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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 55 great debate topics for any project.

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General Education


A debate is a formal discussion about a topic where two sides present opposing viewpoints. Debates follow a specific structure: each side is given time to speak either for or against the topic at hand.

Many students study debate in high school to improve their speaking skills. As a debater, you learn how to clearly structure and present an argument. The skills you develop as a debater will help you on everything from a college admissions interview to a job presentation.

Selecting debate topics is one of the most important parts of debating. In this article, we’ll explain how to select a good debate topic and give suggestions for debate topics you can use.

How to Select Good Debate Topics

A good debate topic is one that lets the participants and the audience learn about both sides of an issue. Consider the following factors when selecting a debate topic:

Interest: Are you interested in the topic? Would the topic be interesting to your fellow classmates, as well as to the audience listening to the debate? Selecting a topic that you’re interested in makes the preparation part of the debate more exciting , as well as the debate more lively.

Argument Potential: You want to choose a debate topic that has solid argument potential. If one side is clearly right, or if there isn’t a lot of available information, you’ll have a hard time crafting a solid debate.

Availability of Data: Data points make an argument more robust. You’ll want to select a topic with lots of empirical data that you can pull from to bolster your argument.

Now that we know how to select a debate topic, let’s look at a list of good debate topics.

Debate Topics Master List

If you’re searching for your next debate topic, here are some suggestions.

Social and Political Issues Debate Topics

  • All people should have the right to own guns.
  • The death penalty should be abolished.
  • Human cloning should be legalized.
  • All drugs should be legalized.
  • Animal testing should be banned.
  • Juveniles should be tried and treated as adults.
  • Climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity today.
  • Violent video games should be banned.
  • The minimum wage should be $15 per hour.
  • All people should have Universal Basic Income.
  • Sex work should be legal.
  • Countries should be isolationist.
  • Abortion should be banned.
  • Every citizen should be mandated to perform national public service.
  • Bottled water should be banned.
  • Plastic bags should be banned.

Education Debate Topics

  • Homework should be banned.
  • Public prayer should not be allowed in schools.
  • Schools should block sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram on their computers.
  • School uniforms should be required.
  • Standardized testing should be abolished.
  • All students should have an after-school job or internship.
  • School should be in session year-round.
  • All high school athletes should be drug tested.
  • Detention should be abolished.
  • All student loan debt should be eliminated.
  • Homeschooling is better than traditional schooling.
  • All schools should have armed security guards.
  • Religion should be taught in schools.
  • All schools should be private schools.
  • All students should go to boarding schools.
  • Sexual education should be mandatory in schools.
  • Public college should be tuition free.
  • All teachers should get tenure.
  • All school districts should offer school vouchers.


Health Debate Topics

  • Healthcare should be universal.
  • Cosmetic procedures should be covered by health insurance.
  • All people should be vegetarians.
  • Euthanasia should be banned.
  • The drinking age should be 18.
  • Vaping should be banned.
  • Smoking should be banned in all public places.
  • People should be legally required to get vaccines.
  • Obesity should be labeled a disease.
  • Sexual orientation is determined at birth.
  • The sale of human organs should be legalized.
  • Birth control should be for sale over the counter.

Technology Debate Topics

  • Social media has improved human communication.
  • The development of artificial intelligence will help humanity.
  • Individuals should own their own DNA.
  • Humans should invest in technology to explore and colonize other planets.
  • Governments should invest in alternative energy sources.
  • Net neutrality should be restored.
  • Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies should be encouraged or banned.
  • Alternative energy can effectively replace fossil fuels.
  • Cell phone radiation is dangerous and should be limited.

How to Prepare for a Debate

Once you’ve selected your debate topic, the next step is to prepare for your debate. Follow these steps as you get ready to take the podium.

Read Your Evidence

The most important step to building your debate confidence is to familiarize yourself with the evidence available. You’ll want to select reputable sources and use empirical data effectively.

The more well read on your topic you are, the better you’ll be able to defend your position and anticipate the other side’s arguments.

Anticipate the Other Side’s Arguments

As part of your debate, you’ll need to rebut the other side’s arguments. It’s important to prepare ahead of time to guess what they’ll be talking about. You’ll bolster your own side’s argument if you’re able to effectively dismantle what the other side is saying.

Plan to Fill Your Speech Time

Each speaker at a debate is limited to a certain amount of time. You should plan to use every second of the time that you’re allotted. Make sure you practice your talking points so that you know you’re within the time frame. If you’re short, add in more evidence.

Practice to Build Confidence

It can be scary to take the stage for a debate! Practicing ahead of time will help you build confidence. Remember to speak slowly and clearly. Even if your argument is great, it won’t matter if no one can understand it.

Final Thoughts

Debate is a great way to hone your public speaking skills and get practice crafting and defending an argument. Use these debate topics if you're searching for a focus for your next debate.

What's Next?

Looking for ways to keep the debate going in non-academic life? Then you'll love our list of 101 "this or that" questions to argue over with your friends.

Thinking about how you can use your argumentative skills in a future career? Read up on the five steps to becoming a lawyer to see if that's a path you want to pursue.

Getting ready to take an AP test? Here’s a list of practice tests for every AP exam, including the AP literature exam .

It can be hard to schedule time to study for an AP test on top of your extracurriculars and normal classwork. Check out this article on when you need to start studying for your AP tests to make sure you’re staying on track.

Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!

Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.

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Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley's students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females.

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Speech And Debate

Debate Topics

Last updated on: May 26, 2023

Debate Topics (2023) - Top 200+ Compelling Topics

By: Cordon J.

23 min read

Reviewed By: Melisa C.

Published on: Mar 22, 2023

Debate Topics

Choosing an interesting topic for a debate can be a little tricky. There are several factors that are to be considered before you choose a topic.

  • Is the topic debatable?
  • Do you have content for it?
  • Is the content easily available for research?
  • Are you genuinely interested in the topic?
  • Is the topic good enough to impress your audience?

Get all the answers below and get some creative and great debate topics and ideas.

Debate Topics

On this Page

What is the Debate?

A debate and speech writing is a process or an activity that involves presenting relevant arguments in support of a viewpoint. Normally, debates take place in academic institutes, public meetings, and legislative and lawmaking assemblies. 

It is a common part of our lives, and we all have argued at some point in our lives. Through a debate, a participant tries to cancel the views and arguments of the opponent while safeguarding their own views with solid proof and arguments.

In an academic and scholarly environment, it is considered quite a fun and enlightening activity that engages the audience and adds to their knowledge.

What are the Types of Debate?

Debates can be of various types. Each type is used for a specific type of debate, and all of them are conducted differently and could take place for different purposes. Below are the six types of debate:

  • Lincoln-Douglas Debate: This type of debate is mostly used in formal debating societies. It is also known as a "value debate" and requires two individuals to argue against each other on moral and ethical issues.
  • Rebuttal Debate: A rebuttal debate is an argument that takes place between two participants. Each participant has to present their arguments and prepare a strong case against the opposition's point of view.
  • Cross-Examination Debate: In this type of debate, each speaker is given time to answer questions posed by the opposition while they are presenting their argument.
  • Public Forum Debate: This is a form of debate in which two teams compete against each other with their respective cases.
  • Oregon-Oxford Debate: This debate type also takes place between two participants, and each speaker has to present arguments while preparing a strong case against the opposition's point of view.
  • One-Rebuttal Debate: This type of debate is similar to the Cross-Examination Debate except that each speaker has only one chance to rebut the opposition's argument.

No matter what kind of debate you are planning or participating in, you will not need a unique or out-of-the-box type of topic for it. Your topic should be interesting and relatable for your audience, and this is enough to make your debate a winner.

How to Choose Good Debate Topics?

Some important factors need to be considered when it comes to choosing a good debate topic. A good debate topic will help the audience understand both sides of the issue and keep them engaged to make better and more informed decisions.

Here are a few tips that will help you choose a good topic for your debate.

  • Interest: It is necessary that you should be interested in your topic since you are the one who is going to write and deliver it to your audience. If you are not interested in the topic, there is no way that your debate will be convincing enough to persuade your audience.
  • Research: To debate effectively, you should be aware of the pros and cons of your topic. This will help you convince the audience by opposing the opponent’s viewpoints.
  • Target Audience: This is the essential factor to consider while choosing a debate topic. Your topic should be according to the intellectual level of your audience. Only this way, they will actually understand what you are trying to deliver in your debate.
  • Argument Potential: Pick a topic that has solid argument potential. If only one side is right or if there is limited information available, you will face a hard time crafting a good debate.

Are you ready to learn debating strategies and leave your opponent and audience amazed? Watch this video

Debate Topics on Different Subjects

Great speeches and debate topics are essential for memorable debates and speeches. This is why we suggest that you do your research properly before deciding on a specific topic. To help you get some memorable topic ideas, we have gathered lists of topics that could be used in any type of debate like Lincoln-Douglas debate topics, rebuttal debates, and others.

Here is a complete list of engaging debate competition topics and ideas.

Continue reading, and you will definitely find a great topic.

  • Should abortion be allowed in all cases?

Alternative Energy

  • Is alternative energy a better option than traditional sources of energy?

American Socialism

  • Should the U.S. move towards a socialist system?

Animal Testing

  • Is it ethical to use animals for testing?
  • Is it ethical to clone animals?
  • Is animal testing necessary?

Banned Books

  • Should books that contain offensive content be banned?


  • Is binge-watching television and movies a good way to spend time?

Bottled Water Ban

  • Should bottled water be banned in all cases?

Business Ethics

  • What role should ethical considerations play in business decisions?


  • How can cyberbullying be prevented?

Capital Punishment

  • Is capital punishment an effective deterrent against crime?
  • Should capital punishment be used as a form of punishment?
  • Should censorship of the internet be allowed?

Cancel Culture

  • Is cancel culture a valid form of protest?

Cell Phones

  • Should the use of cell phones be restricted in public places?

Climate Change

  • Is climate change real or man-made?
  • Should human cloning be allowed?
  • Should drugs be decriminalized or not?

Death Penalty

  • Is the death penalty effective as a punishment?

Order Essay

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job!

