• Aspirants of Civil Services Examination are at the right place to get the details of the UPSC Syllabus, Here, You will find the complete UPSC IAS syllabus with PDF for the Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The Civil Services Examination is widely considered one of the toughest and the most prestigious examinations conducted in India.
  • To understand the UPSC exam, one needs to understand the UPSC syllabus. This helps to eliminate wasteful efforts like reading unnecessary topics leading to a loss of time and keeps one strictly aligned to the expectations of the UPSC from day one.
  • The civil service exam is conducted by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) every year to recruit officers for various government posts.
  • UPSC is one of the most challenging examinations in our country because of its unpredictable nature.
  • There are three stages of this examination:
    • Prelims – [General Studies & CSAT]
    • Mains – [9 Theory Papers (GS I-IV, Language Papers, Essay & Optional)]
    • Interview – [Personality Test]

UPSC Syllabus: IAS Prelims Syllabus

  • As we have discussed above that Prelims is the first stage of the UPSC Exam. Marks secured in the Preliminary Exam are not taken into account while preparing the final merit. UPSC Prelims comprises of two objective type papers (General Studies I and CSAT) for a total of 400 marks. Both papers are usually held on the same day in two sessions. CSAT or Civil Services Aptitude Test is actually the second paper of preliminary General Studies of the IAS syllabus introduced in 2011.
    • The CSAT was introduced to end the use of a scaling system for varying subjects in the General Studies paper of the IAS mains examination or whole as the IAS syllabus.
    • The benefit of introducing aptitude tests in the UPSC syllabus is that it assesses your logical reasoning and thinking performance. It is based on multiple-choice questions answered in exam conditions.
  • In 2013, some changes are made in the format of the IAS Syllabus. It’s for the first time the Indian Forest Service (IFS) aspirants were combined with the Civil Services aspirants and are made to take the preliminary examination. Those Indian Forest Service aspirants who may eventually clear the first stage of the exam, they have to write the separate exam in place of the IAS Mains examination for their Mains Indian Forest Service examination.
  • There are several other changes in the pattern of the IAS Mains examination from 2013. Now there are four compulsory papers of General Studies of the IAS mains examination and only one optional subject instead of two, one compulsory essay paper is also there. Besides, English and one language paper are of only qualifying nature.
  • Giving an all-around approach to the UPSC IAS syllabus is the key to success for both the Preliminary and the IAS Mains examination.
PaperSubjectsTotal MarksDuration
IGeneral Studies (GS)2002 hours
IICSAT2002 hours
UPSC Prelims Exam PatternGeneral Studies IGeneral Studies II or CSAT
Number of questions10080
Negative MarkingYes (1/3rd of the maximum marks for the question)
-0.66 marks for every incorrect answer
Yes (1/3rd of the maximum marks for the question)
-0.83 marks for every incorrect answer
Language of examEnglish/HindiEnglish/Hindi
Cut Off marksCounted for Merit. Cutoff varies every year.33% qualifying criteria (66 marks)
Duration of Exam2 hrs. (20 minutes per hour extra time for blind candidates & candidate with Locomotor Disability & Cerebral Palsy [minimum 40% impairment])2 hrs. (20 minutes per hour extra time for blind candidates & candidate with Locomotor Disability & Cerebral Palsy [minimum 40% impairment])
Medium of ExamBilingual (Hindi & English)Bilingual (Hindi & English)

UPSC Prelims Syllabus for GS Paper (Prelims Paper I)

It has 100 questions broadly covering the following topics, carrying a maximum of 200 marks to be solved in 2 hours.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus for CSAT Paper (Prelims Paper-II)

It comprises of 80 questions from the following topics carrying a maximum of 200 marks to be solved in 2 hours.

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level),
  • Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. – Class X level)

General Studies Paper-II of UPSC IAS Exam is a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%. It is mandatory for a candidate to appear in both the Papers of UPSC Prelims Exam for the purpose of evaluation.

UPSC Syllabus: IAS Mains Syllabus

  • The Mains examination constitutes the 2nd phase of the Civil Services Examination. Only after successfully qualifying in the prelims exam would the candidates be allowed to write the IAS Mains.
  • The Mains exam tests the candidate’s academic talent in depth and his/her ability to present his/her understanding according to the requirements of the question in a time-bound manner.
  • Civil Services Main Examination consists of written examination and interview (personality test). Civil Services Main Examination consists of following papers divided into 2 categories – qualifying & papers to be counted for merit.
  • The UPSC Mains exam consists of 9 papers, out of which two are qualifying papers of 300 marks each.
    • The two qualifying papers are:
      • Any Indian Language
      • English Language Paper
  • The papers on Essay, General Studies, and Optional Subject of only such candidates who attain 25% marks in both the language papers as a minimum qualifying standard in these qualifying papers, will be taken cognizance of, for evaluation.
  • In case a candidate does not qualify in these language papers, then the marks obtained by such candidates will not be considered or counted.
Paper-IEssay (can be written in the medium of the candidate’s choice)250
Paper-IIGeneral Studies – I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)250
Paper-IIIGeneral Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)250
Paper–IVGeneral Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)250
Paper–VGeneral Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)250
Paper–VIOptional Subject – Paper I250
Paper–VIIOptional Subject – Paper II250

UPSC Syllabus: Mains General Studies Paper-1

Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society:

