Credit Options

Students must be enrolled in COM-243 (or one of its variations) to travel with the forensics squad. Prior permission from the Director of Forensics must be obtained to register for credit. There are four regular-semester credit options, and one J-Term credit option.

Regular Semester Options

.00 Credits (Audit)

Students who are near the maximum credit load, or who do not wish to take forensics for course credit may elect the zero credit audit option. Students who audit the course do not receive an official grade on their permanent academic transcript.

.125 Credits

This is the preferred option for students who have no previous experience with forensics. To receive a passing grade, students taking .125 credits are expected to regularly attend squad meetings and practice sessions, to participate in on-campus demonstrations and practicums, and to prepare at least one event for competition. Students are also expected to participate in at least one intercollegiate competition as directed by the coach.

.250 Credits

This is the preferred option for students who have prior speech or debate experience in high school. To receive a passing grade, students taking .250 credits are expected to regularly attend squad meetings and practice sessions, to participate in on-campus demonstrations and practicums, and to prepare at least two events for competition. Students are also expected to participate in at least one event at two intercollegiate competitions as directed by the coach.

.500 Credits

This is the preferred option for students who are returning members of the squad. To receive a passing grade, students taking .500 credits are expected to regularly attend squad meetings and practice sessions, to participate in on and off-campus demonstrations and practicums, and to prepare at least two events for competition. Students are also expected to participate in at least two events in intercollegiate competitions as directed by the coach. In particular, students are expected to attend each of the "all-squad" tournaments listed on the travel schedule.

January Term Options

1.00 Credits

Students who wish to compete during January Term are encouraged to register for the J-Term forensics class. The class meets daily during the term and students travel extensively to intercollegiate competitions. The precise requirements of the course are explained in the syllabus.

Students may take forensics credit each semester that they compete for the squad and each January Term.


As a co-curricular activity, forensics offers intensive training in public speaking, argumentation, rhetorical analysis, research, critical thinking and performance studies. Firmly grounded within the liberal arts tradition, forensics is what one alum termed "a college education in a nutshell."

Forensics is also interdisciplinary. Students learn to see problems and solutions from a variety of perspectives. A single debate topic, for example, might involve research that spans a number of disciplines. In addition, students learn to approach questions of fact, questions of value and questions of policy from the framework that is appropriate to each type of question.