Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know
State Historical Society of Iowa
History Day students at state contest

Getting Started

Read the Rules

New to National History Day ? The Contest Rule Book (Manual de las Reglas para Competencias) is a great place to start learning more about the program. Review it carefully before you begin your research! Contact the NHD in Iowa state coordinator at to learn if any rules have been revised since the publication of this rule book.

Understand the Theme and Choose a Topic

Each year, your research must connect to the annual NHD theme. Themes for each contest year are chosen to be broad enough to include topics ranging from local to world history and from ancient time to the recent past. Once you understand the theme, you can choose a topic with a strong connection to it. Remember that your topic should also be significant in history and interesting enough to hold your interest for the school year!

Learn more about the NHD annual theme and topics here.

Begin Research

Research is the backbone of the NHD process. You will investigate primary and secondary sources to collect information and multiple perspectives on your topic from people who experienced it firsthand and scholars who have dedicated their careers to becoming experts in it.

Learn more about the NHD research process here.

Create an NHD Project

Once your research is complete, you will present your findings by creating a project. Your project will share your thesis or historical argument and the supporting evidence from primary and secondary sources you've collected along the way. NHD's five project categories offer different options to showcase your unique skills and creativity!

Learn more about NHD projects here.

Enter a Contest

Entering your project into a contest can be a fun and rewarding way to showcase  your hard work! NHD in Iowa's contest cycle begins with the district contests across the state in March. Students that advance from the district contests compete at the state contest in Des Moines in April, and those students that advance from the state contest are eligible to compete at the national contest in College Park, Maryland in June.

Learn more about NHD contests here.