  • School debate should be compulsory for all students
  • There should be no school uniforms or a dress code
  • Students should not be allowed to use Facebook.
  • Impact of social media on teenagers and high school students.
  • Junk food should not be banned in schools
  • Energy drinks should be banned from students.
  • Students should volunteer for community service.
  • Students should not be allowed gadgets in private school.
  • Mobile phones should not be allowed in schools
  • High school students should not be allowed cell phones in school.
  • Online learning vs. traditional learning. Which is better?
  • How can technology help to improve education?
  • The modern college education system is better than the traditional one.
  • How can we engage high school students in the class?
  • How is outdoor learning beneficial?
  • Homework should be banned in schools.
  • How can a college education help you get a good job?
  • Should public schools offer educational bonuses?
  • Why do kids need recess?
  • Traditional teaching methods should be replaced with AI-powered education.
  • Public speaking boosts the confidence of students.
  • Entertainment and Technology Debate Topics
  • Children should not be allowed to play violent video games.
  • Pros and cons of using social media.
  • Does technology intensify human communication skills?
  • Effects of violent cartoons on the mental development of children.
  • Playing video games should be banned for kids.
  • Environmental Issues
  • Global warming and its impacts on humanity.
  • Is global warming a real issue?

Topic Generator

Discover Captivating Topics in a Click!

Fun and Funny Debate Topics

Following fun debate topics are great if you are looking for topics that are light in mood and offer humorous matters.

  • Women are much more complicated than men.
  • Which one is better? Eat to live or live to eat?
  • Children should not be allowed to watch cartoons as they portray violence.
  • Why can men date younger women, but women can’t date younger men?
  • Are there some discrete messages in nursery rhymes?
  • Morals or money? Which one is necessary to survive?
  • Which gender is better? Male or female?
  • How does sunlight affect vampires?
  • Can vampires get AIDS?
  • How will life be after death?
  • Barbie is a good role model for young girls.
  • Do fairy tales affect children’s reality perception?
  • Has the #MeToo movement gone too far?
  • Which is the better pet? Dogs or cats.
  • What comes first? Chicken or eggs.
  • Winters are better than summer.
  • Do you want to live forever?
  • What is a better dessert? Cake or ice cream.
  • What is the best topping for pizza?
  • No one should ever tell a lie.

General Debate Topics

Zoos should be banned Why do kids need privacy? Importance of saving money. Every student should adopt a family pet. Why do most kids start smoking? Importance of reading books. Animals should have the same rights as humans. Fast-food chains are the major cause of the increase in the obesity rate.

Healthcare Debate Topics

  • Marijuana should be legal for its use in medicines.
  • Pharmacists should not be allowed to prescribe medicines.
  • Obese people should pay more for healthcare.
  • Healthcare should not be free for everyone.

Interesting Debate Topics

  • Is sex education necessary for middle school students?
  • Nuclear powers are the major cause of wars.
  • Same-sex marriage should not be allowed.
  • Gay relationships are against nature.
  • Students are becoming way too dependent on technology.
  • Money is a major source of motivation in the workplace.
  • Girls should be encouraged and supported to enter the STEM research field.
  • Is money a key factor in getting exoneration from crimes?
  • Alternative energy resources should be explored and used to preserve natural resources.
  • Censorship should be made less lenient for educational documentaries.
  • Gay couples should be allowed to adopt children.
  • The sale of fur must be banned.
  • Reality television is harming society.
  • Why is paintball a real sport?
  • Sports are more important than arts.
  • What are the differences between cricket and hockey?
  • Why is it important to ban late-night alcohol sales?
  • Unpaid internships should be made illegal.
  • Beauty contests should be banned.
  • Gay couples should not be allowed to adopt children.

Justice Debate Topics

  • The death penalty should be abolished.
  • Mental illness should not be grounds for criminal justice exemption.
  • The legal age for voting should be lowered.
  • Juveniles who commit crimes should not be tried as adults.
  • Should police officers wear body cameras?
  • Are plea bargains fair to defendants?

Knowledge Debate Topics

  • Do humans learn better by reading or listening?
  • Should universities offer free tuition to all students?
  • Is knowledge more important than experience?
  • What is the best way to acquire knowledge?
  • Are tests a good indication of student learning?
  • Do grades accurately measure intellectual abilities?

Life and Ethics Debate Topics

  • Beauty pageants are another way to objectify women.
  • Beauty pageants are setting ridiculous standards in society.
  • Social networking sites are used for stalking instead of communicating.
  • Torture is never justified, no matter what the situation is.
  • Celebrities have the leverage to get away with crimes more than any non-celebrity.
  • Cigarettes should not be allowed in public places.

Moral Debate Topics

  • Is it ever right to lie?
  • Should animals be used for scientific research?
  • Is abortion wrong in all cases?
  • Capital punishment is morally wrong.
  • The death penalty should not exist.
  • Should prostitution be legalized?
  • What is the moral responsibility of corporations?

Nature Debate Topics

  • Are humans responsible for global warming?
  • Should plastic bags be banned in all countries?
  • Why are bees important to our environment?
  • How can deforestation be stopped or slowed down?
  • What is the best way to preserve wildlife habitats?
  • What steps should be taken to reduce air pollution?

Opinion Debate Topics

  • Should teachers be allowed to have cell phones in the classroom?
  • Do violent video games lead to aggressive behavior?
  • Are organic foods really better for you than non-organic foods?
  • Does the internet make people more productive?
  • Is it ethical to clone animals and humans?

Political Debate Topics

  • There should be a monarchical system in the United States
  • Causes of increasing racism in the United States.
  • Nuclear weapons should be banned across the globe.
  • Police should be allowed to use lethal force.
  • Are men stronger than women?
  • Religion does more harm than good.
  • Why can it be done to stop wars?
  • Is the Paris Agreement relevant anymore?
  • Monarchy should end worldwide.
  • Everyone should be allowed to keep weapons.
  • Free speech is an individual right.
  • Religious schools and churches should also be charged with taxes.
  • Is freedom of speech necessary for a nation to grow?
  • What should be the penalty for illegal immigrants?
  • There should be more members of the jury.
  • Refugees should not be allowed to acquire any sort of nationality.
  • Is it ethical to carry an automatic weapon?
  • Is patriotism a good or a bad thing?
  • Is the US Constitution a living document?
  • Political campaigns must be organized on money borrowed by corporations.
  • Limiting terms for US senators and representatives brings more harm than benefit.
  • Why should churches pay more taxes?
  • Police should use deadly force. Discuss why.
  • Why must the royal family be abolished?
  • People should own guns. Why?
  • Why are automatic weapons legalized?
  • Voting should be made mandatory for everyone. 
  • Importance of freedom of speech.
  • Public Forum Debate Topics
  • Abortion is the right of every woman.
  • Genetic engineering is not a natural process and should not be legalized.
  • Birth control pills should be accessible to teenagers.
  • There should be an equal ratio of male and female employees in the workplace.
  • Barbie is not a practical example of a role model.
  • Feminism is causing more harm than good.
  • Marijuana has its advantages.
  • The MeToo movement is being misused, forgetting its real purpose.
  • The media should be free to express their opinions and criticism.
  • Public prayer should not be allowed in schools.
  • Smoking should be banned worldwide.
  • The form of government should provide free birth control.
  • Can we trust banks? 
  • Financial issues destroy a nation.
  • Is taxation good or bad?
  • How can humans affect animals?
  • Discuss the importance of financial stability.
  • We should lower the voting age for everyone.
  • Mobile banking is not a safe procedure. Why?
  • How badly can peer pressure affect an innocent soul?
  • Models are setting the wrong standards of beauty.
  • We are living in a dystopian society.

Questions Debate Topics

  • Does technology have the potential to do more harm than good?

Religion Debate Topics

  • What is the importance of religion in society?
  • Should religious education be mandatory in all schools?
  • Sports should be an essential part of middle school.

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Television Debate Topics

  • Should parents be more mindful of the television programs their children watch?
  • Are reality shows detrimental to our society?

Urbanization Debate Topics

  • What are the effects of rapid urbanization on the environment?

Veganism Debate Topics

  • Is veganism a more ethical lifestyle choice than eating meat?
  • Should veganism be promoted as an ethical diet choice?
  • Women's Rights Debate Topics
  • Are women still discriminated against in the workplace?
  • Xenophobia Debate Topic
  • What can be done to tackle the rising xenophobia in many parts of the world?
  • Youth Empowerment Debate Topics
  • Should youth empowerment programs be adopted at a global level?

Zero Waste Debate Topics

  • Can zero-waste policies help protect our environment?

Best Debate Topics for Students

Crafting an argumentative essay or preparing for a debate? Below we have compiled some great topics for debate competition;

Debate Topics for Kids

  • The curriculum should be designed according to the individual needs of the children.
  • Physical activities and real-life teaching skills should be mandatory in schools.
  • Visits to zoological and botanical gardens are great fun and educational activities for kids.
  • Sports should be encouraged at the school level.
  • Children should be given the right to vote.
  • School hours should be revised.
  • School lunches should be properly planned by a dedicated dietician.
  • Parents should give a weekly allowance to the kids.
  • Parents should be held responsible for their kids' mistakes.
  • Dance can be considered a sport.
  • Schools should block sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram on their computers.
  • Why should we encourage students to read books?
  • How can we replace teachers with computers?
  • Why are the Olympics important?
  • Are zoos beneficial to animals?
  • Why is it important to explore space?
  • Do children really need privacy in their lives?
  • Why should children save their pocket money?
  • Parents should be punished if their child makes a mistake.

Debate Topics for Teens

  • The minimum wage for all countries should be the same.
  • Parents should not hit children in front of others.
  • Censorship is necessary for the media.
  • Passion or patriotism can be harmful in certain situations.
  • How social media affects teenagers?
  • Social media is a cause of increasing depression among the youth.
  • The use of drugs should be considered a mental issue.
  • How is peer pressure different from bullying?
  • How are humans destroying the habitat of animals?
  • Being too religious can be dangerous.
  • Can people save nature by using technology?
  • Are student loans exploitative?
  • Alcohol should not be sold on weekends.
  • How secure is mobile banking?
  • Does homework really promote learning? 
  • Is abortion murder?
  • Should students be allowed to create their own curriculum?
  • Why is a college and university education necessary?
  • Teachers should be allowed to carry guns on campuses.
  • How should modern society respond to teenage pregnancies?
  • All students must learn at least one foreign language.

Debate Topics for Middle School

  • Following middle school debate topics are added to give you some good debate topics for middle school.
  • Peer pressure is a major influence on teenage behavior.
  • Should parents be held responsible for their children’s actions?
  • Cell phone usage should be banned in schools.
  • Teachers should use more technology in the classroom.
  • Students should not have to wear uniforms.
  • Schools should teach about financial literacy and budgeting.
  • Violence in video games leads to increased aggression.
  • The legal drinking age should be lowered from 21.
  • Juvenile offenders should serve their sentences in adult prisons.
  • Sexting should carry criminal penalties for minors.
  • Schools need more money for extracurricular activities.
  • Is it okay to criticize your teacher in public?

Debate Topics for High School

High school debate topics are less profound than what you get in college and graduation. The following topics will give you an idea of how to come up with interesting debate topics for your debate.