  • Indian Culture – Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  • Modern Indian History from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
  • The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.
  • Post-independence Consolidation and Reorganization within the country.
  • History of the World will include events from 18th century such as Industrial Revolution, world wars, Redrawal of National Boundaries, Colonization, Decolonization, political philosophies like Communism, Capitalism, Socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.
  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
  • Role of Women and Women’s Organization, Population and Associated Issues, Poverty and Developmental issues, Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
  • Effects of Globalization on Indian society.
  • Social Empowerment, Communalism, Regionalism & Secularism.
  • Salient features of World’s Physical Geography.
  • Distribution of Key Natural Resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).
  • Important Geophysical Phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

UPSC Syllabus: Mains General Studies Paper-2

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations:

  • Indian Constitution—Historical Underpinnings, Evolution, Features, Amendments, Significant Provisions and Basic Structure.
  • Functions and Responsibilities of the Union and the States, Issues and Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure, Devolution of Powers and Finances up to Local Levels and Challenges Therein.
  • Separation of Powers between various organs Dispute Redressal Mechanisms and Institutions.
  • Comparison of the Indian Constitutional Scheme with that of Other Countries.
  • Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these.
  • Structure, Organization and Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; Pressure Groups and Formal/Informal Associations and their Role in the Polity.
  • Salient Features of the Representation of People’s Act.
  • Appointment to various Constitutional Posts, Powers, Functions and Responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
  • Statutory, Regulatory and various Quasi-judicial Bodies.
  • Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.
    Development Processes and the Development Industry — the Role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  • Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States and the Performance of these Schemes; Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections.
  • Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Issues relating to Poverty and Hunger.
  • Important Aspects of Governance, Transparency and Accountability, E-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; Citizens Charters, Transparency & Accountability and institutional and other measures.
  • Role of Civil Services in a Democracy.
  • India and its Neighborhood– Relations.
  • Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
  • Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.
  • Important International Institutions, agencies and fora – their Structure, Mandate.

UPSC Syllabus: Mains General Studies Paper-3

Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.
  • Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it.
  • Government Budgeting.
  • Major Crops – Cropping Patterns in various parts of the country, – Different Types of Irrigation and Irrigation Systems; Storage, Transport and Marketing of Agricultural Produce and Issues and Related Constraints; E-technology in the aid of farmers.
  • Issues related to Direct and Indirect Farm Subsidies and Minimum Support Prices; Public Distribution System – Objectives, Functioning, Limitations, Revamping; Issues of Buffer Stocks and Food Security; Technology Missions; Economics of Animal-Rearing.
  • Food Processing and Related Industries in India- Scope’ and Significance, Location, Upstream and Downstream Requirements, Supply Chain Management.
  • Land Reforms in India.
  • Effects of Liberalization on the Economy, Changes in Industrial Policy and their Effects on Industrial Growth.
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
  • Investment Models.
  • Science and Technology– Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life.
  • Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-technology, Bio-technology and issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights.
  • Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.
  • Disaster and Disaster Management.
  • Linkages between Development and Spread of Extremism.
  • Role of External State and Non-state Actors in creating challenges to Internal Security.
  • Challenges to Internal Security through Communication Networks, Role of Media and Social Networking Sites in Internal Security Challenges, Basics of Cyber Security; Money-Laundering and its prevention.
  • Security Challenges and their Management in Border Areas – Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism.
  • Various Security Forces and Agencies and their Mandate.

UPSC Syllabus: Mains General Studies Paper-4

Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude: This paper includes questions to check the candidate’s attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life, and his/her problem-solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him/her while dealing with society. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects and covers area:

  • Ethics and Human Interface- Essence, determinants, and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships
  • Human Values- lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers, and administrators; the role of family, society, and educational institutions in inculcating values
  • Attitude- content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance, and compassion towards the weaker-sections
  • Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world
  • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration- Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations, and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance
  • Probity in Governance- Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information; sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption
  • Case Studies on the above issues

UPSC IAS Syllabus for Language and Essay Papers

Essay Paper – It is the Paper-I of UPSC Mains

  • Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics.
  • They will be expected to keep close to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression. 

Qualifying Papers on Indian Languages and English

Structure of the language papers:

  • The types of questions asked are –
    • Essay – 100 marks
    • Reading comprehension – 60 marks
    • Precis Writing – 60 marks
    • Translation:
      • English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) – 20 marks
      • Compulsory language to English – 20 marks
    • Grammar and basic language usage – 40 marks
  • The rest of the seven papers can be written in any of the languages mentioned under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India or in English.
  • The aim of the papers is to test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious discursive prose and to express ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian language concerned.
  • The pattern of questions would broadly be as follows :
    • (i) Comprehension of given passages.
    • (ii) Precis Writing.
    • (iii) Usage and Vocabulary.
    • (iv) Short Essays.
    • (v) Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.

UPSC SYllabus: IAS Interview/Personality Test (275 Marks)

  • Candidates who qualify the UPSC Mains Exam will be called for the ‘Personality Test/Interview’. These candidates will be interviewed by a Board appointed by the UPSC.
  • The objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in the civil services by a board of competent and unbiased observers.
  • The interview is more of a purposive conversation intended to explore the mental qualities and analytical ability of the candidate.
  • The Interview test will be of 275 marks and the total marks for written examination is 1750. This sums up to a Grand Total of 2025 Marks based on which the final merit list will be prepared.

UPSC Syllabus for Optional Subjects

A candidate may opt for any one Optional Subject from the following:

Literature Subjects

Each Optional Subject has 2 compulsory papers.

Download UPSC Full Syllabus with Notification