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Political Science Optional Coaching

The Definitive Guide to UPSC Political Science Optional Coaching

“Excellence is not an act, but a habit” – Aristotle


Standing at the crossroads of your UPSC journey, making the correct choice for your optional subject can often feel like an overwhelming task. Your optional subject could be the key to unlock your successful UPSC endeavor, playing a crucial role in compensating for lower General Studies scores, and maximizing your potential.


Why Choose Political Science and International Relations?

Political Science and International Relations (PSIR) is a compelling choice for your optional subject, and here’s why:

  • It covers a significant portion of the GENERAL STUDIES syllabus, facilitating a seamless learning experience.
  • PSIR has a proven track record with numerous successful candidates.
  • Resources for PSIR are readily available and comprehensive.
  • PSIR is beneficial for the preliminary exam as well, as the Indian Polity and Governance section consistently includes 15-20 questions annually.
  • Opting for PSIR can streamline your prelims and mains preparation, allowing more time for other subjects.
  • Studying political thinkers can enhance the quality and depth of your essays.
  • A majority of the topics from GS Paper II (Civil Services Main examination) are covered under PSIR.
  • GS Paper 4 (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude) often incorporates Political Science scholars.
  • Regardless of your academic background, the UPSC- Civil Services interview frequently includes questions about international relations.


Who Should Opt for Political Science and International Relations?

Before diving into this subject, there are a couple of factors you need to consider:

  • Interest: The first and foremost criterion for choosing an optional subject should be your interest in the subject. If political matters, governmental systems, and international relations pique your interest, PSIR would be a suitable choice.
  • Background: If you come from a non-technical background and seek a non-technical subject, PSIR could be the perfect choice. A large part of the GS syllabus for civil services examination overlaps with this subject. Even if you opt for a different subject, you’ll still have to delve into aspects of PSIR when studying Indian Polity, Ethics, History, current affairs, etc. Therefore, opting for PSIR can streamline your preparation and conserve your time.


Is Political Science and International Relations a High-Scoring Subject?


The popularity of PSIR as an optional choice is no accident. This subject has produced numerous high-scoring candidates, with many achieving 300+ in PSIR and clinching top ranks. That said, UPSC does not favor any optional subject over another, so your interest should be your primary guide when selecting an optional subject.


Whether you are seeking the best UPSC Political Science Optional Coaching in Bangalore or searching for top-notch online coaching solutions, we are here to support your journey. We offer a comprehensive coaching syllabus, an assortment of essential books, and guidance from a dedicated faculty. Additionally, our affordable coaching fees ensure you receive the best preparation without breaking the bank.


Let us help you achieve your UPSC aspirations with Political Science Optional Coaching. Let’s conquer this journey together.


Why Choose Legacy IAS for Political Science and International Relations (PSIR)?

As you embark on your UPSC journey, choosing the right coaching institute can make a world of difference. Here at Legacy IAS, we offer a comprehensive and strategic approach to PSIR that encompasses every aspect of the subject. Let’s look at what sets us apart:


  • In-depth coverage of Political Science Paper I & II for the UPSC mains exam, ensuring a well-rounded understanding of the subject.
  • Our teaching methodology stays up-to-date with Current Affairs, crucial for dynamic sections of PSIR.
  • We provide comprehensive insight into the connections between PSIR and the GS papers, boosting your holistic understanding of the syllabus.
  • Our topic-wise modules cover each subject in detail, leaving no stone unturned in your preparation.
  • We offer a special lecture series focusing on answer-writing practice, a skill crucial for securing top marks.
  • Get unlimited access to the best lecturers anytime, anywhere to enhance your preparation.
  • Benefit from our 150+ hours of offline/online lectures by Delhi-based faculty members.


Offline + Live-and-Interactive Online Classes for Optional Subject

  • Our classes are made accessible through 3 modes –
    1. Offline Physical Classroom Sessions,
    2. Live and Interactive Online Sessions and
    3. Recorded Sessions.
  • Our platform ensures that the Offline physical classroom sessions and the Online Interactive sessions run simultaneously to the effect that even in the situations, such as the ones exposed by the pandemic, where you are bound to to be absent in the classroom – you can attend the Live and Interactive Online sessions from anywhere without missing out on asking doubts and answering questions.
  • In case you are unable to attend even the online sessions, recorded sessions will be provided WITHOUT any unreasonable caveats such as ‘deletion of recorded sessions within a few days’.

Political Science Optional Coaching Fees

Legacy IAS presents two excellent course options to suit your needs and preferences:

  1. Online Live Lectures for Both Optional Papers 1 & 2 + Study Material in Soft Copy + Test Series: At an affordable price of Rs. 25,000/-, gain access to live online lectures for both optional papers, digital study materials, and a comprehensive test series to ensure your preparedness.
  2. Offline Lectures for Both Optional Papers 1 & 2 + Study Material + Test Series: For Rs. 40,000/-, attend offline classes for both optional papers and receive a soft copy of our comprehensive study materials.


Mastering Answer Writing in PSIR

Writing answers for PSIR demands a distinctive approach compared to General Studies. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Your PSIR answers should include scholar views, factual information, and technical vocabulary to demonstrate your deep understanding of the subject and boost your scores.
  • Cite relevant Supreme Court and High Court judgments where applicable to lend authority to your answers.
  • When answering questions about thinkers, start with their books and quotations. A brief overview of the thinker’s life history can also enrich your answers.
  • Keep in mind that Paper I generally includes static-type questions, while Paper II focuses on dynamic-type questions. Try to link your Paper II answers with current events to demonstrate a contemporary understanding of the subject.

