200 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Any time an essay assignment requires a student to examine the relationship between two or more topics, it is called a compare and contrast essay.

This form of essay is most commonly assigned to students in literature, history, and social studies. Typically, when writing a compare and contrast essay, students have the most trouble coming up with a topic that will satisfy both parts of this type of essay.

Fortunately, this guide will cover 200 compare and contrast essay topics and helpful tips on writing this type of essay.

Essential Elements of a Compare and Contrast Essay

Unlike other types of essays that talk about one subject or are designed to convince readers of something, a compare and contrast essay has one specific goal – to show the relationship between two objects or ideas.

To do this, students must choose two topics related to each other to draw comparable and contrasting points of view. For example, a compare and contrast essay that examines the relationship between a political figure and the price of gas won’t be very effective because the two topics are entirely unrelated.

Put simply, if you were to compare and contrast these two items, there wouldn’t be anything to write about. However, it would be more effective if you compared and contrasted something like gasoline prices during a presidential campaign or an election with the cost of gas at another time.

Another essential element of a compare and contrast essay includes specific phrases known as signal words. Signal words allow the reader to understand that the author is shifting from one topic to another as well as the relationship between them. Signal words include:

  • additionally
  • although
  • despite
  • likewise
  • moreover
  • similarly
  • as well as
  • both
  • in common with
  • as a result
  • nevertheless
  • at the same time
  • however

These words will help add a fluid transition between thoughts so that the reader isn’t confused by which point you are trying to emphasize.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

When it comes to writing a compare and contrast essay, it is easiest to start with creating an outline using a Venn Diagram. A Venn Diagram is a chart with two or more overlapping circles, one for each topic’s specific qualities. The overlapping section of the diagram is for the similarities between the two topics.

Once a student has outlined the two topics and their similarities, it is time to move on to the actual writing.


When writing the introduction to a compare and contrast essay, it is essential to start with a “hook.” A hook is a bold statement or question that gets the reader’s attention and causes them to want to know the answer.

After the hook, the intro should include background info on the two subjects and then follow with a thesis that ties together why these two topics are being compared and contrasted.


Each paragraph should focus on a specific aspect of the topic. The paragraphs aren’t about proving or disproving anything; they are used to highlight the similarities and differences between the two items.

All body paragraphs should start with a topic sentence and then follow with:

  • Two sentences that compare
  • Two sentences that contrast
  • A final sentence that ties the two together

Depending on the length of your essay, you may need to cover similarities in a few paragraphs, then differences in a few paragraphs before writing a final section that ties the two together.


The conclusion of a compare and contrast essay should include final insights and a reiteration of the thesis statement. In addition, the conclusion should reinforce why you chose to compare and contrast two different topics or objects.

For example, if your essay compares a superhero and a sidekick, then the conclusion might talk about how both the hero and the sidekick have strengths and weaknesses that make them strong together as a team.

It is important to note that a conclusion shouldn’t introduce new ideas not previously mentioned in the essay. Doing so will cause the reader to doubt your argument and question why you didn’t include that information earlier if it was so important.

200 Compare and Contrast Essay Topic Ideas

Using the information above with any of these 200 compare and contrast essay topics will ensure that you write an engaging and interesting paper that will impress your instructor and earn you the grade you need to pass your class and earn your degree.

IT & Computer Science Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  1. Typing v. handwriting papers
  2. Cellphones v. laptops
  3. Computer hackers v. computer security specialists
  4. Computer memory chips v. hard drive storage capacity
  5. Windows v. Linux
  6. JAVA v. C++
  7. Online shopping v. in-store shopping
  8. Facebook v. Twitter
  9. Computer games v. console games
  10. Computer viruses v. anti-virus software
  11. Software v. hardware
  12. Google v. Bing
  13. Video editing tools v. photo editing tools
  14. Siri v. Google Now
  15. 3D printers v. machine manufacturing
  16. Netflix v. Hulu Plus
  17. Wireless v. Ethernet
  18. Routine computer maintenance v. software updates
  19. Online courses v. in-person lectures
  20. Cyberbullying v. direct bullying

