350+ Debate Topics for High School, Middle School and College

Updated on June 30, 2020
Sherry H profile image

Sherry Haynes is currently pursuing a PharmD degree. As a college student, she has participated in various debate competitions.

Debatable topics for high school, middle school, and college students.
Debatable topics for high school, middle school, and college students. | Source

Debate is an interesting way to learn the pros and cons of an issue. It allows the debaters to influence the audience with their ideas and opinions on a subject.

It can be difficult to come up with a good debate topic that is currently relevant and interesting. An ideal subject is the one that is:

  • Suitable to the audience
  • Consistent with the event's theme or current issues
  • General and gripping

This article includes a list of debate questions related to education, science, environment, politics, economy, history and entertainment.

Topics under the category school, environment, science and technology are ideal for beginner-level debaters.
Topics under the category school, environment, science and technology are ideal for beginner-level debaters.

Education and School

  1. Should schools change how they grade students during the pandemic?
  2. Should religious education that promotes a certain faith be abolished in schools?
  3. Is vocational and technical training more valuable for promoting the economy than standard university education?
  4. All evolutionary theories should be equally taught in school.
  5. No homework should be given to students.
  6. Home teaching is equivalent to school teaching.
  7. Students should be encouraged to work part-time.
  8. Should schools be year-round?
  9. Corporal punishments should be allowed in school.
  10. Should schools be held four days a week?
  11. Should children be allowed to have phones in school?
  12. Should schools teach financial literacy to students?
  13. Does cultural diversity in school benefit the students?
  14. Should schools allow students to take mental health days as leaves?
  15. Social media: More pros or more cons.
  16. Should school canteens take meat and dairy off the menu?
  17. Should students get limited access to the internet?
  18. Is college different from reality?
  19. Do elite schools promote categorical inequality?
  20. Is the grading system used in school effective?
  21. Is online teaching as effective as classroom teaching?
  22. Does giving homework meet its purpose?
  23. Should schools have support groups for children with special needs?
  24. College admissions should be solely based on academic achievement (merit).
  25. Should sports be made compulsory in school?
  26. Should martial arts class be compulsory in school?
  27. The theory of evolution should not be taught in school.
  28. Books vs Television: Which platform provides more educational value?
  29. Should teachers be allowed to keep guns for defence in school?
  30. Is co-education good or bad?
  31. Should schools require students to wear uniforms?
  32. Should the school system require students to read and write cursive?
  33. Should political topics be discussed in school?
  34. Should schools teach students to be global citizens instead of instilling nationalism?
  35. Is education necessary to be successful?
  36. Should first aid be taught in the school?
  37. Can computers replace teachers?
  38. Should schools teach students how to cook?
  39. Should students be allowed to evaluate teachers?
  40. Should the minimum age for voting be abolished?
  41. Should education qualification be made necessary for politicians?
  42. Should bilingual education be offered in schools?
  43. Is homeschooling better than traditional schooling?
  44. Do gifted learning programs in schools benefit the students?
  45. Schools and compulsory education should not be compulsory.
  46. Schools should grade the students based on their knowledge.
  47. Schools should focus on teaching students math and science instead of music and arts.
  48. Learning a foreign language before graduation should not be required.
  49. School students should not be punished with detentions.
  50. Should schools give students more classes to pick from?
  51. Is education the most powerful weapon to fight evil?
  52. Should there be WIFi in the classrooms?
  53. Should there be restrictions on religious symbols in school?
  54. Does lack of technology in the classroom hold students back?
  55. Is social media a major source of distraction for learning students?
  56. Should home-schooling parents be required to have a degree or training?
  57. Should schools offer bonus cash to students for good grades?
  58. Should pupils be allowed to decide subjects they want to learn in school?

Environment

  1. Universal jurisdiction should be applied to the crime against the environment.
  2. Should selective breeding of animals be prohibited?
  3. Should the government pay residents to not cut down the trees?
  4. Is climate change human-caused?
  5. Is it better to have a real Christmas tree than a fake one?
  6. Should animals be kept in zoos?
  7. Should animals be banned in circuses?
  8. Should smoking be allowed in public places?
  9. Should Antarctica be conserved or exploited?
  10. Should Antarctica be open to tourism?
  11. Should whaling be allowed?
  12. Should fish farming be banned?
  13. Wild animals cannot be kept humanely in captivity.
  14. Should ecocide be a crime?
  15. Is pet ownership ethical?
  16. Should disposable plastic items be banned?
  17. Should lawns be replaced with edible landscapes?
  18. Should animal products be banned?
  19. Should humans be blamed for animal extinction?
  20. Is human-animal chimera research ethical?
  21. Are organic foods healthier and more sustainable than non-organic foods?

