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200 Best Debate Topics For College Students

Written by Helen Burgos
Posted: August 24, 2021
Last update date: March 22, 2024
17 min read

A debate is a usual and powerful task in colleges. It is an essential part of the academic program and an engaging activity for young people, even though many students have problems preparing to debate.

The most common difficulty is to choose a debate topic for students. It should be a topic you are interested in, and at the same time, it should be practical for your class or another public audience you are speaking to.

So how does one find this kind of topic? We have prepared some tips on choosing college debate topics for college students. If you have to prepare an essay, we can also help you do it using the custom essay writing service PapersOwl for students.

How To Debate Using Pro And Con Arguments?

One of the most important things you should consider when going into a debate is that your opponent from the opposite side of the table, and your audience, will have controversial opinions on your topic. They will have some points against your position, and you must be ready. The best way to be prepared for such situations is to outline both pro and con arguments on your chosen topic. This will help you see the whole picture. After all, providing pro and con arguments on a specific topic is a popular practice in debates, so you should understand how to do it right. For this reason, we have prepared an example of how you can do it with the topic “How social media can make people more or less sociable”:

  • Pro: The popularity of social media has helped us meet new people and communicate easier
  • Con: With the appearance of social networks, people started to interact less in the real-life
  • Pro: Social media helps less sociable people develop their communication skills without discomfort
  • Con: Social media takes almost all our free time, making us too busy to connect with each other in the real world

We have already written some essays about social media. You can check it out here.

15 Best Interesting Debate Topics 2023

Here is our best list of interesting debate topics in 2023 which will generate more passion for a debate:

  1. Debating in school: does it help children get engaged in the classroom?
  2. Which would you choose: to be honest and poor or dishonest and rich?
  3. Is there a plausible reason for the American war on terror?
  4. Do you think the death penalty should take place in the modern world, and why?
  5. Alternative sources of energy: how are they effective
  6. Social networking platforms: are they an effective tool for quick and convenient communication, or are they just a sophisticated means for stalking people
  7. Is it still appropriate to use torture as a part of national security measures?
  8. Is it justified to develop nuclear energy for commercial use?
  9. Credit cards versus debit cards
  10. The most intense presidential debate in the history of the USA
  11. Use of stem cells in medicine
  12. Definitions of death in relation to terminating life
  13. Is there a real way of prolonging a human’s life?
  14. Is using humans for clinical trials more ethical than animal testing?
  15. Personal responsibility and genetic determinism: is our behavior determined only by our genes?

All these topics can be a good match, but we have prepared even more interesting topics in this article. Continue reading to find your perfect debate topic!

If you feel strongly about choosing the theme of your debate but have no time to prepare all arguments for speech, PapersOwl is here to help you. We offer a wide selection of argumentative essays that are written by professional writers, who are experienced in researching and crafting compelling arguments. Buy argumentative essays from us, and you’ll get well-researched, carefully constructed content that will help you get the desired results.

How To Choose A Debate Topic?

Where does one find some easy debate topics? There are many things to debate, but choosing the right topic that will be interesting for most students is challenging. Here are a few tips on how to make the right choice:

  • Think about some topics that interest you – what sort of discussions do you like the most? You can pick something from the curriculum also. This way, you will be able to help other students learn the material they will have on their tests and the topics they may face in the future. It is possible to work with this the way you work with your essay topic ideas.
  • Also, remember that your discussion topics must fit the other students’ level – some of them can be unable to handle the topic with too many aspects to consider. Highly complex issues should fit the students with a great standard of reasoning. But most students usually come up with a few arguments, and these arguments rarely relate to the opposing parties’ points. In this situation, the debate can become confusing or embarrassing. Make a list of suitable debate questions.
  • Consider your students’ access to research all necessary materials – if other students have to conduct significant research while preparing for the debate, it can’t be a good debate. This is something you have to keep in mind. For example, when you pick a modern art and literature theme with many specific terms and present it to a math class, your debate won’t have good results. Do not forget to prepare your personal speech or buy one from a reliable speech writing service online.
  • Do not forget about the time! All students must have enough time to prepare for the debate, so it is reasonable to pick out a topic they are studying now or one they have already studied. This way, they will be able to come up with strong and clever arguments.
  • While debating, assume that you are right – in order to succeed, you have to be completely sure of your position and have some strong supporting facts.
  • Do not insult the opposition. Be polite in every situation that could happen.

