In this blog post, you’ll find a massive list of expository essay topics for college papers.
They’ll help you choose an A-worthy writing idea for your assignment. Besides, you’ll see how to format explanatory papers. Practical tips on writing them are waiting inside, too.
Keep reading to find an interesting theme for your work. Get a bonus: a ready-made sample from our professional writers.
What Is an Expository Essay?
An expository essay is an academic paper you write in middle or high school and college. Its purpose is to inform a reader about something and explain it.
When you write an expository essay, you need to:
- Do research and investigate the topic.
- Examine the evidence you have about it.
- Explain the issue to inform the audience about it.
Important: Expository essays are explanatory. You don’t argue, reflect on anything, and don’t provide any counterarguments. (1) Think like a journalist: Your task is to explain the topic.
|Argumentative papers||Expository papers|
|Choose a side for or against something||Explore different views but stay neutral|
|You can write it in the 1st person (I, we)||Use the 3rd person (he, she, they, it)|
|Be subjective||Be objective|
|Thesis statement: argument||Thesis statement: topic|
Types of expository essays
They are five, and each one is about describing and explaining:
- Definition: Describe and explain the meaning of some concept.
- Classification: Introduce a subject and then break it into categories, explaining each in detail.
- Process: Give instructions on how to do something. (Think of it as a problem-solution paper.)
- Cause and effect: Tell about why something happens and what results it brings.
- Compare and contrast: Take two or more concepts and describe their similarities and differences.
Whatever your essay type, teach readers and provide expressive info about the topic.
How to structure an explanatory essay
Expository essays are papers with a standard structure (2):
- Introduction. Start with an opening sentence about your topic, provide some context, and state a position you’d describe in a body.
- Body paragraphs. Provide the main idea and evidence, explain why you chose it (how it supports your thesis), and add a transition to the next chapter.
- Conclusion. Overview the ideas you discussed, show the significance of your synthesis, and leave the audience with the food for thought. It can be a question, offered solution, or next steps for them to take.
How to Choose Good Expository Essay Topics
What are good expository essay topics?
They are a bit controversial and thought-provoking. Such topics engage readers and evoke curiosity. Good expository topics inform about interesting concepts in different subjects. It can be in history, culture, philosophy, society, etc.
Choosing a worthy topic is challenging for college students. When they have no specific prompts assigned, doubts and questions appear:
“Is my idea good enough to cover?”
Below are easy tips that help you decide on creative ideas and topics for expository essay.
- Brainstorm: Take a pen and paper, clock in for 10-15 minutes, and list ALL topic ideas that come to your mind. Now you have something to choose from.
- Analyze: Read the list and decide which topics have the potential for development.
- Focus: Think of specific aspects of every topic. Will it be easy to explain it to the audience? Isn’t it too general?
- Research: Are there enough credible sources to use as evidence in your essay on this topic? What information will you provide to explain it?
Expository writing prompts for middle school students
Expository essay ideas below are for middle school students who practice writing:
1. Explore the benefits of reading books for pleasure and how they can improve vocabulary and comprehension. 2. Explain the stages of the water cycle and how it impacts our environment. 3. Discuss what cyberbullying is, its consequences, and ways to prevent it. 4. Tell about the planets in our solar system, their characteristics, and their position relative to the sun. 5. Explain different types of pollution (air, water, land) and their effects on the environment and human health. 6. Offer tips on maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet for overall well-being. 7. Describe the lifecycle of a butterfly from egg to adult, including metamorphosis. 8. Explain the benefits of physical activity for physical and mental health. 9. Choose a renowned inventor or scientist and provide a brief biography and their contributions. 10. Describe the functions and responsibilities of the U.S. government's executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
These topics cover a range of subjects so you can adjust them to suit your interests. They also offer opportunities for research, critical thinking, and informative writing.
Expository essay topics: high school
Here is the list of high school writing prompts for students who have no idea what to cover in their essays:
1. Analyze how social media usage can affect the mental well-being of teenagers. 2. Discuss how technology has transformed the learning process in high schools and its advantages and disadvantages. 3. Explain the causes of climate change and its effects on the environment, economy, and society. 4. Explore how art and music shape culture and influence people's emotions and perspectives. 5. Trace the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and its ongoing effects on society. 6. Examine the ethical dilemmas surrounding genetic engineering, including its applications in medicine and agriculture. 7. Investigate the impact of cyberattacks on individuals, organizations, and national security. 8. Describe the development of the Internet, its influence on communication and information access, and its potential future developments. 9. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of standardized testing in high school education. 10. Highlight the contributions and challenges faced by women throughout history and their impact on society.
