Debate at Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt Debate ranks as one of the premier programs in the country. The team competes in British Parliamentary debate tournaments around the country and the world, including the United States Universities Debating Championship and the World Universities Debating Championship. These are two of the largest debate competitions in the world with over 200 teams participating.
Vanderbilt often has one of the largest squads in the nation. Typically, more than 30 Vanderbilt students participate each year. Unlike many schools, we allow students with no prior debate experience to join the squad. This allows a larger number of students to experience competitive debate.
Students benefit tremendously from debate. The debate experience helps one to develop and improve communication and critical thinking skills. As a member of the squad, students gain a better understanding of general theories and principles of argumentation and a better understanding of current world issues. Students also develop better research, critical thinking, and communication skills.
Because debate is essential to our society’s democratic process and important in successful decision making, the debate experience empowers students to participate more productively in shaping their own personal worlds and society as a whole.