National Contest

The National Contest is the culmination of the annual competition cycle and a celebration of student scholarship. After spending months on project research and preparation, and successfully competing at local and affiliate contests, student scholars are invited to share their work at the National Contest.

Each year nearly 3,000 students with their families and teachers gather at the University of Maryland, College Park for the week-long National Contest. They come from all fifty United States, the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Department of Defense Schools in the Atlantic, and international schools in China, Korea, and elsewhere (NHD International). The excitement can be felt across the campus. 

The 2024 National Contest

June 9–13, 2024, University of Maryland, College Park

The NHD National Contest kicks off with a Welcome Ceremony to greet students and celebrate their hard work. Students then compete over several days in preliminary and final rounds.

The Awards Ceremony on the final day opens with a Parade of Affiliates, where students from every affiliate march and show off their local pride, much like during the Olympics. Watch the recorded 2023 Awards Ceremony at nhd.org/awardsceremony or view the photos here.

Beyond the NHD National Contest, students can check out Washington, D.C. by participating in our NHD-Explore program. There are many options, including museums and other historical sites, where students can learn about new topics for the upcoming year’s theme.


NHD-Explore (NHDx)

NHD-Explore gives NHD students, teachers, and families the opportunity to register for passes to the National Air & Space Museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, or the Speak Truth event explained in the NHD-Explore Guide. All requests will be processed and adults requesting passes will be contacted within five business days. We will update the form and add notes here as programs hit capacity. If you have a specific question, email programs@nhd.org.

Update: 5/18/24. We received a record number of requests and are working to process them as quickly as possible. At this point, we are at capacity for: National Air & Space Museum (all days), National Museum of African American History and Culture (Tuesday), and the Holocaust Museum (all days). We still have passes for the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Sunday morning, Monday afternoon, and Wednesday morning. We’ve updated the registration form accordingly.

If you requested passes, we will reach out to confirm your groups no later than Monday, May 20. We are still accepting registration at this time.


Preparing for the National Contest

The National History Day Contest will take place June 9- 13, 2024, at the University of Maryland, College Park, just 12 miles from Washington, D.C. National History Day’s contest headquarters is located in the Stamp Student Union, 3972 Campus Drive College Park, MD 20742.

Do you still need a hotel or on-campus housing?

There is still time to sign-up! Please view the options below.

Please note: The College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center room block is sold out, and we are unable to add additional rooms to the room block.

Refund Policy

Student/Chaperone Code of Conduct


Arriving at the National Contest

Student Check In

Contest check-in takes place on Sunday, June 9, from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Stamp Student Union, Colony Ballroom. Information about schedules, judging times/locations, and campus logistics will be available when you check-in. To avoid unnecessary hauling of exhibits or props around the building, DO NOT UNLOAD UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE CHECKED IN. The Union Lane Garage, across from the Stamp Student Union, will offer free temporary parking on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9. There is also free long term parking in Lots 1 and Z, West of Stamp Student Union, on Saturday and Sunday.

Late arrivals for the Junior Division can check in from 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. on Monday. Senior Division students can check in from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Monday and 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. Every student (including each member of a group entry) must check in at registration and pick up their registration packet.

If you mailed anything to the Stamp Student Union, it will be in the Prince George’s Room in the Stamp Student Union. If the item you mailed was oversized, it will be at Central Receiving. Please review this document for information on how to collect items from Central Receiving.

Teacher Check In

Teachers may check in at the contest during the same time as student check-in. Look for the signage for Teacher Check In. It is separate from student check in.

Housing Check In

During the contest, housing check-in at Stamp Student Union will be available Saturday from 2:00–8:00 p.m., Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. On Monday, housing check-in moves to the alcove outside of the Prince George’s Room in Stamp Student Union from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. You will receive your room assignment and meal card at this time. Please note: On-site NHD Registration and Housing Check-In are separate processes. Please follow the signs to the appropriate area.

