Public Administration Vs. Political Science

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Students who want to work in politics and society have long struggled with whether to study public administration or political science. 

Although fundamentally distinct in origin and aim of the research, both fields work in tandem to construct the Social Sciences. Students frequently need help deciding between them because there seems to be little difference, and the online course descriptions could be more precise. 

This article will help you understand the courses and how your future job might develop if you choose one or the other.

Political Science: Definition

Political science is a practical science that focuses on the happiness of citizens, according to Aristotle, who is widely regarded as the originator of the discipline. 

But how do governments make sure that people are content? The most obvious way to achieve the same result is to manage the populace using a systematic strategy. 

Political science studies these institutions and the overall operation of government at the national, state, and district levels within a nation. 

A full-time course in domains will teach you about policies over various historical periods and their effects. 

This stream combines several other disciplines, including geography, economics, history, and sociology. Political Theory, Comparative Politics, Public Administration, International Relations, and Public Laws can all be found in political science courses.

Public Administration: Definition

The sentence above makes it quite evident that Public Administration is solely a branch of Political Science. 

However, the range of activities this particular topic covers is so broad that it is also studied as a separate discipline. Operations necessary to implement the best policies or bring about changes needed for the benefit of the public are included in public administrations. 

Public Administration ensures that a proposal by Political Science is carried out effectively. The activities covered by this stream include organizing, planning, directing, and controlling laws and policies created by the government. 

Good Governance, Political Theory, Public Administration and Society, the workings and functions of the government, e-Governance, etc., are some of the often taught subjects in public administration courses.

Public Administration Vs. Political Science: Major Differences

Well, first of all, there are several connections between political science and public administration. 

Both courses emphasize social issues, the management and operation of public policies, and the government. Any student from any stream who earned decent grades in high school is eligible to apply for the courses provided by either field of study. 

While some courses have so many shared topics that they are essentially interchangeable, professionals may frequently understand the nature of work in the other area. 

However, the following are a few discussion points comparing political science and public administration:

  • Public administration is within the umbrella of political science, a more comprehensive branch of social science. But public administration has become so significant in and of itself that most academic institutions now recognize it as a distinct field.
  • Students with a background in political science typically pursue careers in political analysis and consulting. In contrast, students with a background in public administration find it simpler to pursue careers in civil service and policy planning.
  • Political science examines the workings, structure, and history of all tiers of governments in various nations. It uses historical events to comprehend and assess a state's present political and social situation. On the other hand, public administration contributes to state policies. It has the interests of the general public at its core as it drafts, oversees, and puts into effect the laws established in a nation.

Public Administration Vs. Political Science: Popular Courses

Although both fields offer degrees at all levels, there is a clear difference between the courses offered in Political Science and Public Administration. 

Public administration courses enable students to work in administrative and representative positions for the public benefit. Political science courses are focused on Political Theory and laws around the world. 

Here are the top courses from both disciplines being given at various levels across the globe to provide you with an overview:

Public Administration

Political Science

B.Sc in Public Administration

BA Political Science

Master of Public Administration

MA Political Science

Policy Evaluation

M.Sc in International Politics

Public Administration (Finance)

M.Sc Political Theory

Ph.D. in Public Administration

Ph.D. in Political Science

MA Public Service Leadership

M.Sc Environmental Policy and Regulation

M.Sc International Development: Public Policy and Management

M.Sc Global Politics

Public Administration Vs. Political Science: Top Universities

Both of these areas of education are covered by various colleges all around the world. Many research topics overlap between public administration and political science because they are included in the social sciences category. 

As a result, the best colleges offering social science courses tend to be at the top of the list for both topics. According to the QS World University Rankings, the following institutions are among the best in the world for political science and public administration:

Top Universities for Political Science

  • Harvard University
  • Stanford University 
  • Princeton University
  • London School of Economics and Political Science
  • University of Oxford
  • University of York
  • The Australian National University
  • University of Cambridge
  • Yale University

Top Universities for Public Administration

  • Harvard University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • the University of Oxford
  • The University of Tokyo
  • the University of Cambridge
  • Stanford University 
  • the University of California, Berkeley
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • London School of Economics and Political Science
  • University of York

Public Administration Vs. Political Science: Better Option for UPSC

In the UPSC, the most popular option is public administration. This is partly due to the subject's low bar for passing and less extensive syllabus than in political science. 

Political science includes all of the public administration's subdivisions because it is a component of that discipline, lengthening the course. International Relations is another branch of political science that applicants frequently choose.

Public Administration Vs. Political Science: Career and Scope

It would be simpler to comprehend the differences between the two fields of study based on the kind of jobs they pertain to, even though both offer chances for higher education. 

Public Administration focuses on implementing these policies, but Political Science does not offer anything specifically relevant to analyzing and improving governmental institutions and policies. 

Public administrators get to address general issues directly and ensure the system is operating well. 

Here are a few job possibilities for students to choose between Public Administration Vs. Political Science to aid in making the decision:

Public Administration

Political Science

Budget Analyst

Policy Analyst

Public Administration Consultant

Public Relations Specialist

City Manager

Legislative Assistant

Fundraising Manager

Intelligence Analyst

Tax Examiner

Political Consultant

Similarities and Relationship between Public Administration and Political Science

Public administration and political science are closely related fields. Public administration is a branch of political science and did not emerge as a distinct field until 1887. 

In 1887, the founder of public administration, Woodrow Wilson, acknowledged the need to study public administration through a scientific lens and claimed that the two disciplines were comparable in that they both serve people but differ in how they do so. 

Political science and public administration are closely related; the former formulates policies, and the latter sees their effective execution. 

To comprehend and create efficient tools of political administration and guarantee maximum satisfaction, both disciplines conduct in-depth studies of the state, government, and its functions.

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