The California Baptist University forensics team (also known as speech and debate) currently travels to at least 12 tournaments a year, with a season stretching from October until April. Students in forensics compete in a variety of speech events, including:

  • Interpretation of literature 
  • Platform speaking 
  • Limited preparation 
  • Debate  

The three goals for the forensics team are:

  1. Education: Helping each other learn and become more effective speakers. Helping each other think faster and more clearly.
  2. Fellowship: Serving the other members of the team, working as a unit.
  3. Ministry: Providing a Christian witness to a largely secular activity.

Why is it called forensics? 

The name can be confusing. When most people hear the term forensics, they think that we search dead bodies for clues to a crime. The reason why both activities have this name is that both activities go back to ancient Greece, where speaking was known as a "search for truth." In that way, both activities are searching for knowledge, though they use vastly different evidence and research techniques.

How do I join the forensics team? 

At the moment, there is no audition required. Students may sign up for the forensics workshop, which is listed in the catalog as COM 110 and 310 in the fall, and 210 and 410 in the spring. Enrollment in the class is not required to attend a tournament.

Students can be enrolled in a forensics workshop for 1, 2 or 3 units. To receive an "A" in the course, the following is required:

1 unit: Weekly coaching appointment, attendance at one tournament in one event
2 units: Weekly coaching appointment, attendance at two tournaments in two events
3 units: Weekly coaching appointment, attendance at three tournaments in two events

The forensics team meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3:45 p.m. Attendance at the team meeting is required for scholarship students. Attendance at the meeting for non-scholarship students can be excused for a class, job, etc. Contact Professor Marse for more information.


A limited number of scholarships are available for those students who wish to commit to the forensics team for the whole year. For more information about the requirements for a forensics scholarship, contact Professor Mike Marse at

What about debate? 

CBU currently offers three forms of debate: parliamentary, Lincoln-Douglas and cross-examination debate. Students who are interested in debate can also take COM 401, Argumentation & Debate, which is offered in the fall and spring every year. The class can be repeated for up to 9 units. After the first class is completed, attendance is required at a weekly debate team meeting and at tournaments in debate events.

How much traveling does the team do? 

Every year, the goal of the team is to win the national championship at the National Christian College Forensics Invitational. CBU won the National Individual Events Championship in 2003 and was 4th overall (3rd in debate) in 2007. A limited number of students will travel to that tournament and, as the budget allows, other national invitationals will be added to the schedule. A grand majority of our tournaments are in the Southern California area.

In recent years, the team has traveled regularly to:
Point Loma Nazarene University
Azusa Pacific University
Biola University
Mt. San Antonio College
Grossmont College
Southwestern College
and many others!

My question isn't answered here! 

Contact the coach of the forensics team, Professor Mike Marse at (951) 343-4207, email him at or drop by his office in James 274.

Contact the Department of Communication Arts

Chair: Dr. Victoria Brodie
Department Secretary: Patty VanBuskirk
Phone: (951) 343-4964

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504

Contact the Forensics Team

Mike Marse,
Forensics Team Coach

(951) 343-4207

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