UPSC Syllabus – Civil Service Exam -Prelims, Mains and Interview

UPSC syllabus for Civil Service Examinations can be found in this page. Aspirants can use this page by taking print out or by bookmarking this page in your chrome or firefox browser. Syllabus of individual optional subjects will be provided on the corresponding page. You can find out the optional page syllabus by clicking on the link provided below.  As an added advantage, we have attached the UPSC Syllabus 2019 PDF. You can get skip to UPSC Syllabus 2019 PDF that section from here

UPSC Syllabus – Preliminary Examination

Preliminary Examination is the first phase of the examination. The Civil Service Preliminary Examination comprises of two papers each with 200 marks.

General Studies – Paper – I

General Studies – Paper – II

These two papers are compulsory papers. Aspirants cannot skip these papers. The questions asked in these papers will be an objective model. Aspirants need to mark the correct option in the OMR sheet provided in the examination hall. Marking wrong options will fetch you negative marks.

UPSC Syllabus – Preliminary Examination – General Studies – Paper – I – (200 Marks) – (Duration: 2Hours)

  • 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, Bio-diversity, and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
  • General Science.

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UPSC Syllabus – Preliminary Examination – General Studies – Paper – II – (200 Marks) – (Duration: 2Hours)

General Studies – Paper -II is the qualifying paper. Hence, the marks scored in this paper is not counted for the merit list. But, you have to score the minimum marks (66 Marks -33%) in this paper. So that your Paper -I will be evaluated by UPSC.

  • 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).

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UPSC – Mains Examinations Syllabus

Paper – A
Language -300 Marks
(Candidate can take any Modern Indian language but this paper is of qualifying nature)
Paper – B
English -300 Marks
(This paper is of qualifying nature)

PAPER-I – Essay

  • 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 close 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.

PAPER-II – General Studies- I:

Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society.
Indian Heritage and Culture: 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,  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.

Geography of the World
Salient features of 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 waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

PAPER-III – General Studies- II:

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.
Governance, Constitution, Polity

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, 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
Social Justice

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 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.
International relations 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-IV – General Studies-III:

Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management. Economic Development Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development, and employment. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
Government Budgeting. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.


Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
Investment models.


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.

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 Management: 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, 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-V – General Studies- IV:

Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude
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; the role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; 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.

Paper VI & VII

These are the Optional Papers, You can choose whatever optional paper you like from the list of optional provided by UPSC. The optional subject comprises with Paper I and Paper II for 300 marks respectively. Sociology, Geography, Public Administration, History, Literature are the most popular optional papers among the UPSC aspirants.

You can read our special guide if you too confused in choosing optional paper or you are from Engineering background and struggling to find out the best optional paper for Engineering background candidates.

How to select IAS mains optional – Detailed Guide

This is the easiest IAS Mains optional – Must read 

UPSC Optional Subject List and Syllabus

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  3. Anthropology
  4. Botany
  5. Chemistry
  6. Civil Engineering
  7. Commerce & Accountancy
  8. Economics – Syllabus
  9. Electrical Engineering
  10. Geography – Syllabus
  11. Geology
  12. History – Syllabus
  13. Philosophy
  14. Political Science & International Relations
  15. Psychology
  16. Public Administration
  17. Physics
  18. Sociology – Syllabus
  19. Law
  20. Mathematics
  21. Management
  22. Mechanical Engineering
  23. Medical Science
  24. Statistics
  25. Zoology

UPSC Literature Optional List

  1. Assamese
  2. Bengali
  3. Bodo
  4. Dogri
  5. Gujarati
  6. Hindi
  7. Kannada
  8. Kashmiri
  9. Konkani
  10. Maithili
  11. Malayalam
  12. Manipuri
  13. Marathi
  14. Nepali
  15. Oriya
  16. Punjabi
  17. Sanskrit
  18. Santhali
  19. Sindhi
  20. Tamil
  21. Telugu
  22. Urdu
  23. English

UPSC Interview / Personality Test – 275 Marks (Duration 40 mins – 1 Hr)

  • The interview/personality test is the final stage of UPSC Civil Service Examination. The Personality test will be conducted by experts those who have wide knowledge in their specialized area.
  • The Interview duration will vary from person to person. But the normal duration stated by aspirants those who went through the interview process is 40 to 60 mins.
  • The Interview board try to assess your internal strength, knowledge and personality suitability for civil service.
  • Most of the questions asked in this interview session will be in the conversational tone. So you can express your views in the unbiased format.  You can read our UPSC interview tips article to know more about this.
  • You can expect questions from your Previous job, Hometown, Graduation, Hobbies and Current issues related to national and international.
  • The interview test will be for 275 marks which will be added with your mains marks and included for your final ranking.

UPSC Syllabus 2019 PDF

Most of the users mailed us to send UPSC syllabus 2019 as in the PDF format. As you see, we cannot send the syllabus to all through email. So, we created it as PDF and uploaded it here. If anyone wants the UPSC Syllabus PDF then he can download by clicking the below link.

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Download UPSC Syllabus 2019 PDF – Prelims, Mains, and Interview

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