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General Information

What is Forensics?

The Speech and Debate (Forensics) Team provides an excellent opportunity for students to improve their communication, writing, critical thinking, performance and professional skills. You can learn to debate, deliver speeches, perform literature and even do comedy! Our team attracts various students with majors from theatre, history, business, law, political science and more. Students can learn valuable skills and lessons that will benefit them in a countless number of future situations, all while having a great time.

Forensics is sometimes considered an academic sports team, because it is a very involving and rewarding experience. It not only offers a great educational opportunity, but it also gives speech team members the opportunity to travel to other schools and meet students from all over the nation. We travel to tournaments throughout the West Coast and frequently visit the Midwest and East Coast as well. Recent locations include Texas, Ohio, St. Louis, Nashville, Los Angeles, San Diego and many others. We even travel internationally to locations such as China, Ireland and Greece!

How do I join?

Undergraduate students from all schools and majors in the University are eligible to participate in the Speech and Debate program. The team typically has about 20-30 members at any given time. We have varying levels of commitment, from casual to international travel team member. Auditions are not a requirement of the team-only the desire, dedication and commitment to improving your communication and performance skills.

If you are interested in joining the Pacific Speech and Debate Team, stop by Room 12 in the Psy/Comm building during practice from 6 pm to 9 pm, Tuesdays through Thursdays. You can also contact Professor Steven Kalani Farias or any of the coaches for more information. Whether you are looking to win an argument or amaze a crowd, Pacific Speech and Debate is your ticket to success!

Are forensics scholarships available?

University of the Pacific offers forensics scholarships to students who have demonstrated a high level of performance proficiency. These are primarily merit-based scholarships. Anyone meeting the qualifications as a highly-skilled speaker and debater may apply.

Additionally, if you are interested in law school and wish to coach forensics, Pacific offers a unique opportunity:  Fellowship in Law & Forensics. This is a full-ride scholarship to Pacific's McGeorge School of Law in exchange for being an assistant coach.

Pacific's Speech and Debate program is led by Professor Steven Kalani Farias, Director of Forensics and a professor in the Communication Department.

What is the practice schedule?

Pacific's Speech and Debate Team is highly competitive and its members are dedicated to excellence. To maintain a high level of performance, the team typically practices three days a week, as follows:

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Psy/Comm building, room 12

During practice, students attend lectures with our coaches and attend one-on-one sessions. We hold debates and deliver speeches during practice, so the coaches can evaluate your performances and help you to become the best contestant you can be. While the time commitment is significant, the sense of achievement, personal development and camaraderie are meaningful rewards for those who choose to participate. And if you cannot meet during these times, there are always possible exceptions!

What is a typical Forensics tournament like?

Each team member prepares multiple events of their choice and competes at one of the many tournaments we attend. Tournaments are held on weekends, generally Friday through Sunday. At the tournament, students will compete in preliminary rounds with an average of five or six other contestants and one judge. Depending on their scores, students advance to a final round with the best five or six contestants. Students compete for the top placement and trophies. At some tournaments, cash scholarships are given to top contestants.

One of the great things about competing with the Pacific Speech and Debate Team is that there is no direct financial cost to the student. The school covers the cost of lodging, transportation (including airfare), tournament entry fees, and we offer a stipend for meals each day. Pacific also hosts tournaments on campus, including our annual High School Invitational at the end of October and the Paul Winters/Pat Kennedy tournaments in November. For more information regarding upcoming events, please visit the prospective and current member website.