When choosing the best debate topic ideas, we considered several criteria: level of education, type of debate, and subject or sphere of knowledge. We’ve divided the best ideas into categories to make your search simpler.

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Debate Topics By Levels Of Education

Going to debate, students have to consider their level of education to pick a relevant topic that suits both their needs and their level. How to choose a topic that suits you? Below, we have prepared a few tips and examples for different levels.

5 Elementary School Debate Topics

When searching for a perfect topic for elementary students, remember that kids of this level are not experienced and mature enough to handle complex controversial issues, so it’s a good idea to opt for something less complicated. These students also lack the knowledge and skills for researching topics. Therefore, choosing a topic that wouldn’t be hard to study is important. Finally, the best ideas for elementary school debate topics have to be easy to understand and engaging to boost students’ participation, and here you can see a few great ideas of debate topics for elementary students:

  1. Should your class go on field trips each year?
  2. Should elementary students be allowed to bring as many toys to school as they want?
  3. Should each class be allowed to have a pet in the classroom?
  4. Should students watch cartoons during study hours?
  5. Should you be allowed to wear anything you want to school?

5 Middle School Debate Topics

Topics for this level may be more complex and give a boost to students’ analytical and critical thinking skills. For this level, you can opt for slightly controversial topics. Debate topics for middle school still shouldn’t require too much from a student but have to give some information to think about for a student to develop an individual position on a specific issue. Here are a few ideas to opt for:

  1. Are gadgets in the classroom helping or harming the educational process?
  2. Books versus movies: which is better and more educating
  3. Benefits of doing sports in school
  4. Seasonal holidays: do we need to have more or less of them?
  5. What are the best ways to increase student engagement in the classroom?

5 High School Debate Topics

In high school, debates are excellent tools for getting students involved in the class and helping them gain new knowledge and skills that would be important for their future education and life. Debate topics for high school become more controversial and complex. Below are some good examples of good high school debate topics:

  1. Hazards of peer pressure in schools
  2. Should final exams in schools be canceled? Why?
  3. Is sex education useful for high school students?
  4. GPA’s: is it an outdated way of evaluating student knowledge?
  5. What are the most effective ways of fighting bullying in schools?

5 Debate Topics For College Or University Students

When it comes to choosing debate topics for college or university, there are many things to keep in mind – it has to be controversial, relevant, have significance, and clearly demonstrate a student’s knowledge and skills. Choosing a good topic can be hard. However, in our article, you will find many good examples, and here are a few of them:

  1. Does living in a dorm help students assimilate into the college community or hurt the educational process?
  2. Does cheating get worse when students enroll in university or college
  3. Does technology get in the way of studying, or does it help?
  4. Should student ID cards come with a tracking device
  5. Is face-to-face interaction with professors more effective than online sessions and lectures?

10 Debatable Topics For Undergraduates In 2023

Choosing a great debate topic is half the success of a performance. We have already given you a few tips on how to choose the right topic, and here are some topics that great college debaters can use:

  1. Alternative sources of energy: explain why they are effective or not
  2. Should we take away the death penalty completely?
  3. The impact of social networking on the development of our society
  4. Single-sex schools: are they more effective than traditional ones? Why?
  5. Should we use school vouchers?
  6. Prescription drugs: explain why they should or shouldn’t be advertised to consumers
  7. Beauty pageants: are they a way to objectify women
  8. Drug testing: explain why we should or shouldn’t make it mandatory for all schools
  9. Should parents have the possibility to ban certain books from libraries and schools?
  10. Is setting special curfews an effective way to keep teenagers out of trouble?