Political Science Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  1. Incumbent president v. presidential challenger
  2. U.S. presidential election v. U.S. congressional election
  3. Congressional basic salary v House of Representatives salary
  4. Legislative branch budget v Executive Branch budget
  5. Presidential veto power v Congressional override
  6. Unelected government officials v Elected government officials
  7. Capitalism v. Communism
  8. Communism v. Socialism
  9. Democracy v. Monarchy
  10. Presidential term length v. Senator term lengths
  11. Federalism v. Nationalism
  12. Constitutional monarchy v. Republic
  13. Freedom of speech and press v. hate speech and libel laws
  14. Western Europe countries v. Eastern European countries
  15. Affirmative action v. anti-discrimination law
  16. The political system of the UK v. The political system of the USA
  17. Free trade v. tariffs
  18. Voting rights v. campaign finance laws
  19. Lobbyists v. special interest groups
  20. Capital punishment v. life imprisonment
  21. Executive orders v. signed legislation
  22. Obstructionism v. bipartisanship
  23. The New Deal v. The Great Society programs
  24. Political partisanship v. party unity

Philosophy Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  1. Religious beliefs v. spiritual beliefs
  2. Nihilism v. nihilistic tendencies
  3. Epistemology v. ontology
  4. Reductionism v. holism
  5. Dualism v. monism
  6. Supernatural causation v. natural causation
  7. Ethics of belief v. ethics of action
  8. Life after death experiences vs. near-death experiences
  9. Afterlife consequences v. consequences in the here and now
  10. Subjectivity v. objectivity
  11. Theism v. deism
  12. Atheists and agnostics v. the religious and spiritual
  13. Existentialism vs. existential nihilism
  14. Philosophical skepticism vs. practical skepticism
  15. Ethical relativism v. moral absolutism
  16. Philosophical pessimism v. philosophical optimism
  17. Ontological idealism vs. ontological realism
  18. Epistemological empiricism v. epistemological rationalism
  19. Cartesian duality v. Kantian duality
  20. Eastern philosophy v. Western philosophy
  21. Feminist philosophy v. Feminist epistemology
  22. Animal rights v. Human rights
  23. Philosophical anarchism vs. philosophical minarchism

Economics Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  1. Supply and demand v. price controls
  2. Microeconomics v. Macroeconomics
  3. Inflation v. deflation
  4. Taxation v. Tax evasion
  5. Poverty traps vs. poverty cycles
  6. Economic bubbles v. economic depressions
  7. Money laundering v. tax havens
  8. Debt ceiling limits vs. debt limit increases
  9. Keynesian economics v. Monetarism
  10. The Federal Reserve System v. The People’s Republic of China currency market
  11. Capital accumulation v. capital consumption
  12. Market failure vs. government failure
  13. Stagflation v. Hyperinflation
  14. Economic growth v. economic development
  15. Welfare state v. laissez-faire economy
  16. Keynesian economics v. radical Keynesianism
  17. Capitalist economies v. socialist economies
  18. Social market economies vs. social democracies
  19. Economic stimulus vs. fiscal austerity
  20. Tax-and-transfer policies vs. price floors and ceilings
  21. Command and control economy v. planned economy
  22. Economic sanctions v. economic warfare
  23. Free market capitalism v. progressive capitalism
  24. Socialism and welfare v. neoliberalism and globalization

Education Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  1. College v. Trade school
  2. Public school v. Private school
  3. Montesori method v. Waldorf method
  4. Group projects v. individual work
  5. Standardized tests v. unique assessments
  6. Multiple-choice exams vs. essays and papers
  7. Education costs v. education benefits
  8. Classroom discipline v. classroom safety
  9. Teacher credentialing and certification tests v. transcript-based hiring
  10. Homeschooling v. public education
  11. Education majors vs. liberal arts majors
  12. Athletic scholarships vs. academic scholarships
  13. Multi-year scholarships vs. one-year scholarships
  14. Special education v. gifted education
  15. Curriculum planning and construction v. curriculum implementation
  16. Accreditation standards for colleges and universities v. accreditation standards for primary schools and secondary schools
  17. Alternative teacher certification programs vs. traditional teacher certification programs
  18. School vouchers v. school funding without government intervention

