Debate FAQ

Q: Can I take Introduction to Debate and do a sport?
A: Yes – there is often a misconception that as soon as you join the debate team you have to give up all other activities. It does require good time management skills, but there are several students that balance debate and 1 sport, sometimes 2.

Q: How much time a week will I have to devote to debate if I take the class?
A: You are required to attend 2 tournaments a semester, which means approximately 2 weekends a semester. You are also required to help at any Notre Dame Debate Tournaments held at the Notre Dame campus. These dates change from year to year.

Q: Do I have to pay for the debate tournaments?
A: The school does help fund travel and transportation for the team; however, there is usually a fee for tournaments that can range from $25-$500 depending on the travel required for the tournament. Additionally, students do have to cover their own food expenses at any debate tournament. There are some fundraising events throughout the year that can help you defray the costs of paying for the tournaments.

Q: Does debate interfere with rigorous academic schedules?
A: Not necessarily - the answer to this question depends on the individual student. There are many students at Notre Dame that balance very rigorous academic schedules, including AP courses, with debate. It is easy to balance your schedule with the Introduction to Debate course, but it requires learning to balance and discipline yourself.

Additionally, ALL students who have been in debate even for one year have said the course greatly improved their confidence and skill level in public speaking, critical thinking, and research. They felt that after taking Introduction to Debate and going to a couple tournaments they were more prepared than many of their peers to complete research papers and make presentations in class.

Q: Will I get to travel as a novice?
A: There are a couple travel opportunities during one’s novice year. It depends on your work efforts and skill level. Before each tournament, the Director of Debate makes these determinations.

If you have any additional questions, please email Christina Tallungan, the Director of Debate, at