Discursive Essay Topic Ideas For College Students: Top 20 Examples

Discursive Essay Topic Ideas For College Students: Top 20 Examples


When it comes to choosing a topic for a discursive essay, college students often find themselves facing a difficult task. There are so many ideas to consider, and it’s important to find a subject that not only allows for a strong argument but also engages your audience. In this article, we will explore 20 top examples of discursive essay topics that can help students navigate their way through the decision-making process.

One of the most discussed topics in society today is the impact of video games on the mental health of teenagers. While some argue that gaming can lead to addiction and other negative effects, others point out the potential benefits, such as improved cognitive skills and problem-solving abilities. This topic presents an opportunity to evaluate both sides of the argument and engage in a thoughtful discussion about the role of video games in our lives.

Another topic that is sure to spark some interesting debates is the question of whether the government should ban single-use plastic bottles. With the increasing focus on environmental issues, the impact of plastic waste on our planet has become a pressing concern. By discussing the pros and cons of banning plastic bottles, students can delve into the complexities of this problem and propose practical solutions to mitigate its effects.

For those interested in exploring the role of social media in our lives, a discursive essay on the topic of its influence on society may be a good fit. This subject allows students to critically analyze the impact of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter on our relationships, self-esteem, and overall well-being. By examining the positive and negative effects of social media, students can gain a deeper understanding of its complexities and make informed decisions about their own media usage.

Academic performance is another area that offers a range of discursive essay topic ideas. From the efficacy of standardized testing to the benefits of grading systems, there are many issues to explore and discuss. These topics give students the opportunity to think critically about their educational experiences and propose changes or improvements that would enhance the learning environment for everyone.

Importance of Discursive Essay Topics for College Students

For students, writing a discursive essay is a challenging task that requires critical thinking, research skills, and the ability to present both sides of an argument. Having a well-selected topic makes this process easier and more enjoyable.

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Discursive essays are beneficial for college students as they encourage them to explore different points of view on various topics and develop their persuasive writing skills. These essays help students think critically and analyze complex issues from multiple angles.

Moreover, having a list of discursive essay topics can help students in brainstorming ideas and narrowing down their choices. It ensures that students have a wide range of options to choose from and find a subject that truly interests them.

In today’s online-driven society, discursive essay topics are also important as they reflect current issues and trends. They allow students to explore and discuss different aspects of social media, environmental concerns, government policies, and more.

Furthermore, a well-written discursive essay can be a powerful tool for college students to express their thoughts and engage in intellectual discussions. It helps students learn how to present their arguments effectively, develop logical reasoning, and enhance their communication skills.

Discursive essays also have a lighter side; they can be fun and enjoyable to write. Choosing an interesting and engaging topic will make the writing process more enjoyable for students and motivate them to produce a high-quality essay.

Why choosing a good discursive essay topic is crucial for college students

1. Engaging the reader

Choosing a topic that is relevant and interesting helps to engage the reader from the very beginning. An intriguing topic can grab the attention of the reader and make them want to continue reading to find out more.

2. Showcasing your knowledge

By selecting a topic that you are passionate about or knowledgeable in, you can demonstrate your expertise. This allows you to showcase your understanding of the subject matter and present a well-researched argument.

3. Encouraging critical thinking

A good discursive essay topic should stimulate critical thinking and promote analytical skills. It should encourage the reader to evaluate different perspectives and form their own opinion. This is an essential skill for college students to develop.

4. Reflecting societal issues

The choice of topic can reflect important societal issues and current events. College students have the opportunity to discuss topics such as government policies, environmental concerns, social media impact, and more. This allows them to engage with real-world problems and contribute to the ongoing discourse.

5. Making a difference

Choosing a discursive essay topic that addresses a significant problem or raises awareness about an important cause can make a real difference. By discussing topics like mental health, social justice, or environmental sustainability, students can contribute to creating a positive impact on society.

6. Personal growth

Writing a discursive essay on a challenging topic can help students grow intellectually and emotionally. It encourages them to explore different perspectives, develop empathy, and understand diverse opinions.

