UPSC Civil Services Syllabus – Prelims & Mains, IAS Subjects

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) designs the UPSC Civil Services syllabus differently for for both prelims and mains exam. The exam board creates the civil service syllabus and puts up the same in its official UPSC website – in PDF format.

Here candidates will find detailed information about both prelims and mains syllabus of UPSC IAS exam. 

UPSC Civil Services Syllabus 2022 – Overview

Exam Name

Civil Services Exam (UPSC CSE)

Exam Conducting body

Union Public Service Commission

Number of Exam Stages

  • Prelims exam
  • Mains exam
  • Interview

Exam Mode

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UPSC Paper Pattern

  • Prelims – MCQ-based
  • Mains – Descriptive
  • Personality Test – Interview in front of board members

Number of papers in UPSC Exam

  • Prelims – 2
  • Mains – 7


  • Prelims – 2 hours for each paper (total 4 hours)
  • Mains – 3 hours for each paper (total 27 hours conducted across various days)

UPSC Civil Services Syllabus – Prelim Exam Syllabus

The first step of IAS preparation is to understand the syllabus of the exam. It is imperative that students are aware of the weaker and stronger sections of the UPSC IAS Prelims syllabus. In this section, there are 2 papers of 100 marks each. The IAS prelims exam is an MCQ-based exam that requires the candidates to mark the right answer from the given options. 

To know everything about the IAS exam, read about the Civil Services (IAS) Examination here.


Questions & Duration


General Studies Paper I

100 Questions to be solved in 2 hours


General Studies Paper-II (CSAT – Qualifying only)

80 Questions to be solved in 2 Hours

200 (qualifying only)




General Studies Syllabus

The current affairs section is the most significant part of the General Studies 1 syllabus. The general studies paper 2 is also known as Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT). Even though it is an important and scoring paper, it is only a qualifying paper and the marks secured in this paper is not considered for the prelims result. 


Important topics

General Studies 1

Paper 1

Current events related to national and international importance

General Science

Economic and Social Development, especially:

  • Sustainable Development
  • Poverty
  • Inclusion
  • Government schemes
  • Demographics
  • Social Sector Initiatives, etc.

General issues on:

  • Biodiversity
  • Climate Change
  • Environmental Ecology, especially solar inventions, green energy, etc.

Indian Polity and Governance –

  • Political System
  • Constitution
  • Lok Sabha
  • Rajya Sabha
  • Vidhan Sabha
  • Governor and President powers
  • Panchayati Raj
  • Public Policy
  • Fundamental Rights Issues
  • Directive policy of state principals

Indian and World Geography –

  • Social
  • Physical
  • Economic Geography of India and the World

General Studies 2 (CSAT)

Paper 2

Interpersonal skills including communication skills

Logical reasoning and analytical ability

Decision making and problem-solving

Data interpretation (graphs, charts, data sufficiency, tables etc. (Class 10th level)

Questions on General mental ability

Basic numeracy (orders of magnitude, numbers and their relations, etc.) (Class 10th level)


UPSC Civil Services Syllabus – Main Exam Syllabus

The UPSC Civil Services mains exam is a descriptive paper and candidates have to write long answers to the questions asked. There are also two essays that candidates have to attempt apart from the General Studies questions.

Check the recent updates on CSE IAS Dates, in Civil Services (IAS) Exam dates here.

Main Exam Pattern


Name of the Paper

Marks Allotted

Qualifying Papers


One of the Indian Languages to be selected by the candidate from the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the constitution (qualifying only)

300 (qualifying only)


English (qualifying only)

300 (qualifying only)

Papers to be Counted for Merit


Essay Paper



General Studies I



General Studies II



General Studies III



General Studies IV



Optional Subject Paper I



Optional Subject Paper I



Total – IAS Main (written)



IAS Interview





UPSC IAS Mains Paper 1 Syllabus

There is no specific syllabus for the IAS essay paper. There is only a broad outline mentioned in the UPSC Civil Services paper. The topics that are mostly given during the mains exam are:

  • International scenarios
  • Public Administration
  • Philosophy

UPSC IAS Mains Paper 2 Syllabus (GS 1)

  • Indian culture covering the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times
  • The Freedom Struggle — various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country
  • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country
  • Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies
  • History of the world including the events from 18th century such as the world wars, industrial revolution, colonization, re-drawal of national boundaries, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc., their forms and effect on the society
  • Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, volcanic activity, cyclones, etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes
  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism and secularism
  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India
  • Salient features of the world’s physical geography
  • Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent), factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society
  • Flora and Fauna and the Effects of such changes

UPSC IAS Mains Paper 3 Syllabus (GS 2)

  • The Indian Constitution— historical underpinnings, the evolution of the constitution, features of the constitution, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure of the constitution of India
  • Separation of powers between various organs disputes redressal mechanisms and institutions
  • Functions and responsibilities of Union and States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges
  • Salient features of Representation of People’s Act
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of population by Centre and States and performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for protection and betterment of vulnerable sections
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
  • Development processes and development industry — the role of SHGs, NGOs, various groups and associations, charities, donors, institutional and stakeholders, etc.
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
  • Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, the conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising
  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
  • Issues relating to hunger and poverty
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • India and its neighbourhood-relations
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
  • Structure, organization and functioning of Executive and Judiciary— Ministries and Departments of Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in Polity
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Important aspects of governance, e-governance- applications, transparency and accountability, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizen’s charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora
  • Role of IAS in democracy
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora (their structure, mandate)

