Macalester’s Forensics program references a series of co-curricular competitive speaking events in which Macalester students research and prepare arguments for intercollegiate competition.

Forensics participation—regardless of the specific event—teaches research, critical thinking, persuasion and advocacy skills. No matter what your major is or future career path may be, participating in forensics events prepares you to excel in the construction and presentation of arguments for an audience. Because Macalester participates in team events, Forensics competitions foster the skills of team participation while offering an additional space of intellectual community on campus.

Macalester has a long and storied tradition in intercollegiate forensics. Our first intercollegiate debate took place on April 7, 1911. While our story began with a 2-1 loss to St. Olaf College, it did not take Macalester students very long to develop a reputation as one of the best forensics programs around. Over the course of the last 107 years, Macalester students have won national titles in events ranging from extemporaneous speaking and oratory to debate and mock trial. Today, our forensics program provides a wide variety of opportunities for students to improve their skills in the core liberal arts disciplines of rhetoric, logic, and argumentation.

Macalester Forensics is designed to serve a broad range of students: those who wish to make intercollegiate competition a central part of their college experience as well as those who want to make improving their public speaking skills just one of the many tasks that they hope to accomplish during their time at Macalester. For both groups, Macalester’s Forensics program provides a place where those needs can be met.

Macalester Forensics offers a number of forensics team events for students to participate in. Macalester students compete in mock trial tournaments using the case materials provided by the American Mock Trial Association, participate in the Ethics Bowl, a competition sponsored by the Association for Professional and Practical Ethics, and also take part in the national Bioethics Bowl competition. The program also serves as the home for Macalester’s internationally-recognized Model United Nations program. 

These “varsity sports of the mind” are both challenging and enjoyable. Participating in Macalester Forensics events is open to all interested students. While we encourage those with considerable high school experience to join our ranks, we are also open to those who have never competed before.

If you would like to join, reach out to Director of Forensics Beau Larsen at