation at the local, state, and national competitions.

  • Paper (individual only)
  • Individual exhibit
  • Group exhibit
  • Individual performance
  • Group performance
  • Individual documentary
  • Group documentary
  • Individual web project
  • Group web project

Groups may include 2-5 students.

For guidelines and judging criteria for all categories except web projects, see the Contest Rules.

How are projects judged?

Projects are evaluated on whether students completed original research based on the theme. Effective NHD entries address the following:

  • The topic's importance
  • The topic's relevance to the Theme.
  • How the topic influenced history. (Demonstration of the topic's importance or influence in history.)

In addition, students must demonstrate the use of primary materials, such as quotes from historical figures and photographs of historical events, as well as secondary published sources by authors who were not eyewitnesses or participants.

See How Will Your Entry Be Judged?.

Can a student participate if his/her teacher isn't willing?

Yes. Contact Us and we'll help find a mentor for you!

How can a student enter?

The first step is to complete a Registration.

Next the student should ask his/her teachers to work with them and other students in the class to guide them in producing their projects. Many educators across the country incorporate National History Day into the classroom work. The National History Day program helps teachers to meet national and state learning standards and testing requirements.