Guide to Competition
The National History
Day program includes a progressive contest cycle open to students
in grades 6-12. Wisconsin students may compete at the local,
regional, state, and national levels. Information about contest
rules can be found in the contest rulebook.
Many teachers opt to organize a school or local History Day
event prior to the regional event. These events function as
history fairs and offer a great opportunity to bring families,
school administrators, and other community members into the
classroom. Since regional coordinators usually must limit the
number of entries per category that they will accept from each
school, schools with a large number of History Day participants
generally use school events to select the entries that will
go on. View our school events page to
learn more and download useful materials. Need more information?
Contact the staff at the state office via e-mail at email@example.com.
Wisconsin's regional events are usually held during March
and early April. The three top-ranking entries per category
go on to the state event. (Categories are separated by age division,
group type, and project type. For example, “Senior Group
Documentary” is one category.) Each region has its own
coordinator and includes a multi-county area. Regional coordinators
set participation guidelines for their events, including limits
on entries per school and entry fees. To learn more about the
regional event your school will attend and to find out how to
contact your regional coordinator, check our directory of regional
The Wisconsin State History Day Event takes place in either
late April or early May at the Wisconsin Historical Society
and at nearby facilities on the UW-Madison campus. Every Wisconsin
school that participates in History Day may send at least one
entry to the state event, so teachers may select a “Best
of School” entry to participate IF no entry from the school
ranks within the top three in its category at the regional level.
(Note: This policy does not apply to home school students.)
The two highest-ranking entries at the state event are eligible
to participate in the national contest in June. The state event
is sponsored and coordinated by Wisconsin Historical Society.
View contact information for program
The national contest is held during the second or third week
of June at the University of Maryland – College Park,
which is located just a short metro ride from downtown Washington
D.C. Wisconsin students travel independently to the national
contest and usually opt to stay with the state's delegation
in the campus dormitories. At the national contest, judging
of projects is just one part of an exciting week filled with
opportunities to explore the nation's capital and meet
students from across the country. To experience the national
contest through the eyes of Wisconsin students, check out the
online journals of past delegations.
National History Day in Wisconsin Policies
Review these documents for clarification on common participation policies.
Learn about how to submit student projects to the state event using this policy.
Learn the variety of ways individual students can participate in NHD.
Discover how you can become eligible for in-person NHD staff classroom visits.
See how your students can qualify for need-based scholarships for the national contest.
View the judging process and eligibility requirments for special awards.
"National History Day is open to all students and teachers without regard to race, sex, religion, physical abilities, economic status, or sexual orientation. National History Day does not discriminate against or limit participation by physically challenged students. National History Day staff and state coordinators will
make every effort to accommodate students with special needs." – National History Day Rulebook
General Event Participation Guidelines
The National History Day competition cycle is open to students in grades 6-12. The competition cycle is open to students in public, private, parochial, or home schools. Students can participate with a class or work independently. Students must adhere to the general rules for all categories in the NHD Contest Rulebook, especially noting rules regarding contest participation and entry development, and submit
registration materials by the deadline.
Note for Wisconsin Students in 4th and 5th Grades: Some Wisconsin schools participate in NHD with 4th and 5th grade students. Teachers are welcome to have these students develop projects according to
NHD criteria. Teachers are encouraged to have a presentation or fair to showcase student work, and some regional coordinators may be able to accommodate an exposition at the regional event. Students in these grades, however, cannot compete in the NHD event cycle or advance to the Wisconsin State Event or national contest.
To Participate in a Regional Contest
Regional contests are assigned based on the county in which the school is located. Schools are also subject to the regional entry limit, generally four to five entries per category/division from each school
(e.g. junior group documentary, senior individual performance, etc.). If your school has more entries than the region's limit, the participating teacher is responsible for deciding which entries are eligible to go to
the regional contest. Generally a separate school event is held for this purpose. Each regional coordinator sets their entry limit based on space limitations. Contact your regional coordinator for more information on their entry limit and regional registration materials.
To Participate in the State Event
In order to participate in the state event, students must have competed in one of the seven regional events in Wisconsin and placed in the top three in their category/division. If a top-placing entry is unable to attend the state event, the spot will be offered to the alternate in that category/division, in the order of
If a school sent entries to a regional competition and did not have any students place in the top three in their category/division, the school is eligible to send a Best of School entry to the state event. This process has been designed to include as many students as possible in the excitement of the state event and also to give every school a first-hand experience that will bolster their program as they head into the next school year. You will be contacted by the state coordinator if your school is eligible. Note: The Best of School policy does not apply to home school students.
To Participate in the National Contest
The top two entries in each category/division at the state event are eligible for the national contest. If a top-placing entry is unable to attend the national contest, the spot will be offered to the alternate, in the order of their ranking.
Please feel free to contact the National History Day in Wisconsin state office with any other questions.