  • In high school, should all students have to pass a basic math proficiency test?
  • Should parents be held liable if their children commit crimes?
  • Should violent video games be banned?
  • Do the benefits of religious teachings outweigh their disadvantages?
  • Are single-parent homes better than dual-parent homes?
  • Should students participate in sports activities during school hours?
  • Should schools provide free sanitary supplies in bathrooms?
  • Are standardized tests a valid measure of student performance?
  • Should cell phones be allowed in the classroom?
  • Should students be graded on attendance alone?
  • Is it right to limit free speech on college campuses?
  • Are video games taking away from social activities or helping to build them?
  • Should school uniforms be mandatory?
  • Should the death penalty be abolished in all countries?
  • Is it ethical to use animals for testing medical treatments?
  • Should students be paid for their academic performance?
  • Should plastic straws and other single-use items be banned?

Debate Topics for College Students

  • How can homework help to abolish learning skills?
  • Why should religion be avoided to discuss in schools?
  • Is history an important subject area?
  • Why is it important for students to play sports regularly?
  • Boarding school is harmful to the mental health of the students.
  • Obesity in children is increasing because of parents’ lack of control over their children.
  • Children should not be allowed to use gadgets.
  • There should be no advertisements on kids’ channels.
  • People should be fined according to their income.
  • Can drug addicts deal through help or punishment?
  • Rich people should pay more taxes.
  • Women should be paid less than men,
  • Wars are never justified.
  • Marriage is no longer necessary.
  • Celebrities should earn less.

Are you a high school student seeking the best possible debating format ? This blog will provide you with all of the information to make an informed decision.

Latest Debate Topics 2023

Here are some current debate topics for your next debate;

  • Education is becoming costlier with every passing day while the quality is not improving.
  • Children and teens in underprivileged neighborhoods should be given free education.
  • The rise of augmented reality in contemporary Hollywood and its results.
  • Video games and animated movies are promoting violence and sexism.
  • Google is transforming into an online patrol. Discuss.
  • Orwell’s novel 1984 is becoming a quick reality. Discuss and explain with examples.
  • Dating in the workplace should be discouraged.
  • Parents should monitor their kid’s computer and phone usage.
  • Racial profiling is a new form of discrimination.
  • Reasons for substance abuse in high school and college-going children.
  • Values or wealth? Which one is necessary to survive?
  • There is no third gender.
  • Homosexual relationships are against nature.
  • Do drug addicts need help or punishment?
  • Are animal supports acceptable?
  • Parental support is essential for the future success of children.
  • Technology makes people smarter. How?
  • How can all cars become electric?
  • A robot can increase people’s quality of life.
  • Discuss the recent development in the technological field.
  • The public electoral college should be tuition-free.
  • All teachers should get tenure.
  • All school districts should offer school vouchers.
  • The sale of human organs should be legalized.
  • Birth control should be for sale over the counter.
  • Net neutrality should be restored.
  • Alternative energy can effectively replace fossil fuels.
  • Cell phone radiation is dangerous and should be limited.
  • Euthanasia should be banned.
  • The drinking age should be 18.
  • Vaping should be banned.
  • All high school athletes should be drug tested.
  • Detention should be abolished.
  • How can we improve the quality of healthcare services?
  • How should parents handle a bad report card?
  • Our privacy is more important than national security.
  • Why is football so dangerous for players?

More Controversial Debate and Argumentative Essay Topics

If you want more debate topics, we have combined a list of controversial and argumentative topics for a strong debate.

  • Prostitution - should it be legal or illegal?
  • Capital punishment - should it continue to exist?
  • Gay Marriage - should it be legal?
  • Euthanasia - should people have the right to end their lives?
  • Drugs - Should drug testing for athletes continue?
  • Stem Cell Research - should it continue to be regulated?
  • Censorship - Is censorship necessary in certain topics?
  • Immigration - How can immigration policies be improved?
  • Surveillance - Is government surveillance necessary for national security?
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) - Should they continue to be used in food production?
  • Online Piracy - Is it morally wrong?
  • US-Iraq War - Was it necessary?
  • Social Media - Should there be more regulation in its use?
  • Animal Rights - Should animals have the same rights as humans?
  • Parenting Styles - Is authoritative parenting better than other styles?
  • Advertising - Are there any ethical issues with advertising?
  • Religion - Does religion have a place in public life?

Dos and Don'ts for Debating

When taking part in debate, it is important to keep the following helpful do’s and dont’s  in mind.

  • Here are several best practices to keep in mind when debating:
  • Prepare in advance and research the topic.
  • Consider both sides of the argument and present a balanced view.
  • Use evidence and facts to support your opinions.
  • Listen carefully to the opponent’s point of view.
  • Respectfully disagree with what you don’t agree with.
  • Be prepared to compromise.

Here are several things to avoid when debating:

  • Argue for the sake of arguing without any concrete evidence.
  • Get personal or use offensive language.
  • Monopolize the conversation or interrupt others.
  • Be too emotional about the topic.
  • Ignore what the other person is saying.
  • Make assumptions or jump to conclusions.

By keeping these dos and don'ts in mind, one can have an effective debate on any given topic.

To wrap it up, Hopefully, you would have found interesting topics for your debate by now. 

Once you have chosen a topic, you will have to prepare a strong debate by researching every aspect of the topic. Is that too much work for you?

Don’t panic; we have a good idea. Choose a topic from the given list and hire a professional writer from an essay writing service to do the rest for you.

Wondering where you will find an essay writer? is the place for you. All you have to do is provide your topic along with the instructions, and the expert writers will do the job for you.

For some students, composing a debate is harder than selecting a topic. We can help you with that as well. 

Make a ‘ write my essay ’ request now and get your debate written according to your requirements.

Cordon J.

Cordon. is a published author and writing specialist. He has worked in the publishing industry for many years, providing writing services and digital content. His own writing career began with a focus on literature and linguistics, which he continues to pursue. Cordon is an engaging and professional individual, always looking to help others achieve their goals.

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Debate Topics

Great topics for exciting debates and discussions, debate topics with stimulus sheets.

Our stimulus sheets can be a great way to help novice debaters feel more comfortable when preparing for a debate.

  • This house believes it would be good to be famous
  • Children should choose what they learn in school
  • This house would ban dangerous sports
  • Is digital technology making children’s lives better?
  • This house would encourage children to strike for climate change
  • Teachers should be allowed to smack naughty children
  • Books are better than television
  • Children should be paid to go to school
  • Computers should replace teachers
  • Every child should have a pet
  • This house would ban boxing
  • This House would ban homework
  • This house believes Britain should get rid of its nuclear deterrent
  • This house believes that every child should have to join a sports club or team
  • This house believes all 10 year olds should have a mobile phone
  • We should ban junk food for children
  • Competitive sports should not be played in schools
  • We should ban cars from city centres
  • All police officers should carry guns
  • The voting age should be lowered to 12
  • There should be children and teenagers in government
  • London is a great place for teenagers to live
  • Britain should leave the European Union
  • This house believes that we shouldn’t teach art and music in schools
  • Children should be allowed mobile phones in school
  • Children should only get pocket money if they do their chores
  • Elizabeth II should be the last British monarch

