Important Dates & Times

Wednesday January 01, 2020 at 12:00 PM
Monday February 17, 2020 at 3:00 PM
Friday March 06, 2020 at 6:30 PM
Saturday March 07, 2020 at 6:00 PM

Student Conduct

Students are expected to conduct themselves, both in person and online, in a manner that brings credit to themselves, their schools, and the affiliates they represent. Chaperones are responsible for the behavior of the students in their charge.

NHD Participants

Please remember that National History Day is concerned not only for the safety and well-being of students, but also for upholding the wishes of parents, teachers, school principals, and the many supporters who have a vested interest in the students' participation. As guests at Amercian International School Chennai (AISC), you are expected to abide by the same rules AISC has established for its students. To ensure that your stay is pleasant and trouble-free, you must observe the following rules: You may not physically harm, threaten to harm, or harass any person, including provoking and/or engaging in physical fights or malicious pranks. Alcoholic beverages or other drugs are expressly prohibited except those prescribed by a doctor. Possession of any weapons, firecrackers, or other flammable materials is prohibited. You may not tamper with the fire system or fire safety equipment. You may not set or fuel a fire of any size. You are responsible for complying with the requests of all chaperones and American International School Chennai officials and guards, including cooperating in cases where you are aware of rules being broken by other students.



Rule 1 | Annual Theme

Your entry must relate clearly to the annual theme and explain your topic’s significance
in history.

Rule 2 | Contest Participation

You may participate in the research, preparation, and presentation of only one entry
each contest year. You may share research with up to four other students who are fellow
participants in your group entry. You may not create a common pool of research from
which several entries are developed.

Rule 3 | Individual or Group Entries

A paper, individual exhibit, individual performance, individual website, or individual
documentary must be the work of only one student. A group exhibit, group
performance, group website, or group documentary must be the work of two to
five students. All students in a group entry must be involved in the research and
interpretation of the group’s topic. Once a group project enters a competition (regional
or affiliate), additional students may not be added or replaced at that or subsequent
competitions within a contest year.

Rule 4 | Development Requirements

Entries submitted for competition must be original and have been researched and
developed in the current contest year. Revising or reusing an entry from a previous
year—whether it is yours or another student’s—will result in disqualification. The
contest year begins each June, following the National Contest.

Rule 5 | Construction of Entry

You are responsible for the research, design, and creation of your entry. You may receive help and advice from teachers and parents on the mechanical aspects of creating your entry, such as typing your paper and other written materials. You may seek guidance from your teachers as you research and analyze your material, but your conclusions must be your own. You may have reasonable help preparing your project.

Examples of reasonable help include:

• a teacher instructs you in how to use an editing software program • a parent uses a cutting tool to cut the exhibit board or performance prop that you designed

• a teacher offers editing suggestions on your historical paper

• a parent assists in sewing costumes that you have designed • a teacher shows you or your group how to build an NHD website

• you have photographs commercially developed

NOTE: Objects created by others specifically for use in your entry violate this rule. Examples include a parent editing a documentary or an artist drawing the backdrop for your exhibit or performance. You may receive reasonable help in carrying and placing props and exhibits.

Rule 6 | Tampering with Another NHD Entry

You may not tamper with, deface, or alter another student’s or group’s entry. Doing so will result in your project’s disqualification.

Rule 7 | Contest Day Setup

You are responsible for setting up your own exhibit, equipment, or props at the contest. You may have reasonable help carrying them, but setup must be completed by you (and/ or your group members).

Rule 8 | Supplying Equipment

You are responsible for supplying all props and equipment at each level of competition. All entries should be constructed with transportation, setup time, size, and weight in mind (e.g., foam board versus solid oak for an exhibit, folding table versus antique desk for a performance, etc.). You must provide your own equipment, including computers and software, unless the contest coordinator has specified that certain equipmentwill be provided at the contest venue. Projection screens for documentaries and performances may be provided, if requested. Check with your contest coordinator about available resources at all contest levels. Be prepared.

Rule 9 | Discussion with Judges

You should be prepared to answer judges’ questions about the content and development of your entry and to explain the design, research, and creation of your entry. Judges need to know that your entry is the result of your own work. However, you may not give a formal, prepared introduction, narration, or conclusion. Let the judges’ questions guide the interview. Ultimately, your entry should be able to stand on its own without any additional comments from you.

Rule 10 | Costumes

You are not permitted to wear costumes that are related to the focus of your entry during judging, except in the performance category.

Rule 11 | Prohibited Materials

Items potentially dangerous in any way—such as weapons, firearms, animals, organisms, plants, etc.—are strictly prohibited. Such items will be confiscated by security personnel or contest officials. Replicas of such items that are obviously not real are permissible. Contact your teacher and contest coordinator to confirm guidelines before bringing the replica to a contest.

Rule 12 | Title

Your entry must have a title that is clearly visible on all written materials.

Rule 13 | Written Material

Your entry must include the following written material in the order presented below:

1. A title page as described in Rule 14;

2. A process paper as described in Rule 15 (process papers are not required for paper entries);

3. An annotated bibliography as described in Rule 16.

Required Written Material for All Entries Contest Rule Book 17 GENERAL RULES | ALL CATEGORIES These materials must be typed or neatly printed on plain white paper, and stapled together in the top left corner. Do not enclose them in a cover or binder. Exhibit, performance and documentary categories – you must provide three copies of these materials, bringing along an extra set for your own reference. Website category – you must include these required materials within the site. Paper category – You must include the title page and annotated bibliography with your paper.

