Students may submit individual or team projects (Note: the maximum number of students that may compete as a team is three) in any of the following categories, whose descriptions have been adapted from the Intel ISEF Handbook:
1. Animal Sciences
Study of animal behavior, classification, development, pathology, taxonomy; animal ecology, animal genetics, animal husbandry, circadian rhythms, cytology, entomology, herpetology, histology, ichthyology, ornithology, paleontology, physiology, studies of invertebrates, etc.
2. Behavioral and Social Sciences
Human behavior, social and community relationships; anthropology, archaeology, circadian rhythms, educational testing, ethnology, learning, linguistics, perception, psychology, sociology, urban issues, etc.
Chemistry of life processes; enzymes, food chemistry, hormones, metabolism, molecular biology, molecular genetics, photosynthesis, protein chemistry, etc.
4. Cellular and Molecular Biology
Study of the molecular basis of cellular function and processes, including replication, transcription, and translation.
Study of nature and composition of matter and laws governing it; fuels; inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry (other than biochemistry), physical chemistry; materials, metallurgy, pesticides, plastics, soil chemistry, etc.
6. Computer Science
Study and development of computer hardware; programming languages; networking and communications; robotics control systems; simulations/virtual reality or computations science (including data structures, encryption, coding and information theory); algorithms, artificial intelligence, data bases, graphics, software engineering, etc.
7. Earth and Planetary Science
Climatology, geography, geology, geophysics, meteorology, mineralogy, oceanography, paleontology, physiography, seismology, speleology, tectonics, etc.
Electrical & Mechanical: Computer engineering, controls, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, robot mechanics, solar electric generation, thermodynamics, etc.; Energy & Transport: Aerodynamics, aerospace and aeronautical engineering, alternative fuels, automotive & marine vehicle development, fossil fuel energy, heating & refrigeration, renewable energies, solar heating, wind energy, etc.; Materials & Bioengineering: Acoustics, bioengineering, civil & construction engineering, chemical engineering, environmental engineering, ergonomics, industrial engineering & processing, material science, etc.
9. Environmental Sciences and Management
Air pollution and air quality, bioremediation (i.e., oil spill cleanup, etc.), ecology, ecosystems management, environmental engineering, land resource management, forestry, recycling, waste management, soil contamination and soil quality, water pollution and water quality, etc.
10. Mathematical Sciences
Science of numbers and their operations; algorithms, development of formal logical systems or various numerical and algebraic computations and the application of these principles; algebra, calculus, complex analysis, geometry, number theory, probability, statistics, etc.
11. Medicine and Health Sciences
Study of diseases and health of humans; allergies, cellular & molecular biology, dermatology, dentistry, epidemiology, genetics, immunology, nutrition, ophthalmology, pathology, pediatrics, pharmacology, physiology, sanitation, speech and hearing, etc.
Biology of microorganisms; antibiotics/microbials, bacterial genetics, bacteriology, fungi, molds, protozoology, virology, yeast, etc.
13. Physics and Astronomy
Theories, principles and laws governing energy and the effect of energy on matter; acoustics; atoms, molecules, nuclear, plasma, solids; biophysics; fluid and gas dynamics; instrumentation and electronics; magnetism; optics, lasers, masers; particle, quantum mechanics; semiconductors, solid state, superconductivity, thermodynamics; theoretical or computational astronomy, planetary science, etc.
14. Plant Sciences
Study of plant life; agriculture/agronomy, algae, circadian rhythms, ecology, forestry, horticulture, hydroponics, plant evolution, plant genetics, plant pathology, plant physiology, plant taxonomy, etc.
15. Team Category
Participants in this category may complete a project in any of the above disciplines. Team projects should reflect a level of complexity and quantity of work that is indicative of a group effort. A maximum of three students per team is allowed.