Political Science v/s Public Administration as optional subjects

In the present competitive scenario, it is very confusing to select the right optional subject for UPSC civil services aspirants. Some aspirants end up in the dilemma of whether to choose one or the other optional subject. The optional subject plays a deciding and very critical role in one's selection, so deciding on an optional subject becomes a choice of paramount importance. When choosing the optional subject one needs to analyse one's background, interest, and aptitude for the said optional subject. Also one needs to go through the syllabus and previous year's question papers to check the level of questions asked and the syllabus pattern of the subject in consideration. Our point of discussion is whether one should choose political science or public administration as an optional subject. Below are the pros and cons of both the subjects and let you decide which one is more suitable for you.

Public Administration


  1. Fairly easy to understand and scoring in nature.

  2. Ample resources are available in the market and coaching is available almost everywhere.

  3. Analysing the previous year’s question papers one can easily find the straightforwardness of the questions asked.

  4.  The syllabus overlaps with the general studies and therefore supplements the resources and reduces the effort and time.

  5. The subject is of immense help in essay writing and also in the interview.

  6. Opting for this subject will also acquaint you with the administration in real situations thereby much helpful in preparing you as a future administrator.


  1. There is a lot of competition as large numbers of aspirants opt for public administration as an optional subject.

  2. Being non-technical and theoretical in nature one may find it difficult and dry.

  3. The syllabus is vast and some may find it hard to finish in time.

  4. Being dynamic in nature paper 2nd of the public administration is a little bit unpredictable.

  5. Needs a hell lot of practice and a good vocabulary to write impressive answers.

  6. Public administration also needs a good command of current affairs to incorporate every possible angle in answer writing.

Political Science


  1. . Political science is multidisciplinary in nature and coincides well with general studies, thus aiding in the preparation of general studies too.

  2. Because of the overlapping nature of the subject, one can find it quite interesting,

      thereby reducing the time and effort to complete the syllabus.

  1. The questions are pretty much predictable therefore eliminating the chances of confusion.

  2. It will definitely help in the preparation of current affairs and also be very helpful in the interview.

  3. Any aspirant from any background can opt for this subject; one needs no subject expertise in getting started.

  4. The syllabus is not fairly too much and there are lots of resources available in the market both online and offline.


  1. different political theories are sometimes confusing and difficult to       comprehend

  2. The abundance of theoretically based concepts makes it too hectic and burdensome

  3. Good writing skills are the quintessential part to score well in political science, lacking the same will be paralysing.

  4. There is a need for research and accuracy all the time.

  5. Sometimes it becomes too boring due to irrelevancy with the practicality and mismatch of western political thought to the Indian context.

  6. Political ideologies and thoughts need to be revised multiple times to get fully understood before writing the answers to the UPSC standard questions. 


One needs not get confused with the choice of an optional subject. Proper research is essential to make your choice. Based on the above discussion it is purely upon you to choose what is suitable and best for you. Wish you the best of luck.