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 essays 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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