Top 20 Discursive Essay Topic Ideas for College Students

1. The influence of social media on teenagers

Social media has become an integral part of teenagers’ lives. Discuss whether its impact is more beneficial or harmful.

2. The role of online gaming in shaping the behavior of young individuals

Examine the positive and negative effects of online gaming on the mental and physical health of young individuals.

3. The importance of teaching financial literacy in schools

Explore why it is crucial to incorporate financial literacy into the school curriculum and how it can positively impact students’ future.

4. The impact of marketing on children’s behavior and choices

Analyze the ways in which marketing techniques influence children’s preferences and whether it is ethical.

5. The benefits and drawbacks of online education

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of online education compared to traditional classroom learning.

6. The government’s role in promoting a healthier environment

Evaluate the extent to which the government should be responsible for creating a healthy and sustainable environment.

7. The portrayal of women in media

Examine how the media portrays women and discuss whether it promotes gender equality or reinforces stereotypes.

8. The impact of music on mental health and well-being

Explore the influence of music on mental health and its potential as a therapeutic tool.

9. The benefits and drawbacks of video games as a form of entertainment

Dive into the positive and negative aspects of video games and their effects on individuals’ behavior and well-being.

10. The importance of arts education in schools

Discuss whether arts education should be prioritized in schools and how it can contribute to students’ overall development.

11. The role of the government in addressing climate change

Examine the government’s responsibility in combating climate change and discuss potential strategies to mitigate its effects.

12. The impact of social media on mental health

Analyze the connection between social media usage and mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.

13. The pros and cons of standardized testing in schools

Explore the advantages and disadvantages of standardized testing and its impact on students’ learning and motivation.

14. The societal expectations on body image

Discuss the influence of societal expectations on body image and the potential consequences on individuals’ self-esteem and mental health.

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15. The role of technology in fostering creativity in the classroom

Evaluate how technology can enhance and hinder creativity in educational settings.

16. The ethics of animal testing

Examine the ethical considerations surrounding animal testing and discuss alternative methods for scientific research.

17. The impact of fast fashion on the environment

Analyze the environmental effects of the fast fashion industry and discuss sustainable fashion alternatives.

18. The benefits and drawbacks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

Discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of GMOs in terms of food production and environmental impact.

19. The influence of technology on interpersonal relationships

Examine how technology, such as social media and smartphones, affects the quality of interpersonal relationships.

20. The role of government in addressing the mental health crisis

Discuss the government’s role in providing mental health support and the necessary resources for individuals facing mental health challenges.

A list of interesting and thought-provoking discursive essay topics

TopicDoes the government do enough to provide quality healthcare for all?
TopicShould college students be allowed to use online resources for their academic research?
TopicAre social media platforms helping or harming our mental health?
TopicIs it ethical to market unhealthy food to children?
TopicShould illegal immigrants be granted a path to citizenship?
TopicDoes the media have a responsibility to report the truth or should it focus more on entertainment?
TopicShould teenagers be allowed to make their own decisions about their bodies and health?
TopicIs a college degree still a valuable asset in today’s job market?
TopicDoes theater have a significant impact on society?
TopicDo women have equal opportunities in the workplace?
TopicShould the government be involved in regulating the content of video games?
TopicAre standardized tests an accurate measure of a student’s knowledge and abilities?
TopicIs it better to focus on the quality or quantity of a child’s education?
TopicShould assisted suicide be legalized?
TopicDo stricter gun control laws lead to a decrease in gun-related crimes?
TopicShould athletes’ salaries be capped?
TopicIs climate change primarily caused by human activity?
TopicShould schools implement uniform policies?
TopicDoes technology make us more isolated or connected?
TopicCan someone be a good writer without having a natural talent for writing?

These topics cover a wide range of subjects, allowing you to choose the one that aligns best with your interests and expertise. Remember to carefully evaluate each topic and consider both sides of the argument before making your selection. It is also helpful to create an outline and gather supporting points to ensure a well-structured and compelling essay. Good luck with your discursive writing!