UPSC IAS Mains Paper 4 Syllabus (GS 3)

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to the mobilization of resources, planning, growth, development and employment
  • Government Budgeting
  • Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth
  • Science and technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
  • Investment models
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cybersecurity, money-laundering and its prevention
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorismInclusive growth and issues arising from it
  • 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
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
  • Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers
  • Land reforms in India
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.
  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology
  • 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

UPSC IAS Mains Paper 5 Syllabus (GS 4)

  • 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 behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion
  • Ethics and Human Interface – Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships
  • 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
  • Government strives to have a workforce that reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply. 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; Information sharing and transparency in government, Philosophical basis of governance and Probity, Codes of Ethics, Right to Information, Codes of Conduct, Work culture, Citizen’s Charters, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption
  • Case Studies on the above issues

UPSC Civil Services Optional Subject 2022

Paper 6 and Paper 7 are the optional papers. Candidates can choose one of the optional subjects from the following:



Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science



Mechanical Engineering


Medical Science



Civil Engineering


Commerce & Accountancy

Political Science & International Relations



Electrical Engineering

Public Administration









To follow current updates on UPSC exam including IAS, check the official webpage here.

The candidates can choose the Literature of any one of the following languages as their optional subject:






















UPSC IAS 2022 – Previous Year Question Papers

Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2022

General Studies Paper 1

General Studies Paper 2

Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2020

General Studies Paper 1

General Studies Paper 2

Civil Services (Main) Examination, 2020

Compulsory Subjects

English Compulsory

Bengali Compulsory

Assamese Compulsory

Hindi Compulsory

Bodo Compulsory

Gujarati Compulsory

Kannada Compulsory

Maithili Compulsory

Nepali Compulsory

Odia Compulsory

Malayalam Compulsory

Marathi Compulsory

Punjabi Compulsory

Sindhi (Arabic) Compulsory

Telugu Compulsory

Urdu Compulsory

Sanskrit Compulsory

Tamil Compulsory



General Studies

General Studies Paper – I

General Studies Paper – II

General Studies Paper – III

General Studies Paper – IV

Optional Subjects

Agriculture Paper – I

Agriculture Paper – II

Animal Husbandry and Vet. Science Paper – I

Animal Husbandry and Vet. Science Paper – II

Anthropology Paper – I

Anthropology Paper – II

Botany Paper – I

Botany Paper – II

Chemistry Paper – I

Chemistry Paper – II

Civil Engineering Paper – I

Civil Engineering Paper – II

Commerce and Accountancy Paper – I

Commerce and Accountancy Paper – II

Economics Paper – I

Economics Paper – II

Electrical Engineering Paper – I

Electrical Engineering Paper – II

Geography Paper – I

Geography Paper – II

Geology Paper – I

Geology Paper – II

History Paper – I

History Paper – II

Law Paper – I

Law Paper – II

Management Paper – I

Management Paper – II

Mathematics Paper – I

Mathematics Paper – II

Mechanical Engineering Paper – I

Mechanical Engineering Paper – II

Medical Science Paper – I

Medical Science Paper – II

Philosophy Paper – I

Philosophy Paper – II

Physics Paper – I

Physics Paper – II

Political Science and IR Paper – I

Political Science and IR Paper – II

Psychology Paper – I

Psychology Paper – II

Public Administration Paper – I

Public Administration Paper – II

Sociology Paper – I

Sociology Paper – II

Statistics Paper – I

Statistics Paper – II

Zoology Paper – I

Zoology Paper – II

Literature Subjects

Assamese Literature Paper – I

Assamese Literature Paper – II

Bengali Literature Paper – I

Bengali Literature Paper – II

English Literature Paper – I

English Literature Paper – II

Gujarati Literature Paper – I

Gujarati Literature Paper – II

Hindi Literature Paper – I

Hindi Literature Paper – II

Kannada Literature Paper – I

Kannada Literature Paper – II

Maithili Literature Paper – I

Maithili Literature Paper – II

Malayalam Literature Paper – I

Malayalam Literature Paper – II

Manipuri Literature Paper – I

Manipuri Literature Paper – II

Marathi Literature Paper – I

Marathi Literature Paper – II

Odia Literature Paper – I

Odia Literature Paper – II

Punjabi Literature Paper – I

Punjabi Literature Paper – II

Sanskrit Literature Paper – I

Sanskrit Literature Paper – II

Sindhi (Arabic) Literature Paper – I

Sindhi (Arabic) Literature Paper – II

Tamil Literature Paper – I

Tamil Literature Paper – II

Telugu Literature Paper – I

Telugu Literature Paper – II

Urdu Literature Paper – I

Urdu Literature Paper – II

UPSC Civil Services Syllabus – FAQs

Q.  How many marks will be awarded for every correct answer in IAS 2022 Fmain exam?

A. For every correct answer, students will get 2.5 marks. 

Q. Will the marks be deducted for an incorrect answer?

A. 0.33 marks will only be deducted for every wrong objective type answer.

Q. How many papers are there in the IAS Main exam?

A. There are 9 question papers in the Civil services main exam.

Q. How to start Civil Services IAS paper preparation?

A. The candidates should start preparing the basics with the NCERT books and daily newspaper.

Q. What are the subjects that candidates need to prepare for UPSC IAS Prelims?

A. In IAS Prelims exam, the questions are asked from the subjects namely General Studies and Aptitude Test.


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