They are engaging for older students who grow research and critical thinking skills.
Examples of expository essay topics for college students
These expository essay prompts are for college students with no assigned topics:
1. Examine how AI technologies are changing employment opportunities and the skills needed in the workforce. 2. Analyze the role of social media in shaping and influencing political movements and public opinion. 3. Explore the ethical concerns surrounding cloning, gene editing, and their potential applications. 4. Trace the evolution of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, and their impact on finance and the global economy. 5. Investigate the mental health challenges college students face, the available resources, and support systems. 6. Discuss how climate change contributes to health issues on a global scale, including the spread of diseases and natural disasters. 7. Examine hip-hop music's origins, cultural significance, and impact on society. 8. Discuss the relevance and practical applications of philosophical ideas in the modern world. 9. Analyze how mass media shapes public opinion, influences behavior, and impacts political decision-making. 10. Explore space exploration's current state and future prospects, including missions to Mars and beyond.
They challenge students to do in-depth research and critical analysis of complex subjects.
150 Best Expository Essay Topics by Subject
- Discuss the pros and cons of standardized testing and its role in assessing student performance.
- Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling and traditional public or private education.
- Examine the long-term benefits of quality early childhood education in preparing children for future success.
- Explore the responsibilities of teachers in shaping their students’ educational experiences and outcomes.
- Discuss the benefits and challenges of inclusive education for students with disabilities.
- Analyze the relationship between a student’s socioeconomic background and their academic performance.
- Investigate the growth of online education and its potential to revolutionize traditional classroom-based learning.
- Examine how access to quality education can either perpetuate or mitigate social inequalities.
- Discuss the advantages of teaching multiple languages in schools and how it can benefit students in a globalized world.
- Explore how social media platforms have transformed communication, relationships, and the spread of information in today’s world.
- Analyze the history, policies, and debates surrounding gun control and its implications for society.
- Examine the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to the opioid crisis in the United States.
- Discuss the disparities in the criminal justice system and their impact on minority communities.
- Investigate the factors contributing to homelessness, the challenges faced by homeless individuals, and potential solutions.
- Analyze how climate change affects societies, economies, and vulnerable populations.
- Explore the spread of misinformation and its consequences on public opinion, politics, and society.
- Discuss the stigma surrounding mental health issues and its effects on individuals seeking help and society as a whole.
- Examine the causes and consequences of income inequality and its effects on society.
- Investigate the prevalence of cyberbullying, its impact on young people’s mental health, and strategies to address it.
Health and Wellness
- Analyze the relationship between diet and overall health, including the effects of various dietary choices on well-being.
- Explore the stigma surrounding mental health issues and its impact on individuals seeking treatment.
- Examine the connection between physical fitness, exercise, and a longer, healthier life.
- Investigate strategies and lifestyle changes that can help prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
- Discuss the significance of quality sleep and its effects on physical and mental health.
- Analyze different stress management strategies and their effectiveness in promoting overall wellness.
- Explore the role of vaccination in preventing the spread of infectious diseases and protecting public health.
- Discuss holistic approaches to wellness, including alternative and complementary therapies, and their integration into healthcare.
- Examine the importance of addressing mental health in educational settings and the impact on student well-being and academic performance.
- Investigate the challenges and strategies for promoting health and wellness in the elderly population.
- Explain the steps of the scientific method and its importance in conducting scientific research.
- Analyze the evidence for climate change, its causes, and the potential consequences for the planet and society.
- Explore the structure and functions of DNA and how it influences genetic inheritance.
- Discuss the importance of space exploration, its impact on technology, and potential benefits for humanity.
- Examine the structure and functions of the human brain, including the latest research in neuroscience.
- Discuss the search for and discovery of exoplanets outside our solar system and their significance in the study of astrobiology.
- Explain the theory of evolution by natural selection, its evidence, and its impact on biology and society.
- Analyze the principles and applications of AI and machine learning in various scientific and technological fields.
- Explore the world of nanotechnology, its potential uses, and its impact on various industries.
- Discuss the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics and their relevance to modern physics and technology.
- Explore how language shapes culture and the impact of language preservation and revitalization efforts.
- Compare and contrast traditional cultural practices with modern popular culture and their influence on society.
- Discuss the portrayal of cultural stereotypes in media and their effects on public perception and identity.
- Examine the importance of including diverse cultural perspectives in the curriculum and its impact on students.
- Analyze the significance of cultural rituals and traditions and their role in maintaining cultural identity.
- Discuss the influence of globalization on the exchange of cultural ideas, products, and practices.
