Are you searching for original, thought-provoking, and really controversial debate topics? Here they are! Selecting any of these 25 controversial topics for debate from Custom-writing.org, you can guarantee a heated dispute in class or exciting polemics with your friends.

But first, let’s figure it out, what is debate and how you should pick up great debate topics.

1.  🤯  Psychology Debate Topics

  1. Females are better managers than males. Gender inequality manifests itself in the corporate world by lower salaries and fewer career opportunities for women. But is it fair? Are men better than women? Is their headship reasonable?
  2. Lack of trust always causes jealousy. Why are some people so jealous? Can you trust someone if you feel envy? Debate questions about love and jealousy. Give examples to confirm if these two ideas can coexist.
  3. All women are irrational and use intuition instead of logic. Research this topic from both sides. Can women’s hormonal cycles affect decision-making? If all women are illogical, explain why they are successful in politics, social life, business, science, etc.
  4. Parenting leaves for men should become the norm. Is a father’s care sufficient for a child? Can it become a positive or destructive experience for a family? How can it help gender equality? Provide both for and against arguments.
  5. Hypnosis is an excellent way to heal mental illnesses. Ponder on this ethical debate topic. We can see what a person does under hypnosis, but do we know what prompts them doing so? What are the risks involved?
  6. Gender-neutral parenting releases children from the bonds of gender stereotypes. It can open new developmental horizons, but does it deprive the children of their needs? Will gendered treatment ever become a thing of the past?
  7. Psychological therapy is a placebo, but it helps. Does involved listening to a client’s problems mean treatment in itself? Improvement after therapy is confirmed by multiple research. Still, we are unaware of its mechanism.
  8. Is violence inherent to humans? Are some people born to be evil, in contrast to kind and caring ones? Carry out some ethics research to find out which position should be defended.
  9. Can divorce harm children? Should marriage be preserved for the sake of children? Is it better to secure the kids against seeing unhappy parents? Does such a family give them a distorted understanding of love?
  10. Information overload is the leading cause of psychological disorders. Should we measure out the bulk of information we perceive daily? Or should we find compensation mechanisms and evolve?

The list of debate topics on psychology can be extended:

  1. Could humanity ever find medication to all mental diseases?
  2. Are our cognitive functions and behavior determined at birth?
  3. How does praise affect children?
  4. Can we consider depression to be the 2020 principal disease?
  5. Do video games teach children to be violent?
  6. How does pornography affect a person’s psychology?
  7. Consider technology and its influence on a child’s development.
  8. We should treat children as adults.
  9. Can prisoners return to normal life if they live outside the normal society?
  10. Does our uniqueness allow finding universal treatment for psychological disorders?
  11. Can a complicated destiny justify bad character?
  12. What is the norm in psychology?
  13. Many intelligent people were antisocial. Is there any relation?
  14. All illnesses are psychosomatic.
  15. Are people too diverse, so they cannot be classified?
  16. Is there a point of no return in character development?
  17. Is the difference between sexes cultural or physiological?
  18. Could future technologies theoretically read the mind of a person?
  19. Imagination and reality have the same value for our brains.
  20. Is psychological competence beneficial in nursing?
  21. Is being selfish bad?
  22. Can interaction on social media replace normal communication?
  23. Are there specific traits of character making a person rich or poor?
  24. The citizens of big cities are less happy.
  25. Depression is the side effect of civilization.
  26. Can parents instill motivation and ambition in their children?
  27. Boredom is a developmental stimulus for children.
  28. Philosophical thinking can be helpful in stressful situations.
  29. A person is created by nature, but society is responsible for their development.
  30. Success is all about motivation and overcoming stress.

