About National History Day

Have questions about National History Day (NHD) in North Carolina? Check out some of our frequently asked questions below.  Have additional questions or need more information? Please contact the state coordinator, Karen Ipock, by email at karen.ipock@ncdcr.gov or by phone at 919-814-6639.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Who may participate in NHD?

Who may participate in NHD?

N.C. History Day is open to public, charter,  private, early college, and homeschool students in grades 6th through 12th. Competition is an optional part of the program, but if students choose to compete, they must first enter at their assigned regional contest before qualifying for the higher levels of competition. 

Students in grades 4th and 5th should check out the Tar Heel Junior Historian Association program.

Is this program only for students studying N.C. or U.S. History?

Is this program only for students studying N.C. or U.S. History?

The best part of this program is that it is open to all topic and focus areas.  Students can select local, national, or world history topics that can range in time period from ancient to more contemporary historical events.  Due to this, the program can be incorporated into any Social Studies curriculum.  

Is it only for Social Studies classes?

Is it only for Social Studies classes?

The NHD program is excellent to use in a variety of  course curriculums. Though Social Studies and ELA are the most common, we have had Science, Math, Theater, Information and Technology, and more participate over the years.  

Can it be done as an elective, school club, or extracurricular activity?

Can it be done as an elective, school club, or extracurricular activity?

Yes!  This program works well whether it is built into a normal class structure or used as an optional activity outside of the classroom.  We are happy to work with teachers and schools to develop the program structure that works best for them.

What if a student is interested in the program, but their school does not currently participate?

What if a student is interested in the program, but their school does not currently participate?

We welcome students to participate even if their school does not. Reach out to the state coordinator to find out more information on how.

How much does it cost?

How much does it cost?

Most of the NHD resources, like the NHDWebCentral website builder, are completely free. We provide free materials such as theme and rule books to teachers and do not charge for school visits or online assistance. We provide these services whether students are competition track or not.  Most contest levels have registration fees.  Regional contests are typically $5 - $10 per student and the state contest is currently $20 per student. There may also be additional travel costs to consider based on your distance from the contest venues.  Project material costs range based on category and student design choices, but most can be done for free or at a very minimal expense.  We do not want costs to be a barrier for anyone to participate, so please feel free to contact the state coordinator for guidance on financial concerns.

How do I get started?

How do I get started?

To get started with NHD, please contact the state coordinator at karen.ipock@ncdcr.gov or (919) 814-6639.

The coordinator can answer questions, share resources, help you develop a plan that works best for your school, class, or student(s), and put you in touch with your regional coordinator. The state coordinator can also arrange for someone to visit your school or do an online meeting with teachers, adminstrators, and/or students to introduce the program or to help with any stage of the process.

Does the NHD program align with curriculum standards?

Does the NHD program align with curriculum standards?

Yes!  The NHD program aligns with both North Carolina and National curriculum standards for multiple subject areas.  Contact us for the most up-to-date listings.

What are the benefits of NHD?

What are the benefits of NHD?

The first national evaluation of National History Day (NHD) finds that students who participate in the program perform better on high-stakes tests, are better writers, more confident and capable researchers, and have a more mature perspective on current events and civic engagement than their peers. Participants also show a greater ability to collaborate with peers, manage their time and persevere. All skills important for students whether they are college track or plan to go directly into the workforce after graduation.

Some of the important findings include that NHD students:

  • Outperform their non-NHD peers on state standardized tests, not only in social studies, but in reading, science and math as well.
  • Are better writers, who write with a purpose and real voice, and marshal solid evidence to support their point of view.
  • Are critical thinkers who can digest, analyze and synthesize information.
  • Learn 21st century skills. They learn how to collaborate with team members, talk to experts, manage their time and persevere.

NHD has a positive impact among students whose interests in academic subjects may wane in high school.

You can read more about this 2011 independent study, and the benefits it found in the National History Day Contest, by clicking the links below:

Key Findings  

Executive Summary  

Full Report