Political Science & International Relations Optional Course For UPSC

Political science and international relations are optional subject 

UPSC allowed the candidate to choose an optional subject out of the list of 48 subjects some of the optional subjects have a large overlap with the syllabus for general studies the IES examination has three categories that include preliminary mains and interview round the UPSC mains examination have 9 papers that include two papers of optional subject for UPSC political science and international relations is a subject that is considered under the list of the optional subject in this article you will get detailed information about political science and international relations optional subject for UPSC.

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Political science and international relations 

the political science and international relations are commonly known as a subject for which a huge amount of study material is available free of particle science and international relations consists of the topics that are related to the freedom struggle and Indian politics it also includes the constitution of India international organizations Indian foreign policy the international economic system and trade and peacekeeping among others all these topics are the part of general studies syllabus.

Syllabus of political science and international relations for UPSC 

The political science and international relations optional subject consist of two papers:- paper 1st and paper 2nd in UPSC civil service mains examination each paper is of 250 marks that is a total of 500 marks.

Political science mains syllabus paper I

Section A:- Political Theory and Indian Politics

  • Political theory:- meaning and approaches.
  • Theories of the state:- Liberal, Neo-liberal, Marxist, Pluralist, Post-colonial and feminist.
  • Justice:- Conceptions of justice with special reference to Rawl’s theory of justice and its communitarian critiques.
  • Equality:- Social, political, and economic, the relationship between equality and freedom, Affirmative action.
  • Rights:- Meaning and theories, different kinds of rights, the concept of Human Rights.
  • Democracy:- Classical and contemporary theories, different models of democracy, participatory and deliberative.
  • Concept of power:- hegemony, ideology, and legitimacy.
  • Political Ideologies:- Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism, Fascism, Gandhism, and Feminism.
  • Indian Political Thought:- Dharmashastra, Arthashastra, and Buddhist traditions, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Sri Aurobindo, M.K. Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar, M.N. Roy.
  • Western Political Thought:- Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, John S. Mill, Marx, Gramsci, Hannah Arend.

Section B:- Indian Government and Politics

  • Indian Nationalism:-
  • Political Strategies of India’s Freedom struggle:- constitutionalism to mass Satyagraha, Non-cooperation, Civil Disobedience, militant and revolutionary movements, Peasant and workers’ movements.
  • Perspectives on Indian National Movement:- Liberal, Socialist, and Marxist, Radical humanist and Dalit.
  • Making of the Indian Constitution:- Legacies of British rule, different social and political perspectives.
  • Salient Features of the Indian Constitution:- The Preamble, Fundamental Rights and Duties, Directive Principles, Parliamentary System and Amendment Procedures, Judicial Review and Basic Structure doctrine.
  • a. Principal Organs of the Union Government:- Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature, and Supreme Court.
  • b. Principal Organs of the State Government:- Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature, and High Courts.
  • Grassroots Democracy:- Panchayati Raj and Municipal Government, the significance of 73rd and 74th Amendments, Grassroot movements.
  • Statutory Institutions/Commissions:- Election Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General, Finance Commission, Union Public Service Commission, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Women, National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Minorities, National Backward Classes Commission.
  • Federalism:- Constitutional provisions, changing nature of center-state relations, integrationist tendencies and regional aspirations, inter-state disputes.
  • Planning and Economic Development:- Nehruvian and Gandhian perspectives, the role of planning and public sector, Green Revolution, land reforms and agrarian relations, liberalization and economic reforms.
  • Caste, Religion, and Ethnicity in Indian Politics.
  • Party System:- National and regional political parties, ideological and social bases of parties, patterns of coalition politics, Pressure groups, trends in electoral behavior, changing socio-economic profile of Legislators.
  • Social Movements:- Civil liberties and human rights movements, women’s movements, environmentalist movements.

UPSC Political Science Optional Syllabus For Paper-2

Section A:- Comparative Political Analysis and International Politics

  1. Comparative Politics:- Nature and major approaches, political economy and political sociology perspectives, limitations of the comparative method.
  2. State in comparative perspective:- Characteristics and changing nature of the State in capitalist and socialist economies, and, advanced industrial and developing societies.
  3. Politics of Representation and Participation:- Political parties, pressure groups, and social movements in advanced industrial and developing societies.
  4. Globalization:- Responses from developed and developing societies.
  5. Approaches to the Study of International Relations:- Idealist, Realist, Marxist, Functionalist and Systems theory.
  6. Key concepts in International Relations:- National interest, Security and power, Balance of power and deterrence, Transnational actors and collective security, World capitalist economy, and globalization.
  7. Changing International Political Order:-
    1. (a) Rise of superpowers, strategic and ideological Bipolarity, arms race and Cold War, nuclear threat,
    2. (b) Non-aligned movement:- Aims and achievements,
    3. (c) Collapse of the Soviet Union, Unipolarity and American hegemony, the relevance of non-alignment in the contemporary world.
  8. Evolution of the International Economic System:- From Bretton Woods to WTO, Socialist economies and the CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance), Third World demand for new international economic order, Globalization of the world economy.
  9. United Nations:- Envisaged role and actual record, specialized UN agencies-aims and functioning, the need for UN reforms.
  10. Regionalization of World Politics:- EU, ASEAN, APEC, SAARC, NAFTA.
  11. Contemporary Global Concerns:- Democracy, human rights, environment, gender justice, terrorism, nuclear proliferation.

