Join us from August 22-26, 2022

A week-long day camp held on Yale's campus for students of all skill levels, grades 7-12

Welcome to the Yale Summer Debate Program!

The Yale Summer Debate Program is one of Yale's largest pre-college summer programs. YSDP is Yale's largest debate program held during the summer, and is open to middle school and high school students. 

This five-day experience offers students a rigorous, rewarding, and relevant debate experience. Our program 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 all find the program tailored but challenging.

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!). We have students from across the world, coming from different backgrounds and all levels of debate experience. 

This 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 $500 for non-UDL students. If this poses a challenge to you, please email for financial aid. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. 

"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




Students get to know an experienced Yale debater and meet with them daily. Depending on skill level, the coach teaches parliamentary debate format, tactics for winning a round, and how to best compete.

Students have the choice of 2-4 electives everyday. These electives help them grow skills in areas like "How to save a tough round" and help them explore topics like "Women's rights."


On the last day, we run a day-long tournament where everyone competes in 3 rounds and the top 2 teams debate in front of everyone to determine YSDP's champion.