Controversial topics are the toughest to debate about. These topics are suitable for college students and higher level debaters.
Controversial topics are the toughest to debate about. These topics are suitable for college students and higher level debaters.

Social Issues

  1. Should affirmative action be based on socio-economic status instead of race or caste?
  2. Should anti-vaxxers be allowed to speak on a public platform?
  3. Should all humans be vegans?
  4. Is the imposition of sanctions on states the best way to end child labour?
  5. Should children learn gender identity and sexual orientation in school?
  6. Do humans have free will?
  7. Should homosexual couples be allowed to adopt babies?
  8. Is cloning ethical?
  9. Is it immoral to consume animals for food?
  10. Is humanity enough for people to avoid harming others?
  11. Should conversion therapy be legal?
  12. Should trans kids be allowed to transition before puberty?
  13. Should the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) be ratified?
  14. Humanity today is better than what it will be 100 years ahead of time.
  15. Should alcohol taxes be raised?
  16. Rights protect individuals’ interest or fundamentally enables them to make choices.
  17. Should reservations be abolished?
  18. Is homosexuality a lifestyle choice?
  19. Do rights exist by convention or by nature?
  20. Is corruption a cognizable offence?
  21. Is human embryonic stem cell research justifiable?
  22. Is animal rights a social justice issue?
  23. Women are incapable of working as efficiently as men.
  24. There is as much discrimination against men as there is against women.
  25. Everyone is created equal.
  26. Should same-sex marriages be legal?
  27. Convicted murderers should be prisoned for a lifetime.
  28. Is freedom of speech a right or privilege?
  29. Can civil disobedience be justified?
  30. Do housewives make more responsible mothers than working wives?
  31. Should parents be blamed for a child’s obesity?
  32. Should people be allowed to sell their organs?
  33. Should polygamous marriages be made legal?
  34. Should the minimum age for driving be raised to 18?
  35. Is home detention with electronic tagging a lenient punishment?
  36. Is the piercing of babies' ears fair to babies?
  37. Do people have a moral obligation to help those in need?
  38. Should there be a minimum weight limit for models?
  39. Should harmful traditional practices be banned?
  40. Should institutions allow abusive art to be displayed?
  41. Is suicide selfish?
  42. All restaurants should serve healthy food only.
  43. Is it justifiable to kill one innocent life to save the lives of millions of people?
  44. Is it ethical to terminate a pregnancy for the reason of foetal disability?
  45. VIP culture facilitates the gap between the rich and the poor.
  46. Is it ethical to euthanize a pet?
  47. Is the call-out culture doing more harm than good?
  48. Can murder ever be justified?
  49. Women should not have the same rights as men.
  50. Is social media addiction more or less like drug addiction?
  51. Social media affects mental health.
  52. Does social media make one anti-social?
  53. Does tiger parenting affect the mental health of children?
  54. Does social media do more good than bad for people during isolation?
  55. Beauty pageants should be banned.
  56. Should parents be held legally responsible for crimes of minor children?
  57. Cigarettes should be banned everywhere.
  58. Cosmetic surgery should be banned.
  59. Girls should be allowed to play boys' games.
  60. Children under 18 years should not have access to social media.
  61. Should customers be allowed to call-out companies on social media?
  62. Is capital punishment the only way to deter criminals?
  63. Should a country limit the number of children a couple can have?
  64. Should the government provide survivors pension to orphans?
  65. Should the private lives of celebrities be made public by news channels?
  66. Should museums return artifacts to their country of origin?

