In this article, you will find the complete UPSC syllabus for the Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The syllabus is vast and contains much information, so you need to have patience while going through this article.
In order to understand the UPSC exam, it is important to understand the IAS syllabus. Understanding the syllabus helps to eliminate unnecessary efforts like reading unnecessary topics and gathering hell lot of materials. If you read your syllabus carefully, it will save a lot of time and effort. The syllabus clearly specifies that what UPSC demands, so go through this article and you will know everything about the Syllabus of UPSC CSE.
The IAS syllabus can be found at the UPSC official website – https://upsc.gov.in/ or scroll down to download the UPSC syllabus pdf for both Prelims and Mains. Aspirants can also download the IAS Syllabus in Hindi|UPSC Syllabus in Hindi.
There is a common UPSC syllabus pattern for services such as the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service, to name a few. However, different stages of the IAS exam have a different syllabus, but an integrated approach for preparation is always recommended. Read about the comprehensive approach for preparation for Pre-cum-Mains 2021.
The UPSC CSE is conducted in three phases:
Phase 1: Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type)
Phase 2: Civil Services (Mains) Examination (Descriptive Type)
Phase 3: Personal Interview (Personality Test)
Phase 1: UPSC Prelims Exam
The UPSC Civil Services Prelims Examination collectively comprises of two parts:
1) General Studies
The UPSC Prelims syllabus focuses on general and societal awareness. The answer mode for this exam is offline, and it is tested by objective-type (MCQ) questions.
2) Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)
CSAT Paper is to test the comprehensive knowledge of reasoning along with aptitude and basic mathematics.
- Broadly, the UPSC Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination consists of two papers of objective type, each of 200 marks (hence totaling 400 marks) and of two hours duration. To qualify for the Civil Services Mains, a candidate must attempt both the papers.
- Further, the UPSC General Studies (GS) paper consists of 100 questions, while the CSAT paper consists of 80 questions. Both papers have negative marks for wrong answers marked to the tune of 1/3rd of the total marks assigned to that question.
- To further illustrate this, each correctly answered GS question will be awarded 2 marks. So, 0.66 marks would be deducted from the total for every question that is wrongly marked.
- Similarly, in the CSAT paper, since we have 80 questions for 200 marks, correctly answered CSAT question would attract 2.5 marks each, while every wrongly marked question would attract a penalty of 0.833 for each such wrong answer, which will be deducted from the total.
- Questions that are not attempted will not attract any negative marks.
|Number of Papers||2 compulsory papers|
(General Studies+ CSAT)
|Type of Questions||Objective (MCQ) type|
|Total Maximum Marks||400 (200 each paper)|
|Duration of Exam||2 hrs. each (20 minutes per hour extra time for blind candidates & candidate with Locomotor Disability & Cerebral Palsy [minimum 40% impairment])|
|Negative Marking||1/3rd of the marks assigned to a question|
|Medium of Exam||Bilingual (Hindi & English)|
UPSC Prelims Syllabus
Syllabus for GS Paper (Prelims Paper I)
- Current events of national and international importance.
- History of India and Indian National Movement.
- Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
- Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
- Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
- General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
- General Science
Syllabus for CSAT Paper (Prelims Paper-II)
- 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)
Note: The first stage of the UPSC CSE exam i.e., the Civil Services Preliminary Exam is only a screening test and is conducted to shortlist candidates for the Main Examination. Marks secured in Preliminary Exam are not taken into account while preparing the final merit.
Phase 2: UPSC Mains Exam (1750 Marks)
- 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.
- 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 Paper
- 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.
Structure of the language papers:
The types of questions asked are –
- Essay – 100 marks
- Reading comprehension – 60 marks
- Precise Writing – 60 marks
- 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.
UPSC Mains Syllabus
Mains paper comprises a total of 7 papers containing a total of 1750 marks (250 each).
|Paper – I||Essay (can be written in the medium of the candidate’s choice)||250|
|Paper-II (GS -1)||General Studies – I|
(Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)
|Paper – III (GS-2)||General Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)||250|
|Paper – IV (GS- 3)||General Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)||250|
|Paper – V (GS – 4)||General Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)||250|
|Paper – VI||Optional Subject – Paper I||250|
|Paper – VII||Optional Subject – Paper II||250|
Below is a detailed list of the topics to be studied for the GS papers 1, 2, 3 and 4.
|UPSC Exam General Studies- PAPER I|
|Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society:|
|UPSC Exam General Studies- PAPER II|
|Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations:|
|UPSC Exam General Studies- PAPER III|
|Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management:|
|UPSC Exam General Studies- PAPER IV|
|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:|
The UPSC Mains syllabus gives a list of 48 Optional Subjects including subject specialization and Literature of different languages. Candidates need to choose any one of the ‘Optional Subjects’ from the list of subjects given below:
|Agriculture||Medical Science||Kashmiri (Literature)|
|Animal Husbandry||Philosophy||Konkani (Literature)|
|Botany||Political Science and International Relations||Malayalam (Literature)|
|Civil Engineering||Public Administration||Marathi (Literature)|
|Commerce and Accountancy||Sociology||Nepali (Literature)|
|Electrical engineering||Zoology||Punjabi (Literature)|
|Geography||Assamese (Literature)||Sanskrit (Literature)|
|Geology||Bengali (Literature)||Santhali (Literature)|
|History||Bodo (Literature)||Sindhi (Literature)|
|Law||Dogri (Literature)||Tamil (Literature)|
|Management||Gujarati (Literature)||Telugu (Literature)|
|Mathematics||Hindi (Literature)||English (Literature)|
|Mechanical Engineering||Kannada (Literature)||Urdu (Literature)|
Phase 3: IAS Interview/UPSC 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.
Read How to prepare for UPSC CSE Interview?
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