Contest Rules

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.

2023-24 Rule Book for Exhibit, Documentary, Historical Paper, Performance, & Website

(no changes were made this year.)

2023-24 Rule Book for California Only Poster & Podcast Categories

(no changes were made this year.)

Word Count

It is your responsibility to make sure your project is under the maximum amount of student composed words. Please refer to the rule book (page 21) for more information. Counts will be verified at competitions.

General Rules

These are rules that apply to all categories. Such as:

  • Annotated Bibliography: list of primary and secondary sources used in the project along with short descriptions of their use.
  • Each annotation must be no more than two or three sentences.
  • The Chicago Manual of Style by University of Chicago Press or MLA Handbook by the Modern Association of America are accepted formats.
  • 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. Process papers are now required in all categories, including papers. Click here for a sample Process Paper.

Specific Rules

These are rules that apply to a certain category. Such as:

  • Historical Paper: 1,500-2,500 word limit
  • Performance & Documentary: 10 minute time limit
  • Website: 1,200 student-composed word limit
  • Exhibit: 500 student-composed word limit, 40” width x 30” depth x 72″ height limit
  • Poster: 30” x 40” size limit, Poster, 350 student-composed word limit
  • Podcast: JR & SR Divisions 10 minute time limit. Elem Division 6 minute time limit.
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