Science Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  1. Scientific method v. pseudoscience
  2. Alternative medicine v. pharmaceutical treatment
  3. Evolutionary biology vs. creationism
  4. Biological determinism vs. free will
  5. Gut feelings v. thinking things through
  6. The double-blind experimental design in pharmaceutical research v. self-experimentation
  7. Astrology v. astronomy
  8. Alternative energy sources v. traditional energy sources
  9. Global warming v. global cooling
  10. Fusion power vs. fission power
  11. Aerospace engineering vs. rocketry and space travel
  12. Nuclear weapons testing v. nuclear power generation
  13. Psychiatric drugs v. psychoanalysis and other forms of therapy for mental disorders
  14. Solid, liquid, gas v. plasma
  15. Positive reinforcement vs. negative reinforcement
  16. Surface tension v. surface energy
  17. Covalent bonds v. ionic bonds
  18. Newtonian-Einsteinian physics vs. quantum mechanics
  19. Nuclear physics v. atomic physics
  20. The Big Bang Theory v. The Steady-State Theory
  21. Microbiology v. virology
  22. Biology vs. biochemistry
  23. Organic chemistry v. physical chemistry
  24. Classical electromagnetism v. quantum electrodynamics

History Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  1. Prehistoric societies v. ancient civilizations
  2. Dark Ages v. Middle Ages
  3. Early modern period v. late modern period
  4. Middle Eastern history vs. South Asian history
  5. History of North America vs. history of Central and South America
  6. Economic policies during the Great Depression in Germany, Japan, and the United States v. economic policies during the Great Recession in Europe and North America
  7. The collapse of communism v. democratic transition
  8. The Industrial Revolution v. The Agricultural Revolution
  9. The Northern Renaissance v. European colonialism
  10. Nationalism and state-building in China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Turkey, and Russia from 1848-1918 vs. nationalism and state-building in Italy, Japan, Korea, the Ottoman Empire, and Poland from 1923-1939
  11. The decline of the Roman Empire v. fall of the Soviet Union
  12. The economy of Western Europe vs. newly formed European Union member states after 1992
  13. Leaders of the French Revolution v. leaders during World War II in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the Soviet Union
  14. The Age of Enlightenment v. The Reformation
  15. Europe vs. Africa and Asia from 600-1450 CE
  16. Church history from 1500-1700 vs. state-building from 1700-1800 in Europe, Africa, and Asia
  17. Leaders of major European empires during World War I v. leaders of the victorious and defeated nations after World War I
  18. Domestic policy of major European powers during World War II v. foreign policy of major European powers during World War II
  19. The independence of India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka from Great Britain v. the collapse of Yugoslavia into smaller states
  20. The most famous battles in world history (Waterloo, Trafalgar, Agincourt, etc.) v. the most famous events in world history (Enlightenment, Reformation, Industrial Revolution, French Revolution, etc.)

Health & Medicine Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  1. Medical vs. legal definitions of death
  2. Medical malpractice v. government prosecution for criminal negligence
  3. Surgery styles (e.g., laparoscopic, open) v. medical procedures (e.g., gastroscopy, colonoscopy)
  4. Palliative care and hospice care v. euthanasia and feticide
  5. Preventative medicine v. curing disease after the fact
  6. Medical screening procedures to detect illnesses early on vs. late-term treatments of diseases that have progressed to advanced stages
  7. The use of MRI scans, X-rays, and CT scans in film and television compared to their real-life uses in medical diagnosis and treatment
  8. Antibiotic resistance v. viral mutation
  9. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in the United States vs. universal health care systems in Canada, Germany, and Taiwan
  10. Medical marijuana v. medical treatment with psychedelic drugs
  11. Organ donation from living donors vs. organ donation from cadavers

