COM 321 & APP Certificate

The Holt V. Spicer debate forum is housed in the Missouri State Department of Communication, Media, Journalism and Film. The department offers the COM 321 class each fall and spring, and students repeating COM 321 have made considerable progress toward the Certificate in Argumentation & Public Policy.

COM 321

COM 321 is the primary class associated with the debate team - all debaters on scholarship take it during their first two semesters (and can repeat after that for elective credit).

However, the course actually has multiple tracks. Active debaters fulfill one of the tracks in the normal process of tournament competition, but any MSU student may enroll in COM 321, and can do well by learning about debate. Students can opt to judge high school (or middle school) tournaments to meet class requirements if they don't want to commit to competition - this is known as the "local-judging" track.

Students on the local-judging track have input over which recent debate topic(s) are used to learn about debate in the classroom, and will have the chance to observe several demostration debates before being asked to do any research or practice debates. Many class activities are participation graded, and COM 321 has often been one of the few 2nd block classes available to students in any major, and without prerequisites.

After you complete one semester of COM 321, you will know MUCH more about academic debate, research, use of evidence, and improve your listening and critical thinking skills. Many COM 321 eventually try competing in an actual tournament, but even those who don't have a far better rounded undergraduate experience!

Please reach out to Dr. Eric Morris with any questions about COM 321, or to see a copy of a recent course syllabus.

Argumentation & Public Policy Certificate

The Communication, Media, Journalism and Film Department recently added a new certificate in Argumentation & Public Policy. This certificate is specifically intended to recognize the depth and breadth of knowledge that students receive from evidence-based debate over public policy questions. This sort of experience can help any student, but is particularly relevant to those selecting MSU because of our statewide Public Affairs Mission.

Students do not need to have a COM major or minor to complete the APP certificate. They need to complete 12 hours of study, including COM 321 (College Debate) twice) COM 322 (Argumentation), and a 4th class (with advisor approval) relevant to public policy argument. This is a natural course of study for any student interested in debate or public policy!

Students who compete in evidence-based policy debate over ANY topic for a season develop a significant amount of applied knowledge by mere exposure. Many former debaters because aware of entire career fields primarily due to researching a debate topic. This certificate is intended to recognize and certify that base of knowledge.