Pros and Cons of Civil Engineering Optional in UPSC Mains

Civil Engineering optional subject IAS

The UPSC offers three engineering disciplines as optionals in the UPSC mains exam. They are civil, mechanical and electrical engineering. They are indeed highly specialised subjects and only engineering graduates are recommended to take them up as optionals. There aren’t many candidates who take civil engineering as their optional subject but every year there are successful candidates with this optional subject. This article talks about the pros and cons of civil engineering optional in the UPSC mains exam.

Civil engineering is an engineering discipline dealing with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, canals, bridges, buildings and dams.

Who should take civil engineering optional?

Civil engineering as an optional is recommended only for civil engineers as you need in-depth subject knowledge for the two optional papers in the IAS exam.

Check the UPSC syllabus for civil engineering optional.

Pros of civil engineering optional

  • As an engineer, you would have studied this subject for four years, so you have a strong foundation in it.
  • It is a very scoring subject since it is a science-based subject.
  • You don’t have to learn anything by rote here. All you need is a solid understanding and clarity of concepts.
  • There would be plenty of diagrams for you to score. (Practice them well!)
  • You can easily justify your choice of optional in the UPSC interview.
  • Nothing is left to the interpretation of the examiner unlike the humanities subjects.
  • You can even try the Engineering Services exam if you prepare for civil engineering.

Cons of civil engineering optional

  • The syllabus is vast. It would be very difficult to actually cover the whole syllabus.
  • Finishing the papers on time during the exam is also difficult as the papers are considered lengthy. It would be a struggle to finish them.
  • There is no overlap with general studies in this subject.
  • UPSC can ask dynamic questions and these can be difficult to answer unless you have a deep knowledge of the subject.

There have been many IAS toppers with Civil Engineering optional. For example, Vinay Tiwari secured an all India rank of 193 in the 2014 civil services exam.

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