UPSC Syllabus

At BYJU’S, you will find the complete UPSC Syllabus for the Civil Services Examination (CSE). Most commonly referred to as, IAS Syllabus, it comprises CSE Prelims and Main syllabus.

Every year Union Public Service Commission releases a complete IAS Syllabus along with its official notification in the month of February. UPSC Syllabus 2021 was released on 4th March 2021. The syllabus is similar to UPSC Civil Service Exam 2020 syllabus.

To understand the UPSC exam, one needs to understand the IAS syllabus. This helps to eliminate wasteful efforts like reading unnecessary topics leading to a loss of time and keeps one strictly aligned to the expectations of the UPSC from day one.

Download the UPSC Syllabus PDF in English and Hindi languages from the links provided in this article.

UPSC Notification 2021:-Download PDF Here

Table of Content for Syllabus of UPSC:

UPSC 2021

IAS Syllabus

There is a common UPSC syllabus pattern for services such as the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) to name a few. However, different stages of the IAS exam have different syllabi. 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 theory papers.

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)

Check the UPSC Calendar 2021 at the linked article.

UPSC Syllabus for Prelims

IAS Prelims Exam Pattern

The UPSC Civil Services Prelims Examination is composed of two components:

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 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.
  1. 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.

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

UPSC Syllabus for CSAT Paper (Prelims Paper-II)

  • Comprehension
  • 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)

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 syllabus. The compilation of topic-wise UPSC Prelims Questions PDF can be downloaded from the linked article.

UPSC Syllabus for Mains

IAS Mains Exam Pattern

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
  • 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.

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. Translation:
    1. English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) – 20 marks
    2. Compulsory language to English – 20 marks
  1. 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.

Practise answer-writing with BYJU’S UPSC Mains Answer Writing 2021-22 Initiative. It covers expert questions from GS 1 to GS 4. Categorized into sub-topics, this answer-writing would help you understand the demand of different subjects included in the IAS Syllabus. 

Please download the detailed UPSC Mains General Studies Syllabus from the linked article.

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:

UPSC Syllabus For IAS 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)

Candidates can check the success rate of optional subjects in the linked article.

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 2021 in comparison to UPSC Syllabus 2019 and UPSC Syllabus 2020.

FAQ about UPSC Syllabus

What are the subjects in UPSC?

UPSC syllabus has mentioned different subjects under headings from GS-I to GS-IV. GS Paper 1 has History, Geography and Indian Society as main subjects; GS Paper 2 has Indian Polity, Governance, Constitution, and International Relations; GS Paper 3 has Indian Economy, Science & Technology, Agriculture, Environment as important subjects while GS Paper 4 has Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude.

What is the fee of UPSC application form?

Candidates have to pay Rs. 100 for an application form. There is an exemption for SC/ST/PH categories and female candidates. Learn more about it at the UPSC Online Registration Application Form page.

Is IAS syllabus tough?

Known as one of the toughest examinations of the country, Civil Services Examination has a comprehensive syllabus. The UPSC syllabus is designed in such a way that it tests candidates’ knowledge, not in one but multiple areas of interest. Given the length and breadth of the IAS syllabus, it is usually considered to be on the tough end. However, with a proper strategy, it can be covered in a due span of time. Read more about the IAS Exam Strategy in the linked article.

Does UPSC Syllabus PDF contain prelims and mains syllabus both?

Yes, the UPSC syllabus contains complete prelims, mains and optional subjects syllabus for the aspirants.

Can an aspirant download the UPSC Syllabus in Marathi?

IAS Syllabus is published in English/Hindi languages. One can download the official IAS Syllabus PDF in the same languages only.

Updated – UPSC Syllabus in English :-Download PDF Here

Updated – UPSC Syllabus in Hindi:-Download PDF Here

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  55. Hi sir i am swetha regarding civil service exam admit card 2020 is not mentioned in website

    1. Hi Swetha
      Please refer to our UPSC Admit Card 2020 page for any updates on the same.

  56. Can you tell me which books I have refer for IAS prelims means from where to start my preparation

    1. Hi Janvi
      You can check the following links:
      1. NCERT Books for UPSC
      2. UPSC Books

  57. Please provide same analysis after 2013.

    1. For Prelims refer to UPSC Prelims Subject-Wise Weightage. For Mains, check below links:
      1. GS 1 Strategy
      2. GS 2 Strategy
      3. GS 3 Strategy

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  59. Can u tell me optional subject Punjabi literature’s syllabus. Please !!

  60. Can you please tell me which book i prefer for mains optional subject malayalam ?

  61. I have completed my graduation and I want to start preparing for civil services exam. Is it too late for me to start preparing?

    1. It is never too late to start. If you meet the eligibility criteria of the UPSC Exam, you may start now.

  62. Sir I asks to some few questions regarding UPSC.
    Sir,I want to start preparing for civil services exam during graduation time.
    How to start preparing ?
    How to manage Engineering and UPSC syllabus?
    How to clear this exam in first attempt?
    Please sir regards above all statement s.

    1. 1. Understand UPSC Syllabus
      2. Start with NCERTs and complement with daily newspaper.
      3. Refer to UPSC previous years’ question papers.
      4. Read Rajiv Ahir’s Brief of Modern History, M. Laxmikanth’s Indian Polity for GS 1 and 2 respectively.
      5. Revise often.
      6. Take mock tests periodically

  63. Thankyou so much for very helpful knowledge

  64. How to start UPSE preparation after 12 class ??
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  65. Sir, how to choose Optional Subject ?

  66. Please Byjus Team suggest me a Books for starting Preparation

    1. Get the complete list of UPSC Books in the linked article.

  67. what is a qualifying criteria in prelims GS-I.

    1. Hi,
      There is a cut off which is released by the UPSC. CSAT is qualifying in nature that is one has to secure at least 33% in it. You can read about UPSC Cut Off in the linked article.

  68. Hello Sir,
    >I am a working profession who works for an 10hrs/day,
    >I don’t have common knowledge of UPSC I mean foundation knowledge of UPSC
    >I have completed my graduation 4years back hence far from studies so

    Can I start now ? I am 26 old

    1. Hi,
      Anyone who is eligible for the Exam can start the preparation. For UPSC fundamentals, go through the syllabus sincerely. Then, go through previous years’ question papers. A few links for your reference are added below:
      1. UPSC question papers
      2. IAS Toppers
      3. UPSC Exam Pattern
      4. Strategy for working professionals.

  69. Sir in the previous year I didn’t put EWS certificate. Can I appload EWS next year

    1. Hi, yes, if you meet the EWS eligibility, you can apply CSE 2022 with EWS certificate.

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