MA political science: Colleges, Scope and Course Details

Try telling a family member or a neighbor that you plan to take up political science major and notice the bewildered look that follows!! “Why political science? It has no scope,” they’ll argue and try to convince you out of it. Why do you think they say that? Because most people commonly believe that political science as a subject has no scope, no future and offers no employment opportunities. Of course there are some who will roll their eyes and tell you, “Wow! Political Science!! You plan to work in Embassies? How cool!!” 

So what’s your choice? To be honest, neither is political science a subject that offers no future nor is it one that guarantees a fancy employment in an Embassy. The truth is somewhere between the two. 

Why Political Science?

Political Science is an interdisciplinary course that many are not aware of. It is much beyond  just the study of government and politics. And because political science is interdisciplinary, a master’s in it lays the foundation for your future professional success, irrespective of the company you choose. While many may convince you that a degree in engineering is a major stepping stone for professional success, you will be surprised that the CEOs of many Fortune 500 companies had majored in Liberal Arts. To give you a few examples, Llyod Craig Blankefin (Former CEO of Goldman Sacs, majored in Government from Harvard), Brian Thomas Moynihan (Chairman and CEO of Bank of America majored in History), Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock, Nike’s Mike Parker, Richard Anderson of Delta Airlines, Edward Walter of Host Hotels and Resorts, Kenneth Frazier of Merck (American Multinational Pharmaceutical Company and the largest in the world) are all Political Science Majors from various reputed universities. 

Prospects of Pursuing an M.A. in Political Science:

If you thought students pursuing a Master’s in Political Science can work only in government sectors, you are only partially correct. The truth is, Political Science students are eligible to work in corporate and non-profit organizations as well. Surprised? This is because these students have strong research and analytical skills, besides writing skills which make them suitable for myriad jobs in various sectors. Here are some of the important roles that a post-graduate student of Political science is eligible (and these are what many won’t tell you):

  • Civil Services (A Master’s in Political Science does not guarantee entrance into the world of civil servants. But it prepares you better for the civil services examination. General Studies which is a common paper for all civil service examinations, no matter what specialization you choose is all about general knowledge and current affairs which makes it easier for students of political science).
  • Jobs in embassies
  • Intelligence wing
  • Social sectors/NGOs
  • Policy advisors
  • Research analyst
  • Consultant
  • Political content writer/journalist
  • Archivist
  • Teaching jobs in colleges/schools
  • Public Relations officers
  • Public administrators
  • Leaders in political lobbying groups
  • Human Rights activist
  • Marketing (this can sound surprising, but it’s true. Students of political science are good analysts and they understand how society and market functions. So, if you add an MBA or a Diploma in Marketing along with your Master’s in Political Science, you are ready to take on the corporate world too).

M.A Political Science Course Outline:

If you’ve read so far and are getting inclined towards a master’s in Political Science, here’s a little teaser about the course outline. 

The number of compulsory and optional papers in each semester varies between universities and colleges and while core papers are mandatory, you can choose optional papers. How cool can it get? Of course, the number of optional papers that you can choose varies across universities/colleges. 

The core papers include: Political theory (Marxism, feminism etc.), Comparative political methods and approaches, theories of international relations, Indian political thought, Political philosophy ( Plato, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Hobbes etc.), Democracy and political institutions of India, Social Movements and revolutions across the world (French revolution, Bolshevik revolution etc.), Parties, elections and Political process in India, Human rights in India, Public institutions and political governance in India, Rural-Urban Government and Local Self-governance in India, Environment and Developmental Policy, Public Policy. Optional papers depend on what you want to choose from those offered by other departments.

Universities offering M.A. in Political Science in India:

Here’s a list of some popular Universities and colleges in India that offer a Master’s in Political science.  If you are state-specific, you can browse online to see the ranking and eligibility and based on that, you could decide how to go about it. 

  • Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  • Colleges in Delhi University (Gargi College, Kalindi college, Hindu College, Lady Shri Ram College and many more)
  • Jadavpur University, Kolkata
  • St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore
  • Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi
  • University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad
  • Pondicherry Central University, Pondicherry
  • Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
  • University of Mumbai, Mumbai
  • Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
  • IGNOU, Ahmedabad
  • Central University of Kerala, Kasargode
  • Kerala University, Thiruvananthapuram

Master’s in Political Science Abroad:

Some among you might want to pursue a Master’s in Political Science abroad, for obvious reasons. Of all the colleges, Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts tops the list, followed by University of Oxford a close second. Besides, there are colleges in the Ivy League, Canada, Australia, other European countries (France, Germany, and The Netherlands) and Singapore which students normally prefer for a master’s in Political Science. Fees structure is variable, but naturally high, when compared to studying in India, but aid is available to eligible students. For that, you first need to shortlist the university of interest, look carefully into the selection criteria, browse through scholarship options and work towards it. In some cases, you might be lucky to get a monthly stipend, or if not then teaching assistantship which is not bad either.

Selection Criteria for MA in political Science in India: 

Selection is based on a combination of grades/marks in graduation and an entrance examination.  Some universities might allow direct admission but in such cases, the student should be a graduate in Political Science. Other criterion for eligibility includes:

  • A graduation in any discipline, preferably in Humanities.  However, even if you are a non-Humanities student, you are also eligible too.
  • Basic cut-off mark is normally 40-45 percent in graduation. But this again varies from one university/college to the other.
  • In some cases, the pass percentage is higher if the student opts to switch from other courses.

If you are keen to pursue a Master’s in Political Science, you must start looking for application forms online from the month of February. Entrance exams are normally conducted in the month of May. The entrance exam module varies but broadly covers questions on general affairs, Indian Polity and Constitution, Governance and other questions on Indian foreign policy, current social and political issues. 

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A master’s in Political science is lucrative, unlike what many believe. Though many parents don’t encourage their children to opt for a Political Science major, the advancement of technology has made the scope of learning wider. Today many students are diverging from the specialization in Science that was once regarded as the sole determinant of professional success. And many among them ultimately made it big in their chosen career path. The next one could be YOU. 

Janaki Sreenivasan

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