Optional Subjects for UPSC Mains 2023

The UPSC Main Examination consists of 2 Qualifying papers and 7 merit ranking papers listed below:

  • Qualifying Papers
    • English
    • Any One Indian Language from the Eighth Schedule of The Constitution of India
  • Merit Ranking Papers
    • UPSC Essay
    • General Studies Paper I
    • General Studies Paper II
    • General Studies Paper III
    • General Studies Paper IV
    • Optional Paper I
    • Optional Paper II

In this article, we will discuss the subjects and syllabus for UPSC Optional Papers I and II.

The UPSC Optional Subject list consists of 48 subjects, out of which one can be selected by the candidate for both the papers. Each optional subject comprises of two papers (Paper I and Paper II) each of 250 marks, making it a total of 500 marks

The syllabus of the optional papers is at the honours degree level, which is higher than an undergraduate degree level but lower than a masters degree level. Candidates can also take literature subjects as an optional paper. Your choice of optionals can substantially influence your chances of success in UPSC 2023.

In this article, we have collated the detailed UPSC Syllabus for Civil Services Mains Optional Subjects that will help you decide on your Optional Subject for IAS exam. Given below is the list of optional subjects in UPSC and the links to UPSC Optional Subjects syllabus PDFs.

Optional Subjects Syllabus PDF and Strategy Links

The following is the list of Optional Subjects in UPSC 2023 along with link to download the optional subject syllabus PDF:

UPSC Optional Subjects
IAS Agriculture Optional Syllabus IAS Civil Engineering Syllabus IAS Geology Optional Syllabus IAS Mechanical Engineering Optional Syllabus IAS Psychology Optional Syllabus
IAS Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Optional Syllabus IAS Commerce Syllabus IAS History Optional Syllabus IAS Medical Science Optional Syllabus IAS Public Administration Optional Syllabus
IAS Anthropology Optional Syllabus IAS Economics Syllabus IAS Law Optional Syllabus IAS Philosophy Optional Syllabus IAS Sociology Optional Syllabus
IAS Botany Optional Syllabus IAS Electrical Engineering Syllabus IAS Management Optional Syllabus IAS Physics Optional Syllabus IAS Statistics Optional Syllabus
IAS Chemistry Optional Syllabus IAS Geography Optional Syllabus IAS Mathematics Optional Syllabus IAS Political Science Optional Syllabus IAS Zoology Optional Syllabus
UPSC Literature Optional Subjects
Assamese Gujarati Kashmiri Malayalam Nepali
Bengali Bodo Konkani Manipuri Oriya
Dogri Kannada Maithili Marathi Punjabi
Sanskrit Santhali Sindhi Tamil Telugu
Urdu English Hindi

Choosing an Optional Subject for UPSC should be based on the following factors:

  • Average success rate of UPSC optional papers, a higher success rate would be a good indicator of the availability of IAS study material for those subjects
  • Candidates’ expertise in the optional subject, for example, a practicing doctor would have considerable expertise on Medical Science and should ideally choose this as the optional subject to reduce effort and time spent on IAS preparation.
  • UPSC optional subjects chosen by IAS toppers in the past also indicate high scoring potential and availability of preparation material for IAS topper’s optional subjects.

To read more about UPSC preparation, please visit:

Related Links:
IAS Preparation UPSC Books
IAS Coaching UPSC Notification
How to Write Answers for Literature Optionals Interesting Statistics About Optional Subjects
UPSC Apply Online UPSC Notes PDF
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