2.  ⚖️  Debate Topics for Law Students

These controversial topics for discussion will help you train your skills in legal issues:

  1. Capital punishment should be preserved for serial killers and international terrorists. Find firm for and against arguments that support your opinion. Is it better to let thousand guilty criminals live than charge one innocent person to death?
  2. Juniors should take the same responsibility as adults for serious offenses. Think about the increased incidents of school mass shootings. If young killers knew they would be punished as adults, would they commit these crimes?
  3. Parents should be punished for the misdeeds of their children. Parents are responsible for the upbringing of their children. Does every misdoing mean parents’ fault in raising children? Does being underage make a person less guilty, even if they will become an adult in a year?
  4. Three strikes laws are useful for reducing the number of serious offenses. Or not? How does it hinder reoffending? What are the burdens for the state entailed by such laws? Share your opinion and supporting evidence.
  5. The driving age should be raised to 18. Think about safety, technology, experience, and other factors that may influence the opinion. Why does driving age differ in some countries? Could anything be done to educate the youth to drive carefully?
  6. Should suicide attempt be criminalized? Every person shall have a right to life and freedom. Does it mean that they shall have the right to terminate their life? Could fear of prosecution hold back people from committing suicide?
  7. Can guaranteed minimum income ruin the economy? Taxpayers support people unable to work, but also those not willing to find a job. If the latter had no support from the state, would it incentivize their employment?
  8. Death penalty for corruption: effective but inhumane. China, Singapore, Vietnam, and some other countries practice capital punishment for corrupt officials. Could other lawful sanctions replace this practice, and will they deter offenses?
  9. The surrogacy market should be regulated and legalized. Is surrogate maternity equal to human trafficking? Could its legalization protect such women and their children? What is the ethical dilemma of surrogacy?
  10. Is it righteous to execute a criminal who killed another person? Can one death be repaid by another one, or is it a method to deter further offenses? Analyze the ethical side of capital punishment. Are we entitled to take another person’s life?

Investigate some more debate topics for high school related to law and prosecution:

  1. The code of ethics and transparency of artificial intelligence is to be regulated.
  2. Should governments be granted access to encrypted means of communication, if needed?
  3. Fur farms are inhumane and should be banned.
  4. Police should have the right to shoot to kill.
  5. The abolishment of the death penalty is a must in an advanced society.
  6. How could drones violate the privacy rights of various landowners?
  7. Is it possible to regulate cryptocurrencies around the world?
  8. Is gambling harmful to society, and should it be banned?
  9. Does the legalization of prostitution protect such women?
  10. Leg-hold traps for wild animals should be outlawed.
  11. Only international regulation of air pollution could hinder climate change.
  12. Third countries need legal patronage of the developed countries.
  13. Punishment for child neglect and abuse is too slight to make people think before they act.
  14. Rights grant freedom.
  15. International intelligence is a means to protect one country’s rights while infringing on the rights of another country.
  16. Equal rights for all is idealistic and unachievable.
  17. Can legislation keep up with the newest technology?
  18. Could international prohibition of mass destruction weapons control wars?
  19. The rights of LGBTQ communities.
  20. Is it possible to make a legal base for morality standards?
  21. How could we regulate ownership rights and data security in Blockchain?
  22. Abuse of rights is inevitable if there is no punishment.
  23. The freedom of one person is limited by the freedom of another one.
  24. Any crime can be justified.
  25. Criminals have a different system of values that needs to be corrected.
  26. Leaving a crime without punishment means becoming its accomplice.
  27. Punishment should not be a vengeance. It should be a rehabilitation course.
  28. Equal rights mean equal law observance.
  29. A right means the possibility to do everything that is not forbidden.
  30. Law is enforced only by power.

3.  💉  Medicine & Health Debate Topics

Lack of medical education does not deprive you of the right to have your opinion on the following medical debate topics:

  1. Plants shall be used in medication as nature gave us the solution to every health problem. What are some pros of herbal medicine? What is the reason some traditional herbal treatments work?
  2. Patients should not be allowed to refuse treatment because of their religious beliefs. What is more important: human life or personal opinions? Provide your evidence. How can a healthcare institution insist on treatment without a patient’s permission?
  3. Physician-assisted suicide should be prohibited. Think about how it would affect hopeless patients, for example, those who are in a persistent vegetative state of suffering from the terminal stage of cancer. Is there always hope for a miracle?
  4. Prescription drug ads should be banned. Self-medication can be harmful. To save some money and avoid paying a doctor, people try to diagnose themselves. It happens to be helpful, but not always.
  5. High-fat products should be labeled with official health warnings. How dangerous can high-fat products be? Will it help to combat obesity in society if people become more aware of what they consume?
  6. Mono diet can undermine your health. Is losing weight worth further stomach diseases? Or do you believe that short-term dieting will not harm? Are there safe products for a single-food diet?
  7. Obsession with slenderness provokes eating disorders. First, you need to make your eating habits healthy, and then extra weight will go away by itself.
  8. You are what you eat. This phrase is often used to motivate you to keep a diet. But food falls into molecules that form our bodies, so the statement is far-fetched. To which extent does our nutrition define our wellness?
  9. Marijuana can be used for medical purposes. Should it be legalized? Which diseases are treated or alleviated by this drug? Does it cause addition, and is it worth the healing effect?
  10. Genetically engineered humans is an issue of time. It is interesting to read about people with a corrected genome in science fiction, but do we want it to become our reality? At the same time, it could be the only answer to currently incurable diseases.