Here at Legacy IAS, we equip our students with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to excel in their UPSC journey. Join us and let’s write your success story together!




Political Theory and Indian Politics:

  1. Political Theory: meaning and approaches.
  2. Theories of the State: Liberal, Neoliberal, Marxist, Pluralist, Post-colonial and feminist.
  3. Justice: Conceptions of justice with special reference to Rawl’s theory of justice and its communitarian critiques.
  4. Equality: Social, political and economic; relationship between equality and freedom; Affirmative action.
  5. Rights: Meaning and theories; different kinds of rights; concept of Human Rights.
  6. Democracy: Classical and contemporary theories; different models of democracy – representative, participatory and deliberative.
  7. Concept of power, hegemony, ideology and legitimacy.
  8. Political Ideologies: Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism, Fascism, Gandhism and Feminism.
  9. Indian Political Thought : Dharamshastra, Arthashastra and Buddhist traditions; Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Sri Aurobindo, M.K. Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar, M.N. Roy .
  10. Western Political Thought: Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, John S. Mill, Marx, Gramsci, Hannah Arendt.


Indian Government and Politics:

  1. 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.
  1. Making of the Indian Constitution: Legacies of the British rule; different social and political perspectives.
  2. 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.
  3. (a) Principal Organs of the Union Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature and Supreme Court.
    (b) Principal Organs of the State Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature and High Courts.
  4. Grassroots Democracy: Panchayati Raj and Municipal Government; significance of 73rd and 74th Amendments; Grassroot movements.
  5. 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.
  6. Federalism: Constitutional provisions; changing nature of centre-state relations; integrationist tendencies and regional aspirations; inter-state disputes.
  7. Planning and Economic Development : Nehruvian and Gandhian perspectives; role of planning and public sector; Green Revolution, land reforms and agrarian relations; liberalilzation and economic reforms.
  8. Caste, Religion and Ethnicity in Indian Politics.
  9. 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.
  10. Social Movements: Civil liberties and human rights movements; women’s movements; environmentalist movements.



Comparative Politics and International Relations

Comparative Political Analysis and International Politics:


  1. Comparative Politics: Nature and major approaches; political economy and political sociology perspectives; limitations of the comparative method.
  2. State in comparative perspective: Characteristics and changing nature of the State in capitalist and socialist economies, and,  advanced industrial and developing societies.
  3. Politics of Representation and Participation: Political parties, pressure groups and social movements in advanced industrial and developing societies.
  4. Globalisation: Responses from developed and developing societies.
  5. Approaches to the Study of International Relations: Idealist, Realist, Marxist, Functionalist and Systems theory.
  6. 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.


  1. Changing International Political Order:
  1. Rise of super powers; strategic and ideological Bipolarity, arms race and Cold War; nuclear threat;
  2. Non-aligned movement: Aims and achievements;
  3. Collapse of the Soviet Union; Unipolarity and American hegemony; relevance of non-alignment in the contemporary world.
  1. 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.
  2. United Nations: Envisaged role and actual record; specialized UN agencies-aims and functioning; need for UN reforms.
  3. Regionalisation of World Politics: EU, ASEAN, APEC, SAARC, NAFTA.
  4. Contemporary Global Concerns: Democracy, human rights, environment, gender justice, terrorism, nuclear proliferation.


India and the World:

  1. Indian Foreign Policy: Determinants of foreign policy; institutions of policy-making; continuity and change.
  2. India’s Contribution to the Non-Alignment Movement: Different phases; current role.
  3. India and South Asia:
  • Regional Co-operation: SAARC – past performance and future prospects.
  • South Asia as a Free Trade Area.
  • India’s “Look East” policy.
  • Impediments to regional co-operation: river water disputes; illegal cross-border migration; ethnic conflicts and insurgencies; border disputes.
  1. India and the Global South: Relations with Africa and Latin America; leadership role in the demand for NIEO and WTO negotiations.
  2. India and the Global Centres of Power: USA, EU, Japan, China and Russia.
  3. India and the UN System: Role in UN Peace-keeping; demand for Permanent Seat in the Security Council.
  4. India and the Nuclear Question: Changing perceptions and policy.
  5. 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; vision of a new world order.


Political Science and International Relations Optional Books for UPSC

  • Does the Elephant Dance? by David M Malone
  • Pax Indica by Shashi Tharoor
  • An Introduction to Political Theory by O P Gauba
  • Issues in Political Theory by Catriona McKinnon (Very Good for Case studies)
  • A History of Political Thought: Plato to Marx by Ramaswamy Sushila, Mukherjee Subrata
  • The Oxford Companion to Politics in India by Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Niraja Gopal Jayal
  • Global Politics by Andrew Haywood (Very Good for IR theory)
  • The Globalisation of world Politics: An Introduction to International Relations by John Bayes
  • Comparative Politics
  • India’s Foreign Policy Challenges and Opportunities by GoI publication
  • Challenges and Strategy: rethinking India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri
  • Crossing the Rubicon by Mohan C Raja
  • India’s Foreign Policy and it’s Neighbours by J N Dixit