- Explore the relationship between food, culture, and identity, including the role of cuisine in cultural preservation.
- Examine the importance of folklore and mythology in preserving cultural heritage and passing down stories through generations.
- Investigate cultural taboos, their origins, and how they shape behavior and social norms in different societies.
- Analyze the factors influencing the outbreak of World War II and its effects on the 20th century.
- Explore the technological and societal changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution and their impact on the world.
- Analyze the transformations the Executed Renaissance brought in the 1920s-1930s and its consequences for understanding Ukrainian heritage as an independent culture.
- Discuss the history, key figures, and achievements of the Civil Rights Movement in America.
- Examine the factors that contributed to the Russo-Ukrainian war that started in 2014 and ongoing.
- Analyze the ideas and thinkers of the Enlightenment and their influence on contemporary thought and government.
- Explore the motivations, discoveries, and consequences of the Age of Exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries.
- Discuss the history of the women’s suffrage movement and the struggle for women’s rights and equality.
- Examine the political, economic, and ideological rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War era.
- Discuss the history of the Holodomor, its horrors, and its legacy in shaping international awareness of human rights.
Government and Politics
- Analyze the functions and responsibilities of government in a democratic system.
- Discuss the history, purpose, and criticisms of the Electoral College in U.S. presidential elections.
- Explore the role of political parties in the electoral process and their influence on government policies.
- Examine the concept of the separation of powers in government and its significance in maintaining a system of checks and balances.
- Analyze the role of lobbying groups and their influence on government decision-making.
- Discuss the challenges and potential solutions related to campaign finance in electoral politics.
- Explore the influence and effectiveness of organizations like the United Nations in shaping global politics.
- Examine the practice of gerrymandering and its impact on fair representation in elections.
- Analyze the importance of a free press in a democratic society and the challenges it faces.
- Discuss the influence of social media platforms on political discourse, campaigning, and public opinion
Finance and Economics
- Analyze the causes and consequences of inflation and its effects on purchasing power and economic stability.
- Discuss the functions and tools of central banks to control money supply and interest rates.
- Examine the causes and implications of income inequality on economic growth and social well-being.
- Explore the factors that led to the financial crisis and its subsequent impact on the global economy.
- Analyze the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and their potential impact on traditional financial systems.
- Discuss the consequences of trade conflicts and tariffs on international trade and economic growth.
- Examine the gig economy growth and its impact on the traditional job market.
- Explore the concept of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria in investment decisions and its influence on finance.
- Discuss the economic factors contributing to the rising healthcare costs and potential solutions.
- Analyze the challenges and opportunities for economic growth in developing countries and emerging markets.
- Analyze the science behind climate change, its causes, and the potential ecological and societal impacts.
- Explore the importance of conserving endangered species and the methods used to protect them.
- Examine the environmental and economic consequences of deforestation in different regions.
- Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy sources: solar, wind, and hydroelectric power.
- Examine the environmental challenges of rapid urbanization and strategies for creating sustainable cities.
- Discuss the global issue of water scarcity, its causes, and potential solutions for sustainable water management.
- Explore the importance of biodiversity, the threats it faces, and strategies for preserving diverse ecosystems.
- Analyze the role of government policies and regulations in protecting the environment and mitigating pollution.
- Discuss the causes and consequences of ocean acidification on marine life and the broader environment.
Technology and Innovations
- Analyze the development and applications of artificial intelligence and the ethical considerations surrounding it.
- Explore the growth of IoT and the integration of smart devices in everyday life.
- Discuss the advancements in 5G technology and how they will affect communication and industries.
- Analyze the concept of blockchain technology and its role in the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
- Examine the importance of big data analytics and embedded analytics tools in modern business strategies.
- Explore the use of robots and automation in industries, their benefits, and potential job displacement.
- Discuss the importance of cybersecurity and protecting personal data in the digital age.
- Analyze the biotechnology and genetic engineering advancements, their potential benefits, and ethical concerns.
- Explore innovations in green technology and their role in addressing environmental challenges.
- Discuss recent space exploration technologies and their significance for the future.
- Explain the fundamental principles and methods used in psychological research.
- Analyze the debate on the relative contributions of genetics and environment to human behavior.
- Discuss the relationship between stress and mental health, exploring its causes and consequences.
- Examine the stages of cognitive development in children by Jean Piaget and other theorists.
- Explore major theories of personality, such as Freud’s psychoanalytic theory and the Big Five personality traits.
- Analyze different theories and concepts related to human motivation, including intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
- Discuss various mental disorders, their symptoms, and treatment options.