  • Sports stars are bad role models for young people
  • We should scrap SATs
  • We should ban violent video games
  • We should all be vegetarian
  • We should only eat food produced in Britain
  • Children can make a big difference to the environment
  • All secondary schools should be co-educational
  • We support a manned mission to Mars
  • There should be a curfew for under-sixteens
  • This House believes community service is a better punishment than prison for non-violent crimes
  • This House would ban scientific testing on animals
  • This House looks forward to the London Olympics
  • School uniforms should be abolished
  • Footballers are paid too much money
  • We should shut down zoos
  • Teachers should wear a uniform
  • School strikes for climate change should be supported
  • All 10 year olds should have a mobile phone
  • Teachers should not tell their pupils which party they will vote for
  • School Uniform Policies Should Be Gender Neutral
  • It is worse to eat too much than to eat too little
  • First past the post electoral systems should be reformed
  • International adoption should be banned
  • It is better to live in the countryside
  • Scientists should be ethically responsible for the consequences of their research
  • The world would be a better place if more women were in charge
  • Teen defendants should be judged by teen juries
  • Books should be realistic not fantastical
  • Film versions are never as good as the original books
  • We should stop giving prizes for the arts
  • Schools should be responsible for children’s moral education
  • The UK should welcome a visit from President Trump
  • Peaceful protest achieves nothing
  • The NHS should be privatised
  • Giving is better than receiving
  • Extremist political parties should be banned
  • New immigrants should have to swear an “oath of integration”
  • We should donate to charities that support humans over those that support animals
  • The US president should be elected by popular vote
  • Voting should be compulsory
  • This house believes that we shouldn’t teach art and music in schools
  • Seventy years on, the United Nations is a disappointment
  • The minimum wage should be replaced by the living wage
  • Children should not start school until they are seven years old
  • Britain should maintain its nuclear deterrent
  • The electorate should not care about a politician’s youth
  • Affluent nations should accept more refugees
  • All children should attend a summer school
  • It is better to be a teacher than a pupil
  • Elizabeth II should be the last British monarch
  • We would welcome robots into our homes
  • The NHS should fund alternative medical treatments
  • We should ban plastic carrier bags
  • We should blow up boats used for trafficking immigrants across the Mediterranean
  • Nobody should have to wear school uniform
  • Party leaders should be required to take part in pre-election debates
  • Scientists should be responsible for the ethical consequences of their work
  • Individuals should not be allowed to have bonfires in their gardens
  • There has never been a better time to be a woman
  • Childhood vaccinations should be compulsory
  • We should allow the creation of babies with three parents
  • Alcohol harms society more than illegal drugs The world will be a better place at the end of 2015 than at the start
  • England should have its own parliament
  • Scotland should be independent
  • Unhealthy food should not feature in children’s television programmes
  • We should fine parents when their children don’t do their homework
  • Pubs should be allowed to open late to show World Cup matches
  • The rich should pay a lot more tax
  • The use of television cameras in courtrooms should be supported
  • Space exploration is a waste of money
  • Science is the answer to our problems
  • Parents should be allowed to use technology to choose characteristics of their babies
  • Animal testing is scientifically unnecessary
  • We should use more nuclear energy
  • University education should be free
  • Disney films provide bad role models for children
  • We should ban smoking in cars when children are present
  • Political leaders should boycott the Winter Olympics in Sochi
  • Sugar is worse than fat
  • There should be no censorship of the arts
  • Prizes for the arts (such as the Booker prize or the Turner prize) should be stopped
  • The Internet has done more harm than good to the arts
  • Art and music should not be taught in schools except as optional extra-curricular activities
  • The state should not subsidise the arts
  • Child beauty pageants should be banned
  • The world cannot live up to Nelson Mandela’s legacy
  • We should respect the privacy of public figures
  • Children should not be allowed to wear religious symbols in schools
  • There should be quotas for women in top business positions
  • Fireworks should be banned
  • We should invest in more green energy
  • The media provides poor role models to young girls
  • Faith schools should not be funded by the Government
  • Universities should set higher admission criteria for students from private schools
  • All children should get free school meals
  • No footballer is worth £85 million
  • All children should be given iPads to use at school
  • Are you looking forward to the new National Curriculum?
  • All cities should have mayors
  • We should arm Syrian rebels
  • The school summer holiday should be half as long
  • Online gambling should be banned
  • We should invest more in space exploration
  • There’s no need to read the book if you can just watch the film
  • The very wealthy should pay more taxes
  • Money is ruining sport
  • All faiths should allow female religious leaders
  • Prison should only be for violent criminals
  • The BBC should be privatised
  • Parents should be blamed for crimes committed by their children
  • Children shouldn’t have to do chores
  • Bullies should be excluded from schools
  • The House of Lords should be fully elected
  • Abortion should be banned
  • We should elect judges
  • Pupils should appoint their head teacher
  • Modern art isn’t really art
  • It should be harder to get divorced
  • Gambling should be banned
  • Should the press be regulated by the government or left to regulate themselves?
  • Smoking should be banned
  • Parents should be paid for staying at home with their children
  • Detentions don’t work as punishments
  • GCSEs should be abolished
  • Smoking should be made illegal
  • There is life after death
  • Now we have film, there’s no point in the theatre
  • The government shouldn’t give money to museums and art galleries
  • Alcohol should be made illegal
Free contraception should be handed out in secondary schools
  • Discipline is the biggest problem facing schools today
  • Cannabis should be legalised
  • People should be allowed to own hand guns like they are in America
  • Schools should be allowed to set their own curriculums
  • Women should be allowed to fight on the front line in wars
  • Murderers should never be released from prison
  • Girls and boys should play sports together on the same teams
  • One person can make a real difference
  • We should prioritise giving charity at home before giving charity abroad
  • We should televise criminal trials
  • Performance enhancing drugs should be allowed in sports
  • There is no more for feminism to do
  • Creationism should never be taught in schools
  • The X-Factor has damaged the British Music Industry
  • Money doesn’t bring you happiness
  • There’s no point in studying Shakespeare in schools
  • Research into cloning should be stopped
  • The best way to prepare for the future is to study the past
  • We should try to be more like America
  • Marriage is an outdated institution
  • Mums should stay at home and look after their children
  • Clinically obese children should be taken into care
  • How much money you earn is more important than whether you enjoy your job
  • Children should have more say over their education
  • The negative side of fame outweighs its advantages
It should be compulsory to learn a foreign language until you are 16
  • The Olympic Games will be good for London
  • A country should never go to war except in self defence
  • Teachers should be paid according to their results
  • Young people are discriminated against in Britain
  • Globalisation has increased the rich-poor divide
  • Sport should not be compulsory in schools
  • The internet has caused more problems than it has solved
  • There should be a super tax on air travel
  • It’s wrong to keep animals as pets
  • It would be better to go a boarding school than a day school
  • Teachers should be allowed to physically punish students
  • We should abolish the monarchy
  • More English players should play in the Premiership
  • The government should not fund single faith schools
  • We should raise taxes to provide better public services
  • We should ban medical testing on animals
  • Adverts are sexist
  • Children should not be allowed to eat junk food
  • Parents should not be allowed to smack their children
  • It’s never been harder to be a child or a teenager than it is today
  • Assisted suicide should be legal
  • We should bring back the death penalty
  • Recycling should be made compulsory
  • Only British history should be taught in British schools
  • The voting age should be lowered to 16
  • Size zero models should be banned
  • Television is a bad influence on young people
  • Coursework is better than exams

20 Topics for Debate

This page lists suggested subjects that can be discussed to practise agreeing and disagreeing in English.

Here are 20 topics to discuss with a friend or group. Practise agreeing and disagreeing even if you have to argue against something you actually believe in. One way to have fun with this is to make up a bunch of cards that say agree or disagree . Each person has to pick up a card and then the topic is read out. It is more fun to have a debate this way because you don't have to play your true self. Try to continue each discussion for at least five minutes. Use the expressions that you learned, including agreeing, disagreeing, asking for opinions, interrupting, etc.

  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
  • Swimming in the ocean is better than swimming in a public pool.
  • Alcohol should be illegal.
  • Children should provide room and board for their aging parents.
  • Studying grammar is more important than practising conversation skills.
  • Television is the leading cause of violence in today's society.
  • Dogs make better companions than cats.
  • Smoking should be permitted in public places.
  • Females are better students than males.
  • A parent shouldn't pierce a baby's ears.
  • Women should be allowed to go topless in public.
  • Lawyers should make a higher salary than nurses.
  • Everyone should plan their own funeral.
  • Reading English is more difficult than writing English.
  • Summer is the best season of the year.
  • Children under 13 should not be allowed to babysit.
  • High school students should wear uniforms.
  • 21 should be the legal driving age around the world.
  • Rock and Roll is the best kind of music.
  • The government should pay for post secondary education.

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Debate Speech Topics head

Hundreds of Ideas for Debate Speech Topics

This page is devoted to debate speech topics for high school and college-level students. If you're responsible for picking the subjects these students will talk about, here are some tips to guide you and help you determine the best choice for your group.

Debate Speech Topic Contents:

  • Ideas for Younger Kids
  • Ideas for Middle School Students
  • Ideas for High School Students
  • Ideas for College Students

Other Pages with Even More Ideas:

  • Questions of Policy Speech Topics
  • Ideas for Controversial Speech Topics
  • More Good Controversial Speech Topics
  • Ideas for Fun Persuasive Speech Topics

The Best Speech Topics Vary by Age and Maturity Levels

Teaching kids debating skills can be a tough job.

For many kids, debating means arguing or fighting! And in a sense, debating IS arguing - but in a formal, respectful manner, where students exchange views without aggression and voices are heard.

It's a new concept to some kids (!) but a valuable one to master. It can be an incredibly useful skill throughout adulthood, no matter what particular course their lives take.

Debating at a school/college level can also be very enjoyable for the students, as long as the topics chosen are right for them!

To keep them interested and to spark their imaginations and get them thinking, you need to use topics that are appropriate, yet challenging, for their age and maturity levels.

Kids Debate Topics

Debate Speech Topics for Younger Kids

If you're working with kids at the elementary level, you probably don't want to pick anything too controversial. You should also avoid subjects that may rely on lots of facts and figures.

Nevertheless, you still want to have the students push their boundaries a bit, for them to grow and mature their debating skills.

Ideas include:

  • How much should children be expected to help with housework?
  • Should schools offer ONLY healthy lunch options?
  • Should children be allowed to choose which subjects they want to study?
  • Would it be a good idea for ALL school children to wear a uniform?
  • Are kids expected to take part in too many extracurricular activities, leaving no time for play?
  • Should humans try to live on Mars?
  • Should kids be allowed unlimited screen time on weekends?
  • Who makes a better superhero, Batman or Spiderman?
  • Are zoos good for animals, or should we only have wildlife reserves?
  • If you could have one magical power, what would it be and why?

Below is a list of contemporary debate speech topics for younger students to consider:

  • Virtual Classrooms: Is learning from home as fun as learning in a physical classroom?
  • Robots in the House: Should every home have a robot to help with chores?
  • 3D Printed Toys: Are 3D printed toys as good as store-bought toys?
  • Online Playdates: Are online playdates as fun as meeting friends in the park?
  • Drones for Fun: Should kids be allowed to fly drones in public parks?

Middle School Debate Topics

Interesting Debate Topics for Middle School Students

  • Should homework be banned from schools?
  • Should kids be allowed to use their mobile phones at school?
  • Is Big Foot real or just a legend?
  • Is there life in outer space?

Below is a list of contemporary debate speech topics for middle school students to consider:

  • Digital Books vs. Physical Books : Are digital books better than physical books?
  • Online Learning : Is online learning as effective as traditional classroom learning?
  • Animal Testing : Should animal testing be banned for cosmetic products?
  • Plastic Pollution : Should single-use plastics be completely banned?
  • Celebrity Influence : Do celebrities have a responsibility to be good role models?
  • Robotic Pets : Can robotic pets replace real pets in the future?
  • Virtual Reality : Can virtual reality serve as a viable substitute for real-world experiences?

High School Debate Topics

Debate Speech Topics for High School

While there's certainly nothing wrong with using some of the standards, like "Does television violence influence children negatively?", there are indeed a lot of other topics that can be used at this level to keep things fresh and exciting.

  • Should laboratory animal testing be banned?
  • Is global warming real, or just a myth?
  • Should the death penalty still be used today?
  • Censorship of the media - is it justifiable?
  • Are we allowing social media to replace our social lives?

Below is a list of contemporary debate speech topics for high school students to consider:

  • Social Media Influence : Is the influence of social media more harmful than beneficial?
  • Genetic Engineering : Should humans be allowed to genetically modify their future children for better traits?
  • eSports Recognition : Should eSports be recognized and regulated as traditional sports?
  • Veganism for Environment : Should individuals be encouraged to adopt a vegan lifestyle for environmental reasons?
  • Space Exploration : Is space exploration a good use of resources, or should we focus on solving problems on Earth first?

College Debate Topics

Interesting Debate Speech Topics for College Students

  • Which is the real truth: evolution or creationism?
  • Should the United States decriminalize all illegal drugs?
  • Should families be responsible for the care of their elderly members?
  • Is the assassination of a dictator morally justifiable?

These topics are all challenging and appropriate to the age and maturity levels but are thought-provoking and likely to trigger some fascinating debates.

Below is a list of contemporary debate speech topics for college students to consider:

  • Artificial Intelligence Ethics : Should there be a limit on the development of AI?
  • Climate Change Action : Is it the responsibility of developed countries to lead the way in climate change mitigation?
  • Data Privacy : Is data privacy a right or a privilege?
  • Universal Basic Income : Would a universal basic income solve societal inequality?
  • Social Media Regulation : Should governments have more control over social media platforms to prevent misinformation and hate speech?

Tip to Help Students Hone Their Debating Skills

Students need preparation and study for a good debate - but it's also a good idea to plan a 'surprise' session once in a while, where you introduce a topic and ask students to debate it there and then.

Throwing a surprise curve-ball every once in a while helps them to think on their toes.

As you know, debates can take some unusual twists and turns. By holding a few sessions with surprise debate speech topics, you will be equipping students to react quickly and come up with good responses during real debates.

