Any exhibit or student that does not follow the Official ISEF Rules and Forms will be disqualified and the exhibit will not be judged.
If you need the ISEF Rules and Forms in Spanish they are available.
To make sure that you are eligible to compete in the regional and state fairs, be sure you meet each of these requiremnts:
Due to the risks and safety rules associated with culturing microorganisms, the NCSEF has decided to restrict most microbiology projects to the JUNIOR AND SENIOR LEVELS, with ONLY two exceptions (stated below). Elementary projects involving the culturing of microorganisms are NOT ALLOWED, with the exception of the following:
Experiments using Baker's/Brewer's yeast (bread yeast)
Experiments using lactobacillus or probiotic cultures (yogurt, buttermilk, or commercially available probiotic supplements)
Microorganisms include, but are not limited to: bacteria, fungi (including molds), yeasts, viruses, viroids, prions, rickettsia, and parasites. ALL projects involving microorganisms must follow the ISEF Rules regarding culturing, handling, and disposal. NO STUDENTS AT ANY LEVEL may grow microorganisms at home, except for those specifically stated as exceptions above.
These rules do not apply to projects involving composting or decomposition of foods as long as no samples are cultured and as long as all projects in these categories are terminated at the first visible signs of microbial growth.
NO Elementary Projects involving the culturing of Microorganisms are allowed.
Due to the risks and safety rules associated with culturing microorganisms, the NCSEF has decided to restrict these projects to the JUNIOR AND SENIOR LEVELS ONLY. Microorganisms include, but are not limited to: bacteria, fungi (including molds), viruses, viroids, prions, rickettsia, and parasites. ALL junior and senior level projects involving microorganisms must follow the ISEF Rules regarding culturing, handling and disposal. Students at all levels may NOT grow microorganisms at home.
Each student exhibitor must be registered and all forms must be submitted by the deadline.
Students should arrive early enough to check-in, pick-up exhibit space number, and set up their exhibits.
Only research and engineering projects will be judged. Displays are not eligible for competition.
In all divisions (Elementary, Junior and Senior), no more than 3 students may work together on a project. Individual and group projects will be judged together.
Only students enrolled in grades 3, 4, or 5 may compete in the Elementary Division.
Only students enrolled in grades 6, 7, or 8 may compete in the Junior Division.
Only students enrolled in grades 9, 10, 11, or 12 may compete in the Senior Division.
The State Science Fair officials may refuse permission to exhibit for reasons of safety, sanitation, or best interests of the Fair.
Decisions of the judges are final.
Junior and Senior Division entries must be correctly categorized as Biological Science A, Biological Science B, Chemistry, Earth/Environmental Science, Physical Science, or Technology/Engineering. No changes will be made the day of the fair. Team projects are no longer a separate category. View detailed category descriptions.
All projects should display the abstract approved by the SRC with the ISEF forms during registration. The abstract may be mounted on the board or prominently displayed on the table. This abstract will be returned to the student at the registration desk.
Students are encouraged to display a research paper and all research journals with their project to provide more details for the judges.