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Best Research Paper Topic On History For Students

Written by Helen Burgos
Posted: December 30, 2021
Last update date: March 22, 2024
10 min read

One of the biggest challenges is just how many research topics for students there are. There are European history research paper topics, art history research paper topics, and world history research paper topics among many more. Knowing where to begin can be the biggest hurdle to overcome. In this guide, PapersOwl will give you a list of history topics to get you started.

What is a History Research Paper?

A history research paper is an analysis of a historical time or event. There is usually a thesis statement or argument that the paper analyses and proves. The body of a research paper will lay out evidence to argue the thesis statement. By showing the statement to be possible, the paper might draw on new possibilities and explore new ideas.

When someone reads the paper, they will meet the thesis within the first couple of paragraphs. As they read more, they contemplate what they are being shown. They are presented with evidence to weigh, and they might find themselves wanting to know more about the topic. No matter the subject matter, history research papers present the writer’s own ideas and back them up with evidence such as others’ ideas.

A research paper is different from an essay. Essays are usually personal interpretations of a subject, while research papers build on ideas and evidence by experts. Though you can buy history papers, here are some unique ideas to get you started on a topic you might be interested in.

Unique History Research Topics Tips

Choosing good history topics to research is a challenge for college students. Many students spend too much time worrying about which topic to choose that they don’t even consider that they also need to learn how to write historical papers.

The best history research paper topics are ones that have strong arguments for discussion. When searching for history research paper topics, you should consider the following:

  • Is your topic relevant, and is there a clear statement?
  • Is there enough prior literature on the topic?
  • Can you find out enough facts with supporting sources and evidence?
  • Are there enough things to consider for the thesis argument and the number of words required?

The majority of research papers require a particular style. This might be comparative, analytical, argumentative, or reflective. You might also be guided to a certain style:

  • A cause and effect paper – to explain and analyze a historical event and its consequences.
  • A persuasive essay – to persuade the reader to a certain way of thinking about a historical event.
  • A paper to compare and contrast – two historical figures/eras/events, etc.

Now we have some background information, let’s explore our list of history topics. For some of them, we have expanded the topic to give you more information.

Ancient History Research Paper Topics

Ancient history is often one of college students’ favorite history research paper topics.

Here are some interesting history research paper topics before 1500.

  1. The view of immortality and death in Ancient Egypt – Ancient Egyptians believed that immortality and death were seen as an interruption in life and not the end of it
  2. The History of Palestine – Palestine has an interesting history and is defined as an area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea
  3. Prophets and Religious Leaders – Religious leaders and prophets have shaped how we view the spiritual world
  4. Did the Trojan Horse exist? – a horse that’s crossed through history over 3000 years, but was it real?
  5. Traditions and Culture of Sumerians – Sumerian history is an interesting topic and they had an intricate relationship with God
  6. How the Iron Age changed the world – with iron farming tools like sickles, farmers could grow new crops and free up their time
  7. Prehistoric Britain and the Role of Women
  8. A study of Empires and Power – there are so many empires to choose from, including the British Empire and the Mongol Empire
  9. Ancient Egyptian symbolism – Ancient Egypt was full of symbols like the Eye of Horus
  10. The great wall of China – was it built to prevent internal or external threats?

Middle Ages History Research Paper Topics

When considering history topics to write about, the Middle Ages is always popular. Here are some good research topics for the Middle Ages:

  1. The Middle Ages and Chivalry
  2. Medieval Europe – the cause and effect of urbanization
  3. War in the Middle Ages – the changes brought about by gunpowder
  4. The powerful role of the House of Medici in the Middle Ages – the House of Medici was a political dynasty and Italian banking family
  5. Were the Crusades a just holy war or a cruel pilgrimage? – The Crusades were religious wars during Medieval times. They were initiated and supported by the Latin Church
  6. The changes in armor and weapons during the Middle Ages
  7. Scientific Progress during the Dark Ages – universities began in the Dark Ages, and so lots of progress was made in the sciences
  8. Middle Age Witch Trials – prosecuting the powerless
  9. Evolving Asia in the Middle Ages
  10. Religion’s role in daily Middle Age life
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World History Research Paper Topics

When it comes to world history topics, you have a huge scope, and narrowing them down can be hard. Here are some interesting history topics from around the world:

  1. The Battle of the Seas – Spain and Britain
  2. Aftershocks of the Cold War
  3. Medieval Europe and social relationships
  4. Colonizing South America – this began in 1494 with Christopher Columbus
  5. The impact of Apartheid – Apartheid negatively affected children in South Africa, but it was especially devastating for black children
  6. Ancient Roman bridal ceremonies
  7. Ancient civilizations and weapon use
  8. What led to the Thirty Years’ War?
  9. Crusades and Religion
  10. The Mexican-American War – almost two years of fighting, this was a defining moment for US and Mexican relations

WWI History Research Paper Topics

  1. Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination and the triggering of WWI – Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo on 28th June 1914, which is considered to be the most immediate cause of the Great War
  2. The first battle of Marne and its role in preventing Germany’s advances
  3. The use of poison gas in the battle of Ypres and its consequences
  4. The Treaty of Versailles – signed in 1919, was the formal end to WWI
  5. WWI’s human cost – 9 million soldiers and 12 million civilians died during the war
  6. WWI’s air and sea battles – a comparison
  7. WWI alliances
  8. America’s involvement in World War I
  9. World War I and the Russian Revolution
  10. The Gallipoli Campaign in WWI

WWII History Research Paper Topics

  1. A study of the impact of the diary of Anne Frank
  2. The invasion of Poland and the start of WWII
  3. Holocaust victims – some six million Jews plus millions of others targeted for their political beliefs, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation
  4. Africa and WWII
  5. The neutrality of the US in World War II – the Neutrality Acts of the 1930s
  6. The holocaust and the church
  7. Hitler’s perception in Germany during WWII
  8. WWII and African Americans
  9. WWII and Japanese-American Internment
  10. WWII and diplomacy

20th Century History Research Paper Topics

Of course, both WWI and WWII were in the 20th century, but there is so much more to this century than the two huge wars. Here are some history research paper topics from the 1900s to 2000.

