UPSC Political Science Optional Syllabus

UPSC Political Science Optional Syllabus

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UPSC Political Science Optional Syllabus

UPSC Political Science Optional is divided into two papers, Paper-1 and Paper-2. We’ve listed the entire UPSC Political Science Optional Syllabus for both Paper 1 and Paper-2 below:

UPSC Political Science Optional Syllabus for Paper-1

  • 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-representative, 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

  • 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 the 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.

    1. Principal Organs of the Union Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature and Supreme Court.
    2. 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 centre-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 behaviour; 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

  • Comparative Politics: Nature and major approaches; political economy and political sociology perspectives; limitations of the comparative method.

  • State in comparative perspective: Characteristics and changing nature of the State in capitalist and socialist economies, and,advanced industrial and developing societies.

  • Politics of Representation and Participation: Political parties, pressure groups and social movements in advanced industrial and developing societies.

  • Globalisation: Responses from developed and developing societies.

  • Approaches to the Study of International Relations: Idealist, Realist, Marxist, Functionalist and Systems theory.

  • Key concepts in International Relations: National interest, Security and power; Balance of power and deterrence; Transnational actors and collective security; World capitalist economy and globalisation.

  • 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; relevance of non-alignment in the contemporary world.

  • 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; Globalisation of the world economy.

  • United Nations: Envisaged role and actual record; specialized UN agencies-aims and functioning; the need for UN reforms.

  • Regionalisation of World Politics: EU, ASEAN, APEC, SAARC, NAFTA.

  • Contemporary Global Concerns: Democracy, human rights, environment, gender justice, terrorism, nuclear proliferation.

  • Indian Foreign Policy: Determinants of foreign policy; institutions of policy-making; continuity and change.

  • India's Contribution to the Non-Alignment Movement: Different phases; current role.

  • India and South Asia:
    1. (a) Regional Co-operation: SAARC-past performance and future prospects.
    2. (b) South Asia as a Free Trade Area.
    3. (c) India's "Look East" policy.
    4. (d) Impediments to regional co-operation: river water disputes; illegal cross-border migration; ethnic conflicts and insurgencies; border disputes.

  • India and the Global South: Relations with Africa and Latin America; leadership role in the demand for NIEO and WTO negotiations.

  • India and the Global Centres of Power: USA, EU, Japan, China and Russia.

  • India and the UN System: Role in UN Peace-keeping; demand for Permanent Seat in the Security Council.

  • India and the Nuclear Question: Changing perceptions and policy.

  • Recent developments in Indian Foreign policy: India's position on the recent crisis in Afghanistan, Iraq and West Asia, growing relations with US and Israel; the vision of new world order.

International Relations UPSC Syllabus

  • India – Nepal Relations

  • India and Bhutan

  • Indo-Afghan Bilateral Relations

  • India-Bangladesh Relations

  • India-Maldives Relations

  • India-Sri Lanka Relations

  • India-Myanmar Relations

  • Indo-Pak Relations

  • Indo-China Relations

  • South China Sea Dispute

  • Security Challenges in the Indian Ocean Region

  • CIS Countries of Central Asia

  • India-Mongolia

  • – UAE Relations

  • India – IRAN

  • India – ISRAEL

  • – Saudi Arabia

  • Asia-Pacific Region

  • India-South East Asia

  • Indo-Japan Bilateral Relationship

  • India – South Korea

  • India-Vietnam

  • India and Africa

  • Indo-Australia Relationship

  • -France

  • Indo-Germany

  • -UK

  • India-USA Relations

  • The World Trade Organization

  • International Monetary Fund

  • Nuclear Security Summit



  • IBSA


  • Relevance of Non-Alignment in present India

  • India-ASEAN Economic Cooperation