Students participating in the National History Day Contest.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—For thousands of students around the world, September marks the start of another chance to win history gold with the National History Day Contest. Students enter their projects in local level contests, with the top entries advancing to regional, state/affiliate, and finally, the National Contest in June 2018. Along the way, students compete for the gold medal in their category as well as honors, awards, and thousands of dollars in prizes and scholarships.

Guided by an annual theme, students are encouraged to choose a topic that matches their personal interests. The 2018 theme is Conflict & Compromise in History. Students can create a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance or website as an individual or group. Creation of these projects requires creativity and hard work that helps students succeed in all academic subjects.

An independent study in 2011 found that this project-based contest has proven benefits such as increased test scores, greater aptitude for reading comprehension, and analytical skills. It takes students out of the textbook and into historical research.

The 2011 study found that students who participate in the National History Day Contest outperform their counterparts in all subject areas and on standardized tests. Participants also expressed greater confidence in research, communication, and analytical skills. More information on this study is available at nhd.org/why-nhd-works.

“Creating an entry for the National History Day Contest requires keen analytical thinking and assessment of historical sources,” said National History Day® Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “Participants spends countless hours researching and examining sources for credibility and accuracy. These are skills that help them in all aspects of life, especially life as an active member of a democratic society.”

To assist students and teachers throughout the year, National History Day® has developed a number of free resources.

Conflict & Compromise: Contest Theme Book 2018
This book explains the National History Day Contest theme and offers instructional insight for teachers on how to best incorporate the 2018 contest theme in classroom materials as well as sample topics for students.

How to Create a Project
The first step for any student is creating a project. This page guides students through the steps to create a National History Day Contest entry.

Project Examples
Award-winning projects from previous contests are hosted on this page. It provides numerous examples of the hard work participants put into their projects.

This resource helps students learn about each of the five categories and includes examples from previous contest winners.

Teacher Resources
From lesson plans to workbooks this page hosts a multitude of resources for promoting history education in classrooms.

More than half a million students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Guam, and international schools in China, Korea, South Asia, and Central America will create projects for the National History Day Contest. Many of the local and state/affiliate contests allow public viewing of the projects and students are eager to talk about their research and findings. A full list of National History Day® affiliates can be found here: nhd.org/affiliates. The top two entries in every category will be invited to compete in the National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland, College Park in June 2018.

About National History Day® (NHD): NHD is a non-profit education organization headquartered in College Park, MD. Established in 1974, NHD promotes an appreciation for historical research among middle and high school students through multiple annual programs. More than half a million students participate in the annual National History Day Contest. These research-based projects are entered into contests at the local and affiliate levels, where the top entries are invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD provides professional development opportunities and curriculum materials for educators of all levels. NHD is sponsored in part by HISTORY®, Jostens, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, Southwest Airlines, the Joe Weider Foundation, and the WEM 2000 Foundation of the Dorsey & Whitney Foundation. For more information, visit nhd.org.


Lynne O'Hara
Director of Programs
Phone: 484-919-2595