UPSC IAS Syllabus

IAS is one of the most desired service in India, and students need to pass the UPSC CSE exams in order to get this reputed job. It needs months and years of preparation.

For the right kind of preparation, you need the right syllabus. You need a perfect interpretation of the IAS syllabus which ignores irrelevant topics and helps in focusing on what’s important. 

The UPSC syllabus has a common pattern for IAS, IFS, IPS, IRS, and others. Phase one of the civil service preliminary exam includes 2 papers- General studies and civil services aptitude test. Phase two is about civil services mains examination, and Phase three is about a personal interview. Let’s have a detailed look at the UPSC exam syllabus

Phase 1- UPSC Prelims Exam


GS Paper syllabus- Prelims Paper I


  • Current events of national and international importance.

  • History of Indian and national movement.

  • Indian polity and governance, world geography, economic and social development, and general science. 

CSAT paper syllabus – Prelim Paper II


  • Comprehension

  • General mental ability

  • Logical reasoning

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Decision-making

  • Basic numeracy

Phase 2 UPSC Mains 1750 Marks


The mains evaluate the academic talents of the candidate in depth and comprises of 9 papers- two of which are 300 marks and qualifying in nature. 


Qualifying papers


  • English language

  • Any Indian language

The rest 7 papers can be written in either of the languages stated in schedule 8 of the Indian constitution or in English.



UPSC Mains Syllabus 


Paper 1- Essay 


To be written in the medium or language of the candidate’s choice Candidates will be required to write an essay on a specific topic The choice of subjects will be given They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely Credit will be given for effective and exact expression

General Studies I

(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)

  • 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.


General Studies II


(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

  1. Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
  2. 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.
  3. Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions. Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
  4. 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 
  5. Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act  Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various
  6. Constitutional Bodies Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies 
  7. 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 
  8. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the
  9. Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and  Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
  10. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources  Issues relating to poverty and hunger 
  11. Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures 
  12. Role of civil services in a democracy 
  13. India and its neighborhood- relations Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  14. 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

General Studies III


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

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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;
  4. Technology missions;economics of animal-rearing. Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment Disaster and disaster management.
  8. Linkages between development and spread of extremism. Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  9. 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
  10. Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate


General Studies IV

(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)

  1. 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.
  2. Questions may utilise 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.
  3. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
  4. Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  5. 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.
  6. Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance. Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 above issues.


Paper VI of optional subjects – Paper I and is of 250


Paper VII of the optional subject – Paper-II and of 250 


A list of 48 optional subjects is offered in the UPSC mains exam. 



Phase 3- UPSC interview or personality test- 275 marks


The personality test is 275 marks, and the total for mains is 1750. It sums up to 2025 and based on that final merit is prepared.



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