Students earning first-, second-, and third-place rankings in each category and division receive a medal and cash awards that include:
- first place, $1,000;
- second place, $500; and
- third place, $250.
First-place winners in each category and division are recognized as NEH Scholars. Funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities supports the first-place prizes.
Special Student Prizes
Additional cash prizes and medals awarded by NHD include the following:
- Prizes for best entries dealing with special topics or methods in history. The options change somewhat each year but typically include Civil War, naval, labor, Colonial or Revolutionary American, agricultural, women’s, Irish or Irish American, African American, baseball, presidential, and federal government history (see a complete list of prizes).
- partial-tuition scholarships at the University of Maryland, College Park; Chaminade University, Honolulu; and University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
- a full-tuition scholarship at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland for one outstanding entry in an individual category created by a high school senior.
Outstanding State Award
Recipients of the junior and senior division Outstanding State Awards, selected by each state coordinator, receive an NHD medal.
History Channel Student Awards
The History Channel sponsors special awards of $5,000 for gold-medal recipients in the following categories:
- Best Senior Individual Documentary; and
- Best Senior Group Documentary.
The Legacy Award
Sponsored by the Creativity Foundation, teachers select students who stand out among their peers. These students show great creative promise and inspiration in their endeavors in any of the disciplines or in public service. Winners go to Washington, D.C., to meet with the program's Laureate winner (Past Laureates include Yo-Yo Ma, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Ted Turner). Nominees must be a state contest winner.
Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award
The national Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award recognizes outstanding NHD teachers. The two state-level Behring Award winners are nominated for the national award. The national winners each receive a cash prize of $10,000.
History Channel Educator Award for Service
The History Channel sponsors the History Channel Award for Service, presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to history education through service to the National History Day program. The recipient receives a $5,000 cash prize.
Note: All nominations are sent to NHD, where only a national-level winner is selected.