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Why Pursue a Career in Political Science? Exploring the Benefits and Opportunities

Political Scientist

Politics is an exciting topic. Especially during election times, everyone is talking about politics. While we consider some of the discussions as light-hearted, there are many people who love to discuss deeply. If you are one such person, who enjoys political discourse, government policies, etc. then you might have a bright career in the field of political science as a political scientist.

A political Scientist is a specialist who reads, understands, and researches the political discourse, government policies, government steps, international relations between countries, and local political issues. As a political scientist, you will also do research on different policies and frameworks set up by the government, you will analyze the budget, analyze election campaigns, analyze the election manifesto, and analyze how voters/ public identifies with these policies, campaigns, and manifestos. As a political scientist, you will do academic research on different political topics like democracy, elections, social-economic factors, cultural factors, etc. You will publish these reports in the newspaper, magazines, journals, etc. Some of you will also become poll experts.

Why become a Political Scientist?

Political scientists are the specialists who usually conduct research in the field of national politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theories. Political scientists work to understand the relationships between different political events and from this understanding they try to construct general principles on which the world of politics is based. 

As a political scientist, you would be involved in comparative politics, political economy, international relations, political theory, public administration, public policy, and political methodology. Also, several political scientists also used the field of economics, law, sociology, history, philosophy, and geography to understand and solve political issues.

As a political scientist, you will often use qualitative methods to do research. Through these qualitative methods, you will gather information from different sources. Some of the methods will include using historical documents to analyze past governments’ structure and policies. Some of you will be involved in quantitative methods to develop and research political theories. Some of you may work as political analysts for organizations like the government, labor unions, political groups, and parties. Thus, as such, you will evaluate current political policies using public opinion, surveys, economic data, and election results. From these sources, you will anticipate the effect of new policies. 

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  1. Political Scientist (Comparative politics) is an expert who studies and compares domestic politics, political institutions, and conflicts of countries. They often compare political patterns between different countries, or through time even the same country.
  2. Political Scientists (Global politics) study and research the political and economic patterns of the world. They study the relationships between cities, nations, multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations, and international organizations. They research conflict regulation, democracy, politics of national self-determination, globalization and its effect on democracy, conflicts and peace studies, political economics, etc.
  3. Political Scientist (Political Economy) is an expert who studies and researches production and trade and their relations with laws, customs, and government. As a political scientist (political economy) you will also study the distribution of national income and wealth. You may play an important role in policy formation related to the economic development of the nation.
  4. Political Scientist (International Relations) is a specialist who studies and researches the interconnection of politics, economics, and law at the global level. They are responsible for analyzing and formulating the foreign policy of the country.
  5. Political sociologists specialize in the study of political factors like the state, civil society, family, citizenships, and social-political movement through sociological analysis. You will study, why a particular class, caste, group of people, and nationality vote or do not vote. You will study how certain class, a caste of people has been popular in politics, what makes cast-based politics in India, etc.

What does a Political Scientist do? 

As a Political Scientist, depending on your field of specialization, you would have the following roles and responsibilities: 

  • You will develop theories using interviews, periodicals, cases, historical papers, polls, statistical sources, and then these theories. 
  • As a political scientist, you will identify issues for research and analysis in the field of politics and political science.  
  • You will analyze and interpret political policies, public issues, laws, legislation, government work, business and organization operations related to the political field, etc. 
  • You will work and research various political subjects like the Indian political system, Indian foreign relations, etc. 
  • You will collect data from sources like public opinions, surveys, etc., and analyze the results.
  • You will develop political theories and test them. 
  • You will evaluate the effects of policies and laws on government, businesses, and people. 
  • You will monitor and evaluate current political events, policies, and other political issues. 
  • Develop and test political theories
  • You will forecast political, economic, and social trends. 
  • You will share political research results through publishing articles, academic publications, written reports, and presentations to journals, the public, and the government.

How to become a Political Scientist – Eligibility Criteria 

To become a Political Scientist, you can study for a Bachelor’s degree followed by a Master’s degree in any of the following disciplines (mark that in India, you may not have options other than Political Science, Politics, and International Relations in Bachelor’s level):

  • Comparative Politics
  • Conflict and Resolution
  • Defence & Security Studies (Political Science)
  • Diplomatic Studies
  • Global Politics
  • Governance and Regulatory Studies
  • International Policies
  • International Relations
  • Legislative Studies
  • Other Political Science Studies
  • Peace Studies
  • Political Geography
  • Political Marketing
  • Political Science
  • Politics
  • Public Affairs and Public Policy
  • Public Communication
  • Quantitative Methods in Political Science
  • Regional Studies
  • Security, Peace & Conflicts

Educational Fees

To become a political scientist in India the following cost is involved – 

Generally, the cost of studying Political Science in India ranges from INR 10,000 to INR 5,00,000 per year.

Public institutions such as universities and colleges may have lower fees compared to private institutions. Additionally, some government institutions may offer subsidies to students from economically weaker sections.

Apart from tuition fees, students may also need to factor in expenses such as accommodation, textbooks, and other supplies, which can vary based on the location of the institution and the individual’s lifestyle choices.

It’s important to research and compares various institutions and programs to determine the best fit for your academic and financial goals.

Job Opportunities

  • Most universities and colleges will hire you as a professor for the position of Junior Professor or Assistant Professor.
  • If you are into research, then you will be hired for the position of research associate. 
  • You may join as a political analyst, or public opinion analyst with print, TV, and online media houses. 
  • You may join as a political consultant with various non-government bodies. 
  • You may join as a public policy analyst with public policy organizations. 

You will find career opportunities at these institutions:

  • Embassies
  • Political Parties like BJP, Congress, etc. 
  • NGOs. working on political studies.
  • Colleges and Universities teaching Political Science.
  • Politics, Public Administration, Public Policies related to research companies, and policymakers. 
  • Print, TV, and online Media houses like Times of India, HT, India Today, NDTV, etc. 
  • UN and its agencies.

Salary of Political Scientist 

  • At the entry-level, you can join as a research associate with a basic salary of Rs. 25,000 to 30,000. As a doctoral research fellow (junior research fellow) you would be earning around Rs. 35,000 to 38,000 per month. As an assistant professor, you would be earning anything between Rs. 65,000 to 70,000 per month. 
  • At the junior level with a work experience of 2-6 years, you would be earning anything between Rs.80,000 to 1,90,000 per month. 
  • At the middle level with an experience of 10-12 years, you would be earning anything between Rs. 1,00,000 to 2,00,000 per month.
  • At the senior level of over 15 years of work experience, you would be earning anything between Rs. 1,20,000 to 2,25,000 per month.

Career Progression in Political Science Profession  

  • My career growth in university and college states from Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor, Professor, and Professor Emeritus. Professors can also get administrative positions such as Director/Dean/Vice Chancellor, etc.
  • If you are hired as a research associate (JRF and SRF), then you will go on to become a Doctoral Research Fellow, then Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, and then Scientist in Progressive Grades. 
  • If you join media houses as Political Analyst, you may become a senior political analyst, senior editor, and then editor-in-chief.

For a Political Scientist, most of the job opportunities are in the government sector, NGOs, Media Houses and Education. NGOs and Government jobs are not market dependent, and thus they are limited with limited growth. In education also currently there is moderate growth as India overall is not much focused on this side of education. In media houses, political scientists have great opportunities especially because there are elections every year in India in some states.

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