Minnesota Forensics Team

Since fall 2017, Minnesota’s speech and debate programs have consolidated as the Minnesota Forensics Team, a co-curricular program sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and the Department of Communication Studies. Team members earn course credit, invigorate classroom and campus-wide discussions on the issues of the day, and represent the University at speech and debate competitions around the country.

The debate program has enjoyed enormous success over the past decade, consistently ending each season ranked among the nation’s best by the American Debate Association (ADA), the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA), and the National Debate Tournament (NDT). The Gophers have qualified for the National Debate Tournament (the debate equivalent of the NCAA's "March Madness") each of the past nine seasons. Team members have performed well at both regional and national invitational tournaments, winning many competitions and garnering several individual speaker awards. The team will return over a dozen students from last year's squad and hopes to achieve even greater success in the upcoming season.

The speech program also has a very strong track record of success, culminating in a top-15 finish this past spring at the National Forensics Association’s (NFA) national championship tournament. Team members have earned top-place finishes and other awards at both regional and national competitions, and are poised by build upon last season’s accomplishments.

Participation in the Minnesota Forensics Team is open to any U undergraduate student. The team boasts members who have little or no prior forensics experience, in addition to students with an extensive background in competitive debate and speech. All team members will be required to register for one of Communications 3614, the communication studies department’s advanced debate and speech class. The debate team competes primarily in two-person policy-style debate, while the speech team competes in the full array of NFA and AFA events. The program's members also sponsor and organize a number of public debates featuring advocates and policy experts on important issues facing the University, our state and nation, and the world.


If you have any questions about the team, or are interested in joining, please contact our Director of Forensics Dr. David Cram Helwich at helwi012@umn.edu or 651-307-6980.