National History Day

National History Day (NHD) is an annual academic competition for students in grades 6-12 in the United States. It started in 1974 and has since grown to become a nationwide program that engages more than half a million students annually.

Competition Details

Introduction: National History Day (NHD) is an annual academic competition for students in grades 6-12 in the United States. Every year, there are more than 600,000 students participate in the contest. 

Competition Date: June 11-15, 2023 is the National Contest 

Division: There are two divisions based on your grade level: Junior Division (grade 6 to 8) and Senior Division (grade 9 to 12). 

Categories: Students can work individually or in groups of up to five, and they can choose from a variety of project categories, including:

  • Documentary (Individual and Group): A short film that uses historical footage, photographs, and interviews
  • Exhibit ( Individual and Group): A display board with text, images, and artifacts that tells a story or presents an argument.
  • Paper (Individual): An essay that uses primary and secondary sources to analyze a historical event, person, or topic.
  • Performance (Individual and Group): A live presentation that uses drama, music, or other art forms to tell a story or make an argument.
  • Website (Individual and Group): A multimedia website that presents a historical event, person, or topic using text, images, and other media.

The competition starts locally, with students competing at their school or regional level. Winners at the regional level move on to the state level, and winners at the state level move on to the national competition held annually in June at the University of Maryland, College Park.

At the national level, students present their projects to a panel of judges, who evaluate them based on historical quality, presentation clarity, and theme relevance. Winners in each category receive scholarships, prizes, and recognition.

Evaluation: 80% Historical Quality and 20% Clarity of Presentation. Historical Quality refers to strengths of your historical argument, research, and relationship to the theme. Clarity of Presentation refers to how well your project communicates your argument using the tools of your category.

Theme: The contest theme in 2023 is Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas. The theme for this year’s competition prompts students to explore the concepts of time, place, cause and effect, change over time, and impact and significance in history. It encourages them to select topics where significant frontiers have been crossed, as these moments often mark turning points in history. Frontiers can refer to various areas such as geography, science, art, technology, medicine, religion, politics, social change, or the military. The competition has also released resources to help students get started. 

national history day contest process

All participants currently attending grade 6-12

Submission deadline


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Students who previously took the class:

Throughout the years, our students have successfully gained admission or are currently attending top-ranking secondary and high schools around the world: America, Australia, Canada, China, and more:

  • Cardigan Mountain School
  • Choate Rosemary Hall
  • Concord Academy
  • Groton School

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