Rule 14 | Title Page

A title page is required as the first page of written material in every category. Your title page must include only the title of your entry, your name(s), the contest division and category in which you are entered, and applicable word counts. Please see Figure 2 for examples of required elements for the paper, exhibit, performance, and documentary categories. Details of requirements for a website’s home page can be found in Rule E3. NOTE: The title page must not include any other information (pictures, graphics, borders, school name, or grade) except for that described in this rule.

Rule 15 | Process Paper

All categories, except historical paper, must include a process paper with the entry. It must describe in 500 or fewer words how you conducted your research and created your entry. The process paper must include four sections that explain: 1. how you chose your topic; 2. how you conducted your research; 3. how you selected your presentation category and created your project; and 4. how your project relates to the NHD theme. You can view sample process papers at

Rule 16 | Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is required for all categories. List only those sources that contributed to the development of your entry, i.e., sources that provided usable information or new perspectives in preparing your entry. Sources of visual and audio materials and oral interviews must be included. Bundle photos or other materials from the same collection in a single citation. The annotations for each source must explain how you used the source and how it helped you understand your topic. Your annotated bibliography is not included in the word count. For example: Bates, Daisy. The Long Shadow of Little Rock. New York: David McKay Co. Inc., 1962. Daisy Bates was the president of the Arkansas NAACP and the one who met and listened to the students each day. This firsthand account was very important to my paper because it made me more aware of the feelings of the people involved. NOTE: Oral history transcripts, correspondence between you and experts, questionnaires, and other primary or secondary materials used as sources for your entry should be cited in your bibliography but not included as attachments to your bibliography.

Rule 17 | Separation of Primary and Secondary Sources

You are required to separate your bibliography into two sections: one for primary sources and one for secondary sources.

NOTE: Some sources may be considered as either primary or secondary. Use your annotations to explain your reasoning for classifying any sources that are not clearly primary or secondary. Listing a source under both primary and secondary is inappropriate.

Rule 18 | Style Guides

Style for citations and bibliographic references must follow the principles in a recent edition of one of the following style guides: 1. Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers 2. Joseph Gibaldi, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Regardless of which manual you use, the style must be consistent throughout all written material.

Rule 19 | Plagiarism

You must acknowledge in your annotated bibliography all sources used in your entry. Failure to credit sources is plagiarism and will result in disqualification.

Rule 20 | Entry Procedure

At each contest level you must register online or by submitting paper entry forms (check with your contest coordinator for the required format), meet specific deadlines, and follow any procedures established by that contest’s coordinator. You are responsible for knowing and meeting the deadlines.

Rule 21 | Entries to National Contest

Each affiliate is limited to two entries per contest category in the National Contest. Ties at affiliate contests must be resolved at the affiliate level.

Rule 22 | National Contest Attendance

Individual students and groups must be present for an entry to be judged at the National Contest. All members of a group entry must register for the National Contest.

History of the NHD South Asia Affiliate Contest

The South Asia NHD Affiliate contest was established in the 2010-2011 school year. The program was started by Ryan Campbell (British School Jakarta) and Matthew Elms (Singapore American School).  Campbell, inspired by the NHD China competition at Concordia in Shanghai, inquired with the National Office of NHD to start a South Asia affiliate. Matthew Elms, an NHD teacher from the NHD battlegrounds of Washington State, wanted to start a program at Singapore American School. Working together, they built a competitive program, with entrants advancing to the top level of the National NHD Finals in Washington D.C. Each year the NHD South Asia Affiliate has had top 10 finalists and a few podium finalists (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) along the way.

The contest is celebrating its 9th year of participating in the National contest. If you would like to know more about the history and origins of National History Day, please visit






  Bus from hotels to AISC


  Registration opens (Exhibits setup)


  Judges meeting


  Opening ceremonies


  Judging: Documentary and Performance (Paper/Exhibit/Website students participate as audience)


  Dinner for students and chaperones



  Bus from AISC to hotels




  Bus from hotels to AISC


  Judging: Exhibits, Papers, and Websites (Documentary and Performance students participate as audience).

  Exhibits will be open to public display once judging is complete.


  History Quiz Bowl for all students. Final judges meeting.


  Lunch for students and chaperones


  Closing ceremonies


  Packup exhibits


  Buses from AISC to hotels


Frequently Asked Questions

What do I wear?

Students should come in dress-casual clothing.  Boys and girls may wear slacks, dress or skirt, button-down shirt or polo, dress shoes, etc. Please keep your clothing conservative including shoulders covered and hemlines to the knee. This is an academic competition; dress accordingly to impress the judges. You may wear your NHD t-shirt which you will receive on Friday at registration. If necessary, you can wear your school uniform.  All clothing should be in good repair (no ripped clothing) but you do not need to buy a new outfit just for this event.

Can my parents ride on the bus from the hotel?

Parents are welcome to wait until the final buses are loaded and take any available seats.  The priority is for students with exhibit and performance projects.  Certainly, we will try to keep school teams together.

Can my parents watch my interview?

Yes, if your project is a Performance, Documentary, Paper, or Website. No, if your project is an Exhibit.


Group Documentary
Group Exhibit
Group Performance
Group Website
Individual Documentary
Individual Exhibit
Individual Performance
Individual Website

Judge Criteria


Historical Quality (60%)

  • Historical accuracy
  • Histoircal context
  • Analysis and interpretation
  • Use of available primary sources
  • Wide research
  • Balanced research

Relation to the Theme (20%)

  • Clearly relates to theme
  • Demonstrates significance of topic in history and draws conclusions

Clarity of Presentation (20%)

  • Presentation, written materials are original, clear, appropriate, organied and articulate
  • Entry is organized; visual impact is appropriate to topic


If you would like to see the forms used by NHD Judges, CLICK HERE.




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