Politics

  1. Should politicians be legally accountable for promises made during the election campaigns?
  2. Will Trump's decision to defund the WHO make America less safe?
  3. Will Trump be re-elected as President in 2020?
  4. Should elected officials have term limits?
  5. Should China be held accountable for the pandemic?
  6. Should world leaders be worried about overpopulation?
  7. Are conspiracy theories the cause of political propaganda?
  8. Is globalization good or bad?
  9. Nationalism is inapplicable in today’s world.
  10. A strong dictatorship is better than a weak democracy.
  11. Is nationalism good or bad?
  12. Is patriotism different from nationalism?
  13. Political correctness: A solution or an issue?
  14. Is localism good for democracy?
  15. Should political parties be funded by an individual or corporate donations?
  16. Should the sedition law be scrapped in a democratic country like India?
  17. Should political campaigns be allowed to use social media bots?
  18. Was Barack Obama a good president?
  19. North Korean nuclear deterrence: A myth or reality?
  20. Globalization is a step against poverty and inequality.
  21. Should the voting age be lowered?
  22. Should the USA join the commonwealth?
  23. Should election campaigns be solely government-funded?
  24. Was the assassination of Qassem Suleimani legal?
  25. Should the government control the internet?
  26. Is censoring political discussion and speech on internet curtailing of freedom of speech?
  27. Should the government provide a universal basic income?
  28. Should the military conduct against ISIS be conducted solely by middle east nations?
  29. Is the electoral college the best method of electing the president?
  30. Should the western nations give development aid?
  31. Should Kashmir be an independent state?
  32. Should there be a retirement age for politicians?
  33. Wash George Bush a good president?
  34. Should the British monarchy be abolished?
  35. Does the constitution need to be updated/rewritten?

Economy

  1. Is capitalism an economic system or an ideology?
  2. Is capitalism compatible with democracy?
  3. Should the government wipe out student loan debt?
  4. Is inflation targeting best-practice monetary policy?
  5. Should the federation adopt inflation targeting monetary policy?
  6. Consumption taxation is better than Income taxation.
  7. Is equality of outcome better than equality of opportunity?
  8. Should the government reduce investment in arts?
  9. Can a country’s economy grow without international trade?
  10. Should the government support/promote gentrification?
  11. Should foreigners be allowed to own land in developing countries?
  12. Is capitalism the best economic system?
  13. Is capitalism better than socialism?
  14. Can universal healthcare and capitalism co-exist?
  15. Is fair trade good or bad?
  16. Should begging for money be made illegal?
  17. Should estate tax be eliminated?
  18. Is cultural diversity good for the economy?
  19. Should unpaid internships be banned?
  20. Should a business be allowed to deny service to anyone?
  21. Is the world ready for multipolarity and multilateralism?
  22. Should the government intervene in the economy?
  23. Should the state invest more money in health than education?
  24. Will Brexit have a good or bad effect on the UK’s economy?
  25. Does bailing out banks save the economy or the government?
  26. Does a financial crisis pave the way to fix the global economy?
  27. Does cutting the corporate tax rate create jobs?

Policy and Law

  1. Should vaccines be made mandatory?
  2. Should abortions be made legal?
  3. Should governments fund security at the places of worship?
  4. Should voting be mandatory?
  5. Should there be no patent for life-saving drugs?
  6. Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
  7. Should the age for drinking be lowered?
  8. All drugs should be legalized.
  9. Should governments bail out failing industries or businesses?
  10. Is the death penalty morally justified or should it be abolished?
  11. Should judges be elected or appointed?
  12. Income tax should be replaced with sales tax.
  13. Killing in self-defence is justifiable.
  14. Should smoking be made illegal?
  15. Is freedom more important than security?
  16. Should the constitution stop giving special recognition to minority groups?
  17. Should hate speech be censored?
  18. Should the government implement policies to reduce the gap between rich and poor?
  19. Is the idea of Blackstone's ratio good for the law in a country?
  20. The illegal use of drugs should be treated as a matter of public health and not of criminal justice.
  21. Do stop and search help to reduce violent crime?
  22. Should basic education be free for everyone?
  23. Should both murder and murder-attempt carry equal punishment?
  24. Should the sale of genetically modified food be banned?
  25. Should the US pay reparations to the descendants of enslaved people?
  26. Should cyberbullying be criminalized?
  27. No one should be allowed to keep guns.
  28. Should flag burning be illegal?
  29. Is Medicare-for-all socialism?
  30. Should the government make it necessary for all children below 18 to go to school?
  31. Should the government impose drug price controls?
  32. Can strict traffic laws prevent accidents?

