Judges & Volunteers

Judging Opportunities

What does a judge Do?

Judges are responsible for evaluating projects in their assigned category, which will be decided during Judges Orientation prior to the Fair. They must provide clear and impartial feedback to each student they interview. Judges may be assigned in teams of three to allow for multiple disciplines to review projects that may cross disciplines.
Judge duties include:

  • Review each entry in your assigned category and take notes during the Project Board review as well as the Interview.

  • Complete and return scoring sheets to your Team Lead by the specified time.

What are the Judging Categories?

The categories listed below are those that will be used at the Fair. Many projects could easily fit into more than one category. We require that the students review the entire listing of the categories before choosing a their registered project category. This is entirely the student’s discretion. Please do not suggest to the Judge Team Leads that a project is better suited to a different category during the Fair. Category decisions are final prior to the event.

You can also view the entire list of ISEF Categories here.

Scientific Process Categories

Behavioral and Social Sciences:

The science or study of the thought processes and behavior of humans and other animals and their interactions with the environment studied through observational and experimental methods.


(Includes Biochemistry, Chemistry, Chemical Energy, and Pharmacology)
Studies that explore the identification of the substances of which matter is composed; the investigation of their properties, and the ways in which they interact, combine, and change, and the use of these processes to form new substances.

Biology and Health Sciences:

(Includes Animal, Cellular, and Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Plant Sciences, Health Sciences, and Transitional Medical Sciences)
Focuses on human or animal body systems or overall health.

Physical Sciences and Math:

(Includes Earth & Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, and Physics, and Astronomy)

Focuses on the science of matter, energy, mathematical functions, and applied mathematics.

Engineering Design Process Categories

Applied Engineering

(Includes Engineering mechanics, Materials Science, Robotics and Intelligent Machines)
Studies that focus on engineering that involves movement or structure.  The movement can be by the apparatus or the movement can affect the apparatus.

Sustainable Technology

(Includes Biomedical Engineering, Physical Energy, Environmental Engineering, and Green Chemistry):
Focuses on sustainable or green materials or products

Computer Software & Technology

(Includes Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Embedded Systems and Systems Software):
The practical approach to computation and its applications.

Judging Policy

Rules for Judges

Judging Guidelines

Project Examples

Register to be a Judge

How much time will it take?

We estimate that judges may devote a maximum of 5-8 total hours for judging during the scheduled days of the Fair.

The Judges Orientation is typically scheduled for prior to the Fair and will take approximately 2 hours, where judges will be trained on the judging process and encouraged to review student project boards without students present.

Virtual Fair Schedule

If you have signed up as a volunteer judge, you will be contacted by Fair Staff for details regarding
the 2023 Fair.