UPSC Syllabus - IAS Prelims & Mains Syllabus
Aspirants of Civil Services Examination are at the right place to get the details of the UPSC Syllabus. Here, at Vijaya IAS, you will find the complete IAS Syllabus for all the stages of the examination:
- Preliminary Stage – General Studies & CSAT
- Mains Stage – 9 Theory Papers (GS I-IV, Language Papers, Essay & Optional)
- Personality Test – Interview
UPSC Syllabus for CSE Prelims
IAS Prelims is the first stage of the Civil Services Examination. Nearly 10 lakh candidates applied for UPSC Prelims in 2023 while approximately 11 lakh candidates applied for the same in 2021.
It is important to know the syllabus for IAS Prelims as it is the screening test that qualifies candidates for the next stage, i.e. Mains. All UPSC Exam aspirants must familiarise themselves with the exam pattern and IAS Exam syllabus first, and then move on with the preparation.
|Exam Pattern & Syllabus for UPSC Prelims |
|Two Compulsory Papers || General Studies Paper-I |
General Studies Paper-II (CSAT)
|Number of Questions asked in GS Paper-I ||100 |
|Number of Questions asked in CSAT ||80 |
|Total Number of Marks
- GS Paper-I – 200 Marks
- CSAT – 200 Marks
|Negative Marking ||⅓ of the total marks allotted to the question will be deducted for every wrong answer |
||Two hours each;
- GS Paper-I – 2 Hours (9:30 AM -11:30 AM)
- CSAT – 2 Hours (2:30 PM – 4:30 PM)
The two papers of the IAS prelims are discussed in detail below:
1. General Studies
- The General Studies test is the first paper of the preliminary examination.
- This test is intended to test the general awareness of a candidate in a wide range of subjects that include: Indian Polity, Geography, History, Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, International Relations and associated UPSC current affairs.
2. Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) (Generally conducted between 2:30 PM and 04:30 PM)
- This UPSC Prelims syllabus for CSAT intends to assess the aptitude of the candidate in solving ‘Reasoning and Analytical’ questions, apart from ‘Reading Comprehension’ and the occasionally asked ‘Decision Making’ questions.
- The ‘Decision Making’ based questions are generally exempt from negative marks.
To be noted:
- The preliminary examination is only meant for screening a candidate for the subsequent stages of the exam.
- The marks obtained in the Prelims will not be added up while arriving at the final rank list.
The subjects included in the prelims are common for all. However, there is an option to opt for a few subjects in the mains phase of the examination.
UPSC 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 specialisation.
- General Science
Some important links for UPSC Prelims GS Paper-I Preparation are listed below:
|Topic-wise UPSC Prelims Questions PDF ||NCERT Notes for UPSC |
|Important Acts of India ||International Organizations Reports |
|UPSC Prelims Subject-wise Weightage ||Environment Conventions & Protocols |
UPSC 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)
Candidates are advised to refer to the following links below that will help them to cover the UPSC CSE syllabus for the CSAT paper:
|CSAT Questions ||Tips to Prepare for CSAT |
|CSAT: Introduction to Decision-making ||CSAT Mock Test |
|How Difficult is CSAT Exam? ||IAS Questions for UPSC 2023 |
UPSC Syllabus in English (IAS Prelims):- Download PDF Here
UPSC Syllabus in Hindi (IAS Prelims):- Download PDF Here
Get in touch with previous years’ questions asked in prelims from the UPSC Civil Services syllabus.
UPSC Syllabus for Mains
|Paper ||Subject ||Marks |
|Paper-I ||Essay (can be written in the medium of the candidate’s choice) ||250 |
|Paper-II ||General Studies – I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society) ||250 |
|Paper-III ||General Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations) ||250 |
|Paper-IV ||General Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management) ||250 |
|Paper-V ||General Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude) ||250 |
|Paper-VI ||Optional Subject – Paper I ||250 |
|Paper-VII ||Optional Subject – Paper II ||250 |
Must-Know Facts about UPSC Mains
- 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.
