SERENA JOSEPHINE. M
A course in political science can be the launching platform for a career in government.
An aspiration to get into the arena of governance, keen interest in current affairs and a bent of mind for political theories and political system could open the doors to a course in political science, one of the most sought-after programmes in social sciences stream in premier institutions across the country.
Courses in political science, be it at the undergraduate or postgraduate level, have been gaining in importance among the student community. Several colleges and universities have been offering the course at the UG and PG level.
“A democratic country like India needs people trained in the art and science of governance. The course in political science offers both for aspiring students. The theory and practical aspects of governance are covered in the stream,” says B. Mohanan, Professor and Head, Department of Politics and International Studies of the Pondicherry University.
PG-level courses in political science are offered by Madurai Kamaraj University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, University of Kerala, Osmania University at Hyderabad and Hyderabad Central University. The University of Madras offers a course with thrust on Public Administration, while the Gandhigram Rural University offers a five-year integrated M.A. in Development Administration.
The Pondicherry University offers M.A. in Political Science and International Studies comprising subjects such as India’s foreign policies, political theory, India’s diplomatic history, and theories of International relations, foreign policies of major powers, global security and development.
Politics is a major component of the course with subjects such as comparative politics, Indian political system and political theory.
There are 41 seats for M.A., 24 for M.Phil. and 15 seats for Ph.D at the department. “There is sufficient demand for the courses. We have received 86 applications for M.A. this year,” he notes. However, he says, political science is being neglected due to the dominant presence of engineering colleges.
The eligibility for postgraduate studies in political science is any graduation and students need to appear for an entrance examination. “Those who are aspiring for civil services, for top level and middle level positions, could study political science. This is because the course deals with subjects like Indian Constitution and political system. If the aspirants study this discipline, they have an opportunity to fare better in the civil services,” says the professor.
Apart from this, the scope for political science courses is wide with opportunities in non-government organisations, both at the national and international level. “There are a number of opportunities for teaching and research in universities and colleges. Moreover, think-tanks in the country need students specialised in this arena,” he observes. Similarly, both print and electronic media need those who specialise in the subject. “Students interested in political science should keep themselves updated with current affairs. They should read at least two newspapers a day,” he ssys.