Reflect on some of the most controversial questions of modern medicine:

  1. Is it ethical to test medications on animals and, later, on humans?
  2. What is the effect of social distancing during the pandemic?
  3. Does being healthy require much money?
  4. Can a lack of social interaction have a detrimental impact on an individual’s health?
  5. Vaping is just a lesser evil than smoking.
  6. Body positivity allows obese people to keep on leading an unhealthy lifestyle.
  7. Organ trafficking exists because legal trade is prohibited.
  8. Vaccination should be compulsory for children.
  9. There should be a course on the culture of alcohol consumption for students to prevent further addiction.
  10. Smoking should be made socially unacceptable.
  11. Organ donation after death should become a common practice.
  12. Is reading and using gadgets bad for eyesight?
  13. Can wireless networks pose any threat to our health?
  14. What are the possible effects of circumcision for a baby?
  15. If a person needs organ transplantation because of an unhealthy lifestyle, is it ethical to provide them with such an operation?
  16. Should a medical worker be entitled to provide medical treatment to a child if parents decide not to?
  17. Is womb transplantation a future alternative to surrogate maternity?
  18. Uninsured people may receive no or insufficient medical treatment when they need it. Is it ethical?
  19. If homeopathy is doubtful, why do people trust it?
  20. Should medical errors be criminalized?
  21. Medical education takes so much time and effort so that students who are not meant to become doctors could change their specialization.
  22. Medical education should be free, but there should be a psychological fitness and properness test at admission.
  23. Should parents limit the amounts of sugar their children consume?
  24. Does suicide prevention mean that a suffering person will have to suffer more?
  25. Any product can be healthy if consumed in small portions.
  26. A healthy lifestyle does not guarantee longevity.
  27. Are psychological disorders overdiagnosed?
  28. Should HIV be a personal secret, and to which extent?
  29. We would be healthier if we lived in a closer connection with nature.
  30. Obesity is genetic, and we should not blame obese people for a lack of self-discipline.

4.  🎓  Educational Debate Topics for College Students

In the following selection, you can find some good debate topics for high school. Education is always a disputable topic in universities and colleges. However, some of them will do even for middle school.

  1. Participation in sports clubs should be mandatory. Sports can change your life and even help to finance your studies. But what if someone is not talented in sports at all? Will it be a waste of time for them?
  2. Exams should be replaced with more effective assessment formats. And which forms would you suggest? Maybe you are more conservative and support the existing system? Is it better for students to know that their progress will be checked?
  3. Students should combine work and studies to start their careers earlier. Will they benefit from the early-career start or it can only harm and hinder quality learning? Does work during studies take too much time and effort? Could it cause professional burnout?
  4. Classes should start in the afternoon. What is the best time for a school day to start? People have different biorhythms. Should they be taken into account? Is it possible to give pupils and students an option to choose for themselves?
  5. Students should be allowed to grade their tutors. Would you attend classes taught by the teacher who has low rankings? Explain your point of view. Would it improve the quality of education?
  6. Homework is a holdover from the past. Schools should abolish it. Instead, extracurricular activities could be extended. If you agree with the statement, suggest other options to replace homework. If you disagree, provide your arguments.
  7. Is it reasonable/ethical to hold public prayers at schools? Should parents, schools, or government be authorized to decide? What are the positive and effects of religious education? Are there any drawbacks? What could be done if children are practicing different religions?
  8. Some websites should be blocked on school and college computers. If yes, what are they? Should parents be instructed to do the same at home? If no, what are your arguments? Discuss social networks and their harm/importance, as well as other possibly harmful content.
  9. ABC tests do not show if a student really knows the answer. Multiple-choice questions are easy to check. Still, a correct option can be chosen by chance. Should we give students an incentive to develop their thought?
  10. Internships should be obligatory for all students. Is it technically possible? How could it improve their future employment and career? Would companies and institutions be interested in such a mass practice?

