UPSC Syllabus | IAS Syllabus | Civil Services Syllabus

racking the UPSC Examination and entering the coveted rank list has always been considered as the paramount aspiration in India, and in fact, all over the world. If and when the UPSC aspirants end up achieving this widely sought-after goal, not only are they celebrated in their families but also placed as a mark of excellence. All this importance and value that is associated with clearing the UPSC Examination comes with its own caveats as well.

The same society that has associated such great value with the UPSC Examination has also made it out to be more difficult, and hard to conquer, than it really is. Not only is the toil exaggerated, but it is also done so to the extent that makes even the most diligently devoted UPSC aspirants give up before trying their best.

The secret to simplifying our understanding of the UPSC Examination roots in our understanding of the syllabus itself. At BecomingIAS, we look at this process as the mix of 2+1 D’s- 

  • In order to demystify this entire thrill around UPSC Examination, there are articles that have been written by the founder himself, who cleared this examination thrice in a row. All UPSC aspirants can find these life-saving tools here.
  • The key to gaining supreme control over the result of the UPSC examination lies in a structured deconstruction of the syllabus. Once the UPSC Aspirants manage to formulate the UPSC syllabus in an accessible format, their preparation journey formally begins. To help with this, Becoming IAS has created an exclusive UPSC Navigator that sets the UPSC aspirants on their journey and stays with them as they run the course of the UPSC Examination journey.
  • Detailing the syllabus is perhaps the one part that the UPSC aspirants can leave to the Union Public Service Commission itself, along with Becoming IAS’ assistance. The detailing part is as follows-

It is important to pick up the different stages of the UPSC Examination separately for detailing. For that purpose, you can find the designed syllabus detailing for these phases on the links below-

1.UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2.UPSC Mains Syllabus 3.UPSC Interview tips 4.FAQs

UPSC Notification 2021:-

Upcoming UPSC IAS Events

  1. UPSC Admit Card – Prelims Admit Card to be released around 18th/19th September 2021
  2. UPSC Prelims 2021 – Exam on October 10, 2021
  3. UPSC Interview 2020 Revised Dates Out – IAS 2020 Interview from August 2, 2021
  4. UPSC Mains Result 2020 – Released on March 23, 2021
  5. UPSC Apply Online Portal – Registration between 4th March, and 24th March 2021
  6. UPSC Notification 2021 – Released on 4th March 2021


Often called the IAS syllabus, the UPSC Syllabus demands to be looked at from three different angles as each stage has its own similarities as well as peculiarities which, if ignored, could be deal-breakers but once identified, they make the job easier and far more approachable.

These separate phases of the UPSC Examination allow the Commission to judge the UPSC aspirant from various angles that are taken into consideration while evaluating an officer’s efficiency.

1. The UPSC Prelims Examination (Objective Type Test- vast expanse of knowledge)
2. The UPSC Mains Examination (Subjective Type Test- depth of knowledge)
3. The UPSC Interview (Personality Test- overall strength and essence of character)

One thing to be kept in mind is the finely defined similarity and difference of approach to all these three phases. You will figure that out once you go through the entire detailing.

Phase 1: UPSC Prelims Syllabus

The UPSC Prelims is designed to eliminate certain number of applicants and streamline those that display the potential of handling the weight of UPSC Mains. Keeping that in mind, UPSC Prelims is your one chance at showing that you’re not like the rest in this nation-wide cut-throat competition, and deserve a chance at displaying your true potential. Once you cross this bridge, you’re only left with the task of proving yourself better than the other selected few.

With the guided methodology that is provided here on this page, making it to your desired score in UPSC Mains isn’t nearly as tough as the country deems it to be.

UPSC Prelims is divided into two papers :-

I General Studies (GS) 2 Hours – In the Morning 200
II Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) 2 Hours- In the afternoon 200

An important point to note before you begin the preparation for UPSC Prelims is that this paper is only for filtering out certain number of candidates, and the scores for UPSC Prelims are not added to the cumulative scores that determine the UPSC Ranks list.

However, this does not mean that you need to prepare for UPSC Prelims only with the vision of ending it right after the Prelims paper. What you study during this time is important and crucial in laying the mental ground for your UPSC Mains paper as well. Remember, studying for the long term always works well!


The General Studies paper is where the UPSC aspirant must recall the advice on studying for the long term. It is the first paper in the UPSC Prelims Examination and qualifies candidates on the basis of the depth and extent of their knowledge on the syllabus.

What looks like a massive bundle of information at first is really just a list of topics that needs to be consumed in a systematic manner. You can access some critical insights to understanding this manner, and a carefully curated booklist by experts here.

To tame down the intimidation that comes from the UPSC GS Syllabus, remind yourself that your advantage here is that no one has an advantage in this examination. The syllabus is so vast that everyone who takes on the preparation for this examination is starting from more or less the same point. Once you acknowledge this particular vantage point in your UPSC journey, you are armed with all the patient confidence (and humility) that is required for this task.

Following is a simple list of all the topics that are part of the UPSC GS Syllabus :-

    • 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 specialisation.
    • General Science.

CSAT (Civil Service Aptitude Test) SYLLABUS

The UPSC CSAT Examination aims to identify your hold over basics of what constitutes a smart thinking process. It evaluates your Analytical and Logical Reasoning, Language and Communication Command and at times, your decision-making abilities through the ‘Decision Making’ questions (which do not have any negative marking).

