National History Day (NHD) is an academic program for 6th- to 12th-grade students focused on historical research, inquiry, analysis and creative expression. By participating in NHD, students become writers, filmmakers, web designers, playwrights and artists as they create unique contemporary expressions of history. An optional part of the experience is participating in a series of contests starting at the local level. Learn more about NHD competitions here.
Have questions about NHD in North Carolina? Check out some of our frequently asked questions below or contact the state coordinator, Karen Ipock, by email at or by phone at 252-639-3545. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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National History Day (NHD) is a non-profit organization that has affiliates in each of the 50 states and some U.S. territories and international locations. The National History Day program in North Carolina is called N.C. History Day.  NHD is project-based learning that can be tailored to fit a variety of school curriculums. Through NHD, students pick a history topic to research, form a historical argument/thesis, and then present their findings by producing a documentary, designing an exhibit, writing a paper, creating a performance, or building a website.  If they choose, they can then showcase their project in a regional competition where they are interviewed and evaluated by judges.  Check out this short video to learn more.


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.

Not at all! 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.  

The NHD program can be used in a variety of course curriculums. Though Social Studies and ELA classes are often the most common, we have had classes in many other subject areas successfully use the program too.  Everything has a history, and teachers can set parameters on students' topic choices to help better tie the program to their course.

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.

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

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 are always happy to visit schools or provide free online presentations and support. We provide these free services whether students are competition track or not.  Most contests 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 assistance with financial concerns.

To get started with NHD, please contact the state coordinator at or (252) 639-3545.

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.

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 connections.

A national evaluation of NHD found 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.

Skills gained from NHD are important for students whether they are college track or plan to go directly into the workforce after graduation.

You can read more about this independent study of the program and its benefits by clicking the links below:

Key Findings  

Executive Summary  

Full Report