Forensics FAQ

SDSU Forensics is one of the oldest programs on the West Coast, our lineage can be traced back to the early 1900’s when the University was in its early years. Our program has evolved over the years but our focus has been, and will continue to be, to foster discourse both in our community and in competition. Below you can find some answers to some FAQ’s about our program.

Do I need to have experience before I join?
No experience is necessary to join the SDSU Speech and Debate program. There are novice divisions for new members, as well as Varsity divisions for experienced competitors and our coaching staff is excited and more than qualified to help you at whatever level of experience you are at.
How much time does forensics take up during a semester?
Students competing on the SDSU Speech & Debate program typically practice once a week (Mondays 7-9:40pm), attend coaching appointments for more individual work, and compete between three to five weekend tournaments per semester.
Can I receive credits for participating on the team?
Students can enroll in the Credit/ No Credit COM 301 Intercollegiate Speech and Debate course offered in the School of Communication. The class is 1 credit but can be taken for 3 credits with instructor permission with additional requirements. For 1 credit students must attend weekly practices, prepare at least one event (students can choose from debate, platform, or an interpretive speech), and attend at least 2 tournaments during the semester. For 3 credits students must attend weekly practices, prepare at least two events (students can choose from debate, platform, or an interpretive speech), and attend at least 3 tournaments during the semester.
Are there any requirements for competing?
Students must be in good standing with SDSU, be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours, comply with SDSU’s Student Code of Conduct, and must be carrying at least a 2.5 GPA to compete with the program.
Can I check this out before joining?
Students who are interested have multiple options to observe and even participate a bit before joining. Students can visit the coaching staff to ask questions (offices located in the Communication building on the 2nd floor next to the Office for the School of Communication), attend a practice (Monday’s 7-9:40pm COM206), observe at a tournament in the San DIego area, or watch some of the videos that we have on our page to see what we do.
Are there scholarships available?
Scholarships are available to students who are currently enrolled at the university and are committed competitors. There are scholarships available for students of all majors. Because there are multiple scholarships, and each has its own requirements, please email Ashley Nuckels-Cuevas, Director of Speech and Debate for more information.
What events does SDSU compete in?
SDSU Forensics is proud to be one of the few programs in the country that is a true Full Service Squad; meaning that we compete in all forms of Speech (Limited Prep, Platform, and Interpretive) and Debate (team and individual) events both at the Local and National Level.
Where are the competitions?
Forensics Tournaments take place both online and in person. They usually take place on the weekend at a college campus but can also happen both synchronously and asynchronously online. When we do travel we go all over San Diego and California. We also travel to various competitions across the country to locations such as Salt Lake City, Seattle, Portland, and more.
This all sounds awesome. How can I join?
Contact Ashley Nickels-Cuevas, SDSU’s Director of Forensics, by email at
What is Forensics as an Activity?
Forensics is also known as Competitive Speech and Debate where students prepare speeches and take them to tournaments where they compete against other students from different colleges and universities. Forensics has a little something for everyone; from acting and humorous speeches to informing or advocating for important issues. It also offers the opportunity to engage in debate on current events and philosophical concepts.
Do I have to pay anything?
Students do not pay anything to participate on the team. SDSU Forensics is a Registered Student Organization in addition to being a program funded through the School of Communication and the University, meaning that this is a unique co-curricular opportunity that does not require the student to pay for participation. The team covers all tournament entry fees, transportation costs, boarding for travel, and a small stipend for meals when traveling overnight.