Education can offer many controversial topics for teens. Find out some of them:

  1. School holidays are too long and pointless.
  2. Companies should be stimulated to pay for the best students and to hire them afterward.
  3. Primary school is not about teaching. It is about socializing.
  4. Would you choose a private or a public school for your child?
  5. The contemporary program for universities is too distant from real life.
  6. Education for adults should become more popular.
  7. Professors should have non-educational employment history to be able to prepare students for real life.
  8. Pupils should choose their specialization according to the results of various aptitude tests long before college.
  9. Is handwriting going into the past? Should calligraphy be left out in the curriculum?
  10. Could an online education diploma be equal to a diploma for full-time studies?
  11. Should parents help their children with their homework?
  12. Could computer games be used for educational purposes?
  13. Does higher education make you a better human?
  14. How many foreign languages should be taught at school/college?
  15. Primary schools should give debate topics for kids to develop their public speaking skills.
  16. Schools tend to idealize prominent historical figures. Is it wrong?
  17. Homeschooling is useful only if a parent has pedagogical education to control the process.
  18. Sex education should be included in the curriculum.
  19. What are the effects of using gadgets in education?
  20. Some educational workers apply for a tutoring job because they failed to find work in the business.
  21. Uniform limits self-expression of students.
  22. History classes are too theoretical. Could they become more practical?
  23. Tutors’ salaries should depend on the success level of their students.
  24. Should students attend only those courses they are interested in?
  25. Do the methods of teaching need to be revolutionized?
  26. Should students do their best to have A’s in all subjects, or should they prioritize?
  27. Are libraries gradually becoming a thing of the past?
  28. Does discipline in class guarantee its success?
  29. Should a tutor be a role model and a moral instructor?
  30. What makes a university well-known and successful?

5.  💑  Controversial Relationship Debate Topics

Relationships are the most debatable topic of all the possible ones. This list offers controversial topics for discussion that most likely have no correct answer. It makes them even more interesting, as we all are so different.

  1. Exes can just be friends. Is friendship possible between the people who used to love each other? Does it mean that relationships are over? Or does such striving for further communication mean that one of them still hopes for return?
  2. The psychological climate in class is essential for students’ achievements. Can you study under the pressure? And what about a fun atmosphere? What could make classes funny? Who is responsible for relationships between students?
  3. Families should be allowed to adopt children overseas. Discover all the pros and cons of adoption and share your opinion. How could the government control it, and should it do so? Could it provoke human trafficking in third-world countries?
  4. No-fault divorces should be prohibited. Divorce procedures should be made more complicated. Couples should be given more time to think before the final decision is given. Should couples provide confirmation to their accusations?
  5. Low-income families are happier than single high-income earners. Provide evidence supporting your point of view. Is it better to have everything you want without having a special someone to share it all with? Is there a correlation between loneliness and high earnings?
  6. The extremes do not meet in personal relations. Even more: different tastes and opinions lead to quarrels. Are soul mates similar to each other? What are the drawbacks of having too much in common?
  7. Parents should not interfere in the personal lives of their adult children. Maybe the children should make their own mistakes, drawing conclusions? Are there any cases when parents should give advice? Should they insist on their leaving obviously destructive relationships?
  8. Men should make the first step in a relationship. What are the sources of this common opinion, and is it reasonable? What are the possible outcomes if a woman initiates a relationship?
  9. Making family business could improve the atmosphere in the couple. Business topics are distant from the daily routine. They could make communication more interesting. But if afterward a relationship will come to an end, will common affair complicate the breakup?
  10. Long-distance relationships are the best way to build trust. People need to find areas of common interest and be inventive. Most of the time, they communicate with other people. For this reason, if they are faithful, their relationship will grow stronger.

