• Quality Faculty with a Comprehensive Curriculum
    Quality faculty, among the finest college and high school coaches in the nation, teach a comprehensive curriculum that is inclusive of all arguments and styles. The student to staff ratio is never higher than 8:1 ensuring targeted skills development

  • Spartan Debate Institute
    The SDI is the summer program of the MSU Debate Team, providing debate instruction to high school students for over 20 years. Sessions available: 2 Week, 4 Week, and Spartan Scholars.

Spartan Debate Institute

Phone: (517) 798-6269   (9:00am - 5:00pm EST business hours until the start of camp)
Email: debate@msu.edu


2020 SDI Sessions:  

Two Week Program: June 28-July 10   

Four Week Program: June 28-July 24

Spartan Scholars: June 21-August 2


COVID-19 Update

I want to start by passing along our best wishes that you and your friends/families are safe and healthy. We had every intention of providing the 2020 Spartan Debate Institute as planned until the recent developments surrounding the COVID-19 virus. Unfortunately, given the many unknowns at this point we feel it is best to transition the 2020 SDI to fully online instruction. Given concerns about public health, large gatherings, suspended schools, and travel it’s unrealistic to assume that we would be able to hold the in-person SDI in just a few months and hope for the best. We’ve opted not to take a wait-and-see approach in favor of fully dedicating ourselves to making the online options at the 2020 SDI the best they can be.

The SDI has been working for over a year building an infrastructure for online debate instruction and we feel confident that this new model will serve students as much or more than brick and mortar debate camp. Our staff have spent a year testing new systems to ensure the Spartan Scholars would be rigorous and educational and we’re now expanding that model to the full 2020 SDI.

More updates about pricing, format, staff and FAQ can be found throughout the website. Please direct any questions to debate@msu.edu


 Why choose the SDI?

  • Quality Faculty - among the finest college and high school debate coaches in the nation
  • Comprehensive and Rigorous Curriculum - inclusive of all debate arguments and styles
  • Instruction for All Levels - labs for newcomers and novices to TOC Champions
  • Student-Staff Ratio - never higher than 8:1
  • More Actual Debating - four or more debates each week
  • Individualized Instruction - less lectures, more small group learning
  • Leaders in online debate instruction - working for over a year to innovate the debate camp model to fit the new digital age



In 1992, the debate team at Michigan State University teamed up with a few local high school debate coaches to create a new debate institute, centered on maximizing rigorous instruction and value for the students who would attend.

In the years since, the Spartan Debate Institutes have grown, hosting more than 3,000 debaters, hailing from all 50 states, coming from schools and debate circuits of all shapes and sizes.

Entering this summer, our commitment to every student still revolves around the same principles we pioneered in our first summer:

Established Commitment to Practice Debates - By providing SDI students with a packet of affirmative and negative positions at registration, practice debates and speeches typically begin the second day of the camp. All sessions conclude with judged tournaments for relaxed, yet structured, opportunities for students to validate their educational experiences with extensive student-teacher interaction.

History of Competitive Success – SDI Alumni have won tournaments or Top Speaker awards at the Tournament of Champions, St. Marks, the Glenbrooks, NFL Nationals, NCFL Nationals, and various state championships. Many have gone on to succeed at the very highest levels of intercollegiate debate, including receiving the Copeland award for the top intercollegiate debate team, as well as reaching late elimination rounds at CEDA Nationals and the National Debate Tournament.

Curriculum Diversity – The SDI retains staff members and lab placement for all skill levels, ranging from a pre-novice lab for individuals with no debate experience, to novices, to those seeking to polish national level varsity skills.

Superb Instruction with a Rigorous Curriculum  – We have gone to great lengths to bring in top-level members of both the college and high school debate communities to ensure the most well rounded exposure possible. Our staff is not just a dedicated group of successful high school coaches, college coaches, and current college debaters who have excelled. Our staff members are chosen because they are experienced and dynamic educators who have a passion for debate and planned instruction.

A Proven Dedication to Student Learning – Although MSU has the fastest growing institutes – from 43 to 300+ students in eight years – we maintain a low student-staff ratio and a commitment to extensive individual instruction by limiting large lectures and focusing on small group interaction.

Competitive Prices & Scholarships – We are committed to offering outstanding debate instruction at affordable prices, which include tuition, and room and board. Limited need-based financial assistance is also available. The Spartan Debate Institutes offer well-rounded debate instruction at a great value.


SDI Application Deadlines:

April 5th – Early Application Discount Deadline for 4 Week and Spartan Scholars

April 26th – Financial Aid Application Deadline

May 17th – Application Deadline