Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

UPSC Civils Syllabus

A complete knowledge of the UPSC (IAS) syllabus is a prerequisite for clearing the exam.  UPSC has three stages for the Civil Services Exam. The UPSC Prelims syllabus focuses on general and societal awareness which is tested by objective-type (MCQ) questions. The UPSC Mains syllabus is much more comprehensive as this stage comprises nine Subjective papers. This is followed by a Personality Test (Interview).

UPSC (IAS) exam syllabus for both prelims and mains exam is comprehensive as well as extensive. Hence the syllabus acts as a torchbearer for the IAS preparation. Proper knowledge and understanding of IAS Pattern and Syllabus can increase the chances of success in the exam.

The Civil services exam 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 Preliminary Examination is comprised of two Papers:

1) General Studies

2) Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)

Paper Subjects Total Marks Duration
I General Studies (GS) 200 2 hours (9:30 AM to 11:30 AM)
II CSAT 200 2 hours (2:30 PM to 4:30 PM)
  • The Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination consists of two papers of objective type, each of 200 marks (hence totaling 400 marks). 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.

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  current affairs. The cut off (Qualifying marks) for this paper varies every year based on number of posts available. However these marks are not added to final rank list. Qualification in this stage only gives eligibility to appear for Mains exam.

2. Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)

  • This UPSC Prelims syllabus for CSAT intends to assess the aptitude of the candidate in solving ‘Reasoning and Analytical’ questions, apart from ‘Reading Comprehension’
  • In this paper, student has to get 67 marks out of 200 marks. Thus it is just a qualifying paper.

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 specialisation General Science
  • Syllabus for CSAT Paper (Prelims Paper II)
    • Comprehension
    • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
    • 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 marks obtained in prelims are qualifying in nature. 

 

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
    • 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 –

  1. Essay – 100 marks
  2. Reading comprehension – 60 marks
  3. Precis Writing – 60 marks
  4. Grammar and basic language usage – 40 marks
  5. Translation:
  • English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) – 20 marks
  • Compulsory language to English – 20 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.

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

UPSC Mains Syllabus

Qualifying Papers on Indian languages and English

The aim of the paper is to test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express his ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian language concerned. The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows :

English Languages:

  1. Comprehension of given passages.
  2. Precis Writing.
  3. Usage and Vocabulary.
  4. Short Essays.

Indian Languages:

  1. Comprehension of given passages.
  2. Precis Writing.
  3. Usage and Vocabulary.
  4. Short Essays.
  5. Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.

Note 1: The papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.

Note 2: The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved).

Paper?I: (Essay) – 250 Marks

In Essay Paper, candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep closely 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.

Paper?2: (General Studies 1) – 250 Marks

General Studies 1 Paper Syllabus for UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam consists of the below major areas: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society. The detailed syllabus 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 the 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 the world’s physical geography.
  • Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent); 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.

Paper?3: (General Studies 2) – 250 Marks

General Studies 2 Paper Syllabus for UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam consists of the below major areas: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations. The detailed syllabus is given below:

  • 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, the 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 the 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.

Paper?4: (General Studies 3) – 250 Marks

General Studies 3 Paper Syllabus for UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam consists of the below major areas: Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management. Detailed syllabus as provided by UPSC is as 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, nanotechnology, biotechnology 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, the 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.

Paper?5: (General Studies 4) – 250 Marks

General Studies 4 Paper Syllabus for UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam consists of the below major areas: Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude. Details of the syllabus as provided by UPSC is as below: 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 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. 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.

Optional Subject:

Candidates need to choose any one among the 48 Optional Subjects (You can see the list below) as a ‘Optional Subject’. 

Paper?6: (Optional Subject Paper 1) – 250 Marks

Paper?7: (Optional Subject Paper 2) – 250 Marks

Mains Optional Subjects:

Agriculture

Zoology

Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science

Assamese (Literature)

Anthropology

Bengali (Literature)

Botany

Bodo (Literature)

Chemistry

Dogri (Literature)

Civil Engineering

Gujarati (Literature)

Commerce & Accountancy

Hindi (Literature)

Economics

Kannada (Literature)

Electrical Engineering

Kashmiri (Literature)

Geography

Konkani (Literature)

Geology

Maithili (Literature)

History

Malayalam (Literature)

Law

Manipuri (Literature)

Management

Marathi (Literature)

Mathematics

Nepali (Literature)

Mechanical Engineering

Odia (Literature)

Medical Science

Punjabi (Literature)

Philosophy

Sanskrit (Literature)

Physics

Santhali (Literature)

Political Science & International Relations

Sindhi (Literature)

Psychology

Tamil (Literature)

Public Administration

Telugu (Literature)

Sociology

English (Literature)

Statistics

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 purposive conversation intended to explore the mental qualities and analytical ability of the candidate.
  • The Interview test will be of 275 marks.

Final Merit List:

The total marks for written examination is 1750 and for Interview test will be of 275 marks . This sums up to a Grand Total of 2025 Marks based on which the final merit list will be prepared.

Qualifying Papers

 

Marks

Paper-A

One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution

300

Paper-B

English

300

Papers to be Counted for Merit

Paper-I

Essay

250

Paper-II

General Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)

250

Paper-III

General Studies-II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

250

Paper-IV

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

250

Paper-V

General Studies-IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)

250

Paper-VI

Optional Subject – Paper 1

250

Paper-VII

Optional Subject – Paper 2

250

Sub Total (Written Test)

1750

Personality Test 

275

Grand Total 

2025