100+ Interesting Debate Topics

Updated on April 18, 2019
K S Lane profile image

K S Lane debated at a high-school level for four years and is currently a member of her university's debating society.

Great, interesting, and controversial debate topics for middle, high school, and college students.
Great, interesting, and controversial debate topics for middle, high school, and college students.

100+ Debate Topics to Choose From

Coming up with a current and interesting debate topic can be tricky. There are all sorts of things you have to consider when picking a subject: whether you'll be able to talk for long enough about it, how excited you feel about it, how easy it will be to research, what your English teacher will think of it, and much more.

What makes a good debate topic? A good one isn't too complex but is large enough so that you'll be able to have a long and interesting discussion about it. To help you out, this article lists 100 of the best, most current, and most interesting debate topics imaginable. It includes topics related to school and education, politics, technology, social issues, the environment, and more.

Educational debate topics suit a high school audience perfectly.
Educational debate topics suit a high school audience perfectly.

Educational Debate Topics

  • A college degree is essential for getting a good job.
  • Contact sports should be required in school.
  • Education should focus on maths and science rather than music and art.
  • Fast food should be banned in schools.
  • Girls should be actively encouraged to enter STEM fields.
  • Homeschooling is better than traditional schooling.
  • Do you need homework in order to learn?
  • Cell phones should be banned in schools.
  • Public schools are better than private schools.
  • Religion should be taught in school.
  • Education should be privatized.
  • Schools should have armed guards.
  • Teachers should be given guns to defend students.
  • Schools should teach abstinence-only sex education.
  • Schools should teach LGBT+ inclusive sex education.
  • School uniforms should be mandatory.
  • Should standardized testing be abolished?
  • Should free STD testing be offered in schools?
  • Are student loans exploitative?
  • Studying a second language should be compulsory.
  • Boarding school is harmful for students.

Political debate topics are a little more serious and generally suit a high school to college-level audience.
Political debate topics are a little more serious and generally suit a high school to college-level audience.

Political Debate Topics

  • All people should be able to own guns.
  • The British Monarchy should be abolished.
  • Should there be limits on the First Amendment (free speech)?
  • Britain should leave the European Union.
  • The US should abolish the electoral college.
  • Churches should pay taxes.
  • Is freedom of speech a necessity in a functional society?
  • Should illegal immigrants be treated as criminals?
  • Juries should include 24 jurors instead of 12.
  • The country should allow more refugees to enter.
  • Is owning an automatic weapon morally justifiable?
  • Is patriotism ultimately destructive to international relations?
  • Politics should be kept out of schools.
  • Presidential terms should be limited to two years instead of four.
  • All prisons should be governmentally owned and run.
  • Rich people and large corporations should pay more taxes.
  • Should the U.N. have a standing army?
  • The U.S. should intervene in overseas conflicts.
  • Is the US voting system democratic?
  • Should the voting age be lowered to 16?
  • Voting should be mandatory for all citizens.
  • The West should lift all sanctions on Iran (or North Korea).
  • Should your country make a land claim on Antarctica?

Social and cultural debate topics suit audiences of all ages.
Social and cultural debate topics suit audiences of all ages.

Social Debate Topics

  • Abortion should be available to all women.
  • Should human cloning be legalized?
  • Should genetic engineering be legal?
  • The government should provide free birth control.
  • Companies should be required to hire 50% male and 50% female employees.
  • Barbie is a good role model for young girls.
  • Burning the flag should be illegal.
  • The death penalty should be abolished.
  • Drug use should be treated as a mental health issue rather than a criminal offense.
  • Euthanasia should be legal.
  • Is feminism irrelevant in the 21st century?
  • Feminism should focus more on men's rights.
  • Gay marriage should be legalized.
  • Gay people should be allowed to adopt children.
  • Is graffiti art just as worthy of regard as classical paintings?
  • Healthcare should be universal.
  • Should insurance cover cosmetic procedures?
  • Censorship is sometimes warranted on the internet.
  • Marijuana should be legalized.
  • Can censorship ever be justified?
  • Has the #MeToo movement gone too far?
  • The minimum wage should be lowered (or raised).
  • The harms of patriotism outweigh the benefits.
  • Police should be allowed to use deadly force.
  • Religion does more harm than good.
  • Peer pressure is a good thing.
  • Drug addicts should be helped rather than punished.
  • Sex work should be legal.
  • Smoking should be banned.
  • Social media does more harm than good.
  • Is privacy important?

Environmental debate topics can be research-heavy, but are a good choice if you're passionate about our planet.
Environmental debate topics can be research-heavy, but are a good choice if you're passionate about our planet.

Environmental Debate Topics

  • Climate change is the greatest threat in human history.
  • Companies should be taxed on their carbon emissions and other negative environmental impact.
  • Plastic bags and packaging should be banned.
  • Everyone should be vegetarian.
  • Genetically modified foods (GMOs) should be banned.
  • Fracking should be banned.
  • Live animal exports should be banned.
  • More land should be dedicated as national parks.
  • Is organic farming the future of agriculture?
  • Is the Paris Agreement relevant anymore?
  • The sale of fur should be banned.
  • Is tourism beneficial to an environment?
  • Zoos should be banned.