Section B:- India and the World

  1. Indian Foreign Policy:- Determinants of foreign policy, institutions of policy-making, continuity, and change.
  2. India’s Contribution to the Non-Alignment Movement:- Different phases, current role.
  3. India and South Asia:-
    • Regional Cooperation:- SAARC-past performance and future prospects.
    • South Asia as a Free Trade Area.
    • India’s ‘Look East policy.
    • Impediments to regional cooperation:- river water disputes, illegal cross-border migration, ethnic conflicts and insurgencies, border disputes.
  4. India and the Global South:- Relations with Africa and Latin America, leadership role in the demand for NIEO and WTO negotiations.
  5. India and the Global Centers of Power:- USA, EU, Japan, China, and Russia.
  6. India and the UN System:- Role in UN Peace-keeping, demand for Permanent Seat in the Security Council.
  7. India and the Nuclear Question:- Changing perceptions and policy.
  8. Recent developments in Indian Foreign policy:- India’s position on the recent crisis in Afghanistan, Iraq, and West Asia, growing relations with the US and Israel, the vision of new world order.


How to prepare for political science and international relations for UPSC? 

You must have seen that political science is an optional subject that is divided into two papers and each paper has two parts. Now the candidate needs to understand how to prepare for each section of these sections.

For paper I 

Section A:– the candidate needs to focus on the static path and they should revise it multiple times to send true lies to your understanding for the examination. The candidate can refer to the following resources for the preparation of this section.

  • Political Ideologies by O.P Gauba, Notes by Shubhra Ranjan Madam
  •  Indian Political Thought:- V R Mehta + Shubhra Ranjan Madam Notes
  • Western Political Thought:-  Brian Nelson (excellent book) + Shubhra Ranjan Notes

Section B:– This section has a significant syllabus that overlaps with the general studies paper first and second but the candidate has to read with the flavor of the optional subject. The candidate must have a good command of current affairs. It is also needed to crack the section. The UPSC candidates should refer to the following resources:– 

  • Indian National Movement – Bipin Chandra + Spectrum
  • Indian Polity – B. L. Fadia (Very selective) + Laxmikanth

For paper II

Section A:– this is a combination of static and dynamic topics and for this, the candidate should refer to the IGNOU notes. Here the candidate should read as per the demand of the syllabus. 

Section B:– this is heavily dependent on the current affairs section of the questions that are asked in this examination originally asked on the current topics. For this, the candidate should make sure that they have a good command of current affairs.

Booklist for the preparation of political science and international relations optional subject

Paper 1:- Section A:- Political Theory

  • ‘An Introduction to Political Theory’ by O.P Gauba.7TH EDITION, Mayur Publication
  • ‘Political Theory:- An Introduction by Rajeev Bhargava and Ashok Acharya, 2nd edition, Pearson.
  • ‘A History of Political Thought:- Plato to Marx’ by Subrata Mukherjee and Sushila Ramaswamy.
  • ‘Western Political Thought:- From Socrates to the Age of Ideology’ by Brian. R. Nelson.
  • IGNOU BOOKLET MPSE-004 Social and Political Thought in Modern India
  • ‘Modern Indian Political Thought:- Text and Context’ by Bidyut Chakrabarty and Rajendra Kumar Pandey.
  • ‘Politics’ by Andrew Heywood.
  • ‘Political Theory:- An Introduction by Andrew Heywood.
  • ‘Key Concepts in Politics’ by Andrew Heywood.
  • ‘Political Ideologies:- An Introduction by Andrew Heywood.
  • ‘Western Political Thought:- From Plato to Marx’ by Shefali Jha.
  • ‘Indian Political Thought:- Themes and Thinkers’ by M. P. Singh and Himanshu Roy.

Paper 1:- Section B:- Indian Government and Politics

  • ‘India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra.
  • ‘Introduction to the Constitution of India’ by Dr. Durga Das Basu.
  • ‘Indian Government and Politics’ by A.S.Narang, Geetanjali Publication
  • ‘The Oxford Companion to Politics in India’ by Niraja Gopal Jayal and Pratap Bhanu Mehta.
  • ‘Politics in India’ by Rajni Kothari.
  • ‘Our Parliament:- An Introduction to Parliament of India’ by Subhash C. Kashyap.
  • ‘Our Constitution:- An Introduction to India’s Constitution and Constitutional Law’ by Subhash C. Kashyap.

Paper 2:- Section A:- Comparative Politics and International Relations

  • ‘The Globalization of World Politics:- An Introduction to International Relations by John Baylis, Steve Smith, and Patricia Owens.
  • ‘Global Politics’ by Andrew Heywood.
  • ‘Theories of Comparative Politics:- The Search for a Paradigm Reconsidered’ by Ronald H. Chilcote.
  • IGNOU notes on Comparative Politics.
  • ‘Theories of International Relations’ by Palgrave publications.
  • ‘The Oxford Handbook of International Relations’ by Christian Reus-Smit and Duncan Snidal.
  • ‘Understanding International Relations’ by Chris Brown and Kirsten Ainley.
  • ‘Introduction to International Relations:- Theories and Approaches’ by Georg Sorenson and Robert Jackson.

Paper 2:- Section B:- India and the World

  • Indian Foreign Policy:- An Overview by Harsh Pant
  • International Relations- Mcgraw Hill education
  • ‘IDSA website should be followed for articles.
  • MEA website should be regularly followed for updates and articles.
  • IR editorials should be followed in The Hindu and the Indian Express.

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