Find out a list of debate topics for argumentative essays below:

  1. Some health problems of children are caused by family conflicts.
  2. Preserving a marriage for the sake of children is a bad idea.
  3. Is loyalty only about the absence of other sexual partners?
  4. Is it a bad idea to read messages on the telephone of your partner?
  5. The difference of opinions in a couple is a signal of soon break up.
  6. It is necessary to support friendship even if you want to spend all the time with your special one.
  7. If you didn’t like something on the first date, be sure that once it can become the reason for quarrels.
  8. What are healthy relationships?
  9. Being cheated does not always mean that you are not loved.
  10. Bad relationships cannot be “glued” by children.
  11. Even the negative sides of the close person seem beautiful for dates in love.
  12. Are mothers responsible for the character of kids, as they spend more time with them, compared to fathers?
  13. Why do friendships come to an end?
  14. Long unhealthy relationships, like in cohabitation with an abuser, can cause psychological disorders.
  15. Authoritative relationships between the boss and the employee lead to lower productivity than friendly ones.
  16. Love is merely caused by chemical reactions in the body.
  17. Is a complicated but long-lasting relationship better than many short and easy ones?
  18. Causeless jealousy destroys even the best relationships.
  19. What should be ethically forbidden in a relationship?
  20. Could dating endanger your success at college?
  21. Is first love better than all the next ones?
  22. Friends should be granted only the second place of importance after the family.
  23. Should couples in cohabitation get married instead?
  24. Can “friends with benefits” be called real friends?
  25. It is better for a young marriage not to live with their parents.
  26. Is love good for your health?
  27. Sex tourism is a sign of loneliness.
  28. Wars, in-country conflicts, and violent discussions mean that people lack love in their life.
  29. The best way to save relationships for friends is to dedicate time to each other.
  30. Relationships in a group are dictated by its leader.

6.  🗳️  Political Debate Topics

It is considered bad manners to ask people about their political views. But the reason is that such controversial questions often raise conflicts. An excellent way to express yourself is to write an essay on one of the following debate topics:

  1. Is society limited by political boundaries? Some countries were created less than 50 years ago by the division of a former bigger country. Does it mean that people in these two new countries relate to different societies? Globalization destroys political boundaries even more.
  2. We chose democracy not for its benefits, but for its difference from tyranny. Is democracy the best political regime as of today? Could it be improved anyhow? What lessons of history can show that tyranny is the worst possible type of power?
  3. For political success, a government leader should be impeccable. How does a personal past affect a leader’s destiny? How can ill fame be corrected? Can new merits counterbalance past mistakes?
  4. Do government leaders have enough time to manage their private business? How can it impede or boost their popularity with the voters? Does success in business give a political player the necessary skills and knowledge to lead a country?
  5. Climate change can be defeated by globalization. All countries shall unite and adopt common legislation in ecological issues. The most influential group of countries like G7 and G20 shall help the poorer countries to decrease their emissions and recycle.
  6. Will all countries become democratic in the long run? The countries that have never been democratic can find it challenging to change. Their population is used to the existing order of things. Is it possible to change their regime without a revolution?
  7. Donald Trump works against overpopulation in the US. Do you support his nationalistic policy? How could immigrants from third-world countries harm the US economy and homeland security? Is the problem exaggerated?
  8. Does Trump have a conflict of interests between his presidency and his business? Many representatives of his administration are the leaders of media companies. Specific US laws forbid government officials from receiving funds from their business. Are these appointments inappropriate?
  9. Are election campaigns a waste of money? Could there be other ways of informing the people about the candidates? Could the candidates compete in charitable activities, rather than eloquence on TV?
  10. Are the governments taking a reasonable effort to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic? Is it correct to keep the borders closed once the disease has spread to all countries? Some countries make almost no changes while others close everything for quarantine. Small business is suffering much more than large companies. What could be different?
  11. Are wars always started by politicians?
  12. Is it possible to eliminate corruption among the officials?
  13. Should the world cancel nuclear weapons and destroy them?
  14. Terrorism is a powerful political instrument.
  15. Can public protests influence the decisions of the government?
  16. Were civil wars caused by the mistakes of local authorities?
  17. Is nationalism better than globalization?
  18. Is it fair that votes of people with different levels of education, life, and cultural background have equal weight at elections?
  19. Who was the best president in the United States, and why?
  20. Politics is the art of making the best out of the worst.
  21. Donald Trump’s relation to other countries is markedly different from his predecessors, but it turned out to be beneficial for the economy.
  22. Federalists and democratic-republicans strive for the same purposes by different means.
  23. Without economic competition, even the wealthiest country will become weak.
  24. Politics means actions, not long-winded rhetorics about those actions.
  25. Talented people create a country’s wealth, not money.
  26. Why don’t other parties, different from the Federal and Republican Parties, avail of the same popularity in the US?
  27. How do political electoral campaigns use mass media?
  28. Think of the reason why the US has never had a female president?
  29. Should firearm regulations become stricter?
  30. Is it the government’s duty to combat gambling addiction?
  31. If every vote is important, why don’t many people show up for elections?
  32. Was Brexit caused by political or economic reasons?
  33. What are the factors supporting the last monarchies?
  34. What role could be played by local politics to prevent Catalogna from separation from Spain?
  35. What were the successes and failures of the UN in settling various conflicts?
  36. What hinders certain countries from entering the African Union?
  37. How will the integration of Hong Kong influence China?
  38. When should we expect new countries to enter the EU, and what will they be?
  39. Could the global spread of cryptocurrency undermine the existing political systems?
  40. What caused the victory of far-rightists at the last national and local elections to the European Council?

