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6-Week Policy Debate Program




“The most important thing that I learned was critical debating. Now I am able to run Kritiks,…I can also read critical arguments and have a way better grasp on them.”



6-week Policy Debate

Advanced and Intermediate Level Instruction

June 29 – August 9

Hybrid Program Format Schedule:

Online June 29 – July 12 (2 weeks)

On Campus July 13 – July 27 (2 weeks)

Online July 28 – August 9 (final 2 weeks)





2016 Debate students visit the Chinese Consulate in Chicago


Debate Lab Topics

These labs are focused on helping students make the transition to the elimination round level of the national circuit. Moving beyond the fundamentals, these labs will be dedicated to advanced areas of research, strategy, and in round execution. Lab time will break down into these key areas:

  • Practice debates/Speech Redos/Drills – Nothing is more important to this lab than debating. Students will be offered daily opportunities for practice debates, speech redos, and participation in various drills. We will start practice debates within the first two days of lab. Speech redos will be required after each debate. An assortment of exercises e.g. extending a DA, answering a link turn, overviews, will be offered on a regular basis. Debating will be a constant of the lab experience even during heavy research times.
  • Research – A sophisticated comprehension of key topic issues and the ability to produce complete arguments are crucial to making the transition to the elite level of high school debate. This lab will focus on both those goals. Students will be responsible for producing complete arguments individually or in small groups. Lab leaders will work with students on assignments at every step of the process giving daily updates and suggestions. The range of possible research topics will be flexible and students will have much input into this process. We will emphasize the core topic issues, which ensures that students will be prepared to debate primary topic controversies as they begin the season. Each part of the argument construction process will be taught including initial affirmative and negative waves, block writing, and updating arguments over the course of the workshop.
  • Theory and Strategy – The last piece of this puzzle is teaching sophisticated approaches to breaking down the topic and debate. What makes a good affirmative? How to approach the beginning of the year from the negative perspective? Complex theory debates will be explored covering the spectrum of debate argument e.g. Kritik, Topicality, Counterplans. It is the goal of this lab to teach students to be their own coaches and be able to win a debate starting with the beginning brainstorming stage of argument production, moving to the block writing process, and finishing with in-round execution. Advanced theory and strategy will be woven in and out of the curriculum to help guide this aim.
  • The House of Theory – The Six Week Advanced lab will spend a week intensively discussing the philosophical principles that underpin debate theory debates.  Students will learn to unpack the jargon and learn to re-think about theory debates specifically, and the value of debate as a practice overall.



Debate Division  –  Application Information and Deadlines  –  Tuition and Fees  –  Scholarships and Financial Aid  –  FAQ’s
Typical Day  –  6-Week Policy Debate  –  4-Week Policy Debate  –  Policy Debate Commuter Option  –  Debate at Northwestern  –  Faculty Bios