Top 40 Debate Topics for College Students

Top 40 Debate Topics for College Students


Debates form a very important co-curricular activity in colleges. It helps students acquire skills like communication, critical thinking, research, writing among others. They also help in improving a student’s confidence.

Therefore, it is crucial for the debate planner to come up with a  topic to debate. When coming up with interesting debate topics for college students it is important to ensure that they are involving. While choosing the topics, it is critical to consider:

•    What would interest you

•    Availability of research materials

•    Students level

•    Time to be spent during the debate

Various rules pertain to a debate. As a participant in a debate, it is always important to assume that you are right. Be patient with your opponent and do not be rude to them. Some of the discussion topics for college students include:

1.    The relevance of a college education

Acquiring a college education is usually an expensive affair in terms of tuition, cost of textbooks among others. You would like to examine whether it is really useful or not.

2.    Standard tests

Does it make sense to assess students using standardized tests?

3.    Best search engines

Which of the many search engines optimizes a browsers experience and why?

4.    Student loan debt

What are the pros and cons of taking out a student loan? Does interest rates on student loans make sense?

5.    Social media

What is the implication of widespread social media usage?

6.    Books and TV

Which of the two is more informative or entertaining?

7.    Homeschooling

Is homeschooling more effective than public schooling?

8.    Marijuana

How effective are the existing laws regarding the use of marijuana?

9.    Abortion

Is abortion legal? Is it ethical or moral?

10.    Cell phone and smartphones

Cellphones and smartphones have propagated more evil than good. Is it true?

11.    Climate change and global warming

Global warming is a major concern in regards to survival. The question to ask is if humans are the cause of global warming or not.

12.    Religion and Christianity

Does Christianity make sense as a form of religion?

13.    Social networking and the restrictions

Is it important to avail social networks to children? Why should the social networks be restricted to a particular age?

14.    Sports and drugs

What are the effects of performance-enhancing drugs in both the short-term and long-run effects on an athlete’s career?

15.    Cancer

Should chemotherapy and radiation be considered as a method of dealing with cancer? Is it moral for pharmaceutical companies profit from cancer treating medication?

16.    Energy

Should nuclear energy be considered a safe source of energy? What are the government involvement in the energy sector pros and cons? How do high costs of energy affect the prices of consumer goods?

17.    Technology and unemployment

Do technological advances contribute to higher unemployment rates?

18.    Human cloning

What is the position of Christianity in regard to human cloning?

19.    Celebrity crime

Do celebrities get away with crime more than non-celebrities?  

20.    Same-sex marriages

Should same-sex marriage be legal? Has the legalization of same-sex marriage has resulted in increased moral decadence?

21.    Guns

Is the right to bear arms justified?  What role does this right play with respect to increased crime rates? What distinguishes between murder and self-defense for a person with a licensed gun?

22.    Adoption

What are the adoption pros and cons? Why should people adopt rather than bear kids?

23.    Test on animals

Should animals be used for drug trials? How effective are animal tests in relation to other methods of testing?

24.    Privacy invasion

Should the use of CCTV in curbing crime be thrown out as it invades people’s privacy? Should the government tapping cell phone conversations be considered a breach of privacy?

25.    Terrorism

What constitutes terrorism? Is terrorism justified? How has the right to bear arms contributed towards terrorism?

26.    Legalization of drugs

Should hard drugs be legalized? If drugs were legalized, would there be any significant change in levels of organized crime?

27.    Prostitution

Should prostitution be considered a crime? What is the role of prostitution in the escalation of HIV/AIDs?

28.    Churches and taxes

Some churches make so much money. With the issue of tax reforms being a sensitive topic, we want to find out if churches should pay taxes regardless of the IRS provision for the same. If so, what form of taxation best applies?

29.    Electro colleges

What are the pros and cons of electoral colleges? Should they be abolished? What makes electoral collages more superior to the popular vote?

30.    GMOs

Is the use of genetically modified crops a method of mitigating food shortage? How does tampering with an organism’s genetic makeup affect the food chain? Is the consumption of genetically modified foods safe for humans?

31.    Celebrities as role models

Do celebrities make good role models?

32.    Immigration

Is there any relationship between immigration and increased crime rate? What is the relationship between economic crisis and immigration?

33.    Appropriateness of the death penalty

Should the death penalty be abolished?

34.    Games and TV

Which is the superior form of entertainment?

35.    Sex education

Should sex education be integrated into the school's curriculum? How does sex education help in reducing teen pregnancies?

36.    Homework at school

Should homework be banned? How effective is homework as a learning tool?

37.    Income inequality and taxation

What tax measures can the federal government adopt to reduce income inequality?

38.    Paperless money

What are the pros and the cons of the use of plastic money? Does plastic money encourage more spending than saving?

39.    Propaganda and politics

How effective is the use of propaganda as a tool to manipulate the masses?

40.    Justice system

How effective is the criminal justice system? Is justice availed depending on one’s color?


The list of debate questions is not exhaustively since there are numerous topics for discussion that debaters can choose from.

However, the article has critically analyzed hot topics that students can engage in rationally.  The topics run across different areas, especially those affecting the students holistically. These are critical topics that can help debaters gain insightful information on various intellectual debate topics.

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