Late Housing Check In: 

If you arrive on campus after 8:00 p.m. on Saturday or Sunday, you must go to LaPlata Hall to receive your room assignment and meal card. The telephone number for the LaPlata Hall desk is 301-314-5275. The address is 4121 Farm Drive, College Park, MD 20742.

Preparing for Judging

You will receive your judging time/location when you check in. Please review the category submission instructions to see what you will need to bring to present your project at the National Contest.

If you are in the Junior Division (grades 6–8), you will be judged on Monday, June 10, 2024. If you are in the Senior Division (grades 9–12), you will be judged on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

Documentary and Performance categories are the only categories where students need to be present for the finals round of judging. 

For the Junior Division, documentary and performance finalists will be announced Monday evening. Junior Division finals judging will take place on Tuesday evening between 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. For the Senior Division, documentary and performance finalists will be announced Tuesday evening. Senior Division finals judging will take place on Wednesday morning between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Exhibit, Paper, and Website categories will not be notified if their project advanced to finals, therefore, they do not need to be present for the finals round.

Teachers

Registered teachers attending the contest will receive access to the latest NHD digital resources, entrance to the Monday night Teacher Social, and access to the Tuesday teacher workshops. In addition, they will receive access to contest week activities, including Day on the Hill, showcases at the Smithsonian Institute or White House Historical Association, NHD Explore passes, and participation in any other teacher activities at the National Contest.

Tuesday Teacher Workshops

Tuesday, June 11 – 9:00-11:00 a.m.

On Tuesday, June 11, join the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and National History Day (NHD). In the first hour, learn about resources and opportunities from the NEH and EDSITEment. Explore strategies to support your students in their History Day research and throughout the year. In the second hour, explore the 2025 Rights & Responsibilities in History theme and new NHD resources to bring into your classroom.

National Contest FAQs

What if I cannot attend the National Contest?

Please contact your affiliate coordinator ASAP. You can find their contact information here: nhd.org/affiliates. There will not be any virtual judging components. All judging will take place in-person.

When will I be judged?

If you are in the Junior Division (grades 6–8), you will be judged on Monday, June 10, 2024 between 10 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. If you are in the Senior Division (grades 9–12), you will be judged on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. You will receive your precise judging time and location at National Contest check-in.

What should I expect during judging?

For the exhibit, website, and paper categories, the judges will interview you about your project during your judging time. You do not need to prepare any type of presentation – the judges will ask you questions about your project.

For the documentary and performance categories, you will show your documentary or performance to the judges, and then the judges will interview you following your project – the judges will ask you questions about your project.

You will receive your judging time/location when you check in at the contest (beginning on Sunday, June 9). 

What should I wear?

During the contest week, keep in mind that it will be hot and humid. Dress accordingly. For your judge interview, there isn’t a specific dress code, but students typically wear nice pants, shirt, or a dress with the exception of the performance category who have costumes.

What if my project advances to finals?

Documentary and Performance categories are the only categories where students need to be present for the finals round of judging. 

For the Junior Division (grades 6–8), documentary and performance finalists will be announced Monday evening (on this page of the NHD website, the NHD app, and on the TVs in Stamp Student Union). Junior Division finals judging will take place on Tuesday evening between 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. For the Senior Division (grades 9–12), documentary and performance finalists will be announced Tuesday evening (on this page of the NHD website, the NHD app, and on the TVs in Stamp Student Union). Senior Division finals judging will take place on Wednesday morning between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Exhibit, Paper, and Website categories will not be notified if their project advanced to finals, therefore, they do not need to be present for the finals round.

Do I need to attend the National Contest for the entire week?

No, you only need to be present for your judging time. All other events are optional.

What is NHD-Explore?

Please watch this video and read this guide to learn more about the NHD-Explore program and other activities.

How do I ship something to the University of Maryland, College Park?

To ship items to the University of Maryland, College Park, please follow these instructions.

Where can I find information about accessibility on the University of Maryland, College Park campus?

