Compete With Excellence in a Historic Tradition.
Our award-winning Marian University speech and debate team competes against students from schools across the country, traveling to a dozen tournaments each year. Forensic tournaments can be compared to track and field meets, with participants competing in a variety of events ranging from dramatic interpretation and slam poetry to impromptu speaking and parliamentary debate.
And, yes, you read that correctly. We wrote "forensic." Although commonly associated with tests and techniques to solve crime, the term was actually coined by Aristotle and means "belonging to, used in, or suitable to courts or to public discussion and debate."
Forensics fast facts*
- Oprah Winfrey placed second in the nation in dramatic interpretation during her time competing in speech and debate.
- Competitors in speech and debate have gone on to hold successful careers as Supreme Court Justices, actors, business executives, authors, and technology professionals.
- Pi Kappa Delta, the oldest national collegiate forensic organization in the United States, was founded in 1911.
- Forensics isn’t just about public speaking. Team members have opportunities to hone other skills including writing, research, emotional intelligence, organization, and audience analysis.
*All facts are from the National Speech and Debate Association website.
Scholarships are available.
Students who attend Marian University and compete on the speech and debate team are eligible for a talent award, typically worth $2,000 and renewable each year.
Apply online for the Speech Team Scholarship
How else will you be supported?
- All materials and travel costs and are covered by the university.
- Additional scholarships for tournament attire are available.
We emphasize academics.
We like to take home trophies, but we also want to support your academic success. That’s why the speech and debate team has a school-first philosophy. Additionally, you’ll have opportunities to receive credit for your participation on the team and/or take courses that overlap with the work you’re already doing for competition.
Courses related to speech and debate:
- COM 101 Public Speaking*
- COM 203 Forensics*
- COM 223 Argumentation and Debate
- COM 235 Oral Interpretation of Literature
* Speech and debate team participation counts as credit for these courses.