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How to Convince People Your Ideas are Valid

A Sample Pro/Con Speech about Children and Cell Phones

 Controversial Speech Topics (1)

Controversial Speech Topics (2)

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100 High School Debate Topics To Engage Every Student

Learn how to argue with logic instead of emotion.

Schools should have surveillance cameras in classrooms and hallways.

Some teachers shy away from debate in the classroom, afraid it will become too adversarial. But learning to discuss and defend various points of view is an important life skill. Debates teach students to research their topic, make informed choices, and argue effectively using facts instead of emotion. You’ll find plenty of engaging high school debate topics in this list for inspiration. Each topic includes a link to an article from a reliable source that provides pros and/or cons to help kids make their arguments.

School and Education Debate Topics

Life and ethics debate topics, entertainment and technology debate topics, fun and funny debate topics.

  • Final exams should be abolished.

It’s better to be good at academics than to be good at sports.

  • Students should be required to wear school uniforms.
  • Private schools are better than public schools.
  • Year-round school is better for students.
  • Every student should have to participate in athletics.
  • All students should be required to volunteer in their community.
  • Junk food should be banned in school cafeterias.
  • Single-gender schools are better for students.
  • Math is the most important school subject.
  • Letter grades should be abolished.
  • Teachers should be replaced by computers.
  • People who get better grades in school will be more successful in life.
  • Sometimes it’s OK to cheat on homework or a test.
  • Students who fail a test should be given the chance to take it again.
  • Students should be allowed to grade teachers.
  • Everyone should be able to bring their pets to school.
  • The school day should be shorter.
  • Schools should eliminate dress codes.
  • Everyone should be required to go to college.
  • College should be free for everyone who wants to attend.

Schools should be allowed to ban some books from their libraries. 

  • Book smarts are better than street smarts.
  • Life skills like cooking and personal finance should be taught in school.
  • Religion has no place in schools.
  • Girls face more peer pressure than boys.
  • The voting age should be lowered to 16.
  • Humans should not eat animals.
  • Democracy is the best form of government.
  • All Americans should be required to vote.

Cigarette smoking and vaping should be banned entirely. 

  • Giving is better than receiving.
  • Parents should be punished for their children’s mistakes.
  • Animals should not be kept in zoos.
  • Happiness is more important than success.
  • The driving age should be raised to 18.
  • The drinking age should be lowered to 18.
  • Plastic bottles should be banned.
  • People should have to take a parenting class before having a child.
  • If you find money on the ground, it’s automatically yours to keep.
  • It is better to be kind than to be truthful.

Learning about history can stop us from repeating past mistakes.

  • It’s important to spend money exploring space.
  • White-collar jobs are better than blue-collar jobs.
  • The death penalty should be abolished.
  • Drug addicts should receive help instead of punishment.
  • Euthanasia should be legal.
  • GMOs are more helpful than harmful.
  • Human cloning should be legal.
  • A progressive income tax is better than a flat tax.
  • Supreme Court judges should be appointed for fixed terms.
  • Vaccines should be mandatory.
  • We should ban the use of fossil fuels.
  • Marijuana should be legal everywhere.
  • All drugs should be legalized, regulated, and taxed, like alcohol.
  • Nuclear weapons should be banned worldwide.

 Police force funding should be redirected to social services. 

  • Religion does more harm than good.
  • Testing on animals should be illegal.
  • We will never achieve world peace.
  • The United States should implement a universal basic income.
  • We should require people of all genders to register for the draft.
  • Healthcare should be universal.
  • Gun safety laws infringe on the Second Amendment.
  • Anyone over 12 should be tried as an adult in court.
  • Reality television depicts real life.

Schools should allow students to use phones in class. 

  • Macs are better than PCs.
  • Androids are better than iPhones.
  • Social media is actually making us less social.
  • Social media does more harm than good.
  • Video games are better than board games.
  • Video gaming is a sport.
  • Reading books is better than watching TV.
  • We should replace all paper documents with electronic versions.
  • The book is always better than the movie.
  • Parents should use their kids’ cell phones to track where they are.
  • Playing video games makes you smarter.
  • Scientists should try to develop a way for everyone to live forever.
  • Paper books are better than e-books.

Schools should have surveillance cameras in classrooms and hallways.

  • All museums and zoos should be free to everyone.
  • There is intelligent life on other planets.
  • People rely too much on technology these days.
  • Everyone should play on the same sports teams, regardless of gender.
  • Net neutrality should be mandatory for internet service providers.
  • Expanded use of artificial intelligence will be good for humanity.
  • Technology is creating more jobs than it eliminates.
  • The United States should provide free internet access for everyone.
  • Cryptocurrencies should replace cash.

Dogs are better pets than cats. 

  • Summer is better than winter.
  • Pepperoni is the best pizza topping.
  • Clowns are more scary than funny.
  • Modern music is better than classical music.
  • It would be better to be able to fly than to be able to turn invisible.
  • Pluto should still be considered a planet.
  • We should allow people to go barefoot anywhere if they want to.

Fiction is better than non-fiction. 

  • People shouldn’t have to go to school or work on their birthdays.

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People should be allowed to go barefoot anywhere they want.

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Debate Writing

Debate Topics

Caleb S.

Interesting and Great Debate Topics (2023)

12 min read

Published on: Jan 13, 2022

Last updated on: Jul 21, 2023

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Choosing the best topic for your debate can be daunting. A person, even a professional essay writer, can never come up with a perfect topic instantly that is arguable and defendable. 

If you have relatable content but do not have an engaging topic, you will lose your audience’s interest. So, choose a topic that is right and appropriate. 

Are you looking for expert help to assist you in choosing the debate topic? Are you finding it difficult to create debate topics or find stuff to debate about? 

Then read this blog to get some interesting debate topics and choose the best topic according to your requirements. 

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Debate Topics for Kids

These are some great debate topics for grade 4 and 5:

  • Is it possible for computers to replace teachers?
  • Significance of exploring the space
  • How are zoos more harmful than good for animals?
  • Olympics and its importance for the athletes
  • Should parents be punished for the mistakes that their children make?
  • Significance of saving money
  • Should children be given space or privacy?
  • Are social networking sites addictive?
  • Do aliens really exist?
  • Should every student play a musical instrument in school?

Debate Topics for Middle School Students

Here are some good discussion topics for the students of middle school.

  • Every person should have a pet.
  • The impact of peer pressure is greater on self-conscious students
  • All schools should ban homework.
  • School uniforms should be banned in every school.
  • Soda and fizzy drinks should be banned in college cafes.
  • PE should be made mandatory for every student in high school.
  • All middle school students should take part in community service programs.
  • Schools should not allow corporal punishments.
  • Censorship is important on the internet in school.
  • Junk food should be banned by the government in schools.

Debate Topics for Grade 6 

  • Allowing chewing gum in class
  • Physical books versus e-books
  • Longer recess periods in schools
  • Wearing hats or caps in school
  • Studying alone versus in groups
  • Eating snacks during class
  • Having a class pet or not
  • Choosing seats in the classroom
  • Listening to music during class
  • Shorter versus longer school days

High School Debate Topics

High school debate topics are a bit more complex than the topics of middle school. Here's a list of debate topics that is suitable for every high school student:

  • Human cloning should be banned.
  • Animal testing should be strictly banned.
  • Violent video games should be banned by the government.
  • There should be a limit on freedom of speech.
  • The death penalty should be abolished.
  • Animal abuse in the circus should be banned.
  • Underage girls should be allowed to abort their unplanned children.
  • Progressive tax rates are not justified.
  • Marijuana should be considered a social offense and a crime.
  • YouTube should be blocked on the school premises.

Debate Topics for College Students

As a college student, you could be looking for social topics for discussion or just some technical things to discuss. Here’s a list of topics that will help you pick an appropriate topic:

  • What would you rather choose: rich and dishonest or poor and honest?
  • There are no plausible reasons for the war on terror.
  • How are alternative sources of energy effective?
  • Books are more entertaining and informative than TV.
  • Public schooling is more effective than homeschooling.
  • Abortion is ethically legal but not morally.
  • The increase in the rate of unemployment is due to advancements in technology.
  • Same-sex marriages should be banned and should not be legalized anywhere.
  • Adoption is better than bearing kids.
  • Prostitution is the crime and the only reason behind the increased rate of HIV/AIDs.

Debate Topics For Teens

  • Homework should be banned.
  • Is there any reason to raise minimum wages?
  • Students should not be allowed to use Facebook.
  • Social media does more harm than good.
  • Why is it so hard for women to become president?
  • There should be children and teenagers in government.
  • Should cigarettes be banned from society?
  • Should marijuana be legalized?
  • Are cell phones safe?
  • What’s the best pizza topping?

Debate Topics For Adults

  • Internet service should be legally given to the citizens by the government of the US.
  • The democratic government is the best form of government.
  • There should be heavy fines on people who do not recycle.
  • Poetry should be made part of the curriculum for every student.
  • The grading criteria of the schools should be amended.
  • Celebrities do not make good role models.
  • The increased crime rate in the country is due to an increased rate of immigrants.
  • Sex education should be made part of the curriculum.
  • The criminal justice system of the United States is ineffective.
  • Propaganda is the tool used by politicians to manipulate the masses.

Controversial Debate Topics

Controversial topics make the best debates. The following are some controversial debate topics for you:

  • Selling alcohol on weekends should be banned.
  • Unlicensed pharmacists should be allowed to prescribe medicines.
  • The government should ban animal testing.
  • Public speaking is the only way to boost a child’s communication skills.
  • Students should not be allowed to play violent video games.
  • Lack of trust in relationships results in jealousy.
  • A man should raise a child equally as a woman does.
  • It is important to punish parents for the misdeed of their kids.
  • Traditional health care is better than herbal medication.
  • Pros and cons of mercy killing.

Good Debate Topics About Education

Educational topics always work. If you cannot find any topic for your debate, choose from the below-mentioned list.

  • To get a good job it is important to have a degree.
  • The skill-based study is better than scientific study.
  • Sports should be made mandatory in every school and college.
  • Science and the arts are equally important subjects.
  • Homework gives undue pressure to students.
  • No religion should be taught in school.
  • Boarding schools are important for students who are not sharp and intelligent.
  • For better learning of students, outdoor learning is important.
  • Mobile phones should be confiscated from all students in the school.
  • History is an important subject to study in school.

Political Debate Topics

  • Every person should own a gun to protect himself.
  • Britain should not be a part of the European Union.
  • Communism is a better ideology than socialism.
  • In a democratic government, there should be a limit on freedom of speech.
  • International relations are affected by patriotism.
  • Politics should be taught in schools.
  • Citizens who do not vote should be fined.
  • Monarchy should be abolished in Britain.
  • Illegal immigrants should be punished as criminals.
  • The voting age should be lowered to 16.

