Information for Students


Check here throughout the NHD program year for information on Google Hangouts, UCI Best Sources Workshop, Archivists’ Event and more.

NHD 2020 Theme Webinar: Breaking Barriers in History

Description: Join National History Day, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the White House Historical Association to discuss the 2020 Breaking Barriers in History theme. This program will be recorded and shared on if you cannot join us live.

When: Sep 10, 2019 4:00 PM

Registration Required: Registration information on the flyer

UCI Best Resources Workshop:

This special workshop is designed for NHD-OC students. See the flyer for more information.

USC Archive Bazaar,  Saturday October 12, 2019: Information coming soon


First, find out if your school has an NHD program.  Actual participation varies from school to school.  Some students participate through after school clubs and scouting programs, others participate as part of their history curriculum and still others participate on their own (with the help of a coach).  If your school does not have a program, you need to find a teacher or trusted adult who is willing to act as a coach for the NHD project year.  The coaches help their students with time management and serve as mentors as students conduct research and create their projects. 


Each year NHD establishes an annual theme.  Students may begin to work on projects as soon as the NHD finals competition ends in mid-June.  The theme is purposely broad so that nearly any topic will work.  To learn more about this year’s theme, go to Theme Sheet. 

Once you have an understanding of the theme, your next step in the NHD process is to choose a topic.  Student entries may address any local, state, national, international or global topic of interest that connects to the theme.  You will be working on this project for many months so make sure you select a topic that really interests you.  The topic should be narrow and researchable.  A topic such as exploration is far too large.  Instead, you should choose an aspect of exploration, for example, Columbus's Triumph & Tragedy exploring new lands.

Remember – topics and projects should be appropriate for fellow students (even young ones!) and parents to view.  The list on the NHD-CA website provides Topic ideas.

NHD also offers a list of topic possibilities as part of its NHD Theme Book.

New Website Category Platform : with flyer linked

The National office, affiliate and regional contests will be using a new platform for the website category this contest year. 

Please stay tuned for updates as we receive them.

Category Infographics


Here are some RESOURCES that will come in handy as you begin working on your NHD project:    

To see SAMPLES of winning projects in each entry category, go to NHD Student Project Examples.

Another useful resource is the UC Irvine Primary Sources and Research Guide.


The NHD-OC 2020 contest will take place on Friday, March 13, 2020 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Senior Documentary , Historical Paper, and Performance only) and on Saturday, March 14, 2020 all other divisions and categories at the Orange County Department of Education.  The Awards Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at Orange County Department of Education. 

*The Elementary Division awards will be given to champions on Saturday, March 14, 2020 at the Finalist announcements.

NHD 2019-2020 Calendar – Key dates for the county, state and national competition.

Online Registration -  will open 01/13/2020



Upload Your Documentary Instructions - NHD-OC 2019  

Three entry categories require submission prior to the NHD-OC contest.  The submission date for the following categories is Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 9:00 p.m.

  • Documentaries – See Documentary Submission Instructions - NHD-OC 2019.  for step by step instructions. No changes can be made after uploading your documentary. 

  • Websites – will be locked at 9:00 p.m. No changes can be made after the lockout.

  • Historical Papers – must be submitted as one PDF with annotated bibliography via email to No changes can be made after submission. 

2020 NHD-OC Schedule 

The schdule will be posted one week prior to the contest.

Please Scroll all the way down.  There are several pages.




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