Skip to main content

The University of Houston Speech & Debate Program

The University of Houston Speech & Debate Program is the home of competitive speech and debate on campus. A co-curricular program of the Honors College, it harnesses the competitive energy of UH undergraduates to engage them in research, argumentation, and leadership on the grand challenges facing contemporary society. As a high-impact key engagement activity, its strategic goals are to cultivate competitive success, encourage campus engagement, and foster community building across Houston and beyond.

In addition to intercollegiate competition, the program also encourages campus engagement through hosting public debates and other speech and argumentation themed activities. Attached to the Leadership Studies Minor, the coaches of the team also offer courses on public policy, leadership, and other topical issues. Currently, UH participates in four different styles of speech & debate.

The Director of Speech & Debate is Richard A. Garner, a faculty member of the Honors College.

About the Program

  • Policy Debate

    Policy Debate

    One of the longest standing debate traditions on campus, the Policy Debateteam competes in NDT-CEDA intercollegiate policy debate. First qualifying to the National Debate Tournament in 1951, UH made it to the Elite Eight at nationals in 2014. Members are also eligible for membership in the national Speech & Debate Honor Society, Pi Kappa Delta.

  • Speech

    Speech

    Formerly known as the UH Forensics Society, the Speech team competes in Individual Events ranging from extemporaneous speaking to dramatic duo. The team has a long history dating back to the 1960s, and its members are also eligible for PKD.

  • Legal Debate

    Legal Debate

    UH also participates in two legal debate competitions, Mock Trialand Moot Court. Focusing on a style that prepares competitors for the court room, each team offers a unique opportunity for students interested in the law to learn about legal procedure and reasoning in a competitive environment.

  • Model Debate

    Model Debate

    Since 1988, the Honors College has participated in the national Model Arab League (MAL) conference, where students model a delegation to a session of the Arab League. These simulations provide students an excellent opportunity to develop leadership skills and to learn about the social, economic, cultural, and political issues facing leaders of the Arab world. Since then, the program has expanded to compete in both Model G20 and Model United Nations. 

SPEECH & DEBATE BY THE NUMBERS

  • 1927Debate team founded in same year as university
  • 3National tournament top-speakers
  • 23National tournament invites
  • 4First place trophies in 2018