Current Issue 13thFebruary 2016 - 19 February 2016, i.e. No. 45


Sudhakar Kumar Mishra

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 constitution (The Constitution is the highest law of the land) of a country and different political aspects. It involves the study of governmental, non- governmental systems and operations. Accordingly, Political Science often studies the workings of trade unions, corporations or other forms of groups that need not be ‘political’ as far as law and administration one concerned but have similar complexities of governmental procedures. The study of Political Science also concerns international relations, political theories, history, political economy, foreign policies, public administration, Federation, Information Technology and a number of other academic fields. The term ‘Politics’ is applied to a particular social phenomenon as well as a systematic study. Aristotle adapted politics as the title of his famous work, he use the term to indicate a distinct branch of study. The term ‘Politics’ or ‘Political Science’ our subject of study is always concerned with a particular type of human activity. Politics is concerned with the public sector, with Parliament, elections, cabinets and has little relevance to other sphere of human activity. 
     The term ‘Political Science’ came into existence in 1880 by Herbert Baxter Adams, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University. Political Science is taught in all the major institute in India and abroad. The study of Political Science develops not only reasoning and analytical skills, but also communication skills, both oral and written. Furthermore, broadly Political Science majors acquire skills in data analysis and computer usage. Political scientists can enter the field as a research assistant by earning a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science or in any of the social sciences. However, to hold a higher position, you will need at least a Master’s Degree in Political Science. To get into teaching, you will need a Ph.D. After graduation, one can also appear for Civil Service Examinations like UPSC, SSC and State Public Service Commission & Joint Public Service Commission (JPSC). After Post Graduation one can opt for NET or SET/ SLET.

Who is a Political Scientist?

     Political Scientists study political systems. While most strive to discover the trends that shape one’s identity, their interests and jobs very greatly. For example, some conduct surveys to find out people’s opinion on political issues; others use matter to analyse election results. They study the way people organise their societies, whether it’s a neighbourhood, community or nations.

Job Profile:
     A political scientist conducts surveys, analyses election results, interview relevant individuals and scrutinise available documentation. Some even attend legal proceedings and observe public events. Other tasks include:

  • Consulting work with governmental officials.
  • Identifying, researching, analysing and advocating public issues.
  • Preparing reports and documents.
  • Writing articles for publications in the newspapers, magazines and journals.
  • Advisors to the constitutional posts as the President, the Governor etc.

     A substantial majority of political scientists teach in one setting or another – in intermediate colleges, Degree College, or at university graduate departments and management institutes. Political Science is a rewarding field to communicate with others. The role of a political scientists study the relations between the India and other countries. India & UNO, the institutions and political life of nations, and the decisions of the High Court & the Supreme Court. Studying topics such as public opinion, political decision-making, ideology, and public policy, actors & non-state actors.

            Political scientist usually analyse the structure and operation of governments, as well as various political entities. The topic of study decides whether the political scientist will conduct a public-opinion survey, analyse election results or public documents or interview public officials.

     Most political scientists have regular hours. One will gradually need to work behind a desk, either alone or in collaboration with a team and do a lot of reading, writing and research. Fieldwork may be necessary to collect information or attend meetings.

     Research is second to teaching as the common career option within Political Science. However, that there is not necessarily a choice between teaching and research. Many teaching positions, particularly in the universities but also in colleges, Information Technology Institutes, Management Institution required research activities.
     One can do research in a variety of employment settings-in a university, in our institute, in a business or industrial firm, in a N.G.O. or even in the non-profit or advocacy sector. Someone self-employed, and head their own research or consulting firms.


     Many graduates of Political science programmes choose to become involved in print, television, or radio journalism, when they apply their expert understanding of political systems to create reports about consent events. Political scientists might cover elections, conduct interviews, or attend Press conferences where they often have the opportunity to ask questions. Most journalists recognize the importance of objectivity and attempt to present their stories and reports in a manner that reflects factual information, rather than opinions.

