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 20 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!

Teacher FAQs

How do I fit History Day into my classroom schedule?

We believe that History Day won’t detract from your curriculum but will be a way to teach your curriculum. Use history day to teach primary source analysis, research skills, and to get your students interested and invested in different time periods and topics. To plan out your year, we have two sample timelines that you can use.

Timeline 1      Timeline 2

How will this work with remote teaching?

This project has the potential to lend itself well to remote teaching and learning. It is based around student-guided inquiry – students develop the research questions they want to ask and look for ways to investigate them. Letting them choose the topics that interest them keeps them invested in the work they are doing, even with the distractions of home. Much of the project is based around independent research that students can do online at home. The project is chunked into manageable pieces, and we provide models and scaffolds for each step along the way.

However, remote teaching may present a barrier for many of your students. Stay tuned in to their needs and make them feel comfortable asking for help. Be prepared to mail home printed materials, let your students know how to get a hotspot, or provide one-on-one virtual conferencing for those who need extra guidance. Suggest topics that can be easily researched with materials from the public library and project formats that fit your students’ access to resources.

How do I teach annotated bibliographies?

Thinkport Research Learning Modules include instruction on annotated bibliographies, working with primary and secondary sources, and a number of other topics in creating a research project. Find the full list of modules here. 

Do you have a question we haven’t answered? Please send your question to the State Coordinator, Stephanie Boyle,, or Isabella Altherr,