Social Debate Topics 

  • Drinking age: lower or raise?
  • Homeschooling versus traditional schooling
  • Free healthcare for all citizens?
  • Minimum wage: increase or decrease?
  • Gun control: necessary or not?
  • Limits on political campaign donations?
  • Censorship of music and movies
  • Legalizing recreational marijuana
  • Affirmative action in college admissions?
  • Is it ethical to have a wealth tax?

Funny Debate Topics

Keep reading to discover funny debate topics for adults in 2023.

  • American Idol is better than X-Factor.
  • Dogs are better pets than cats.
  • The chicken came first and then eggs.
  • Thin crust pizza is better than a thick crust.
  • Winters are better than summer.
  • Harry Potter is better than Lord of the Rings.
  • It is easy to understand a woman.
  • If a vampire bites a person who has AIDs, will he get it too?
  • Can we party after death?
  • Females are a better gender.

Interesting Debate Topics

It is important to choose a debate topic that is interesting and engaging. The following are some really interesting topics:

  • Standardized testing is not an effective method to determine a student’s intelligence.
  • The nuclear powers of the world are responsible for wars.
  • What does it mean to “bear arms”?
  • Homosexual relationships are against nature.
  • Children are depending on technology way too much.
  • Parents should restrict the use of the internet at home.
  • Money is the only source of motivation in practical life.
  • Censorship on educational documentaries is important.
  • All non-biodegradable should be banned.
  • Who selects the electoral college?

Sport Debate Topics

  • Is paintball a real sport?
  • Should advertising be allowed in sports?
  • Should steroids be legalized and monetized?
  • Who's the best team ever?
  • The Olympics are a waste of money.
  • Should women be allowed to compete against men?
  • Is there growth in boxing?
  • The history of using math in baseball
  • Men coaches shouldn’t work with women athletes.
  • Is winning everything?

Social Media Debate Topics

  • Social media is the reason behind every bad thing in society.
  • The media has been replaced by social media.
  • The impact of social media on youth
  • Has social media killed our privacy?
  • Social media promotes violence in society
  • Pros and cons of using social media.
  • Should Facebook add a “dislike” button?
  • Is social media helpful?
  • Social media and its usage
  • Ban on social media sites

Technology Debate Topics

  • All cars should be electric.
  • Does technology make people lazy?
  • Developing alternative forms of energy
  • Is space travel worth the cost?
  • Do you like Apple products?
  • What is the best gaming system?
  • How to deal with increasing cybercrime?
  • What is the future of the internet?
  • Are mobile games so bad for kids?
  • Technology and its usage in daily life

Creative Debate Topics

  • Junk food should not be available at the cafeterias
  • Cooking classes should be made compulsory in schools
  • All children should be allowed to keep a cell phone
  • Playing video games is good for kids
  • The grading system of the schools should be abolished.
  • Parents should attend parenting classes.
  • Co-education schools are better for education.
  • The government can restrict freedom of speech if needed.
  • Democracy is the best policy for every government.
  • Students should learn to recycle things.

Science Debate Topics

  • Should we be genetically engineering humans?
  • Is there life on other planets?
  • Are self-driving cars safe?
  • How can science do without animal testing?
  • Robots should have rights.
  • Evolution, a theory or a fact?
  • Are vaccines risky or safe for children?
  • Science and Islam
  • The new discovery of science
  • Science and human life

English Debate Topics

  • Reading classic literature in schools
  • Relevance of Shakespeare in today's society
  • Teaching cursive handwriting in schools
  • Allowing electronic devices in classrooms
  • English as the official language of the United States
  • Foreign language classes in schools
  • Grammar versus communication skills in education
  • Creative writing versus technical writing in education
  • American Sign Language as a second language in schools
  • Diverse authors and perspectives in literature education.

Environmental Debate Topics

  • Live animal exports should be banned
  • Use of bidet instead of tissue papers.
  • Is organic farming better than conventional farming?
  • The use of natural gas in vehicles
  • Climate change is the greatest threat in human history.
  • Fossil fuels vs. nuclear energy
  • Environmental pollution
  • Describe tidal energy
  • Environment and its impact

Silly Debate Topics For Friends

  • McDonald's is the best fast food restaurant.
  • Children must get a longer holiday.s
  • Is the grading system used in high school effective?
  • Obesity should be labeled a disease.
  • Coursework is better than exams.
  • Afternoon classes are better than the early morning classes.
  • The psychological climate of the classroom has a lot to do with a student's personality development.
  • People with higher incomes should be fined more.
  • Children under ten should not be allowed to use gadgets.
  • Abusive parents have children with personality issues.

General Debate Topics

  • Private schooling is better than public schooling.
  • Different languages should be taught in school.
  • Studying maths is more important than studying the language.
  • STD testing should be offered for free in all educational institutions.
  • The government should provide security to all college education systems.
  • Political and economic instability is the result of refugees in a country.
  • Illegal immigrants should be given the right to vote.
  • All sanctions should be lifted on Iran by the West.
  • It is important to have friendly relationships with neighboring countries.
  • Big corporations should pay more taxes.

Unique Debate Topics 

  • Space exploration versus ocean exploration
  • More sustainability courses in schools
  • Ethics of animal testing
  • Limiting maximum income
  • Ethics of human cloning
  • Legalizing psychedelic drugs for medicine
  • Genetic engineering of human embryos
  • Censorship of the internet
  • Prioritizing climate change over economic growth
  • Selling organs for transplant.

Relationship Debate Topics

  • Are online relationships real?
  • What’s your opinion on experimenting in a relationship?
  • Should gay marriage be legalized?
  • Is there someone you would die for?
  • Is marriage necessary?
  • Is online dating advantageous?
  • Arranged marriage or love marriage?
  • Women marrying younger men
  • Would you consider remarriage if your spouse died?
  • Jealousy and love: is it justified?

Tips for Choosing a Good Debate Topic 

Here are some tips for choosing a good debate topic:

  • Choose a topic that you and your audience are interested in and passionate about.
  • Pick a topic that has multiple viewpoints and arguments that can be made for both sides.
  • Consider choosing a topic that is relevant to current events or issues in your community or country.
  • Choose a topic that is not too broad or too narrow. Rather focused enough to be thoroughly debated within a set time frame.
  • Make sure the topic is appropriate for the age group and audience of the debate.
  • Pick a topic that is challenging but not too controversial or offensive.
  • Consider the resources and information available to support your argument.
  • Finally, make sure the debate topic is clear and easy to understand for all participants and the audience.

The topics provided above are some really good choices for your debate. If you cannot rely on your debate writing skills, is here to help! 

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Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)

Caleb S. has extensive experience in writing and holds a Masters from Oxford University. He takes great satisfaction in helping students exceed their academic goals. Caleb always puts the needs of his clients first and is dedicated to providing quality service.

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205 Controversial Topics for your Essay, Speech, or Debate

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Amanda Green was born in a small town in the west of Scotland, where everyone knows everyone. I joined the Toastmasters 15 years ago, and I served in nearly every office in the club since then. I love helping others gain confidence and skills they can apply in every day life.

controversial speech topics

Do you think social media platforms should censor politicians? No matter how important you feel this issue is relative to other issues of the day, you’re likely to have an opinion one way or the other. Why? Because it’s a controversial matter, and it immediately pushes some buttons in our brains.

What makes issues like this so engaging?

Controversial topics have two features that almost instantly grab people’s attention. On one side, they are both simple and familiar, and so are understandable without any effort. On the other side, they touch on sensitive matters that society as a whole has not yet come to terms with. This makes them tickle our inherent desire for closure. We want to make up our minds once and for all!

So if you’re looking for such a topic for your essay, speech, or debate, you’ve come to the right place!

We’ve compiled a list of hundreds of controversial issues organized by subject matter (You can visit our page on how to write a persuasive controversial essay if you want to improve your base skills). Whether you’re trying to come up with a topic for your science, psychology, history class – or nearly any other topic! – you’re sure to find an issue below that will keep your audience engaged, and even stir up some discussion.

In this article:

Political Debate Topics

Controversial criminal justice topics, controversial religious topics, controversial topics for teens, controversial science topics, controversial sports topics, controversial food topics, controversial nutrition topics, controversial animal topics, controversial topics in psychology, controversial relationship topics, controversial medical topics, controversial topics in nursing, controversial topics in biology, music controversial topics, controversial art topics, controversial history topics, funny controversial topics, what are the pros and cons of controversial topics.

As mentioned earlier, picking a controversial topic almost guarantees that you’ll command your audience’s attention. But such issues have downsides too. We go over the advantages and disadvantages of hot-button issues to help you make the right choice for your essay, speech, or debate.

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  • Immediately engaging – Your readers or listeners are unlikely to doze off.
  • Easy to find information on – You won’t have to look far to find credible information on controversial issues.
  • Likely to keep you absorbed while researching – What’s interesting for your audience will probably keep boredom at bay for you too.
  • Too sensitive for some people – These issues often have a strong emotional charge and may even be taboo for some, causing awkward situations.
  • Hard to review all points – A huge debate has probably been raging on such topics, so it’s not so easy to cover all your bases and appear knowledgeable on the issue at hand.
  • Hard to wrap up – These matters are controversial for a reason. It may be hard to come to a satisfactory conclusion, whether you’re presenting or debating.

Interesting Controversial Topics by Field

Below, we’ve compiled a catalog of fascinating controversial topics by field. Keep in mind that many of these spill over from one category to another, so there is some overlap. Is climate change a political or scientific issue? There’s a controversial question for you!

Controversy is where politics are born. There’s usually some point of disagreement about any matter related to public affairs – that’s why a politician’s main job is to debate and come to an agreement (ideally) on how to handle these issues. Or, as political scientist Harold Lasswell put it succinctly, politics is, “Who gets what, when, how.”

So political issues are controversial by definition. We’ve worked hard to provide you with the longest, most comprehensive list you’ll find anywhere, and any of these topics may be instantly captivating.

  • Is democracy the best form of government?
  • Should there be a minimum wage?
  • Should the government intervene in the free market?
  • Should the US government intervene in foreign affairs?
  • Should there be term limits for US senators?
  • Should the Electoral College be abolished in the US?
  • Are there exceptions to the freedom of speech?
  • Should hate speech be banned?
  • Should the government ensure the protection of privacy?
  • Is the gender pay gap real?
  • Does institutional racism exist in the US?
  • Is affirmative action helping or hurting?
  • Is immigration helping or hurting the US?
  • Should all illicit drugs be legalized?
  • Should prostitution be legalized?
  • Should abortion be banned?
  • Should there be stricter gun control laws?
  • Should automatic weapons be banned?
  • Should military service be mandatory?
  • Should water be a commodity or a human right?
  • Should the government forgive all student debt?

