Potential Student Paper Topics

Topics of Past Student Papers

This is a list of many of the topics past students have written about. I have marked the ones I’m sick of. Don’t write on topics typed in red!

  1. What can be done to stop college students from abusing substances like alcohol and marijuana?
  2. What is the best theoretical model of human learning?
  3. Advertisers should use viral marketing to promote their products.
  4. The benefits of physical education in public schools.
  5. The best classroom environment for fostering learning.
  6. Is it worth it to use anabolic steroids? Or, should we overlook athletes’ use of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs?
  7. Are the arts an important part of a person’s education?
  8. Is there a “right time” to have children? Should we expect married people to have children?
  9. Is there a “right time” to get married? Should we expect couples to marry?
  10. Can the consumer choices of individuals have any significant impact on the health of the planet? In other words, most people won’t change their habits. Will the changes made by a small percentage of the population have any useful impact?
  11. Should illegal immigrants receive amnesty? If so, which ones? (This is related to the Dream Act question under “Other Topics You Could Write About,” but it is not exactly the same.)
  12. Can parents influence their children’s choice of friends? Should they try?
  13. How should Western medical professionals approach potential patients who have very different ideas about the origins and treatment of disease?
  14. What are the risks of common fertility treatments? What are the best choices?
  15. How hard is it to learn English as a second language? What should first-language English speakers understand about second-language English speakers?
  16. What resources should teenagers draw on in order to conquer anxiety?
  17. How should we teach our young people about sex? (Or, how should we teach our old people about sex? Since the introduction of ViagraHIV is spreading among senior citizens. See the Andy Griffith movie, Play the Game.)
  18. How can teen pregnancy become a positive experience?
  19. Should government and health agencies have special programs to help immigrants learn to use social services?
  20. Are immigrants really better off after they come to the United States?
  21. Should we make immigration easier? If so, for which countries?
  22. Are Blacks and other minorities prejudiced toward white ideals of female beauty (narrow nose, straight hair, light skin, slender hourglass-shaped body)? If so, should that be changed? How can an ideal of beauty be changed? If minorities do celebrate their unique beauty ideals, what are these ideals and how can all of us celebrate them? (For an introduction to this topic, watch the Chris Rock movie, Good Hair.)
  23. Should mental/emotional illness be treated with psychotropic drugs?
  24. Should mothers breastfeed their children?
  25. Why should we stop texting while driving?
  26. Intimate partner abuse (such as spouse abuse) is often kept secret, so it is hard to intervene to make it stop. What should we know so that we can avoid abusive relationships and get out of them if we are in one?
  27. Are homosexual couples fit parents for children?
  28. Are food additives safe?
  29. Is it important to treat agricultural animals well, when we’re just going to use them up anyway?
  30. Should outdoor smoking be banned?
  31. How can we avoid getting road rage? How should we deal with the road rage of others?
  32. Should everyone get vaccinated against common or easily-spread diseases?
  33. Are violent video games harmful? Also, abortion, gun control, euthanasia, blah blah blah.
  34. Dream Act. Yes or no?
  35. What can adults do to prevent or correct childhood obesity without giving kids the idea that they are worth less when they are fat?
  36. Should we embrace obesity as the “new normal”? Should we celebrate the beauty of largeness? (See the movie, Disfigured.)

Other Topics You Could Write About

This is not a full list of potential topics. You can write about things that are not on this list.

  1. Should we ban the use of bisphenol-A (BPA) in plastics?
  2. Should the tax money intended for public schools be transferred with students when they choose to attend private schools?
  3. Is there a Cubs curse?
  4. Is there a positive purpose for superstition among athletes and sports fans? How about for theatre people?
  5. Do kids need preschool? If so, what kind? If not, what should they have instead?
  6. Parents choose crazy names for their kids sometimes. What is the effect on the child? Is this effect likely to occur for future crazy-named children, since so many parents are choosing crazy names now?
  7. Is cross-training a good way to improve athletic performance?
  8. Is stretching a good way to improve athletic performance?
  9. How effective are programs like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers? Are there better alternatives?
  10. Should the American Psychological Association revoke its ban on “corrective” therapy for homosexuals?
  11. All of us have ideas about what is “right” behavior. However, our ideas are not universally accepted. How can parents teach children “right” behavior (whatever that is) without creating little bigots?
  12. Should representational art look as much as possible like the reality it is based on?
  13. Should individuals with artistic talent (painting, dancing, acting, singing, songwriting, playwriting, etc.) be encouraged to try to make a living through their art, or should they be encouraged to have a day job (or day career)?
  14. Is it worth it to buy organic?
  15. Is it better to buy things and food that are produced locally (within 150 miles), or is it better to use a large transport system to make everything available everywhere?
  16. Are green building technologies, such as green roofs or straw bale construction, practical options for mainstream homeowners in the current housing market?
  17. Should people who primarily speak a language other than English focus on learning English so much that they lose their first language?
  18. Should people who speak Black English focus on learning Standard English and drop Black English altogether?
  19. Should the United States be a melting pot or a tossed salad?
  20. Should the United States be English only?
  21. Is it good or bad for minority students to have white teachers?
  22. Should public television and public radio get funding from the federal government?
  23. Healthy food costs more than unhealthy food. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Why is unhealthy food cheaper? Does anything need to be done about this situation?
  24. Is it better to have a truck/SUV or an alternative fuel vehicle?
  25. Should Protestants be the only ones who can call themselves “Christians”?
  26. Is it good or bad to be a nerd or a geek?
  27. Do exotic pets (reptiles, insects, arachnids, rats, chinchillas, etc.) make good pets?
  28. Are there any positive aspects of having an emotional/mental disorder such as ADD, ADHD, OCD, or anxiety disorder?
  29. Should unmarried couples have the same legal standing as married couples? (Note: This is different than asking whether gay couples should have the right to marry. The gay marriage question is a very good one, but it is too big for a 7- to 10-page paper. You should save that topic for a longer paper in a different class.)
  30. Should movies get content ratings (G, PG, R, NC-17)? Should music, video games, and other media get content ratings? What about books?

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