Political Practice

     There are a number of options for political practice. These include:

  • Policy Making and Administration  — There are increasing opportunities for political scientist who can use their basic political training to make more informed policy decisions and administer programmes more effectively and more imaginatively. Normally, or skilled policy administrator would not do research of his/her own (perhaps having done it at an earlier career stage). But he or she would be expected to read the research literature, imagine useful research projects which might be commissioned, cooperate with full time researchers who are either on the staff or who serve as outside consultants, and apply the developing knowledge of Political Science and the social sciences to the problems at hand. Of course these problems would vary depending upon the particular employment setting- they might involve housing, transportation, education, community relations, corporate hiring strategies, health, law enforcement, or other major societal concerns.
  • Opportunities in Government Sector - In Government settings, many political scientists conduct research; others manage programmes, and some are engaged in problem-solving for their agencies. Although their specific areas of expertise vary, political scientists command an arsenal of skills, knowledge, and experience that can be put to good use at all levels in a complex Government. Many political scientists in Central, State and local government are engaged in research and evaluation functions/powers of the Government. Some are administrators, managers or developers of programme, and many others are engaged in policy analysis or problem-solving. They are employed in or wide variety of agencies and government departments. At the state level, many are engaged in urban planning, health planning and in criminal justice systems. Because the tasks of a political scientist are so complex, and it is difficult to find appropriate solutions to social problems, good data and broad knowledge are required. Skills in survey and evaluation research and specialists in such fields as aging, criminal justice, demography and the family enable the political scientists to understand what is happening with current or proposed government programmes that affect vast numbers of people. They are collecting data for governments machinery to be used in problem-solving. They are specialist in their particular areas.
  • Opportunities in Business and Entrepreneurship- Political Scientists with a Post Graduate degree can go into a variety of fields, namely human resources, and management. Those with advanced degrees are employed by (or consulted with) many corporations. Many political scientists are also prominent in public opinion research, which is of interest to those in politics, and communication. In industry they are often employed as industrial political scientists – experts in productivity, work or physically challenged, relations, minorities, and women in the work force, linking technology to the organization, corporal culture and organisational development. Political scientists in industry and business command an arsenal of skills and knowledge to solve a wide range of business problems that help to make the companies that employ them more profitable. These include: (a) planning for the future – using demography and forecasting, (b) dealing with organizational change and growth using training techniques and organizational and competitive analysis; and (c) increasing productivity and efficiency through team building and work reorganization.


     Political scientists need excellent written and oral communication skills to report research findings and collaborate on the research. They also need to have significant levels of intellectual curiosity and creativity as they have to constantly be over look out for new information. Others skills required include logical and methodological thinking, good analytical skills, self-confidence and an understanding of human psychology. An open mind and systematic work habits are important in all kinds of social science research. Perseverance’s too, is necessary. To be successful in a career that has its grounding in Political Science, one needs to be well-versed about parliamentary procedures. Awareness about socio-economic, political land international issues is also an essential requirements.

     It’s important to have an alert mind, resilience, tact, diplomacy, flexibility and intelligence. The ability to take criticism, along with skills to solve problems, make decisions, manage teams and the time effectively are also some of the essential traits. Another important aspect is the ability to manage crisis and being emotionally stable and mature.


     As a political scientist, one can work for a Government, a think tank (research organisation), a non-profit organisation, a political lobby group, college or university, or even a business house. Some of the areas include:

  • Public Administration.
  • Public Planning.
  • Social Policy.
  • Academics
  • Public affairs
  • Analysis
  • International relations / International Affairs.
  • Diplomacy
  • Archivist
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Intelligence expert
  • City Planner
  • Diplomat
  • International Organisation
  • Executive Advisor
  • Translator with a Foreign Envoy.


     The salary one draws depends on the profile and hence there is no benchmark that can be mentioned. You may start your career in Political Science. This may help in your personality development and future goals.

(Sudhakar Kumar Mishra is a Junior Research Fellow from Department of Political Science, University of Lucknow, Lucknow.)
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