Now that you have a fair idea of how the UPSC Prelims Examination unfolds, you must take a look at the official UPSC Prelims syllabus in order to finish your detailing stage of this first phase of UPSC Examination.
Download PDFs of UPSC Prelims Syllabus in English and Hindi .

Considering how a major part of any examination’s preparation consists of learning from the examination’s own history, it is necessary to be thorough with past year’s questions for the UPSC Prelims as well. You can find the previous year questions bank here.

Once the UPSC Prelims have been cleared, the aspirant enters the real war.

The scores for all the UPSC Mains papers are taken into account while determining the rank list. Hence, it is important to know the structure and strategy of dominating this paper inside out before we begin to be overwhelmed with the flood of syllabus and endless hours of study that follow.


The UPSC Mains Examination is the stage where an aspirant has to showcase his/her academic potential to the best of his/her abilities in each and every paper. This examination, which is a series of different papers, requires not only in-depth knowledge of the contents of the syllabus, but also the smart attitude of doing so in a limited period of time. The UPSC Mains Examination thus forms the perfect crossover of hard-work and smart-work; you miss out on one of the two, and you’re out of the game

The UPSC Mains Examination consists of 7+2 (in total 9) papers.

Two papers, known as the Qualifying Papers, are of 300 marks each and test the Language Competency of the candidate. The aspirant’s score in the rest of the 7 papers is taken into account only when he/she scores a minimum of 25% in both these papers.

Therefore, we will first discuss the breakdown of the Two Language Papers

  1. Essay Writing- 100 Marks
  2. Reading Comprehension- 60 Marks
  3. Precis Writing- 60 Marks
  4. Grammar and Basic Usage of Language- 40 Marks
  5. Translations (20*2 Marks) 
  • From English to Compulsory Language (e.g. Hindi)
  • From Compulsory Language to English

The rest of the papers that comprise the UPSC Mains Examination are :-

The UPSC Prelims is designed to eliminate certain number of applicants and streamline those that display the potential of handling the weight of UPSC Mains. Keeping that in mind, UPSC Prelims is your one chance at showing that you’re not like the rest in this nation-wide cut-throat competition, and deserve a chance at displaying your true potential. Once you cross this bridge, you’re only left with the task of proving yourself better than the other selected few.

With the guided methodology that is provided here on this page, making it to your desired score in UPSC Mains isn’t nearly as tough as the country deems it to be.

UPSC Prelims is divided into two papers :-

Paper Subject Marks

Essay (The candidate can choose the medium)


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


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


General Studies- III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security and Disaster Management)


General Studies- IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)


Optional Subject- I

Paper – VII

Optional Subject- II


The Candidate can choose to write these seven papers in any language listed under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India or in English, according to the comfort and ease.

  • Download the UPSC Mains General Studies Syllabus here.



UPSC Syllabus in English (IAS Prelims):-

UPSC Syllabus in Hindi (IAS Prelims):-

Download the compilation of Topic-Wise UPSC Prelims Questions PDF from the linked article.


The two UPSC Optional Papers give candidates a chance to up their overall scores by picking a subject that they have an expertise in and are confident about. This paper allows the candidates to set themselves apart from the rest of the aspirants by remaining in what they think is their comfort zone.

However, as easy and fun as this sounds, it is important to give due thought and diligence to the process of making a choice for this paper. There are statistics and expert suggestions that need to be processed before picking a subject. The article here lays down the steps and suggestions that help in this crucial process.

Following is the list of the 48 subjects that are available for candidates to choose from for the two UPSC Optional Papers-

Candidates should note that there are no changes in UPSC Syllabus 2021 in comparison to UPSC Syllabus 2019 and UPSC Syllabus 2020.

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:

Civil Services Exam 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.

Once you clear this stage of the UPSC Mains Examination and qualify the examination, you reach the final and the most unique phase of this journey- the UPSC Interview.

Before you gear up for the UPSC Interview preparation, just remember- this is the most Changing Challenge that you need to Charge up for!


The UPSC Interview is a Personality Test that is attempted by those who manage to cross all the hurdles and power through the rigorous routine that any UPSC aspirant’s life takes up during this journey.

The Interview Test holds a weightage of 275 Marks and the cumulative score for the Mains Written Examination was 1750. From the total of these 2025 Marks, the candidates final score determines his/her place in the Rank List.

The UPSC Interview is more or less a chance for the UPSC to determine whether or not you’ll be able to fit into the frame of Civil Services in the practical world.


It aims to ascertain your

  • Mental Capacity, in terms of how quick you are on your feet when it comes to applying your knowledge and skill-set to problems that arise in the real life of a civil service officer.
  • Personal Skills, in terms of how suitable you are for the environmental design of the Civil Services.

The Interview is conducted by a Board that is appointed by the UPSC itself. They determine your competency for the Civil Services on factors such as those listed above in an unbiased manner. Through the means of a detailed, challenging and wittingly designed conversation, they explore your range of thought by digging into your opinions, awareness and intelligence.

 Candidates should keep in mind that the format of this stage hasn’t changed in the past two years, hence all relevant and available resources regarding the UPSC Interview can and must be put to use.

 Having said that, you are now fully prepped with the UPSC Syllabus fed to you in the best manner possible. With the help of the resources linked, you can begin your journey with faith and confidence.


How you look at it, absorb it, and release it matters most.

Good Luck!

Updated – UPSC Syllabus/IAS Syllabus/Civil Services Exam Syllabus :-

Updated – UPSC Syllabus in Hindi /IAS Syllabus in Hindi/Civil Services Exam Syllabus in Hindi :-

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