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Joining Speech and Debate at UC San Diego

How and When to Join the Team

Thank you for your interest in being a member of the UCSD Speech and Debate Team! For the 2022 Fall Quarter, we recruit new members from August 20th to October 7th, but we accept emails of interest as early as Summer 2022! If you would like to be a member of the team, then please complete the following steps:

  1. Finish reading this page to get an idea of what it takes to be a member of the team, and check the Coaching and Events page to see the events that you can choose to compete in during your competitive journey. Feel free to contact the coach(es) listed in their respective pages if you have any questions about the event(s) of your interest.
  2. Send an email to the Speech and Debate Team’s email address ( expressing your interest in joining the team
  3. You will receive a reply from us regarding the next steps.

To get you quickly acclimated to the team for the 2022-2023 competitive season, we encourage you to send your email of interest as soon as possible! We look forward to meeting you!

Why should I join the team?

The Speech and Debate Team is an official UCSD Program within the Communication Department!

Becoming a member on, and perhaps leader of, this team offers you a unique, valuable experience.  While developing and honing skills that can strongly and favorably differentiate you in any career path you choose, you also represent your university by competing in intercollegiate speech and debate tournaments against dozens of colleges and universities from across the country. Successful team members enjoy competing against peers at other colleges, while striving to earn awards and trophies to display on our campus. In short, we win…a lot…and celebrate at tournaments’ “Awards Ceremonies”, when the announcement is, “And the winner in this event is `your name here’ from the University of California San Diego!”  Being part of this team enables you to meet a diverse cross-section of high caliber UCSD students, who Coach Campbell always describes by declaring, “You always find the best students on any campus on the debate team.”

Finally, you can also receive Co-Curricular Credit on your official transcript by competing on our team. Eligibility for Co-Curricular Credit is achieved when you attend 2 tournaments a Quarter for Fall and Winter Quarters, and attend 90% of GBMs and practices for your desired events.

*Course credit towards graduation coming Winter Quarter, 2023.*

Are there fees to join UCSD Speech & Debate?

No. The primary cost for participation and team membership is your time. We are committed to excellence, so team members invest time to practice and prepare to win.  Otherwise, transportation to tournaments is provided. (Team members with automobiles can volunteer to drive to nearby tournaments). Team members need to pay for food, but any required lodging is provided.

What do I do as a member of the team?

We compete in Forensics Speech and Debate format competitions. As a member of a competitive team, we expect you to go to practices and GBMs consistently, and to go to as many tournaments as possible, considering your busy academic schedule. Check the FAQ’s for more information on how much time you can expect to invest, what competitions look like, etc. 

If I have limited or no experience, in which speech events and/or debate formats should I begin?

If you have experience in Speech and Debate from high school or community college, please see our Speech Events and Debate Events pages for the array of events and formats in which we practice and compete. If you have no experience, see the Coaching page and discuss with coaches any events in which you may be interested. Our motto is, “If you have no experience in an event, we will help you become good at it; if you have experience, we will help you become great at it!

If you are still not sure where to start, we recommend you begin with Impromptu and Extemporaneous Speaking if you are interested in speech events, and IPDA if you are interested in debate events. However, there are no restrictions on what events you may enter, compete in, and practice, meaning you can try every event listed in our Coaching pages.