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Welcome to the Yale Summer Debate Program!

The Yale Summer Debate Program is Yale's largest debate program held during the summer, and is open to middle school and high school students. Most students are from New Haven and surrounding areas, though we have welcomed students from across the country and world in recent years. The program will take place August 21-25, 2023.

This five-day program offers students a rigorous, rewarding, and relevant debate experience. YSDP is built on the philosophy that debate is not just an activity, but is a set of skills students can use to critically engage with the world, no matter their interests, helping them to become better speakers, students, and most importantly, thinkers.

We train in the parliamentary debate style, the most popular in the world (and the one used by top Connecticut tournaments like the Yale Invitational and Yale Osterweis tournaments). Our program is open to all students entering grades 6-12 of all levels; students with no prior experience to advanced debaters will find the program tailored but challenging. We work to accommodate all students, from middle school beginners to national debate champions. 

On a typical year, we admit 80-100 students to the program. Our focus is on quality of instruction and experience, and we accept applications on a rolling basis (which means, please apply well in advance of the deadline!). 

This upcoming summer, we’re proud to offer:

  • World-class staff of Yale debaters and UDL coaches

  • Typical instructor to student ratio of 1:10 or better, including small-group and individualized instruction (and plenty of practice debates!)

  • Customized curriculum that works to improve speaking style, argument construction, and refutation

  • Focused discussion of essential knowledge, including topics related to international relations, moral philosophy, education, and criminal justice

By the end of the program, students should leave with more confidence in public speaking and better command of the style and strategy of parliamentary debate.

The full cost of the program is $599 for non-UDL students. UDL students are those that have UDL coaching at their school. If this poses a challenge to you, please email for information on financial aid. Attending this program should place no burden on any family.

"Every experience I have had at YSDP, as a student and as an instructor, has been beyond inspiring. Because of YSDP, I’ve met incredible mentors, made amazing friends, and learned much more than I thought I would."

-former YSDP Director

YSDP 2022
YSDP 2022
YSDP 2022




Students get to know two experienced Yale debaters and meet with them daily. Curriculum for each day varies based on skill level, and ranges from parliamentary debate format, tactics for winning a round, and how to build a rebuttal. Coaches also lead practice rounds and offer personalized feedback to debaters.

Students have the choice of 3-4 electives every day. These electives help them grow skills in areas such as weighing, and help them explore topics like "Intro to Sustainability," and "Voting Systems." We also offer electives such as "Survivor: How to Debate your way to $1 million."

On the last day, we lead a day-long tournament where everyone competes in 3 rounds and the top 2 teams compete in an exhibition round to determine YSDP's annual champion. Historically, judges from the Yale Debate Association join us to offer judging and feedback to students.

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