- Examine the influence of social factors on individual behavior, including conformity, obedience, and group dynamics.
- Explore different learning theories, including classical and operant conditioning, and their real-world applications.
- Discuss the portrayal of psychological disorders in movies, literature, and media and their impact on public perception and stigma.
- Analyze the impact of religion on culture, values, and societal norms.
- Explore the similarities and differences between major world religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.
- Discuss how religious beliefs have inspired art, architecture, and cultural expression throughout history.
- Examine efforts to promote tolerance and understanding among different religious groups.
- Analyze the origins and evolution of sacred texts like the Bible, the Quran, and the Bhagavad Gita.
- Discuss the rise of religious fundamentalism and its impact on global politics and society.
- Explore the significance of religious rituals, ceremonies, and worship in different faiths.
- Analyze the relationship between religious beliefs and moral values, including the role of religion in shaping ethical principles.
- Examine the characteristics and motivations of new religious movements and cults in contemporary society.
- Discuss the historical and contemporary interactions between religion and scientific discoveries, including areas of conflict and harmony.
- Analyze various ethical theories, such as deontology, utilitarianism, and virtue ethics, and their applications to real-life moral dilemmas.
- Discuss the debate on whether individuals have free will or whether their actions are determined by factors beyond their control.
- Explore existentialist philosophy and its perspective on human existence, freedom, and the search for meaning.
- Analyze different theories of mind and consciousness, such as dualism, materialism, and the mind-body problem.
- Discuss epistemological questions, including the nature of knowledge, belief, and the criteria for justified belief.
- Examine philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God, as well as the problem of evil and religious experience.
- Explore ethical considerations related to the environment, including topics like animal rights and environmental conservation.
- Analyze political philosophy concepts, such as justice, authority, and the role of government in society.
- Discuss philosophical perspectives on beauty, art, and the nature of aesthetic experiences.
- Examine the impact of technology on human existence, ethics in technology, and questions about artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
- Analyze the foreshadowing as a literary device in classic and contemporary literature.
- Choose a classic novel and provide a detailed analysis of its themes, characters, and literary techniques.
- Explore the hero’s journey as a narrative archetype in literature and its significance in storytelling.
- Discuss the use of symbols and symbolism in a specific literary work and their deeper meanings.
- Examine how historical events and societal changes are reflected in literature from different time periods.
- Analyze how the story setting can impact the plot, characters, and themes of a literary work.
- Choose a novel and discuss the transformation and growth of a specific character throughout the story.
- Compare a literary work with its film adaptation, highlighting the differences and similarities in storytelling.
- Discuss a specific literary movement (e.g., Romanticism, Modernism, Postcolonial literature) and its influence on literature and culture.
- Analyze difficult ethical decisions healthcare professionals face, such as end-of-life care, organ transplantation, or medical experimentation.
- Discuss the ethical considerations in AI development, including issues like bias, privacy, and the use of AI in autonomous weapons.
- Examine the moral questions raised by genetic engineering, including designer babies, gene editing, and cloning.
- Analyze the ethical challenges in the business world, such as corporate social responsibility, whistleblowing, and ethical decision-making in organizations.
- Discuss the ethical treatment of animals, including animal testing, factory farming, and wildlife conservation.
- Explore ethical issues related to environmental protection, resource consumption, and climate change.
- Examine ethical concerns surrounding data privacy, surveillance, and the impact of technology on personal freedoms.
- Discuss topics like euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, and the ethical treatment of terminally ill patients.
- Analyze ethical challenges in the criminal justice system, including the death penalty and criminal profiling.
- Explore topics related to media ethics, such as journalistic integrity, sensationalism, and fake news.
Expository Writing Tips: How to Improve Your Paper
For your topic to turn into a stellar essay that’s worth a high grade, follow these tips:
- Read some expository essay examples to understand the structure.
- Create an essay outline before writing the draft.
- Write a thesis statement beforehand. It will help you build an engaging narrative.
- When writing, remember the readability and flow. Use synonyms, avoid cliches, and say no to passive voice and redundant adverbs. Don’t use lengthy and complex phrases to sound smart and make your essay longer. Make every word count.
- Edit and proofread your explanatory essay before submitting it.
Expository Essay Example
Choose Your Topic and Get a High Grade!
I hope this list of 180 expository essay topics will help you choose the best writing idea for your paper. Ensure to stick to the 3 C’s:
- Consider the assignment’s requirements.
- Choose a topic that fits your prompt but is also interesting to you.
- Check if you have evidence to refer to in your essay.
And now, over to you:
What topic from those in this article will you cover in your upcoming expository essay?