Unique Persuasive Speech Topics for College

, Content Lead
Updated November 20, 2019
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Whether or not you were an active member of your high school debate team, you may be tasked with delivering a moving speech or a powerful presentation in college. Before you get down to actually writing a persuasive speech, you must first decide what your speech will be about. Set yourself apart by avoiding overused and cliched topics. Instead, be inspired by these persuasive speech topics for college that span a variety of disciplines and areas of interest.

Asking Questions in the Sciences

This collection of unique speech topics starts off in the sciences. As a student of biology, chemistry or physics, you may feel like all your presentations are more informative in nature. But, persuasion definitely plays a role too. Maybe you're seeking funding to go with your research proposal, or you're opening up the conversation to new theories and hypotheses.

  • The government should increase funding for stem cell research.
  • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be good for you.
  • Why should schools require children to be vaccinated?
  • This is the most viable alternative to fracking.
  • If we cannot eliminate plastic, how can we make it more eco-friendly?
  • What is holding us back from a manned mission to Mars?
  • There is no "missing link" in human evolution.
  • These three qualities are distinctly human.
  • The gray wolf should be taken off the endangered species list.
  • Investing in solar energy efficiency is our best shot.

Tackling Society's Issues

On some level, there is no shortage of easy persuasive speech topics when you take a look at society at large. This is because the subject matter can feel more immediately relevant, and not just a topic reserved to academia. Apply many of the same principles you learned in writing a persuasive essay to delivering a persuasive speech.

  • It's time we eliminated standardized testing in high school.
  • This is how we solve the free speech vs. hate speech debate.
  • This is the single biggest reason why America doesn't have universal healthcare.
  • Should college students be required to travel abroad?
  • The death penalty is ineffective at reducing crime.
  • Supporting local charities is more important than foreign aid.
  • Has inclusivity gone too far?
  • Integration and inclusion are not the same thing.
  • Securing the borders is an exercise in distraction.
  • True net neutrality will not be achieved without more public outcry.
  • Every major city should have safe injection sites.

Interpreting Art and Literature

Any piece of artwork or literature can be interpreted a thousand different ways. Dare to take the road less traveled and offer a unique analysis of a popular book or painting.

  • Brutus and Sicinius are not the villains in Shakespeare's Coriolanus.
  • Julia in Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell should not be seen as a hero.
  • Rembrandt's "The Night Watch" hides a chilling secret agenda.
  • The "letting go" movement in self-help books is ultimately damaging its readers.
  • The Instagram generation needs to read Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye.
  • Wordsworth's "My Heart Leaps Up" paints an incomplete picture.
  • Colleges need more courses focused on deciphering rap lyrics.
  • The dynamics in Japanese film Battle Royale translate to Lord of the Flies.
  • Here's how we connect Sherlock's Moriarty to Batman's Joker.
  • Edgar Allan Poe would not have been published if he were alive today.

Discussing Finance and Economics

If your academic study is focused on the business of money, put your persuasive writing skills to work with these financial topics of discussion.

  • Socialism is a perfect idea in theory, but not in practice.
  • Universal basic income can pay for itself if implemented correctly.
  • Increasing minimum wage only hurts the working class.
  • Credit cards are not evil.
  • Can we abolish student loans altogether?
  • Save for retirement even if you never plan on retiring.
  • Supply/demand economics do not apply to healthcare.
  • Are protectionist tariffs ultimately hurting America's economy?
  • Countries like Korea and Taiwan should form an Asian Union similar to the EU.
  • Can Africa be the next big source of inexpensive labor? Should it?

Predicting the Future of Technology

Computers and technology may have once been the realm of only a select few, but technology pervades almost every aspect of our lives these days. Glimpse into the future and offer your view on what the world can expect in the coming years.

  • A dystopian "tech noir" future is more likely than a technological utopia.
  • Smartphones are only a stop-gap measure before this next breakthrough.
  • Can we resurrect the Segway as a viable mode of transportation?
  • As self-driving cars improve, human drivers should be outlawed.
  • Robots can eliminate the future of work, and that's a good thing.
  • Legalizing human cloning will only lead to boutique gene selection.
  • Big Data is creating increasingly isolated communities online.
  • Quantum computing is not the savior science hopes it will be.
  • Google succeeded where others failed because Google fails fast and often.
  • All school textbooks should be replaced with ebooks.

More Persuasive Speech Topics

The task of delivering an effective persuasive speech is two-fold. First, you have to come up with an interesting topic. Second, you have to back up your assertion in a powerfully convincing way. To further help with the first part, browse through this list of the top argumentative essay topics. Then, take what would be a longer essay and focus it down to a compelling speech.

Unique Persuasive Speech Topics for College
    Tourists riding Segway personal transporters
    Robert Alexander / Archive Photos / Getty Images
    Used under license - For editorial use