Any of these topics can help you succeed in debates. However, keep in mind that if you want to perform well, it is not enough to just pick a good topic, you also need to know how to prepare for a debate.

Types Of Debate Topics By Format

Apart from the academic level, you should also consider the type of debate format to choose from and an appropriate topic. When choosing the format, consider the audience and the course objectives. Some formats, such as a persuasive format, will develop a student’s ability to give presentations where they need to convince the audience of an idea. On the other hand, an argumentative topic develops skills in negotiating, and a controversial format gets students accustomed to speaking about ideas that may not be comfortable or popular. Here is a breakdown of the primary three formats:

Persuasive Debate Topics

The main goal of such topics is to persuade the audience. Persuasive debate topics have to cover a problem or subject that people care about, and it also has to be something you are personally interested in and knowledgeable in. If you choose this type, you will have to carefully study the subject you have and prepare a powerful base of arguments and facts to prove the validity of your opinion.

Controversial Debate Topics

The main characteristic of such topics is they are always challenging for a student – controversial debate topics usually cover significant and powerful issues and have lots of space for arguments. Such issues may have two or more absolutely different public opinions. Therefore, they also assume prolonged and intensive public discussion. A good controversial theme arouses different opinions among the people and makes them come up with questions that can’t have one specific answer.

Argumentative Debate Topics

Argumentative debate topics cover specific issues, problems, phenomena, or subjects that you can deliberate on. Selecting such topics, you have to be ready to do in-depth research, study materials, and pick arguments from time-tested and reliable sources to support your ideas.

These three formats are different in nature and purpose. However, regardless of what type you are looking for, to choose a good topic, you have to follow these basic rules:

  1. It has to be fresh and relevant.
  2. It has to be something that people and you personally care about.
  3. It has to be interesting.
  4. It doesn’t have to be too broad or too narrow.
  5. It has to have value.
  6. You have to be able to find enough supporting material on it.

List Of Debate Topics By Field Of Knowledge

It is not possible to become a great debater if you have no clue how to choose an engaging and relevant topic for your debates. Choosing topics can be hard. However, we have done all the hard work to give you a list of great ideas that can work for any purpose or level, so we hope each of you will find something suitable and interesting in the list below.

15 Education Topics

  1. Home-schooling: is it better than studying at school?
  2. Homework at school: give your opinion on why homework should be banned or whether it is an essential part of our studies that teaches us to work independently.
  3. Is a college education useful and essential?
  4. Computer tablets. Should they be allowed at school?
  5. School uniforms: explain why students should wear school uniforms or why they should have a choice
  6. Standardized tests: explain how they are improving education in America and all over the world.
  7. The harm and benefit of early admissions policies in modern colleges and universities
  8. Knowledge of at least one foreign language should be required in the universities
  9. Electoral colleges have to be canceled
  10. Athletes should be paid for playing on university and college teams
  11. Should a certain period of community service be required for all students, who apply to college?
  12. Should elementary school students wear uniforms?
  13. Should school last all year long?
  14. Physical education has to be compulsory in school
  15. How music and art classes are useful in school?

15 Science And Technology Topics

  1. Is Google the best search engine, or should we use another one?
  2. Cell phones and smartphones. Are they safe for us?
  3. Explain how science and religion can coexist
  4. Should children use smartphones?
  5. Is online study more effective than traditional?
  6. How has TV brought cultural decadence to our country?
  7. Are people with a mathematical mindset more successful?
  8. Do you believe that economically, space travel is worth the cost
  9. Genetically modified children: hazards and benefits
  10. How can science do without animal testing?
  11. Should people go to Mars?
  12. Fully automated cars: pros and cons
  13. Can the laws keep up with today’s internet technology?
  14. Technology harms our future
  15. Should technology fuse with the human body resulting in a mechanized biological hybrid?

