The National Contest

The National Contest for National History Day will be held June 11 - 15, 2017.

The National Contest is the final stage of a series of contests at local and state/affiliate levels. Students begin their journey by presenting their projects in classrooms, schools, and districts around the world. Top entries are invited to the state/affiliate level contests. The top two entries in every category at the state/affiliate level are then invited to the National Contest.

About the Contest
Annual Theme
Contest Winners
About the Contest

Each year nearly 3,000 students with their families and teachers gather at the University of Maryland, College Park for the week-long event. These enthusiastic groups come from all fifty United States, Washington, D.C., Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and international schools in China, Korea, South Asia, and Central America. The excitement can be felt across the campus. After spending months on project research and preparation, and competing at local and affiliate contests, these students are eager to show their hard work at the National Contest.

Annual Theme

Each year NHD selects a theme for the contest. Although you may select a topic on any aspect of local, regional, national, or world history, your project’s research and conclusions must relate clearly to the annual theme. Be careful to limit the scope of your topic to focus on an issue that can be explained and interpreted within the category limits of size and time.

Contest Winners

At the National Contest, first, second, and third place awards are presented to the top entries in each category and division. All categories have a junior (middle school) and senior (high school) division. Each category, aside from papers, also has a group and an individual category. First place awards are sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and those students earn the designation, NEH Scholar.

In addition to category awards, there are scholarships, outstanding affiliate entry awards, and special prizes. Three high school participants will receive full or partial scholarships from Case Western Reserve University, Chaminade University, and the University of Maryland, College Park. These awards are chosen by representatives of the universities. Two entries from each NHD affiliate receive an “Outstanding Affiliate Entry” award sponsored by the National Park Service. Numerous special prizes are awarded through the generous sponsorship of individuals, groups, and organizations.

Find Your State/Affiliate

For contact info, contest dates, and resources

NHD Rule Book

Contact your regional or affiliate coordinator to learn if any rules have been revised since the publication of this rule book, and for more information on topics, sources, and deadlines.