7.  👣  How to Choose a Debate Topic? Main Steps

Step 1. Run an Initial Brainstorming

Think about at least five controversial issues you can pick up for your debates and write them down.

Benefits of learning to debate.

Step 2. Narrow the List of Debate Topics

Review them with the criteria:

  • Overused. Avoid debate questions that are too popular. Think of arguments: if you instantly pick up three for and against for the issue, don’t choose this topic. You won’t learn anything new or expand your knowledge.
  • Boring. Try to select debate ideas that you’re interested in. Otherwise, you may feel overwhelmed or fail the research.
  • Too difficult to research. Before you pick up the topic, think about it. You may realize that there are not enough sources for thorough study or controversial arguments.

Bachelors degree in Yale.

  • Not important. Avoid issues that have no significance to the society. For example, debating whether sneakers are more comfortable than trainers doesn’t affect society at all.
  • Too narrow or too broad. Some debate subjects may be too generic, so you’ll spend up too much time while researching them as well as exceed the time allotted for debate. For example, the UK migration policy to all countries. Otherwise, some questions can be too narrow.

Step 3. Make a Final Choice of a Debate Question

Here’re a few things you should remember:

  • What is the purpose? What do you want your listeners to take away from these debates?
  • Who are your listeners? Will your topic appeal to them? What are their social, cultural and demographic backgrounds?

8.  🤔  Controversial Topics FAQ

  1. Death penalty
  2. Eating disorders and obesity
  3. Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia
  4. Abortion
  5. Genetic engineering and cloning
  6. Extraplanetary civilizations
  7. Gender equality and feminism
  8. Climate change and pollution
  9. Technologies in our life
  10. Fur industry
  1. Gun control
  2. The global influence of the US
  3. US participation in military conflicts
  4. Presidency of Donald Trump
  5. Immigration control
  6. Bilingual education and foreign languages at school
  7. COVID-19 pandemics
  8. Cybersecurity and protection of personal data
  9. Presidential impeachment
  10. Internet addiction
  1. Organic food
  2. Health insurance coverage
  3. Transplantology and human trafficking
  4. Drug legalization
  5. Environment-caused diseases
  6. Plastic surgery
  7. Universal access to health care services
  8. Homebirth vs. hospital birth
  9. Dietology
  10. Vegetarianism
  1. Extremism in politics and sociology
  2. Civil rights in various political regimes
  3. Women’s rights
  4. #MeToo movement
  5. Viability of Socialism
  6. Brexit
  7. Information warfare
  8. Nuclear energy and weapons
  9. Environment-friendly fuels
  10. Cryptocurrency and cashless economy

9.  🔍  References