An argumentative essay is an academic writing genre that requires students “to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner.”

The purpose of argumentative essays is to enable students to engage in critical thinking and learn how to communicate their opinions on a variety of topics in a thoughtful, coherent and well-supported way. 

Argumentative writing requires students to consider multiple perspectives, provide evidential support for their arguments (e.g., logical, statistical, anecdotal, scientific, etc), and demonstrate a grasp of the issue at large.

The purpose of this post is to provide you with a list of argumentative essay topics that you can use with your students to help them practice their argumentative writing skills. Featured topic ideas cover various areas including topics related to current social issues such as racism, gender equality, refugees and immigration, as well as more general topics related to education, technology, and the environment.

20 Argumentative Essay Topics for Middle School Students

1. Should cyberbullying be considered a criminal act?

2. Should parents be held responsible for the decisions of their children?

3. Is it important to have a good education in order to be successful?

4. Should schools ban the use of cell phones during class time?

5. Should public schools offer single-sex classes?

6. Should parents be allowed to monitor their children’s social media accounts?

7. Are standardized tests an effective way to measure student performance?

8. Should students be required to wear uniforms?

9. Is it appropriate for teachers to assign homework on weekends and holidays?

10. Should students be allowed to use technology during class time?

11. Are video games a good or bad influence on learning?

12. Should schools replace textbooks with tablets or laptops?

13. Should students have to take classes in physical education?

14. Is cheating becoming more common in schools?

15. Should athletes be held to higher academic standards than other students?

16. Should schools stop using plastic water bottles?

17. Should students be required to do community service in order to graduate?

18. Should students be allowed to grade their teachers?

19. Should corporal punishment be used in schools?

20. Should all public schools have the same curriculum?

20 Argumentative Essay Topics for High School Students

1. Are strict parental rules effective in the long-term?

2. Should students be allowed to have cellphones in school?

3. Are college tuition costs too high?

4.Should schools offer fast food options like McDonalds and Burger King?

5. Is homeschooling a good alternative to traditional schooling?

6. Should standardized tests be abolished?

7. Are we too dependent on technology?

8. Should the government provide free college tuition?

9. Is beauty pageants exploitation of children and young adults?

10.Should schools teach about sex?

11.Should students be allowed to protest in school?

12.Does the media have too much influence on young people?

13.Should students be allowed to have social media accounts?

14.Are online classes an effective way to learn?

15.Is the use of animals in scientific experiments justified?

16.Should violence be banned in films and video games?

17.Are online dating sites safe to use?

18.Does the internet make people more isolated?

19.Are celebrities good role models for young people?

20.Should the voting age be lowered to 16?

20 Argumentative Essay Topics for College Students

1. Should campus carry be allowed on college campuses?

2. Should colleges provide mental health support to their students?

3. Does college debt prevent young people from pursuing their dreams?

4. Should college athletes be paid?

5. Is affirmative action still necessary in college admissions?

6. Are college students taking on too many unnecessary risks?

7. Are college degrees worth the cost?

8. Should college classes be mandatory in general education?

9. Should college athletes be allowed to unionize?

10. Are colleges creating too much student debt?

11. Is college tuition too expensive in the United States?

12. Should a college education be free for everyone?

13. Are colleges doing enough to prevent sexual assault on campus?

14. Should college campuses provide free contraceptives?

15. Is cheating a common problem in college?

16. Should college admission be based on merit or need?

17. Is paid parental leave necessary for college professors?

18. Should higher education be available to everyone regardless of financial background?

19. Should college students be allowed to use performance enhancers?

20. Does the current college system favor the wealthy?

Here are some image-based ideas that could spark argumentative writing:

You can search for images related to the one of the topics below and use them as prompts to engage students in argumentative writing. You can also use one of the AI text to image generators to generate images based on the prompts below.

1. A picture of a crowded beach during the COVID-19 pandemic, with some people wearing masks and others not.

2. An image of a factory emitting smoke into the air, with people walking by on the street.

3. A photo of a protest or demonstration with people holding signs and chanting.

4. A picture of a large, luxurious mansion next to a small, run-down house.

5. An image of a person holding a gun, with a crowd of people in the background.

6. A photo of a person sitting in front of a computer, with a social media platform open on the screen.

7. An image of a person standing on a street corner holding a sign that says “Homeless, please help.”

8. A picture of a child holding a piece of plastic in a polluted river.

9. An image of a person holding a sign that says “Black Lives Matter” at a protest.

10. A photo of a person holding a sign that says “Climate Change is Real” at a demonstration.