Both high-schoolers and college students can have fun debating technology topics.
Both high-schoolers and college students can have fun debating technology topics.

Technology Debate Topics

  • Will the development of artificial intelligence harm or benefit humankind?
  • Are robots going to increase or decrease our quality of life?
  • Artificial intelligence is dangerous.
  • Is technology going to save the world. . . or kill it?
  • Is the use of technology changing people for the better. . . or worse?
  • Is technology making people dumber. . . or smarter?
  • Is technology the opposite of nature? (Are technology and nature diametrically opposed?)
  • Should humans colonize other planets?
  • Have social media benefitted or harmed people’s social lives?
  • Do social media improve or impede communication?
  • Should a person's social media be considered by school admissions, police investigations, and potential employers?
  • What's better: traditional or online education?
  • All cars should be electric.
  • Should individuals own their own DNA?

More Controversial Debate and Argumentative Essay Topics

  • Should alcohol be sold after 10 pm?
  • Alternative medicines should be banned.
  • Can animal testing be justified?
  • Beauty pageants should be banned.
  • Is bad parenting to blame for childhood obesity?
  • Children should be exposed to technology.
  • Dance should be considered a sport.
  • Advertising should be banned during children's programs.
  • Should fines be scaled depending on income?
  • Gaming should be considered a sport.
  • Human cloning should be legalized.
  • Parents should be able to refuse medical treatment for their children.
  • Parents should be able to choose the sex of their child.
  • Parents should limit the amount of time their children spend on technology.
  • Pop music is the best kind of music.
  • Unpaid internships should be against the law.
  • Violent video games should be banned.

Which Topic Is Right for You?

Before you go picking a topic at random, you should first ask yourself a couple questions:

Who is my audience?

  • If you're giving a persuasive speech in front of your middle-school or high-school English class, then picking a topic related to school or to a social issue that involves young people is a great way to keep your peers interested.
  • If you're debating in front of a college-level audience, then you might try something a little more edgy or political.

What am I passionate about?

Once you've got your general topic pinned down, make sure to pick something that you're passionate about. Rather than choosing the most complex-seeming topic that you think will impress your teacher, pick something that genuinely interests you. Researching and writing your debate will be much easier if you're enjoying yourself and your passion will enliven your speech and be noticeable to your audience.

How to Write a Debate Speech

The basic formula for writing a debate is...

  • to be given an opening line,
  • to state and define your topic,
  • to signpost your arguments,
  • to rebut opposing viewpoints,
  • to give your own arguments,
  • and then round things off with a nice, simple conclusion.

If you'd like to find out how to optimise this formula and write the best debate speech that you're capable of producing, then check out my other article, How to Write a Debate.

At what level are you debating?

See results

Conclusion:

And there we have it: 100+ of the best current debate topics to feed all of your speech-writing needs. I hope that you've found a topic that appeals to you on this list, and good luck with your speech!

For a list of thought-provoking philosophical discussion questions, see 105 Philosophical Questions That Will Make You Think & Elicit Debate.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 K S Lane

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Moyo 

        2 days ago

        Nice topics.It helped with my school assignment.

      • profile image

        Anonymous 

        3 days ago

        This was helpful

      • profile image

        Yay 

        2 weeks ago

        Thanks

      • profile image

        Durinisas 

        2 weeks ago

        this was helpfull thx

      • profile image

        kirideku 

        2 weeks ago

        this was very helpful

      • profile image

        Bakugo 

        2 weeks ago

        This was very helpful for my school speech! Thank you so much! This also gives me things to think about!

      • profile image

        Narnia 

        3 weeks ago

        thx very helpful for my assignment

      • profile image

        person 

        3 weeks ago

        I like these topics, they are all very good options, but i am an elementary school student looking for a debate for debate club, which one should I use?

      • profile image

        Peytan 

        5 weeks ago

        these topics are very helpful...

      • profile image

        Alexia 

        5 weeks ago

        This helped me with my english assigment thx

      • profile image

        Mary-Beth Bethbeth 

        6 weeks ago

        These topics are very interesting!

      • profile image

        Egede Asuquo peter 

        7 weeks ago

        There are interesting and educating topics

      • profile image

        Akanksha Kumari 

        7 weeks ago

        It is very helpful to me

      • profile image

        Zafarjon 

        7 weeks ago

        They are helpful topics thanx

      • profile image

        Unknown 

        8 weeks ago

        Really helpful for my son to refer any topics at here

      • profile image

        toni 

        8 weeks ago

        thanks for all the great topics they really helped me with my lesson thx

      • profile image

        Ryland Walker 

        2 months ago

        Nice topics

      • profile image

        Jack 

        2 months ago

        Smoking should be banned because it is bad for you

      • profile image

        `12345 

        2 months ago

        cant find one but all are good

      • profile image

        CAJIV 

        2 months ago

        Helped me with persuasive essay, thx.

      • profile image

        Kotaro Tanaka 

        2 months ago

        Very helpful for my English assignment to.

      • profile image

        navin 

        3 months ago

        all topics are very nice

      • profile image

        Love you 

        3 months ago

        I love this

      • profile image

        Stephen K 

        3 months ago

        This is a good list thx very much. Helpful for my English assignment.

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