Novice Policy Debate

Per Harvard's policy, all in-person students are required to be fully vaccinated.

Novice Policy Debate


Designed by successful coaches with teaching and classroom experience, our program offers a fast-paced, yet engaging curriculum that equips students with the skills they need for success at their first policy debate tournament.

From day 1, we emphasize debate fundamentals, introducing students to argumentation theory and providing students with a carefully constructed evidence packet designed to help guide them through the topic.

Morning sessions are spent covering new debate concepts and topic information through engaging lectures and interactive lessons. In the afternoons, students engage in debates, applying skills from earlier lessons. Evenings are reserved for students to work one-on-one with the instructors, reviewing concepts, delivering practice speeches, or discussing new arguments.

Level: Beginner

Beginner or no policy debate experience

Summer 2024 Sessions

Online: Session One -- June 30-July 12
In-Person: Session Two -- July 14-July 26


Resident: $3,999
Commuter: $2,849
Online: $1,499

We will offer a comprehensive curriculum that prepares students to debate and research the upcoming year’s topic along with perennial debate arguments. Each lab will focus on the three pillars of research, argumentation, and persuasion. Students will conduct their research using the Harvard Libraries, the largest private library in the world; will learn to construct strategic, compelling arguments; and will practice speaking with clarity, conviction, and passion.

About the Program

Benefits of an Online Experience

Although we are disappointed that we cannot host students at the beautiful Harvard campus, we are incredibly excited about the opportunities an online camp offers. We have been working around the clock to make sure students experience all of the things that helped us fall in love with debate so many summers ago. We are designing fun new material every day, but here are a few things you can expect already:

Exciting lectures delivered live via Zoom from top experts in the topic area. Each session will include a Q&A session for students and be recorded so that students can return and review materials later or catch up on something they miss.
Engaging, student-directed lessons that take advantage of fun online learning tools and give students the opportunity to breakout in groups, teach and learn from their peers, pursue their specific research interests, and make new friends.
Individualized feedback and the option to reserve specific meeting times with instructors daily.
Challenging curriculum that you can return to all year- each assignment will be posted on the class page, along with additional assignments that students can complete to learn more. We offer 2-3 different level of assignment for each concept so that students can challenge themselves during camp or return later in the year to continue learning.
Each evening we will host a viewing party to show debates or relevant topic movies. These will be educational, but it is also an opportunity for students to hang out and get to know other debaters online.

Daily Schedules

The online workshop (Session One) will have required meetings from 10am-5pm ET (with breaks) and optional meetings from 7pm-9pm ET. 

The in-person workshop (Session Two) will start each day at 9am ET and conclude at 9pm ET.

Each day is broken up into 3 parts. In general, we will spend the first part of our day learning new content and discussing readings from the night before. The second part of the day will be devoted to group research and research presentations. The final part of the day is devoted to skills practice and games. Students are encouraged to attend all parts in order to get the most from camp, however, we understand this might be difficult for everyone. If you are unable to attend part of camp, please reach out and let your instructors know.

Learning Objectives

  • Strategy: Constructing strategic arguments
  • Research: Advanced research practices
  • Argumentation: Line-by-line argumentation
  • Delivery: Persuasive and clear speaking
  • Preparation: Tournament preparation techniques

What Students and Parents Say

I loved so many things, it’s hard to choose. The game nights and movie nights were great, I learned so much from the guests, and the debates stretched my comfort zone but I got a lot of experience from them. The different breakouts and variety were great. They created an immersive experience without me having to leave my room. I can’t think of anything I would want to improve. This camp was awesome!
Policy Debater
I already have experience in varsity policy, but considering I haven't been very consistent, this has been a good way for me to review and prep for the coming year as well as gather topic info.
Policy Debater
Online is generally very difficult to make quite as productive but the adaptation from in person camp was amazing, and very well organized, and the lab leaders had great ways of keeping us from getting bored.
Policy Debater
It never got boring like everything else in quarantine. It's just really hard to sit in front of a computer all day, but that doesn't apply specifically to this.
Policy Debater
Everything went very smoothly. I really enjoyed online camp and this opportunity.
Policy Debater


Jazmine Pickens
Curriculum Director

Jazmine Pickens is the Assistant Director Of Debate at Harvard. She has more than 13 years of experience in debate both as a competitor and as a coach to students ranging in experience from middle school to college. She attended the University of Oklahoma and graduated in 2019, where she won CEDA Nationals, and since then has worked with several universities in training their college students. She looks forward to working with students this summer to help grow their interest and love in debate while also developing their skills

Tripp Rebrovick
Lab Leader

Tripp Rebrovick, PhD, is the Director of Debate at Harvard University. He has a BA from Harvard and a PhD from Johns Hopkins University. Tripp has over eighteen years of experience teaching at summer workshops and has worked with students of all skill levels. While a debater, he was the top speaker at the TOC, winner of NSDA Nationals, and a four-time elimination-round participant at the NDT.