English & Literature Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  1. The epic form in literature vs. the sonnet
  2. Parallelism in poetry v. rhyme schemes
  3. Rationalism vs. romanticism
  4. Leitmotifs in opera and musical theatre
  5. Narrative techniques (e.g., cinematography, voiceover) in film vs. novels/short stories
  6. Formal and informal writing styles in prose
  7. Sensory imagery in poetry compared to sensory language in film or television
  8. Metaphor and extended metaphors in the works of William Faulkner and Dylan Thomas vs. symbolism and contrasting images in the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Toni Morrison
  9. The use of internal monologue in the works of Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner v. the use of voiceover in film
  10. The writing styles of Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Gustave Flaubert, James Joyce, Jane Austen, Leo Tolstoy, and Stephen King compared to their contemporary authors
  11. Isolation as a theme in the works of William Shakespeare and Leo Tolstoy vs. social isolation in contemporary films
  12. The narratives of classic British comedy (e.g., Monty Python, Fawlty Towers) v. American sitcoms (e.g., The Simpsons, Friends)
  13. Writing styles in British magazines (e.g., New Scientist, The Spectator) compared to American magazines (e.g., Time, Newsweek)
  14. Modernism in the works of T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, and Samuel Beckett v. postmodernist literature in the works of David Foster Wallace or Zadie Smith
  15. The styles of Charles Dickens, Jonathan Swift, Jane Austen, and George Orwell v. the themes of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, or George R.R. Martin
  16. The poetry of William Shakespeare compared to modern spoken word poetry
  17. The parallelism of Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene compared to the narrative framework in John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress
  18. The works of J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin compared to the epic poetry of Homer, Virgil, Ovid, Dante Alighieri, or William Shakespeare
  19. The sonnets of William Shakespeare paired with contemporary love poems (e.g., Pablo Neruda) vs. ancient love poems (e.g., Sappho)
  20. The allegories of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress compared to the symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story Young Goodman Brown or The Scarlet Letter
  21. Greek tragedies v. Shakespearean tragedies
  22. Ancient Greek comedies vs. modern romantic comedies
  23. Classical mythology compared to contemporary fantasy

Fine Art Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  1. Superheroes in comic books and graphic novels v. Greek mythology
  2. The use of digital art vs. traditional oil paintings
  3. Compositions by Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko compared to the Cubist works of Pablo Picasso
  4. Architectural styles in Ancient Greece v. modern skyscrapers
  5. The art of Pompeii and the architecture of ancient Greece vs. modern Classical revivalist architecture (e.g., neoclassicism, Beaux-Arts)
  6. Classic opera v. musical theatre
  7. The paintings of Edvard Munch vs. the stop motion animation in The Nightmare Before Christmas
  8. Themes in Impressionist art (e.g., waterfront scenes at dusk) v. themes in Fauvist or Expressionist art (e.g., cityscapes during a snowstorm)
  9. Watercolor art compared to acrylic paintings
  10. The realistic art of Diego Velásquez and Amedeo Modigliani vs. the Cubist, Surrealist, or Expressionist works of Pablo Picasso or Vincent van Gogh
  11. Self-portraits by Frida Kahlo in comparison to self-portraits by Andy Warhol
  12. Modernism in the works of Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso vs. contemporary postmodernism in the works of Banksy
  13. The compositions of Rembrandt van Rijn compared to the digital art in video games

Compare and Contrast Your Way to a Better Grade!

Regardless of what you compare and contrast, remember that you must ensure that each topic is equally represented throughout the writing. Also, don’t forget to organize your thoughts with a Venn Diagram, then provide a thorough analysis in your writing.

Combined with this handy guide, these topics will ensure that you get the grade you need to advance through your studies and earn your diploma.

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