Career Options in Political Science



One of the most common subjects studied by many students in our State is Political Science. All the colleges or senior secondary schools offer this subject as part of their humanities or social sciences course. Students take this subject during the higher secondary level or at the college level. Many people think that this is just an ordinary subject and has less scope. Lack of awareness and proper information is the main cause for such kind of thinking. Contrary to popular perception, this subject brings in a lot of opportunities for young people who want to make a career through this subject.

Political science is a social science discipline that deals with systems of government and the analysis of political activity and political behavior. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics which is commonly thought of as the determining of the distribution of power and resources. It is the study of politics and power from domestic, international, and comparative perspectives. It entails understanding political ideas, ideologies, institutions, policies, processes, and behavior, as well as groups, classes, government, diplomacy, law, strategy, and war. A background in political science is valuable for citizenship and political action, as well as for future careers in government, law, business, media, or public service.

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 organization, and political theory. Although it was codified in the 19th century, when all the social sciences were established, the study of political science has ancient roots that can be traced back to the works of Chanakya, Plato and Aristotle which were written nearly 2,500 years ago. 

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 institutes in India and abroad. From school level onwards, everyone is familiar with this subject field as part of their curriculum. After 10+2, one can take a bachelors degree in Political Science, and go further to take up the Masters Degree. After that there is also the option for Ph.D and post doctorate research. 

There are different opportunities for students studying political science. Aspirants who are eager to become lawyers need to understand more about this subject. People who fully understand the nature and meaning of constitutions, rulings and regulations often pursue political science and law can go on to law school and become lawyers. 

A substantial majority of political scientists teach in intermediate colleges, degree colleges or at university graduate departments and management institutes related to the subject.

Like teaching, another area where students of political science can get associated is research. It is the next main career option within Political Science related to teaching. Many teaching positions, particularly in the universities, require research activities. One can do research in a variety of employment settings - in a university, institute, business or industrial firm, N.G.O. or even in the non-profit or advocacy sector. There are some premier Universities and research institutions in India which need Research Analysts/Research Fellows/Research Associates for carrying out policy relevant projects. 

In a country like India where the term politics is very common, it brings opportunities in political journalism. Political science graduates also choose to become get in the print, television or radio journalism, where they apply their expert understanding of political systems to create reports about current events. Political scientists might cover elections, conduct interviews, or attend press conferences where they often have the opportunity to ask questions. Political science graduates can also join the media as political correspondent/analyst/ researcher. Many students after studying political science at the degree level opt for journalism and mass communication in their masters. 

Many students of political science, after finishing their graduation and masters, prepares for competitive examinations like the civil services. This is possibly the most popular choice of many political science students. The study of political science enables a student to understand governance and how it functions, as well as a detailed knowledge of public administration, political theory and philosophy that can help one in a career in government. 

Many graduates and post-graduates apply for different State-level or national-level competitive examinations apart from the civil services. At the central and State government level, there are various options in administrative services. Some may become political advisors to political parties or for others. Political advisors are political science experts who work alongside politicians and government officials, helping them make important decisions in a number of different situations. Apart from different domestic activities some may also look for international relations. Students who are expertise on international relationship may try for different jobs. 

Most of the job opportunities in political science require an advanced degree. One can enter this field after a Bachelors degree in political Science. It is always   advisable to have more qualifications to be easily selected for jobs. Aspirants must pass masters with required marks to appear in examinations like NET. The NET exam conducted by University Grants Commission (UGC). Similarly, cut off marks is there for getting admission into Ph. D in different universities across the country. If you want to become a Political Science/Social Science teacher, you need to be graduate or post graduate degree in Political Science with B.Ed . 

Mere educational qualifications are not enough to get jobs or get placement. There are other skills and other qualities which are essential to be successful and to be employable. Knowledge and ideas about life skills are keys to be successful.  Required skills are leadership qualities, analytical thinking ability, interpersonal relationship, alert and active mind, problem solving skills, effective communication skills, decision making, self-confidence, ability to face and manage stress, etc. Apart from all these, awareness about socio-economic, political and international issues is an essential requirement. One needs to update her or himself with different aspects and happenings of the society. 

In a country like India where politics or elections are common, there are many different opportunities for students of political science. These days, political parties also hire experts to make and plan election strategies. Knowledge of foreign languages also helps one to work outside the country. Subjects like peace and conflict studies, which are also associated with political science, brings more opportunities for young people of Assam or the Northeast to study conflicts for bringing changes in positive ways. Our region has been affected by numerous conflicts, so authentic study and research related to conflicts may help bring positive changes to society and also help the government to make new policies and programmes.


* The CSIR-North East Institute of Science and Technology, Jorhat, has instituted a Scholarship Scheme for the students of the Northeast region for study at their Bachelor Degree programme in natural/ basic sciences at B.Sc., B.Sc (Hons), integrated M.Sc. /MS programs in any one of the recognized institutions in India. Last date for application is September 15, 2017. 

* Bharti Infratel, one of the largest telecom tower infrastructure providers in India, announced its scholarship program for Persons-With-Disabilities (PWDs). This program is designed to benefit students across all the eight north-eastern States of Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Meghalaya. Interested may contact Shishu Sarothi in Guwahati. Last date for sending application is September 20, 2017.


(Ranjan K Baruah is a social activist and career mentor who has conducted career awareness programme in different parts of Assam and Northeast India and can be reached at [email protected]  or 98640 55558 for any career related queries.)