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School of Media and Communication

Speech and Debate: Frequently Asked Questions


USM Speech and Debate:
Frequently Asked Questions  

1. Do I have to be a Communication Studies major to participate?

No, you do not have to be a Communication Studies major to participate. Membership on the team is open to any USM undergraduate student in good academic standing. Previous team members have majored in political science, biology, theater, and speech pathology. 

2. Is previous debate experience required?

No, Southern Miss Speech and Debate has a walk-on policy, and no experience is necessary to be a part of the team. All you need is a desire to join and motivation to develop your skills.

3. Do I have to attend meeting and practices?

The team has weekly scheduled practice sessions. Students are encouraged to regularly attend, but if an issue occurs special arrangements can be made with teammates and coaches.

4. How big is the team?

It varies every year, but typically ranges from 10-15 debaters.

5. Does the team travel?

Yes, the team attends several tournaments a year throughout the year. In past years, previous teams have traveled to Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia, Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, and all throughout Mississippi. 

6. How much does it cost to travel with the team?

During tournaments, all tournament fees, transportation, accommodations, and meals are paid for by the team’s budget.  

7. Are debate scholarships available?

While no scholarships are provided for joining the forensic team, the University of Southern Mississippi does offer several academic scholarships. For more information please visit: