What is the career in the field of psephology?

With Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, and some of the other States in the country heading for elections this year, you must have come across countless number of predictions and exit polls. Ever wonder who these people are who come up with these statistics and trends?

Well, these professionals are known as psephologists, and they study the science of elections. Deeply interested in politics and elections, these professionals try to understand just what it takes to win elections. Right from planning the campaign to last day voter outreach, psephologists help in planning every phase of elections through scientific research.

What is psephology?

Elections are the key to a successful democracy. And psephology is the scientific study of elections. A branch of political science, it analyses the voting patterns, election trends, and voter behaviour to predict the results. The field has grown with the popularity of opinion polls and post-election surveys.

What are the job prospects?

Psephologists primarily work in media as political analysts. But the job opportunities are not limited to the media alone. Today, even political parties consult psephologists to help them in planning their campaign.

What to study:

While the field is flourishing in India, universities do not offer any formal courses in Psephology. Some universities have started teaching Psephology as part of graduate and postgraduate programmes in Political Science. The field is open to anyone interested in politics and data interpretation Students from varied backgrounds such as engineering and business administration too are joining the stream.


  • Indian Institute of Democratic Leadership, Mumbai: Online Certificate Course in Psephology
  • University of Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi: Master of Arts (M.A.) in Political Science
  • Jadavpur University, Kolkata: MA. in Political Science with International Relations


  • University of Manchester, the U.K.: Master of Arts (M.A.) in Political Science Democracy and Elections
  • School of Government University of Birmingham, the U.K: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Economy
  • Oxford University, the U.K.: Master of Science (M.Sc) in Politics Research
  • University of Leeds, the U.K.: M.Sc Political Science


The word ‘psephology’ has been derived from the Greek word ‘psephos’, meaning pebble. Why? Well, legend has it that in ancient Greece, people cast their votes using pebbles. Candidates who received most pebbles were elected to the government posts. W.F.R Hardie and R.B. Mc Callum of Oxford University coined the term in1948.


Picture Credit : Google

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