How to Choose the Best Discursive Essay Topic for Your College Assignment

Consider Your Interests and Passions

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a discursive essay topic is your own interests and passions. Think about what issues or ideas you are most passionate about and choose a topic that aligns with those interests. When you are passionate about a topic, it will come through in your writing and make for a more engaging read.

Research the Topic

Before committing to a topic, do some research to ensure that there is enough information available to support your argument. Look for academic articles, online resources, and books that discuss the topic you are considering. This will help you determine if the topic has enough depth and substance to make for a well-rounded essay.

Choose a Topic with Multiple Perspectives

A good discursive essay topic should allow for multiple perspectives and a balanced discussion. Avoid choosing a topic that has a clear-cut answer or only one side to the argument. Instead, opt for topics that are more complex and have a range of opinions and viewpoints. This will make your essay more interesting and challenging to write.

Consider Relevance and Timeliness

When choosing a discursive essay topic, it’s important to consider the relevance and timeliness of the issue. Choose a topic that is current and addresses important issues in society. This will show that you are engaged with the world around you and can make your essay more impactful.

Seek Inspiration from Examples

If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, look for examples of discursive essays online. Read through different essay topics and outlines to get a sense of what has been written about before and what arguments have been made. This can help spark ideas and guide you in the right direction when choosing your own topic.

Guidelines for selecting a suitable discursive essay topic

1. Consider the problem or issue

First and foremost, identify a problem or issue that you feel strongly about. It could be anything from environmental issues to social, health, or academic concerns. Make sure the topic is specific enough to allow for a focused discussion.

2. Brainstorm ideas

Next, brainstorm potential ideas related to the problem or issue you have identified. Write down as many ideas as possible, without evaluating them at this stage. This will help you narrow down your options later.

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3. Evaluate the topic

Once you have a list of ideas, evaluate each topic based on its relevance, significance, and feasibility. Consider whether there is enough information available to write a well-researched essay on the topic. Also, think about whether the topic will appeal to your target audience.

4. Consider different perspectives

A discursive essay requires you to discuss different perspectives on the topic. Therefore, choose a topic that has multiple sides or viewpoints. This will not only make your essay more interesting but also demonstrate your ability to analyze and evaluate different arguments.

5. Look for examples

It is always helpful to support your arguments with real-life examples. While choosing a topic, think about whether there are enough examples available to support your points. Examples can be drawn from various fields such as politics, education, media, or even personal experiences.

6. Keep your target audience in mind

Consider the interests, preferences, and concerns of your target audience when selecting a topic. For example, if you are writing for college students, choose a topic that is relevant and relatable to their lives. This will help you engage your readers and make your essay more impactful.

7. Stay updated with current issues

Current issues and topics that are being discussed in society, the media, or academia can make great discursive essay topics. Staying updated with current events and trends will not only help you choose a relevant and timely topic but also show your awareness of the world around you.

8. Narrow down your options

Once you have evaluated your ideas, narrow down your options to a few strong and manageable topics. Consider factors such as the availability of information, your interest in the topic, and the potential for engaging discussions.

9. Choose a topic that allows for both sides of the argument

A discursive essay requires you to discuss both sides of the argument. Therefore, choose a topic that allows you to present contrasting viewpoints. This will enable you to build a well-rounded and balanced argument in your essay.

10. Make sure the topic is manageable

Lastly, choose a topic that is manageable within the scope and word limit of your essay. Avoid highly complex or technical subjects that may require excessive explanation. Instead, opt for a topic that can be effectively discussed and analyzed within the given constraints.

By following these guidelines, you can select a suitable discursive essay topic that is both interesting to you and provides enough material for a well-structured and persuasive essay.

Tips for Writing a Compelling Discursive Essay

1. Choose a Thought-Provoking Topic

The first step in writing a discursive essay is to select a topic that is interesting and relevant. Choose a subject that you feel passionate about and one that has enough points to discuss. Consider current issues in society, government policies, or controversial topics that evoke strong opinions. Some examples of discursive essay topics could be: the impact of social media on teenagers, the legalization of marijuana, or the influence of marketing on children.