Is justice being served? Few things get under people’s skin as much as perceived injustices. We are more or less programmed to seek fairness both for ourselves and for others. That’s why, similar to political topics, criminal justice issues are naturally engaging.

Appropriate punishment is salient now especially in the US after years of debates and protests related to the killings of minorities like George Floyd, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice. More recently, the storming of the US Capitol, the role the President’s words had in inciting the perpetrators, and how liable they are when following their President’s words, are also hot-button issues. It’s hard to go wrong with a criminal justice topic.

  • Is the death penalty ethical?
  • Should people be jailed for drug-related offenses?
  • Should police officers be charged for inappropriate use of force?
  • Why are minorities disproportionately represented in the US prison population?
  • Why does the US have the largest prison population in the world?
  • Should mentally unstable people be charged with crimes?
  • Should underage repeat offenders be tried as adults?
  • Should there be more than 12 jurors in a jury?
  • Should felons be allowed to vote?

Religion is a sensitive issue everywhere. Since it often concerns people’s innermost beliefs and principles, it’s not difficult to capture your audience’s attention with a religious topic. But beware that it’s also very easy to offend someone if you’re not careful.

Take religious freedom, for example – a concept interpreted in very different ways by different people. When in 2012 a Christian baker in Colorado refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, was he exercising his religious freedom or discriminating against LGBTQ people?

  • Is atheism a religion?
  • Does religion do more harm than good?
  • Should creationism be taught in schools?
  • Should there be religious education in schools?
  • Should religious symbols be banned from schools?
  • Should schools’ curriculums consider religious points of view?
  • Should public prayer be allowed in schools?
  • Should religious institutions pay taxes?
  • Are most religions inherently sexist?
  • Is Buddhism more peaceful than other religions?

The teenage years are a transition period between childhood and adulthood, which causes a natural struggle between treating teens as children or adults. Can we hold teenagers accountable for crimes they committed? Or should their parents be responsible? Issues like this make a lively debate inevitable.

  • Should we lower the voting age to 16?
  • Should we lower the drinking age to 18?
  • At what age should teens be allowed to date?
  • At what age is it appropriate for teens to have sex?
  • Should sex education be mandatory in school?
  • Should teenage pregnancies be terminated?
  • Should teens have access to birth control?
  • Is cyberbullying as bad as real-life bullying?
  • Is peer pressure good or bad?
  • Does social media cause an increase in teenage suicide?
  • Are beauty pageants harmful to teenagers’ self-esteem?
  • Should teens be allowed to keep secrets from parents?
  • Should energy drinks be banned for teenagers?
  • Should mobile devices be banned at school?
  • Is the school grading system effective?
  • Should school uniforms be mandatory?
  • Should teens be allowed to get tattoos?
  • Should vaping be prohibited for teens?

Are you looking for more controversial topics for teens? Check out our other article where you can find 170+ controversial debate topics for teens , as well as the dos and don’ts when debating controversial topics.

Science has a very specific way of addressing controversies – by looking at evidence. When scientists disagree on something, they have to back their views with data and logical arguments. But scientific questions are often taken outside the realm of the experts and turn into social, political, or economic issues.

That’s why it’s important to be familiar with the concept of false equivalence – a fallacy in which a flawed or misleading argument is presented as equivalent to a sound and logical one. For instance, scientists have shown that the preponderance of evidence points to the reality of climate change. Media outlets and some politicians, however, sometimes present the issue as not settled. No matter whether climate change is real or not, saying that a politician’s opinion is as valid as a scientist’s – when we’re talking about that scientist’s field – is a false equivalence. Issues like that are bound to create a heated (pun intended) debate.

  • Can scientists ever be objective?
  • Should corporations fund research?
  • Should science be optional in school?
  • Why are women underrepresented in science?
  • Is STEM education more valuable than training in humanities?
  • Should cryptocurrencies be regulated?
  • Should net neutrality be restored?
  • Should robots have rights?
  • Is AI a menace to humans?
  • Is AI the next stage in evolution?
  • Is technology helping or destroying Earth?
  • Can renewable sources of energy replace fossil fuels?
  • Is climate change a threat to humanity?
  • Is cell phone radiation dangerous?
  • Is climate change reversible?
  • Should all cars be electric?
  • Is nuclear energy safe?
  • Does alien life exist?
  • Could alien life have found Earth?
  • Should humans try to colonize Mars?

Professional sports hold a lot of potential to create controversy. Hardly a week goes by without some major sports issue making the news. Whether it’s deflated footballs, kneeling during the anthem, or equal pay for male and female athletes, sports topics usually carry an emotional charge as most people have a strong opinion one way or the other .

  • Should performance-enhancing drugs be allowed in sports?
  • Are professional athletes paid too much?
  • Are professional athletes good role models?
  • Should college athletes be paid beyond scholarships?
  • Should college athletes be tested for drugs?
  • Is dance a real sport?
  • Is video gaming a real sport?
  • Is bodybuilding a real sport?
  • Is cheerleading a real sport?
  • Should mixed martial arts be banned?
  • Should women compete against men in sports?
  • Should female athletes be paid the same as male athletes?
  • Should transgender athletes who used to be male compete in women’s sports?
  • Do the Olympics do more harm than good for the cities hosting them?
  • Are professional sports too damaging to athletes’ health?
  • Is American football too dangerous for athletes?
  • Should athletes who kneel for the anthem be sanctioned?

Sharing a meal with others unites us, but our opinions on food often divide us. Why is one part of the world starving, while another struggles with obesity? Is famine a result of a shortage or a distribution problem? Questions about food are important for humanity, which makes them compelling topics for discussion.

  • Are genetically modified foods dangerous?
  • Should genetically modified foods be labeled?
  • Is organic food better than regular food?
  • Is fast food responsible for obesity?
  • Is food waste unavoidable?
  • Is organic farming sustainable?
  • Is factory farming unsustainable?
  • Is grass-fed beef better than corn-fed beef?
  • Is palm oil production causing deforestation?
  • Can biotech foods save us from hunger?
  • Should butter be stored in the fridge?

Nutrition is one of the most controversial scientific fields – dietary guidelines seem to be changing by the day. Is it OK to eat more than two eggs a day? Are carbs more unhealthy than fats? Issues like that are notoriously hard to resolve as even a carefully designed scientific study struggles to untangle the many factors that go into human health.

  • Should we have nutrition classes in schools?
  • Can a vegan diet help the environment?
  • Is it healthier to be vegetarian?
  • Is an all-meat diet healthy?
  • Is dieting ever effective?
  • Does fasting help or harm the body?
  • Are gluten-free diets overhyped?
  • Should we ban trans fat?
  • Is sugar addictive?
  • Are artificial sweeteners unhealthy?

Bring up the practice of eating dog meat in some countries to a dog lover, and you’ll more than likely evoke a very strong reaction. But how is it different from eating other social and intelligent mammals, such as pigs? There are many unresolved animal issues that can make for a captivating paper or presentation.

  • Should animals have the same rights as humans?
  • Should animals be considered individuals?
  • Do animals have emotions?
  • Do animals have consciousness?
  • Is animal testing ethical?
  • Should the fur industry be restricted?
  • Are zoos helping or hurting animals?
  • Should there be animals in circuses?
  • Should we try to reverse extinction?
  • Are humans destroying animal habitats?
  • Is selective dog breeding unethical?
  • Should bullfighting be banned?
  • Should whaling be banned?

Many argue that psychology as a science is still in its infancy. There’s no consensus on a lot of the big questions related to people’s minds. Is there even a way to know what’s happening inside someone else’s head besides our own? A behaviorist would insist there isn’t.

  • Is psychology a real science?
  • Is depression a real disease?
  • Are antidepressants effective?
  • Is ADHD a real mental disorder?
  • Is drug abuse a mental health issue?
  • Is mental illness equivalent to physical illness?
  • Should psychologists be allowed to prescribe drugs?
  • Is prejudice against different people inherent?
  • Is it ethical to “treat” homosexuality?
  • Are social media sites addictive?
  • Is social media connecting us or making us more isolated?
  • Is pornography harmful to the psyche?
  • Do video games cause violence?
  • Is intelligence inherited?

Being in a romantic relationship involves constantly negotiating and renegotiating issues ranging from the most mundane to the most profound. On top of that, most adults are or have been part of a couple, making this a relatable and attention-grabbing subject.

  • Is monogamy natural?
  • Does divorce harm children?
  • Should dating between co-workers be allowed?
  • Should people date people much older than themselves?
  • Is romantic love a prerequisite to marital satisfaction?
  • Should arguments in a couple be avoided or encouraged?
  • Should men and women have different functions in a relationship?
  • Is it OK to keep secrets from your partner?
  • Are long-distance relationships worth it?
  • Is sex before marriage wrong?
  • Is online dating good or bad?
  • Are homosexual relationships natural?
  • Should same-sex marriage be banned?
  • Should LGBTQ people be allowed to adopt children?

Health is arguably the most important thing for a person. So it’s no surprise that we take issues related to health and medicine very seriously. Is there any point in prolonging a dying patient’s pain through life support? Questions like this are hard to give a definitive answer to, making them potent discussion topics.

  • Are vaccines safe?
  • Is Covid-19 manmade?
  • Should immunization be mandatory?
  • Should euthanasia be allowed?
  • Is alternative medicine any good?
  • Should healthcare be free?
  • Is obesity a disease?
  • Is circumcision healthy?
  • Is stem cell research ethical?
  • How harshly should medical malpractice be punished?
  • Should Big Pharma be banned from charging too much for life-saving drugs?
  • Should prescription drug manufacturers be held responsible for the opioid crisis?
  • Should cannabis be prescribed as medicine?
  • Should surrogate pregnancy be allowed?
  • Should we use gene-editing in humans?
  • Should the sale of human organs be allowed?
  • Should genetic screening of embryos be legal?

If nurses are essential workers, why do they get paid so little? To get to the bottom of this, we need to go beyond the nursing profession and take a hard look at society as a whole. Besides, just like doctors, nurses face ethical dilemmas in their work every day, which creates a lot of room for debate.

  • Are nurses compensated fairly?
  • Should nurses’ shifts be shortened?
  • Should nurses be allowed to prescribe drugs?
  • Is the nursing profession better suited for women?
  • Should nurses use artificial hydration and nutrition?
  • Should nurses treat non-compliant patients?