History

  1. Did the USSR participate in World War II?
  2. Was the Holodomor the communists’ holocaust?
  3. Communism took more lives than Nazism.
  4. Totalitarianism and fascism are the same.
  5. National socialism and fascism are the same.
  6. Could the French revolution have been prevented?
  7. Could the French and Belgian governments have avoided Nazi invasion in WWII?
  8. Was the agreement between Russia and Great Britain in 1907 inevitable?
  9. Was the roman empire ultimately good for the trajectory of humanity?
  10. Is British colonization the reason for poverty in India?
  11. Is Shakespear the author of all works attributed to him?
  12. Did the introduction of the stirrup to cavalry lead to Feudalism?
  13. Should the USA have become involved in the conflict in Vietnam?
  14. Was Genghis Khan good for the world?
  15. Has European colonization in Africa had a positive or negative impact in the world?
  16. Is democracy the best form of government?

A funny topic is what you want to discuss with your friends. These are usually light-hearted discussions meant to help you pass the time and bond with people.
A funny topic is what you want to discuss with your friends. These are usually light-hearted discussions meant to help you pass the time and bond with people.

Funny and Light-Hearted Topics

  1. Can new year’s resolution change your life?
  2. If a lie is false, does it exist?
  3. Which one came first, chicken or egg?
  4. Can money bring happiness?
  5. The big bang theory is the best comedy show ever.
  6. Do humans eat to live or live to eat?
  7. Are iPhone users richer than Android users?
  8. Clayton was right in the Disney Tarzan movie 1990.
  9. Should the unexplained endings of movies be explained?
  10. Harry Potter makes a better pair with Hermoine Granger than with Genie Weasley.
  11. Who cares about animal rights more: humans or animals?
  12. Should children who worked in R-rated movies be allowed to watch it when the movie is done?
  13. Should there be pineapple on pizza?
  14. Should animals wear clothing?
  15. Cats vs dogs: which is the better pet?
  16. Debates cannot be funny if they have to be debated.
  17. Men gossip more than women. They just do it professionally.
  18. When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object which one of the two is more powerful?
  19. Should character in a movie have the same race as the book?
  20. Marvel vs DC which is better?
  21. Should political cartoons be censored?
  22. Should social media be regulated?
  23. Should esports promote traditional games on the Olympics instead of video games?
  24. Modern music or classical: which is better?
  25. Should certain books be banned from a library?
  26. Was harry potter and the cursed child a perfect sequel to Harry Potter?
  27. Playstation vs Xbox which is better?
  28. Is Holy Bolter the coolest Sci-Fi weapon?
  29. Do videogames contribute to violence among children?
  30. Does reality TV have negative effects on society?
  31. Should the government spend money on sports?
  32. Should books have age ratings/content warnings?
  33. Mass media exploits women.
  34. Is online shopping better than offline shopping?
  35. Is using animals in sports and entertainment ethical?
  36. Is it unethical to use ad-blockers?
  37. Is chocolate good for health?
  38. Should children be allowed to use mobile phones?
  39. Should blood sports be banned?
  40. Should MMA be an Olympic sport?
  41. Should social media influencers be held accountable if found to promote faulty or fraudulent things?
  42. Are sports stars overpaid?
  43. Is geostorm the best sci-fi movie?
  44. Which is better: working as an entrepreneur or having a corporate job?
  45. Are video games better than board games?
  46. Is there a limit to comedy?
  47. Is Apple overpriced?
  48. Is Linux the best operating system?
  49. Macs are better than PCs.
  50. Avengers is better than X-men.
  51. Are women more emotional than men?
  52. Should authors cast movies?
  53. Which of 6 and 9 was invented first?

Those were some interesting topics for students and other debaters to discuss. If you are interested in debates related to science and technology then read this other list of 80+ science debate topics.

Which category debates do you enjoy the most?

See results

© 2020 Sherry Haynes

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    • profile image

      Galvin 

      12 days ago

      Excellent topics. This is very helpful.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      5 weeks ago from UK

      This is a great resource for teachers and lecturers. The practice of debating goes way back in history and its a useful skill for students to develop.

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