Please visit this page of the UMD website: https://accessibility.umd.edu/visitors-to-campus

Do I need a chaperone?

Yes, all students need a chaperone throughout the contest week. You will list the chaperone in your student account when you register. Chaperones are responsible for the behavior of the students in their charge. If you are staying in the dorms, you will need to list a chaperone who will be with you in the dorms when you register for housing. Chaperones do not need to register separately.

What safety measures are in place at the University of Maryland, College Park?

Please review this document.


Travel and Shipping to the University of Maryland, College Park

For additional travel and campus information, visit the UMD Conference and Visitor services website.

Air Travel

Tip: When searching for a flight online, you can enter WAS for the airport code to search all three airports simultaneously.


Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport — BWI
BWI typically has the least expensive flight options. It is about a 30-minute drive (28.4 miles) from the University of Maryland, College Park. Public Transportation from BWI to College Park, MD: There is no longer a direct bus option between BWI and College Park. There is a MARC and Amtrak Station located at BWI. As there are frequent changes, construction, etc., please refer to their websites or Google Maps for the latest travel information.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport — DCA
Reagan is the closest airport option. It is about a 30-minute drive (17.8 miles) from the University of Maryland, College Park. Public Transportation from DCA to College Park, MD: The Washington Metro (subway) stops at DCA. Take the Blue Line toward Largo. You can transfer to the Green Line at L’Enfant Plaza. Take the Green Line toward Greenbelt and exit at College Park-UMD. The campus is located 1.5 miles from the Metrorail station. The website for Washington’s Metrorail system has system maps and schedules. As there are frequent changes, construction, etc., please refer to their website or Google Maps for the latest travel information. SmarTrip is the ticketing system for Metro. You can get a plastic SmarTrip card at any station or download the app and preload a digital SmarTrip card. You can find the details on both options here.

Dulles International Airport  IAD
Dulles is the furthest airport option. It is about a 1-hour drive (37.4 miles) from the University of Maryland, College Park. Public Transportation from IAD to College Park, MD: The Washington Metro (subway) stops at IAD. Board the Silver Line toward Largo Town Center. Then transfer to the Green Line at L’Enfant Plaza. Take the Green Line toward Greenbelt. Exit at College Park-UMD. The campus is located 1.5 miles from the Metrorail station. The website for Washington’s Metrorail system has system maps and schedules. As there are frequent changes, construction, etc., please refer to their website or Google Maps for the latest travel information. SmarTrip is the ticketing system for Metro. You can get a plastic SmarTrip card at any station or download the app and preload a digital SmarTrip card. You can find the details on both options here.

Train Travel

Amtrak
Amtrak serves the D.C. area. Visit Amtrak’s website. The closest station to the University is New Carrollton, where you will need to take a taxi or ride the Metro to the campus. At the New Carrollton Station, board the Metro and ride the Orange Line toward Vienna. Transfer to the Green Line at L’Enfant Plaza. Take the Green Line toward Greenbelt. Exit the Metro at College Park-UMD. The campus is located 1.5 miles from the Metrorail station. Alternatively, you may arrive at Union Station in downtown Washington, D.C., but a taxi would cost more from there. You could take the Metro (see below) from Union Station to College Park-UMD.

Metro/Metrorail
Washington’s Metrorail system website has maps and schedules. As there are frequent changes, construction, etc., please refer to their website or Google Maps for the latest travel information. SmarTrip is the ticketing system for Metro. You can get a plastic SmarTrip card at any station or download the app and preload a digital SmarTrip card. You can find the details on both options here. First time using Metro? Check out this helpful article.

Campus Construction

Please review this document for information regarding campus construction this summer. Please be mindful that campus construction will impact travel around campus.

Driving

All campus locations have a physical address that can conveniently guide you via any GPS-enabled device. We recommend you use the address for the Adele H. Stamp Student Union: 3972 Campus Drive, College Park, MD 20742.

Parking

If you purchase housing packages, parking is included in the rate, and there will be parking spots near the dorms. All other parking will be much more limited this year, as the University of Maryland lost many spaces/lots due to the Metro Purple Line construction.

