Frequently Asked Questions

What is National History Day?
National History Day® (NHD) is a year-long academic program that engages over half a million middle- and high-school students around the world annually in conducting original research on historical topics of interest.

What is Maryland History Day?
Maryland History Day is a program of Maryland Humanities and is an affiliate of National History Day, which has affiliates throughout the nation and the world. In addition to coordinating the state contest, Maryland History Day provides professional development for teachers and works in partnership with district coordinators who operate the program and conduct contests at the local level.

How much time is needed to complete a project?
NHD is a long-term research project, with most students beginning their work in September. Here is a sample timeline.

Do students have to participate in the competition?
Participation in any level of the competition is voluntary.

How much does it cost to participate in the program?
While there are costs associated with project materials and travel to and from competitions, the Maryland History Day state contest does not have a registration fee. Please keep in mind that there is a registration fee for students and teachers for the national competition.

When and where do the contests take place?
District contests take place in February or March. Please contact your district coordinator to find out more information. Students must compete in the district where their primary education takes place.

The state contest generally takes place in late April or early May at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

What if students have a schedule conflict with a contest date?
Students must attend the contest and be interviewed in person in order to be considered for the competition. For group projects, at least one member of the group must be present in order for the project to be eligible (the one exception is the group performance category where all members of the group must be present to perform.). Exceptions to in-person attendance are made only for students whose religions observe the Sabbath.

Do students who create website, paper, or documentary have to attend the state contest?

Yes. Although papers, websites, and documentaries are submitted before the contests, students are still required to attend the contests and be interviewed in person by judges.

How much help can students get from their parents or other adults?
Students are responsible for creating all aspects of the project. However students may have assistance with tasks such as the use of tools to construct materials, carrying of heavy items (students must set up props), editing suggestions, or initial instruction on how to use computer software.

Can students make changes to their projects between the district and the state contest?
Students are encouraged to use the constructive feedback that they receive at their district contest to improve their project before the state contest. We also provide an electronic project review service.

Can students choose a current event as a topic?
History Day projects should cover a topic that occurred at least 25 years ago because it allows the student to assess the topic’s impact.

Who are the judges?
Our state contest judges are local historians, museum professionals, archivists, librarians, educators, and other enthusiastic volunteers who are eager to meet the students!

How should students prepare for judging?
Judges are focused on the content and development of your entry. Let their questions guide your interview. Students are not expected to give a formal, prepared introduction. The ultimate goal is that the project should be able to stand on its own without any additional comments from students.

Some sample questions include:

  • Why did you choose this topic?
  • What was your most important source and why?
  • What is the most important thing you learned in researching and developing your project?
  • What did each member of your group contribute?  How did you decide who would do what?

Do you have a question we haven’t answered? Please send your question to the State Coordinator, Judy Dobbs, at or Anna Keneda

Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities.
Maryland Humanities
108 West Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4565
(410) 685-0095
(410) 685-0795 fax
Join the Conversation   TwitterFacebookYouTube
Featured Donor or Partner
Wegmans logo