NHD Rules & Regulations
Eligibility and Divisions
Any student in public, private, or home school, in grades 6 - 12 may participate in History Day. The History Day contest has two divisions based on school grade:
1. Junior Division: Grades 6 - 8
2. Senior Division: Grades 9 - 12
Rewards for Participation
At each level of the competition, outstanding achievement may be recognized through certificates, medals, trophies, or monetary awards. A number of special prizes may be given at the regional, state, or national level. First place winners from the Northern and Southern State Contests are eligible to compete in the National History Day Contest, an event hosted by the University of Maryland-College Park, in June. However, the most important rewards are the skills and new knowledge that students will acquire as they move through the History Day Program. Research, writing, and communications skills will be especially important if students plan to go to college and will help them no matter what direction their lives take.
There are five National History Day categories:
- Historical Paper (individual only)
- Documentary (Group & Individual)
- Exhibit (Group & Individual)
- Performance (Group & Individual)
- Website (Group & Individual)
An Overview of General Rules (IMPORTANT - The list below is only an overview, for complete rules click here):
Rule 1: Annual Theme
Entries must be clearly related to the annual theme.
Rule 2: Contest Participation
Students may participate in the research, preparation, and presentation of only one entry each year.
Rule 3: Individual or Group Entry
A paper, individual exhibit, individual performance, or individual documentary must be the work of only one student. A group exhibit, group performance, or group documentary must be the work of 2 to 5 students. All students in a group entry must be involved in the research and interpretation of the group's topic.
Rule 4: Development Requirements
Entries submitted for competition must be researched and developed during the current contest year. Revising or reusing an entry from a previous year is unacceptable and will result in disqualification.
Rule 5: Construction of Entry
Students are responsible for the research, design, and development of their entries. They may receive help and advice from teachers and parents on the mechanical aspects of the project such as typing, but their conclusions must be their own.
Rule 6: Contest Day Set-Up
Students are responsible for setting up their own exhibit, equipment, or props at the contest.
Rule 7: Supplying Equipment
Students are responsible for supplying all props and equipment.
Rule 8: Discussion with Judges
Students should be prepared to answer judges' questions about the content and development of their entry.
Rule 9: Costumes
Students are not allowed to wear costumes related to the focus of their entry except for performances.
Rule 10: Prohibited Materials
Students may not bring any items to the contest that may be potentially dangerous in any way, such as firearms, weapons, etc.
Rule 11: Title
Entries must have a title that is clearly visible on all written materials.
Rule 12: Written Materials - Three copies of each of the written materials listed below must be provided at the state contest (except for historical papers and websites).
a. Title Page (see Rule 13)
b. Process Paper (see Rule 14)
c. Annotated Bibliography (see Rule 15)
Rule 13: Title Page
A title page is required as the first page of written material in every category.
Rule 14: Process Paper
All categories, except the historical paper, must include a process paper with the entry. The process paper should describe how the student(s) conducted their research and created their entry in 500 words or less.
Rule 15: Annotated Bibliography
All categories must complete an annotated bibliography.
Rule 16: The Separation of Primary and Secondary Sources
The annotated bibliography MUST be separated into primary and secondary sources.
Rule 17: Style Guides
Either Turabian or MLA style guides may be used for citations and bibliographic sources.
Rule 18: Plagiarism
All sources used in the student's entry must be included in the annotated bibliography. Failure to do so may result in disqualification.
Historical Quality (60%)
The most important aspect of an entry is its historical quality. Students should ask themselves the following questions to help focus their historical analysis: Is my entry historically accurate? Does my entry provide analysis and interpretation of the historical data rather than just a description? Does my entry demonstrate an understanding of the historical context? Does my annotated bibliography demonstrate wide research? Does my entry demonstrate a balanced presentation of materials? Does my entry demonstrate use of available primary sources?
Clarity of Presentation (20%)
Although historical quality is most important, entries must be presented in an effective manner. Students should consider:
Is my entry original, creative, and imaginative in subject and presentation? Is my written material clear, grammatical, and correctly spelled? Do I display stage presence in a performance?
Is the visual material I present clear? Do I understand and properly use all equipment?
Relationship to Theme (20%)
Entries must clearly explain their relation to the annual topic. Students should consider:
How does my topic relate to the theme? Why is my topic important?
How is my topic significant in history in relation to the History Day theme? How did my topic influence history? How did the events and atmosphere (social, economic, political, and cultural aspects) of my topic's time period influence my topic in history?
Overview of Rules for Each Category: (IMPORTANT - The list below is only an overview, for complete rules click here):
•1,500- 2,500 words, excluding notes, annotated bibliography, and title page
•Citations - endnotes or footnotes are required
•Paper must be typed, at least 11 point font, on plain white 8.5 x 11 inch paper with 1- inch margins
•No process paper required
•Title page with only the required information
•Organization shows clear focus and progression
•No larger than 40 inches wide, 30 inches deep, and six feet high when displayed
•Media devices (DVD players, PowerPoint, etc.) may not run for more than a total of 3 minutes (It can loop every 3 minutes) and are subject to the 500 word rule.
•Title is clear, visible, and clearly relates to the theme
•Labels, captions, and titles include no more than 500 words
•Has visual impact and shows interpretation
•10-minute maximum for performance
•Costumes must be the student's design, choice of fabric, etc. or they can be rented
•Maximum 5 minutes to set up and 5 minutes for take down
•All props and equipment are student supplied
•Only student entrants run equipment and are involved in the performance
•Title of the entry and names of participants announced prior to the start of the performance
•10-minute maximum for presentation
•Maximum 5 minutes to set up and take down
•The title of the documentary and students names only should be announced prior to the start of the presentation.
•Students are responsible for running equipment
•The entry must be original production. Professional photographs, video clips, etc. may be used; however, they must be cited in the annotated bibliography.
•Interactive computer programs and webpages are not acceptable.
•All entries must be an original production and MUST BE CREATED THROUGH WEEBLY. Professional photographs, video clisp, etc. may be used; however, they must be cited in the annotated bibliography.
•1200 student composed word limit
•Must have a "home page" with names of participants, entry title, division, and a main menu
•One page of the website must serve as the "homepage" and include the names of the participants, entry title, and the division.
•A single multimedia clip cannot exceed 45 seconds
•The process paper and the annotated bibliography should be integrated into the website entry and are part of the navigational structure.
•Stable content: The content and appearance of a page cannot change when the page is refreshed in the browser.
•Files must be viewable in a recent version of a standard web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Firefox.
•The website's URL must be submitted in advance of the contest deadline for judging.