Both Political Science & International Relations and Public Administration are very good optional subjects.
Both goes well with candidates from diverse background as being a social science subject, these are easy to understand.
With the recent changes at Main Examination level, there are a lot of topics that are covered in General studies syllabus in the new format. So, picking any one of these will definitely give you an edge as these are easy to understand, helpful in General Studies, essay and interview.
If you go by past data, it definitely favours Public Administration as number of candidates appearing, getting selected and even success-rate is better than Political Science & International Relations.
But, each passing year, Political Science & International Relations is gaining strength and in time to come, it is bound to gain further acceptance.
If we compare the magnitude of syllabus overlapping with General Studies syllabus, it would be much more in case of Political Science & International Relations.
Majority of areas/topics like Indian Polity, Indian Economy, Modern India, World Affairs, International Political Economy, Social Issues, International Organizations, Foreign Policy, International Relations etc. gets covered with General Studies preparation which makes Political Science & International Relations relatively smaller syllabus and manageable within limited time.
But, every subject has specific demands and have pros and cons attached.
Questions in Paper II in Public Administration are highly dynamic in nature and are sometimes, very unpredictable; in contrast Political Science & International Relations is more balanced.
If there is anything else which has not made Political Science & International Relations as popular as Public Administration has become is the wrong notion of being a lengthy syllabus and not a high scoring subject. On other hand, the word ‘Administration’ has shown ‘rub of’ effect as people have considered it as the subject closest to the job in question.
What I feel is that Public Administration has an edge as far as number of institutes is concerned. Not many good teachers available for Political Science & International Relations in comparison to Public Administration which has many dedicated coaching institutes rendering outstanding support in Delhi and other major centres.Last Update Friday 28th March 2014