To give everyone an equal opportunity to purchase parking permits, we will put the link and information on purchasing park on our website (nhd.org/national-contest) after registration closes. Stay tuned for further information.

Pending availability, representatives from the Department of Transportation Services will be available at registration during the following hours to assist with permit purchase and answer questions: Saturday, 2:00 pm–8:00 pm, and Sunday, 9:00 am–8:00 pm. Beginning Monday, guests should pre-purchase permits online or park in designated visitor parking lots and pay the hourly/daily fee. Permits may be purchased at the Department of Transportation’s office in Regents Drive Garage during business hours, 8:15 am–4:00 pm.

You can find more information about off-campus parking here.

Shuttles

There are free National History Day shuttles to take you to various locations around the University of Maryland, College Park campus, College Park, and the College Park Metro Station. We will post the shuttle schedule here, once finalized.

Shipping

To ship items to the University of Maryland, College Park, please follow these instructions.

Map

Check out this map of the University of Maryland, College Park to familiarize yourself with the important NHD locations around campus.


Contact Us

For assistance regarding the NHD National Contest, please review the following contact information.

  • For general registration and contest questions, please email registration@nhd.org or call the National History Day office at 301-314-9739.
  • For technical support issues, please email IT@nhd.org.
  • For questions regarding on-campus housing and meals, please email NHDhousing@umd.edu or call 301-314-6637.
  • For questions regarding payment, please email lorena@nhd.org.
  • For press and media inquires, please email communications@nhd.org.

Contest Week Programming

National History Day partners with museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions in Washington, D.C. to offer dynamic programming for students and teachers during contest week: from field trips to showcases featuring students’ projects to engaging activities and professional development opportunities. We call these opportunities NHD-Explore (or NHDx for short).

Watch this video to learn more about additional opportunities during the NHD National Contest week and learn more in the NHD-Explore Guide here.


Contest Awards

The National Contest provides several types of awards for outstanding student entries. To find out about special prizes or awards at affiliate and local contests, contact your affiliate coordinator.

The National Contest Awards Ceremony will be Thursday, June 13. The ceremony will be livestreamed and available at https://nhd.org/en/awards-ceremony/.

Contest Category Awards 

Gold NHD medals with white ribbons laying on a table.

The top three entries in each contest category receive awards.

Additionally, students whose entries win 1st place in each category receive the designation of National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Scholars.

Special Prizes

View the list of current special prizes available to participants of the National Contest.

Outstanding Affiliate Awards

Two entries from each NHD Affiliate (one in the Junior Division and one in the Senior Division) have the opportunity to receive Outstanding Affiliate Awards.

Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award

Quality teachers are critical to student success. National History Day recognizes their outstanding work and dedication to their students, awarding a teacher in each division with the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Awards, sponsored by the Patricia Behring Foundation. 

PATRICIA BEHRING TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS 2023

Junior Division: Terry Kaldhusdal, Kettle Moraine Middle School, Dousman, Wisconsin

Senior Division: Sarah Razee, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 

Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award Winners 2022

Junior Division: Lizandaa Alburg, The Paterson Academy for the Gifted and Talented, School 28, Paterson, New Jersey

Senior Division: Amy Page, Moriarty High School, Moriarty, New Mexico

Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award Winners 2021

Junior Division: Suzanne Zmijewski Lim, Winthrop L. Chenery Middle School, Belmont, Massachusetts

Senior Division: Jeni Boulanger, Oak Hills High School, Oak Hills, California


Judging

Are you interested in judging for the NHD National Contest? The 2024 National Contest will be held in person at the University of Maryland, College Park. Judge registration is now open. For more information, and to register as a judge, click here.

Linda & Mike Casey
Celie & Tabitha Niehaus 
Noralee Frankel
Pamela j. Bennett (Dani Pfaff)
Lori Lisowski
Pete Rouse & Courtney Chapin