15 Health And Medicine Topics

  1. Smoking: describe effective methods to quit smoking and explain why smoking is reasonable or not.
  2. Euthanasia: is it justified?
  3. Marijuana: explain why recreational marijuana should or should not be legal.
  4. Sports and drugs. Should performance-enhancing drugs be acceptable for athletes?
  5. Discuss the necessity of vaccination for young children or give counterarguments against it
  6. Legalization of drugs: describe how it can decrease the level of organized crime.
  7. Medical phenomenon: discuss one or several
  8. How the Internet influences our health?
  9. What are the hazards of technology for human health?
  10. Should health insurance be obligatory?
  11. The impact of air pollution on our health
  12. Drinking – is it really that harmful
  13. Why antibiotics should or shouldn’t be banned?
  14. Why are parents against vaccinations?
  15. Alternative medicine: pros and cons

15 Psychology, Sociology, And Ethic Topics

  1. Guns: should adults have the right to carry them and be able to defend themselves?
  2. Adoption: the pros and cons of adopting and reasons why people should adopt children instead of having their own children.
  3. Same-sex marriage. Should it be legal?
  4. Abortion. Should it be legal?
  5. Religion. Can religious belief make you happy?
  6. Prostitution: what if prostitution were legal?
  7. God: is there any true proof of his existence?
  8. How far has psychology as science developed over the last decades?
  9. How to explain violent behavior among school students?
  10. Kids’ mental disorders are caused only by the wrong role models in the family
  11. Explain how moral values differ in various social groups
  12. Should students study ethics in schools?
  13. Is hunting ethical?
  14. How do social groups influence child behavior?
  15. Should cigarettes be banned from society?

15 Policy And Finance Topics

  1. Our votes: do they really matter?
  2. Intellectual property: discuss whether it is necessary to preserve rights for different types of intellectual property
  3. What are the main factors of the country’s financial stability?
  4. Taxation: is it good or bad
  5. Is the repeal of anti-sodomy laws important for national development?
  6. Do you think the USA will soon have a woman President?
  7. Is mobile banking secure?
  8. Should we trust banks?
  9. Can we have free education around the world?
  10. Will we still use credit cards in five years?
  11. Is it time to adopt a fee-only standard for financial advice?
  12. Should children be taught to manage finances in school?
  13. Can financial problems destroy a country?
  14. Are wars economically profitable?
  15. Should the voting age be lowered?
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15 Leisure (Music, Games, Etc.) Topics

  1. Books and TV: which is more interesting and which is more useful?
  2. Games and television. Which is better?
  3. Social networking: discuss how social networks are useful or harmful to our society.
  4. Social networking restrictions: explain why social networks should be available for children or why they should be restricted to those over 18.
  5. Discuss how social media can make people more or less sociable and give a few examples that prove its usefulness for us.
  6. Drinks: discuss what are the reasons alcoholic drinks should or should not be available for young people who are less than 21 years old
  7. How can music help reduce stress?
  8. Is art therapy a good tool for fighting mental illness?
  9. Is listening to music good for pregnant women?
  10. Should we use video games in education?
  11. Are movies good tools for education?
  12. Are scientific clubs in school good for students’ leisure time?
  13. Are concerts good or bad for us?
  14. Pros and cons of attending a circus with children
  15. The role of games in early education

15 Environment Topics

  1. Tests on animals: should animals be used for scientific achievements?
  2. Ecology: the best ways to protect nature and ideas on how to save the environment
  3. Discuss climate change and the reasons or human activity that cause global climate change, what can people do about this
  4. Future cities: how would they look in 200 years?
  5. Explain why all plastic packages should be out of use
  6. How can we prevent an environmental catastrophe?
  7. Is solar energy more expensive?
  8. People should do more to protect wildlife
  9. Reforestation as a reasonable solution to the potential problem of global warming
  10. Vegetarianism: risks, pros, and cons
  11. Vehicle fuel economy standards
  12. Oil drilling in wildlife refuges
  13. Zoos: are they good or not
  14. Should countries have special taxation for international aviation
  15. Should people get paid for not cutting down trees?

