PSIR Optional syllabus for UPSC | Download Political Science And International Relations Optional Syllabus

The Political Science Optional subject in the UPSC Civil Services Mains Examination comprises two papers:

Paper I and Paper II: Each of these papers carries a weightage of 250 marks, making for a cumulative total of 500 marks.

Are you gearing up for the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) exam and planning to choose Political Science and International Relations as your optional subject? 

Why Choose Political Science and International Relations?

Before diving into the syllabus, let's discuss why Political Science and International Relations is a popular choice among UPSC aspirants.

Relevance: Its a well known fact that almost 90-95% questions are repeated from previous year questions in psir optional. Questions are repeated directly or indirectly in psir optional course but if you'll see the trend in optionals, even the current affairs questions are repeated. No need to join any separate current affairs course for psir optional. You need to integrate the current affairs in your notes. Check our Previous 40 Years Questions course here.

Scoring Potential: Political Science and International Relations has a reputation for being a scoring subject. Its structured syllabus allows you to secure high marks with effective preparation. It is one of the most scoring optionals that upsc aspirants choose in their upsc optional preparation.

Overlap with General Studies: Many topics in this optional subject align with the GS (General Studies) papers, reducing the overall preparation workload.

Now, let's get to the main attraction—the syllabus!

Political Science and International Relations Syllabus

The UPSC syllabus for Political Science and International Relations is comprehensive, covering a wide range of topics. It is divided into two papers, Paper-I and Paper-II, each with distinct areas of focus.

To help you start your UPSC preparation on the right foot, we've provided the direct link to download the complete syllabus for Political Science and International Relations optional: Download Syllabus PDF.

Tips for Effective Preparation

Now that you have the syllabus in your hands, here are some tips to make your preparation more effective:

Create a Study Plan: Develop a structured study plan that covers each topic in the syllabus.
Refer to Standard Books: Invest in quality textbooks and study materials to build a strong foundation.
Practice Previous Year Papers: Solving previous year's question papers will familiarize you with the exam pattern.

Stay Updated: Keep yourself updated on current affairs, especially those related to international relations.

Join Study Groups: Joining study groups or forums can help you discuss and clarify doubts.

In conclusion, choosing Political Science and International Relations as your optional subject for the UPSC exam is a strategic move. With the right preparation and dedication, you can ace this subject and significantly boost your chances of success. Don't forget to download the syllabus and kickstart your journey towards becoming a civil servant today!

For more UPSC-related resources and guidance, stay tuned to our blog. Best of luck with your preparations!





Syllabus of PSIR

Political Science and International Relations 

Paper I (Political Theory and Indian Politics) 

Paper 1 Section A

Unit 1 Political Theory: meaning and approaches.

Unit 2 Theories of the state: Liberal, Neo-liberal, Marxist, Pluralist, Post-colonial and feminist 

Unit 3 Justice: Conceptions of justice with special reference to Rawl’s theory of justice and its communitarian critique 

Unit 4 Equality: Social, political and economic; relationship between equality and freedom; Affirmative action 

Unit 5 Rights: Meaning and theories; different kinds of rights; Concept of Human Rights 

Unit 6 Democracy: Classical and contemporary theories; different models of democracy – representative, participatory and deliberative 

Unit 6.1 Theories of Political Culture/Political Systems 

Unit 7 Concept of power, hegemony, ideology and legitimacy 

Unit 8 Political Ideologies: Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism, Fascism, Gandhism and Feminism 

Unit 9 Indian Political Thought: Dharmashastra, Arthashastra, and Buddhist Traditions; Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Sri Aurobindo, M.K. Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar, M.N. Roy    

Unit 10 Western Political Thought: Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, John S. Mill, Marx, Gramsci, Hannah Arendt. 

Paper 1 Section B

Unit 11- Indian Nationalism:    

(a)  Political Strategies of India's Freedom struggle: constitutionalism to mass Satyagraha, Non-cooperation, Civil Disobedience; militant and revolutionary movements, Peasant and workers' movements. 

(b)  Perspectives on Indian National Movement: Liberal, Socialist and Marxist; Radical humanist and Dalit. 