IAS Syllabus for UPSC Mains GS-I
General Studies‐I is also called Paper-II of UPSC Mains. It covers – Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society. The detailed UPSC Syllabus for this paper is given below:
- Indian culture will cover the 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.
IAS Syllabus for Mains GS-II
General Studies-II is also called Paper-III of UPSC Mains. It majorly covers Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations. The detailed UPSC syllabus for this paper is given below:
- Constitution of India —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 neighbourhood- 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.
IAS Syllabus for Mains GS-III
General Studies-III is also called Paper-IV of the UPSC Mains. The major topics covered are Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management. The detailed UPSC syllabus for this paper is given below:
- 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.
IAS Syllabus for Mains GS-IV
General Studies Paper-IV is also called Paper-V of UPSC Mains. The major topics covered under it are Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude. This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem-solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered:
- 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; role of family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
- Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; 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.
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.
Get important information on UPSC Essay Paper from the links below:
|7 Steps on Essay Writing for UPSC Mains ||Last 25 Years Topic-wise Essay Questions from UPSC Mains |
|Different Types & Styles of Essay Writing for UPSC ||Essay Topics & Writing Ideas for UPSC |
- 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
- 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 :
- Comprehension of given passages.
- Precis Writing.
- Usage and Vocabulary.
- Short Essays.
- comprehension of given passages.
- Precis Writing.
- Usage and Vocabulary.
- Short Essays.
- Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.
The following articles might help candidates who find it challenging to prepare for UPSC syllabus w.r.t language papers:
|How to Tackle UPSC Mains Compulsory Language Papers ||Tips for the Compulsory Indian Language Paper – Hindi |
|How to Tackle the Compulsory English Paper in UPSC Civil Services Exam ||Exemption from Indian Language Paper in UPSC |
UPSC Syllabus for Optional Subjects
The UPSC Mains syllabus gives a list of 48 Optional Subjects which include Literature of different languages. Candidates need to choose any one of the ‘Optional Subjects’ from the list of subjects given below:
IAS Syllabus For UPSC Mains Optional Subjects:
| IAS Optional Syllabus | UPSC Syllabus for Optional Subjects |
| Agriculture – UPSC Syllabus || Zoology – UPSC Syllabus |
| Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Assamese (Literature) |
| Anthropology – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Bengali (Literature) |
| Botany – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Bodo (Literature) |
| Chemistry – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Dogri (Literature) |
| Civil Engineering – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Gujarati (Literature) |
| Commerce & Accountancy – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Hindi (Literature) |
| Economics – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Kannada (Literature) |
| Electrical Engineering – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Kashmiri (Literature) |
| Geography – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Konkani (Literature) |
| Geology – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Maithili (Literature) |
| History – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Malayalam (Literature) |
| Law – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Manipuri (Literature) |
| Management – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Marathi (Literature) |
| Mathematics – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Nepali (Literature) |
| Mechanical Engineering – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Odia (Literature) |
| Medical Science – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Punjabi (Literature) |
| Philosophy – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Sanskrit (Literature) |
| Physics – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Santhali (Literature) |
| Political Science & International Relations – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Sindhi (Literature) |
| Psychology – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Tamil (Literature) |
| Public Administration – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Telugu (Literature) |
| Sociology – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – English (Literature) |
| Statistics – UPSC Syllabus || IAS Syllabus – Urdu (Literature) |
Aspirants looking for Topper’s excerpts and guidance as to which optional subject to opt for, they can visit the UPSC Toppers’ Optional Subjects page and get the required assistance. They can get the list of subjects opted by top rank holders in the past.
UPSC Syllabus for IAS Interview
Known as Personality Test, UPSC Interview is the last stage of the examination. There is no defined UPSC syllabus for the interview. Questions are asked from wide-ranging issues.
- 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 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 275 marks and the total marks for the written examination is 1750. This sums up to a Grand Total of 2025 Marks, based on which the final merit list will be prepared.
Candidates should note that there are no changes in UPSC Syllabus 2023 in comparison to UPSC Syllabus 2022 and UPSC Syllabus 2021.