15 History Topics

  1. Does history matter?
  2. Haig and British generalship during the war
  3. Did King Arthur really exist?
  4. Genghis Khan did more good than harm
  5. The Soviet Union instigated the Six-day war
  6. Historical background of World War Two
  7. Should all immigrants be asked to pass a historical test, or is it unimportant?
  8. Role of Britain in the First World War
  9. Presentism versus Historicism
  10. Who was the first to find the effect of gravitation? Newton or Haitham?
  11. Ancient Romans were Prudes
  12. Was the USA a provocateur for Japan in the war?
  13. South Korean provocations sparked the Korean War
  14. Alternative views of historians on World War Two
  15. The Revolutionary War

The discussion can help you talk about hot and interesting topics and learn other’s points of view. It can also allow you to overcome stage fright. While performing at such an event,  students learn to think spontaneously and defend their points of view politely.

35 Funny And Interesting Debate Topics

Not every time you prepare for the debate, you will have to be serious. Sometimes you will get an opportunity to set your creativity free and just enjoy the process as you participate in a debate on funny or interesting debate topics. However, this does not mean you won’t have to prepare. To not lose face, you will still have to choose a topic and prepare arguments, so here are some fun topics to debate on we have prepared for you:

  1. Art and music as tools for reducing stress in schools
  2. Are celebrities good role models or not?
  3. Can vampires get AIDS from sucking blood that is affected?
  4. Which is better: daydreaming or nightdreaming?
  5. Homework should be dismissed in elementary school
  6. Importance of extracurricular activities and clubs in schools
  7. Should we make cartoons and TV a part of the educational process in elementary school?
  8. What is the best TV show of all time?
  9. Should zoos be done away with?
  10. What is the best pizza topping?
  11. Can we call superheroes misleading role models?
  12. Schools shouldn’t track students by academic level
  13. Public prayers should be banned in schools
  14. Should social networks be blocked in schools?
  15. Students should have an opportunity to get an after-school job
  16. It’s a good idea to allow high school students to leave school during lunch
  17. Did God create our world, or did it just occur naturally?
  18. Which of these are more real – pirates or ninjas?
  19. Should juveniles be treated as adults?
  20. Should people live together before they marry?
  21. What are the perks of being a woman?
  22. What are the perks of being a man?
  23. The harm and benefits of peer pressure
  24. Do nursery rhymes have secret interior meanings?
  25. Fast food shouldn’t be on the school menu
  26. Phones should be allowed in schools
  27. Schools should have an option for online attendance
  28. Do people depend on computers and other gadgets too much?
  29. Animal dissections have to be prohibited in schools
  30. Should parents not purchase war or destructive toys for their children?
  31. Nuclear energy and its impact on our society and environment
  32. Is human cloning a real thing, and should it be allowed?
  33. Sex education: should it be started in middle school or later
  34. How do books influence personality development?
  35. Is there life after death?

Debating is a useful practice for all people, thanks to the experience and skills it gives you. Preparing for a debate, you gain more knowledge on a specific topic. In addition, you get the possibility to develop your problem-solving and communication skills, which are the most in-demand skills for modern employers. By taking professional help from an assignment writing service, you can refine your debating skills even further and make sure you are well-equipped to tackle any debate.

Debating helps enhance rigorous critical thinking and higher-order skills. It teaches people to organize and structure their thoughts well. If you participate in debates, you can also develop your research, note-taking, and analytical skills, as well as gain the ability to create balanced, informed arguments and use evidence and reasoning. All the skills mentioned above are vital for every successful student. If you need help developing your debating skills, there are plenty of essay helpers online that you can use. Remember, practicing debating is the best way to gain and improve skills!

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