Biology deals with nothing less than life itself! And what’s a more fascinating question than the origin of life? Although we seem to be far from deciphering this mystery, there are many other issues that both scientists and laypeople have good reason to debate.

  • Is evolution up for debate?
  • Did life emerge out of inorganic matter?
  • Is there a viable alternative to the theory of evolution?
  • How significant are the physiological differences between men and women?
  • Is behavior determined by our genes or by our upbringing?
  • Are there more than two genders?

If you’re a classical music lover, you’ll very likely scoff at the assertion that rock ‘n’ roll is the best musical genre. But who’s to say? Maybe someone will argue that there are objective measures of the quality of music. As with any issue that’s close to many people’s hearts, music can be an excellent topic for discussion.

  • Is music getting worse over time?
  • Is the pursuit of profit ruining music?
  • Do music streaming services such as Spotify help or harm musical artists?
  • Are violent or explicit lyrics harmful to society?
  • Are rock stars a bad influence on children?
  • Are The Beatles overrated?

Do you think Banksy will go down in history as one of the great artists, or do you see his works as cheap stunts? Either way, you’ll probably agree that art has changed almost beyond recognition since the time of Rembrandt. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is just one topic worth exploring.

  • Is the value of art subjective?
  • Should explicit art be censored?
  • Who decides what constitutes art?
  • Should an art piece always carry a message?
  • Is contemporary art as good as classical art?
  • Should any topic be out of bounds for art?

Hardly anyone would disagree that we should learn from history to avoid making the same mistake twice. But what exactly are history’s lessons is up for debate, and so make for great discussion topics.

  • Are the two World Wars responsible for the relative state of peace since?
  • Should the US pay reparations to African Americans because of slavery?
  • Should Confederate statues in the US be taken down?
  • Was Christopher Columbus a hero or a villain?
  • Was the French Revolution inevitable?
  • Is history always written by the victors?
  • Is history bound to be repeated?

Are cats better pets than dogs? Does pineapple belong on a pizza? These are the kind of age-old debates we look into in our Funny Controversial Topics page.

Top 5 Extraordinary Motivational Speakers

130 Awesome Speech Topics for Kids

7 thoughts on “205 Controversial Topics for your Essay, Speech, or Debate”

Which is better, Chicago pizza or New York pizza?

Hey Nicole, just to answer your question personally I think Chicago pizza is too thick and I would choose New York pizza any day.

In my opinion Chicago pizza is clearly superior, and its thickness is one of its best attributes.

In my opinion New York pizza is clearly superior, and its thinness is one of its best attributes.

I second Chicago pizza lover’s statement, I think that Chicagos pizzas are much better!

In my very Italian opinion, true real pizza is Made in Italy only – the best. Cheers x 🙂

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150 Controversial Debate Topics

August 31, 2023 //  by  Brittney Hallmark

Controversial debate topics are always interesting! Hearing both sides of a passionate or heated argument can be eye-opening and can help open the minds of others to a new perspective! Whether in public schools or private schools, many topics can be debated by students that can have varied viewpoints and opinions. Check out this extensive list of 150 controversial issues and debate questions which are sure to spark ongoing discussion! 

Social Topics: 

1. Is it fair to expect people to take drug tests in order to receive government assistance? 

2. Has technology had an impact on the level of laziness in society?

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3. Should the death penalty still exist?

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4. Should voting should be required for all citizens?

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5. Should the voting age be lowered?

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6. Is the minimum wage a fair, and reasonable, livable wage in the United States?

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7. How can cyberbullying be prevented? 

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8. Will cryptocurrency take the place of our current currency?

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9. Should a specific daily leisure time be exchanged for a yearly vacation?

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10. Is the best government structure democracy?

11. Should same-sex marriage be allowed?

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12. Should drug legalization happen in the United States?

13. Does social media have an impact on mental illness?

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14. Do white people have a different perspective than people of other races?

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15. Will public libraries disappear in time?

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16. Is world peace even a remote possibility?

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17. Is it wrong for devices to listen to your conversations?

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18. Human trafficking is one of the greatest problems in our current society.

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19. Should immigrants automatically be granted citizenship?

20. Are immigrants a problem or a benefit?

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21. Is gun control fair and appropriate?

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22. People should be fined for crimes based on their income.

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23. Should abortion be considered acceptable if the unborn baby is sick?

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24. Can blind people be considered racist?

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25. Is art therapy beneficial to mental health wellness?

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26. Smartphones can actually damage our IQs. 

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27. Is it ethical for doctors to promote medications?

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28. Is it fair for people without health insurance to still receive health care?

29. Is space exploration still important?

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30. Educators should be paid more than professional athletes. 

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Science, Technology, and Environmental Topics:

31. Do aliens really exist? 

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32. Is animal testing something that should be completely banned?

33. Is plastic something we should still be making?

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34. Should all people have the right to internet access?

35. Is our society too reliant on technology?

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36. Should there be a limit on how many plastic bags can be used by each person?

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37. Cybersecurity is not very protective. 

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38.  Is global warming something that can be prevented?

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39. Electric vehicles can solve the issue of pollution. 

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40. Technology isolates people and makes them lonely. 

Health Topics:

41. Considering obese people, should obesity be considered a personal problem or more of a problem of society for American life?

42. Should there be a legal age for teens to drink energy drinks?

43. Should abortion be allowed? 

44. Should vaccinations be mandatory for educational institutions and job places?

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45. Because Covid is so widespread, should everyone be required to get the vaccine?

46. Dieting is a serious danger to your overall health.

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47. Should marijuana be allowed for use recreationally?

48. Should junk food and fast food be banned in schools?

49. You should be able to buy HIV tests at the store, like pregnancy tests.

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50. Should soda be banned?

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51. Is genetic testing immoral?

52. Is suicide assistance immoral for terminally ill patients?

53. Should there be a limit on how many pets people can own?

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54. Would be taxing sugary and junk foods prevent obesity?

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55. Should fast food restaurants be banned?

Education Topics:

56. Should a college education be paid for by the federal government?

57. Are private schools better than public schools?

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58. Is online schooling better than traditional schooling for public school students?

59. Should teachers be allowed to carry guns to work each day?

60. Should homework still be given in K-12 schools in this day and age?

61. Should K-12 schools require students to take a whole course about responsibility?

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62. Is corporal punishment in schools a fair thing to keep around?

63. Would it be better for students to wear school uniforms?

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64. Should religious beliefs be kept out of schools completely?

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65. Should public service work be a punishment for teenagers who get into trouble at school?

66. Should all fees be stopped for schooling?

67. Condoms should be available at school.

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68. Should all students be provided with laptops at school?

69. Should the high school where students go, also provide child care for students with children of their own?

70. School should only be four days per week. 

71. Should all students be required to experience work life by getting a part-time job?

72. Teachers should be allowed to carry guns as protection. 

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73. Should students be tracked online at school?

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74. Should cell phones be allowed in classrooms?

75. Should girls be confined to an all-girls school?

76. Should schools allow personal days for students when they need a break?

77. Should charter schools be banned?

78. Is cheating ok if you studied too?

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79. Students should be able to choose to skip a grade if they want.

80. Video games should take the place of assignments at school. 

Other Interesting Topics:

81. Is dance really a sport?

82. Should there be a minimum age for a babysitter?

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83. Should a parent have the right to pierce their child’s ears?

84. Should nuclear weapons be allowed in any way or should they be totally banned?

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85. Should violent video games be banned for children of certain ages if they display too much aggression and violence?

86. Should middle school students have a cell phone?

87. Are beauty contests an ethical issue?

88. Should state borders still exist?

89. Couples should not be allowed to adopt from overseas countries.

90. Children are given too many trophies in present-day times. 

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91. Cell phones shouldn’t be given to children under the age of 16.

92. Hunting should be better controlled in only certain areas. 

93. Should prisoners be allowed to vote?

94. Should pregnant teenagers be allowed to keep their babies?

95. Should homeless people be allowed to keep pets?

96. Children need virtual recess instead of physical recess.

97. Is a woman’s place within a home to take care of the kids and the home?

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98. Is suicide ever the answer?

99. Should computer gaming be considered a sport?

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100. The world would be more productive with more women leaders.

101. Boarding school is harmful to mental health and should be banned. 

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102. Should citizens who are eligible to vote and don’t, be fined? 

103. Children should be taught about different forms of sexuality. 

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104. Students should never be allowed to be expelled from school. 

105. Does the amount of streetlights in a neighborhood correlate with the amount of crime?

106. Should underage repeat offenders be tried as adults in court?

107. Is health care in prison up to standards?

108. The Olympics is outdated and should stop.

109. College students should be drug tested regularly. 

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110. Exams should be given online in the comfort of your own home.

Arts and Culture:

111. Do video games contribute to youth violence?

112. Should cultural artifacts be returned to their country of origin?

113. Is fashion a form of art?

114. Does the accessibility of music streaming devalue artists’ work?

115. Should movies and TV shows be more politically correct?

116. Are awards shows like the Oscars still relevant?

117. Does the rise of e-books devalue the traditional book industry?

118. Can art be separated from the artist?

119. Should public funding be used for the arts?

120. Is it important to preserve traditional forms of art in the digital age?

Economic Issues:

121. Should companies be taxed more heavily for environmental damage?

122. Is a cashless society a good idea?

123. Should countries adopt a four-day workweek?

124. Can trickle-down economics effectively boost an economy?

125. Are trade unions still relevant today?

126. Should countries cancel student debt?

127. Is economic globalization beneficial for all countries involved?

128. Should governments invest more in public transportation?

129. Can entrepreneurship solve unemployment issues?

130. Is it ethical for companies to profit from healthcare?

Environmental Issues:

131. Are zoos ethical in the context of animal rights?

132. Should hydraulic fracking be banned due to environmental concerns?

133. Is organic farming truly better for the environment?

134. Should there be stricter regulations on pesticide use?

135. Is the current focus on renewable energy overshadowing the need for energy conservation?

136. Are electric vehicles the best solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions?

137. Should countries be held accountable for their historical carbon emissions?

138. Does ecotourism benefit or harm the environment?

139. Is overpopulation a key environmental concern?

140. Should we invest more in space exploration as a solution to Earth’s resources running out?

Global Affairs:

141. Are trade wars beneficial or harmful for countries involved?

142. Should NATO’s role be reevaluated in the 21st century?

143. Can sanctions effectively deter countries from breaching international laws?

144. Is it ethical to use drones in warfare?

145. Should the International Criminal Court have more power?

146. Does the concept of ‘national sovereignty’ hinder global cooperation?

147. Are the Sustainable Development Goals realistic?

148. Is the concept of a ‘global citizen’ feasible?

149. Should immigration laws be more lenient?

150. Can international diplomacy effectively address climate change?


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