Official Rules

Please read this checklist of competition rules carefully before submitting your essays through the Official Entry Form, which will be active starting November 15, 2013, until Friday, February 7, 2014.

  • Write an original 700 to 1,000-word essay created exclusively for The DuPont Challenge.
  • Your essay must address a topic that falls under ONE of the four categories of Challenges. The chosen Challenge must be specified on the Official Entry Form when submitting your essay.
  • Write only about a science-related topic. No matter how well-written and researched, essays submitted on non-science topics are disqualified.
  • Your essay must be written in English.
  • Essays should be written using your word processor of choice and pasted into the Essay Box of the Official Entry Form.
  • Do NOT put your name, school name or any other personal information in the body of your essay. Enter your name and other personal information only on the designated fields in the Official Entry Form.
  • Your essay title must appear in the Entry Form box called "Title of Essay." Do not include the title of your essay in the Essay Box.
  • Include the word count at the end of your essay.
  • Attribute quotes and any ideas that are not your own within the body of the essay. Do not use footnotes or endnotes.
  • Your essay must include a bibliography of your source material, pasted in the Bibliography box of the Official Entry Form. (MLA style is recommended.) Do not include the bibliography in your word count.
  • Avoid plagiarism. Essays are carefully reviewed by multiple judges and checked for plagiarism.
  • Proofread your essay carefully. Your essay will be judged not only on the science, but also on creativity, spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
  • Do not include illustrations, graphics, or diagrams.
  • Fill out the Official Entry Form completely. Incomplete entry forms will not be accepted.


All students must be 13 years of age prior to Friday, February 7, 2014, to submit their essay using the Official Entry Form. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) prevents The DuPont Challenge© from collecting personal information online from children under age 13. Students under the age of 13 must use the Under 13 Entry Form and follow the special submission instructions listed on that page.

Please see our FAQ for answers to other frequently asked questions regarding essay submission.