National History Day – California follows the rules established for the National History Day
program and contest. Review the rules carefully to avoid disqualification for rules violations.
Plagiarism or use of a previous year’s project will result in immediate disqualification.
For additional information on citations listed in the NHD-CA Rulebook, please visit Purdue University OWL
As briefly outlined below, specific rules apply to each entry category:
Historical Paper: 1,500-2,500 word limit
Performance & Documentary: 10 minute time limit
Web Site: 1,200 student-composed word limit
Exhibit: 500 student-composed word limit, 40” width x 30” depth x 72″ height limit
Poster (special California category for 4th and 5th grade students): 30” x 40” size limit,
Poster, 350 student-composed word limit
General rules apply to all categories:
Annotated Bibliography: list of primary and secondary sources used in the project along with short descriptions of their use.
MLA or Turabian style
500-word Process Paper describing how the student selected the topic, conducted their research, selected their category and created their project, and how the project relates to the NHD theme. The Historical Paper category does not require a Process Paper. Click here for a sample Process Paper.
This rule book takes effect at the begining of the 2019-20 academic year and supersedes all previous versions (V 2019).
Made changes to website builder. Includes rules for the Poster (formerly 2-Dimensional Display) category available at the state level in California.
Poster Process Paper Guide (for Elementary Students)
Click image to download - 36 pg. 1.2MB PDF