2. Develop a Strong Thesis Statement

A clear and concise thesis statement is essential for a discursive essay. This statement should outline your main argument or position on the topic. It should be debatable and prompt discussion. Your thesis statement will serve as a guide throughout the essay, helping you stay focused and on track with your arguments.

3. Create an Outline

4. Research and Gather Evidence

Before you start writing, it’s important to gather reliable and relevant information to support your arguments. Look for reputable sources such as academic journals, books, or online articles. Cite these sources properly to strengthen your essay and show that your arguments are backed by evidence.

5. Consider Both Sides of the Argument

A discursive essay requires you to evaluate different perspectives on the topic. While you may have a strong position, it’s important to acknowledge opposing viewpoints. This shows that you have considered various opinions and strengthens your overall argument. Address counterarguments in your essay and provide reasoned rebuttals.

6. Craft Well-Structured Paragraphs

Each body paragraph should focus on a single point or argument. Start with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph. Support your argument with evidence and examples, and ensure that your points are clear and logically connected. Use transition words to make your essay flow smoothly and guide the reader through your ideas.

7. Check for Coherence and Consistency

Read through your essay to ensure that your ideas are well-developed and coherent. Make sure that your arguments build upon each other and that there are no logical gaps in your reasoning. Check for consistency in your writing style, tone, and use of language. A well-structured and consistent essay is more persuasive and easier to read.

8. Edit and Revise

Once you’ve written your essay, take the time to edit and revise. Check for spelling and grammar errors, and ensure that your sentences are clear and concise. Trim down any unnecessary information and tighten your arguments. Ask someone else, such as a classmate or teacher, to read your essay and provide feedback. Fresh eyes can catch mistakes or suggest improvements.

By following these tips, you can write a winning discursive essay that engages readers and showcases your strong arguments. Remember to choose a captivating topic, research thoroughly, consider different perspectives, and present your arguments in a well-structured and coherent manner. Good luck with your writing!


Why is choosing a discursive essay topic important?

Choosing a discursive essay topic is important because it sets the foundation for your entire essay. It determines the scope of your argument and the direction in which you will take your essay. A well-chosen topic will help you present a strong and well-supported argument, while a poorly chosen topic can make it difficult to find relevant evidence and make a coherent argument.

What are some popular discursive essay topic ideas?

There are many popular discursive essay topic ideas to choose from. Some examples include: “Should the voting age be lowered to 16?”, “Should college education be free?”, “Should the death penalty be abolished?”, “Should marijuana be legalized?”, and “Should animal testing be banned?”. These topics are popular because they are controversial and can generate a lot of discussion and debate.

What should I consider when choosing a discursive essay topic?

When choosing a discursive essay topic, there are several factors to consider. First, consider your own interests and knowledge. Choose a topic that you are passionate about and have enough knowledge to support your argument. Second, consider the relevance and current importance of the topic. Choose a topic that is timely and can generate interest among your readers. Finally, consider the availability of resources and evidence. Choose a topic for which you can find enough relevant and reliable sources to support your argument.

Can I choose a discursive essay topic that is not controversial?

Yes, you can choose a discursive essay topic that is not controversial. While controversial topics can generate more discussion and debate, not all essays need to be controversial. You can choose a topic that is informative or educational, such as “The benefits of exercise” or “The impact of social media on society”. The key is to present a well-supported argument, even if the topic itself is not controversial.

What should I do if I’m struggling to choose a discursive essay topic?

If you’re struggling to choose a discursive essay topic, there are a few things you can do. First, brainstorm a list of potential topics and narrow them down based on your interests and knowledge. Second, do some preliminary research on your shortlisted topics to see if there is enough information available to support your argument. Finally, seek advice from your instructor or classmates. They may be able to provide guidance or suggest additional topics for you to consider.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.