  1. Northern Irish troubles in the 20th century – typically dated from the end of the 60s to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, but there have been episodes of sporadic violence after
  2. The Cuban missile crisis (also known as the October Crisis of 1962 or the Caribbean Crisis) – just over one month of confrontation been the Soviet Union and the United States
  3. The Chernobyl disaster
  4. The aftermath of WWII
  5. The Nuremberg Trials
  6. The formation of the European Union
  7. The controversies and legacy of François Mitterrand
  8. El Salvador and civil war consequences
  9. Student revolts of 1968 – student demonstrations in Belgrade, Yugoslavia – the first mass protests since WWII
  10. The invention of the Internet and the PC

Modern History Research Paper Topics

Modern history also encompasses some interesting research topics. These include:

  1. American History of the 21st Century
  2. The atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima – two nuclear weapons were detonated by the US in August 1945, killing as many as 226,000, with most being civilians
  3. Europeans Vs Native Americans
  4. America’s social movements
  5. Industrialists and inventors of the modern world
  6. 21st-century US policies and immigration
  7. Social movements and the effects of industrialization in America
  8. The cost of industrialization in the U.S.
  9. The European Union – currently 27 member states and 447 million inhabitants, the beginnings of the EU data to post-WWII
  10. Socio-economic developments and gender inequality

French Revolution Topics

If the French Revolution interests you, here is a list of research topics.

  1. Causes of the French Revolution – there were many causes, which included social inequality, tax burdens, and a financial crisis
  2. The French Revolution and absolutism
  3. The effects of the French Revolution on modern France
  4. The role of the French Revolution in world history – the French Revolution shaped modern nations showing how the inherent will of the people can prevail
  5. Societal transformation after the French Revolution
  6. The influence of Robespierre in the French Revolution
  7. The French Revolution and music – the French Revolution had a huge influence on music and French operas
  8. Olympe de Gouges and the French Revolution
  9. A Tale of Two Cities and the French Revolution – the French Revolution is a key event in Charles Dickens’s novel
  10. The French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte’s betrayal

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European History Research Paper Topics

There are many argumentative research paper topics for European History. Here are some examples:

  1. Britain’s Kings and Queens – the British monarchy began following raids by the Vikings, and Alfred the Great assumed the title of “King of the English”
  2. History of the European Economy
  3. The Seven Years’ War
  4. 18th-century European Politics
  5. The rise of fascism
  6. Francisco Franco and the far right in Spain
  7. Fascist propaganda in Italy, Germany, and Spain in the 20th century
  8. The merge of science and art in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries
  9. The rise of Stalin – Stalin was a student radical and became an influential member and ultimate leader of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party
  10. English Witch hunts and gender bias – gender played a huge role in witch hunts in Early-Modern Europe, and even the Catholic Church believed women were more prone to demonic possession

US History Research Paper Topics

American History topics are always interesting, and there is usually lots of evidence and sources to help you write a good research paper.

For anyone interested in US History, these American history research paper topics for college students are great ones to get stuck into:

  1. What led to the USA civil war? The American Civil War is one of the most written about and studied parts of U.S. history
  2. History of US elections
  3. Social Conflicts in the American Revolution
  4. The US Federalist Era
  5. African-Americans in the civil war
  6. Segregation and Racism in the United States – African American history research paper topics are always an interesting read
  7. The first Native American civilizations
  8. The American Civil War and the distribution of wealth
  9. The 1992 Riots in Los Angeles – lots of lootings, civil disturbances, and arson in April and May 1992 due to the LAPD using excessive force when arresting Rodney King
  10. The Impact of Barack Obama

Art History Research Paper Topics

When many people look for history research paper topics for middle school, they like to combine it with another subject they are studying, like art. Some people also write about music history paper topics. Here are some historical topics that are on the subject of art.

  1. Art History Vs Art Studio
  2. US art history and politics
  3. Frank Stella’s life
  4. Art and war
  5. Links between philosophy and art
  6. Symbolism in the paintings of Frida Kahlo
  7. Salvador Dali and his surrealist sculptures
  8. Gothic architecture
  9. Women and beauty standards in the Renaissance
  10. The differences between art deco and art nouveau


Having the freedom to choose an essay topic can be both exciting and daunting. It is a huge challenge and responsibility. Hopefully, though, one of our research paper topics 2023 will help set you off on the right path to producing a great essay!

Remember that writing a history research paper is different from writing an essay. With this type of essay, you need to combine your own ideas with the ideas of historians and researchers before you come up with a supporting argument to a thesis. While you might choose any one of our ideas above, you should always bear in mind that you’ll need to find sources and evidence to use in your research paper. If you find a topic that is too difficult to find enough information on, it might be that you should choose a different slant or a different topic altogether. You should never leave this sort of paper until the last minute before the deadline. A research paper takes time and effort and done right, is a really satisfying assignment to hand in. If you find yourself in need of assistance, consider looking into research paper writing services, as they may be able to provide additional help and guidance. Good luck!

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