2020-21 Program Year

Two N.C. History Day students presenting their exhibit project.

2020-21 Program Year

Due to COVID-19 and the uncertainty of the year ahead, all National History Day contests (regional, state, and national) will be virtual and held completely online for the 2020-21 school year.

By making the decision now, it will allow students, teachers, and parents to plan accordingly, and allow us to create a quality academic experience with special opportunities and recognition for participants.  Project submission guides by category are available in the next section.  

New Contest Rules for 2020-21

National History Day released a new Rule Book that is now in effect for the 2020-21 school year.   

NHD Rule Book

NHD Rule Book - Spanish

2020-21 Project Guides for Virtual Contests

The national program created project guidelines for submitting projects for all virtual contests. Below are the guides by category so that you can create and prepare your projects to compete.  These guides are required to be followed at all contest levels in the 2020-21 school year.

Documentaries Category

Exhibits Category

Historical Papers Category

Performances Category

Websites Category

All Category Guides

If you have questions or concerns about these guides or competing in virtual contests, please contact the state coordinator, Karen Ipock, for more information or to discuss options. Karen can be reached by email at karen.ipock@ncdcr.gov or by phone at 252-639-3545.

2020-21 Virtual Program Help

The N.C. History Day team is available to meet online with educators and/or their classes to introduce the program or to help with any stage of the process.  Please contact us to discuss how we can help!  There are also options available for students to participate even if their school does not. 

2020-21 Annual Theme

Every year National History Day picks an annual theme to help guide students in their research and analysis.  The theme for the 2020-21 school year is "Communication in History: The Key to Understanding."  As you consider possible topics related to this theme, check out the theme video and other resources to explore ideas:


2021 Theme Book  

Watch the 2021 Theme Webinar  

2021 Theme Organizer Worksheet  

N.C.. History Topic Ideas for 2021 Theme  

Regional Contests

North Carolina is divided into seven regions for History Day competitions. Students must first participate in their assigned regional contest, then the finalists from that region will advance to the state competition.

All 2021 regional contests in N.C.. will be virtual contests.  The dates listed below are the due dates for both registration and submitting projects online (in all categories). 

For questions and help with the 2020-21 contest year, please contact the state coordinator.
Regional Contest Registration & Project Submission Deadline Counties Covered Sponsoring Organization


March 8th, 2021 Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Gates, Hertford, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans Chowan University

Central Piedmont

March 5th, 2021 Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Cumberland, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Orange, Person, Randolph, Rockingham,Vance, Wake, Warren Alamance Community College


March 8th, 2021 Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Edgecombe, Greene, Halifax, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Pamlico, Pitt, Tyrrell, Washington, Wayne, Wilson East Carolina University

Northwest Piedmont

February 26th, 2021 Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Iredell, Rowan, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin Surry Community College


February 19th, 2021 Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Robeson, Sampson Cape Fear Museum

Southwest Piedmont

February 12th, 2021 Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Richmond, Scotland, Stanly, Union UNC Charlotte


February 19th, 2021 Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, McDowell, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Yancey Western Office - N.C.. Dept. of Natural & Cultural Resources

State Contest

The 2021 N.C.. History Day contest will be virtual this year.  The deadline for registration and submitting projects online (all categories) is Tuesday, April 13th. 

Please remember that students must first compete at the regional level in order to qualify for the state contest.  If you have questions about the state contest and upcoming plans, please contact Karen Ipock, at karen.ipock@ncdcr.gov or (252) 639-3545. 

Check Out the Virtual Showcase of Last Year's State Contest!

National Contest

The top two projects from each category at the state contest qualify to attend the national contest. The national contest will be virtual in 2021. You can find out more detailed information about the national contest here.