Intercollegiate Policy Debate

The University of Pittsburgh has a distinguished record of competitive success in intercollegiate policy debate competition, having won the National Debate Tournament, finished first in the American Debate Association’s varsity rankings, won hundreds of individual speaking awards, and placed teams frequently in the elimination rounds at a wide variety of tournaments.


Located in the heart of the University’s academic environment, the WPDU occupies the eastern wing of the eleventh floor of the Cathedral of Learning. Loaded with plenty of filing space, computer terminals, scanners, photocopiers and other amenities, the Union’s “squad room” is a magnet for hard-working debaters who are burning the midnight oil to beat a research deadline, or just engaging in relaxing banter between classes.

Hillman Library, in the shadow of the Cathedral, houses the University’s more than six-million volume collection. Researching in the Oakland area, debaters also have easy access to 24 specialty libraries, the famous Carnegie Library (also across the street from the Cathedral), the University of Pittsburgh’s law school library, as well as library systems maintained by nearby Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Carlow College, and Chatham College. Altogether, this adds up to one of the finest network of library systems in any setting of higher education.


The Union covers virtually all expenses associated with participation in intercollegiate policy debate, including supplies, photocopying, transportation, housing, and meals at tournaments. In addition, the Union offers scholarships to well qualified candidates. WPDU scholarships are renewable contingent on strong academic performance and full participation in debate activities.

Travel Opportunities

Because of its medium size and excellent location, the WPDU is able to offer a robust assortment of travel opportunities to students. Located in NDT District VII, Pittsburgh is in close proximity to the most well-attended tournaments in the nation, and thus can provide a challenging schedule to beginning and advanced debaters alike.


For more information regarding Intercollegiate Policy Debate, please contact Dr. Calum Matheson at