Is Public Administration the best optional subject for IAS? What is the success rate & advantages?

Students with a science background or stream find it particularly difficult to choose electives because they are moving totally into a new field called “The Humanities.”

Making the appropriate choice is crucial because optional subjects are supposed to offer UPSC applicants the advantage they need. The question of whether public administration is a good civil subject for a bio graduate then emerges.

The strategy the candidate chooses to use to approach the topic holds the key to the solution. In picking public administration as a subject, the humanity student undoubtedly has a slight advantage over the bio graduate because the fundamentals have previously been covered in a variety of other humanities courses they have already taken.

Public administration is generally seen as a fairly solid option and is quite well-liked by UPSC applicants looking to choose the subject as an elective. It is also said that in 2012, almost 50% of applicants who passed the UPSC Prelims and Mains had chosen public administration as a secondary subject. That data is pretty convincing evidence for the earlier claim.

Merits of Selecting Public Administration

1. There is enough reading material for public administration to get you ready for the subject 

That’s accurate. There are so many great books available that can act as the ideal study guide and get you ready for the same. Prasad & Prasad’s Administrative Thinkers and Mohit Bhattacharya’s New Horizons of Public Administration are just a few examples of Public Administration books for UPSC.

2. It is a very important subject in a broader aspect

The subjects of governance and administration are interrelated in public administration. You must be as knowledgeable about the country’s operating system as possible if you want to be its future administrator.

3. The topic is regarded as simple 

The field of public administration is thought to be fairly straightforward to comprehend. This subject is certain to raise the aspirant’s final grade if they tackle it with the right analysis and approach.

4. General Studies covers a lot of material

The general studies paper’s themes cover a lot of material that is also covered in the public administration course. This is a significant benefit for IAS candidates who typically need to memorize a lot of material.

5. Easy-to-understand questions 

Quite simple questions are included in the Public administration exam paper. Here are some examples:

1) Describe the media’s responsibility in a democracy

2) The fatal triangle of politics, business, and bureaucracy.

Public Administration Syllabus for UPSC

Paper 1: Administrative Theory

  • Introduction
  • Administrative Thought
  • Administrative Behaviour
  • Organizations
  • Accountability and control
  • Administrative Law
  • Comparative Public Administration
  • Development Dynamics
  • Personnel Administration
  • Public Policy
  • Techniques of Administrative Improvement
  • Financial Administration

Paper-II: Indian Administration

  • Evolution of Indian Administration
  • Philosophical and Constitutional framework of government
  • Public Sector Undertakings
  • Union Government and Administration
  • Plans and Priorities
  • State Government and Administration
  • District Administration since Independence
  • Civil Services
  • Financial Management
  • Administrative Reforms since Independence
  • Rural Development
  • Urban Local Government
  • Law and Order Administration
  • Significant issues in Indian Administration

How To Study Public Administration

1. Make Precise Notes

Create your own handwritten notes on the subjects covered in Papers 1 and 2. For the preparation of these notes, you can utilize both regular books and online resources.

2. Writing Sample Answers

Utilize these notes while you practice writing answers, and develop a fundamental format for your responses that is effective. Your response must have a logical beginning, middle, and end, as well as a body with sufficient substance.

3. The Hindu and The Indian Express Editorials

Read the editorials in publications like the Hindu and Indian Express for pertinent data and figures. Examine the pertinent editorials more closely and take thorough notes on them.

4. Reports of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission

You will be able to make your answers unique and insightful in the future thanks to these reports. To practice writing answers, read these reports and make a note of any pertinent information.

5. Join a Good IAS Coaching Institute

According to the average test scores, applicants have received over the past few years, public administration is a challenging subject. One must realize the distinction between comprehending a subject and accurately representing that understanding in your answer text if they want to do well in public administration. Building a solid foundation in the topic will be made easier for you if you enroll in a reputable IAS Coaching institute like Pragnya IAS Academy.

6. Blogs

Blogs on the websites of PSUs, other ministries, and the NITI Aayog are also among the sometimes disregarded yet extremely pertinent sources of information that can be utilized to enhance your answers.


The aspirant must ultimately demonstrate great tenacity, tolerance, and devotion in order to succeed in each topic and paper. To make this paper the finest UPSC optional, you must balance its benefits and drawbacks.