Politics in its broadest sense is the activity through which people make, preserve, and amend the general rules under which they live. Treated as a field of social sciences, political science is the study of a country’s constitution and different political aspects. It is the study of political values, institutions, processes and policies. It is a journey which takes one through various phases of history and issues. Understanding how and why those issues are resolved or fail to be resolved is at the heart of education in political science.
Origins of political science: Political science dates back to more than 2000 years with philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle trying to theorise politics in Greece and almost around the same time in India, Kautaliya trying to shape various political theories. Today in the contemporary world, as a discipline it broadly comprises of political theory, comparative politics, public administration and international relations.
What it’s about: Political science draws upon the fields of economics, law, sociology, history, geography, psychology, anthropology, public administration, public policy, national politics, international relations, comparative politics, political organisation and political theory. Political scientists seek to understand the underlying ways in which power, authority, rules, constitutions and laws affect our lives. It involves the study of governmental, non- governmental systems and operations. It is the study of politics and power from domestic, international and comparative perspectives.
Why study political science: It imparts the ability to rethink and question and gives students a different level of confidence. It empowers one with a whole range of analytical tools. The course gives one an opportunity to know different thought processes prevalent all around the world, learn about various administrative theories and concepts.
Academics: Schools begin teaching political science in the form of civics as part of the social studies curriculum in secondary school. A bachelor’s degree in politics offers direct access to post graduate programmes in political science, international relations, international affairs, global politics, defence strategic studies, peace and conflict resolution studies, public administration and allied subjects. At the honours level, broad papers which are dealt with include nationalism and colonialism, political theory, Indian political thought, comparative government and politics, international relations, Indian government and politics, United Nations, western political thought, public administration and foreign policy.
Eligibility: One must have passed 10+2, in any stream. After graduation, one can opt for a master’s degree and further proceed for an MPhil or PhD degree in political science. For specialisations, one can choose from political economy, international relations and global politics, Indian politics and comparative politics, political theory, public policy and comparative politics and public administration.
Top institutes: Almost all leading universities of India offer degree courses in political science. Some premier colleges are Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi (www.icssr.org/); Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla (www.iias.org); Jawaharlal Nehru University (www.jnu.ac.in); Centre for Multi-disciplinary Development Research (CMDR), Dharwad (www.cmdr.ac.in); Institute for Social and Economic Change (www.isec.ac.in); Bangalore University; St Xavier’s College, Mumbai and Kolkata; Bhavna’s College, Mumbai; Presidency College Kolkata; Hans Raj College, New Delhi; Madras Christian College; Ramjas College, New Delhi; Fergusson College, Pune; Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi; Loyola College, Chennai and St Stephen’s College, New Delhi
Research opportunities: There are some premier universities and research institutions in India that undertake major research projects on various issues in Political Science sponsored both by Indian or foreign funding agencies. Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (www.idsa.in); Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (www.ipcs.orq); Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (www.csds.in); Centre for Policy Research (www.cprindia.orq); Observer Research Foundation (www.observerindia.com); The Institute for Conflict Management (www.satp.orq/satporqtp/icm/ index.html); Forum for Strategic and Security Studies (www. stratmaq.com); PRS Legislative Research (www.prsindia.orq); Centre for Legislative Research and Advocacy (CLRA), New Delhi (www.clraindia.org), etc.
Career prospects: Teaching, research and publishing are typical occupations for the political scientist. As a political scientist one can work for the government or research organisation, non-profit organisation, political lobby group, college or university and business house. Some areas of work include public administration, public planning, social policy, academics, public affairs, analysis, international relations, international affairs, diplomacy, archivist, foreign correspondent, intelligence expert, city planner and diplomat.
Career paths: Journalism, internships, research, law, teaching, business management, civil services, state administrative jobs, urban planning, health planning, criminal justice system, political advisors and international relations.
Future outlook: Politics affects virtually every aspect of our lives, including the availability of education, jobs, housing and healthcare. Whether countries are at war or at peace depends both on what governments do and who supports them. The demand for political science research is growing because of increasing interest in politics, foreign affairs and public policy, including social and environmental policy issues, healthcare and immigration.
Salary: The salary for a political science graduate completely depends on one’s academic achievements, personal skills and capability. There is no benchmark that can be mentioned. A political scientist, after completing his/her studies, can get varied salary packages from different employers. As a fresher, the pay figure may not be satisfying, but it would increase with experience.
Skills required: One must possess leadership qualities, a sense of responsibility, decision-making and stress management abilities, communication and interpersonal skills, intellectual curiosity and creativity, logical and methodological thinking, good analytical skill and self-confidence. He/she should also have systematic work habits; persevere; be well-versed in parliamentary procedures; be aware of socio-economic, political land international issues; have an alert mind; resilience, flexibility, intelligence and ability to manage teams is also required.
Political science is a subject that allows one to explore and persuades one to look for new avenues. A student opting for political science will never find herself/himself lost but will find or make his or her new path towards success.
Director Alpha Mindz