Unit 12 Making of the Indian Constitution: Legacies of the British Rule; different social and political perspectives

Unit 13 Salient Features of the Indian Constitution: The Preamble, Fundamental Rights and Duties, Directive Principles; Parliamentary Features and Amendment Procedures; Judicial Review and Basic Structure Doctrine 

Unit 14    

a) Principal Organs of the Union Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislative and Supreme Court 

b) Principal Organs of the State Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislative and High Court 

Unit 15 Grassroots Democracy: Panchayati Raj and Municipal Government; the significance of 73rd and 74th Amendments; Grassroot movements. 

Unit 16 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. 

Unit 17 Federalism: Constitutional Provisions; changing nature of centre-state relations; integrationist tendencies and regional aspirations; inter-state disputes 

Unit 18 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 

Unit 19 Caste, Religion and Ethnicity in Indian Politics    

Unit 20 Party System: National and regional political parties, ideological and social bases of parties; patterns of coalition politics; Pressure groups, trends in electoral behavior; changing socio-economic profile of Legislators.    

Unit 21 Social Movements: Civil liberties and human rights movements; women’s movements; environmentalist movements 

Political Science Paper II 

Paper 2 Section A

Unit 1 Comparative Politics: Nature and major approaches; Political economy and political sociology perspectives; Limitations of the comparative method    

Unit 2 State in comparative perspective: Characteristics and changing nature of the state in capitalist and socialist economies, and advanced industrial and developing societies. 

Unit 3 Politics of Representation & Participation: Political Parties, Pressure groups, and social movements in advanced industrial and developing societies.    

Unit 4 Globalization: Responses from developed and developing societies.    

Unit 5 Approaches to the study of International Relations: Idealist, Realist, Marxist, Functionalist and Systems theory. 

Unit 6 Key Concepts in International Relations: National Interest, security and power, Balance of Power and deterrence; Transational actors and collective security; World capitalist economy and globalisation. 

Unit 7 Changing International Political Order: 

(a) Rise of super powers; Strategic and ideological Bipolarity, arms race and cold war; Nuclear threat; 

(b) Non-aligned Movement: Aims and achievements. 

(c) Collapse of the Soviet Union; Unipolarity and American hegemony; Relevance of non-alignment in the contemporary world. सो

Unit 8 Evolution of the international economic system : From Brettonwoods 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. 

Unit 9 United Nations: Envisaged role and actual record; Specialized UN agencies- aims and functioning; need for UN reforms.    

Unit 10 Regionalisation of World Politics: EU, ASEAN, APEC, SAARC, NAFTA    

Unit 11 Contemporary Global Concerns: Democracy, human rights, environment, gender justice, terrorism, nuclear proliferation. 

Paper 2 Section B

Unit 12 Indian Foreign Policy: Determinants of foreign policy; the institutions of policy-making; Continuity and change.

Unit 13: India’s Contribution to the Non-Alignment Movement Different phases; Current role. 

Unit 14: India and South Asia:    

(a) Regional Co-operation: SAARC-past performance and future prospects. 

(b) South Asia as a Free Trade Area. 

(c) India’s “Look East” policy.

(d) Impediments to regional co-operation: River water disputes; illegal cross border migration; Ethnic conflicts and insurgencies; Border disputes.

Unit 15: India and Global South: Relations with Africa and Latin America; Leadership role in the demand for NIEO and WTO negotiations. 

Unit 16: India and the global centres of power: USA, EU, Japan, China and Russia    

Unit 17: India and the UN System: Role in UN Peace-keeping; Demand for Permanent Seat in the Security Council. 

Unit 18: India and the Nuclear Question: Changing perceptions and policy.    

Unit 19 Recent developments in Indian Foreign Policy: India’s position on the recent crises in Afghanistan, Iraq and West Asia, growing relations with US and Israel; Vision of a new world order.    


PSIR Optional Strategy:

No need to join random coachings or purchase lengthy notes. Do previous year questions for PSIR Optional and include current affairs in your course. That's all you need.

Here are some psir optional analysis videos:

PSIR Optional Paper 1 

PSIR Optional Paper 2