UPSC Syllabus – UPSC Mains Syllabus and UPSC Prelims Syllabus

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The Union Public Service Exam is one of the most difficult exams in India. It covers a wide range of topics from different genres. UPSC exam has 2 written papers in the Prelims and 7 written papers in Mains. The syllabus for both the exams overlaps. As you will start your preparation, you will realize that all the topics are connected to each other. Let’s take a look at the UPSC Syllabus for the Prelims and Mains Exam.

UPSC Exam Syllabus - Prelims and Mains

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UPSC Prelims Syllabus

General Studies Paper I- 200 Marks

UPSC GS Prelims Paper I Syllabus

History of India

Economic and Social Development

Indian National Movement

Sustainable Development
Physical, Social, and Economic Geography of India and the World.

General issues on Environmental Ecology

Indian Polity and Governance



Political System

Social Sector initiatives
Panchayati Raj


Public Policy

General Science

Climate Change

UPSC General Studies Paper-II – 200 Marks

UPSC Prelims General Ability Syllabus


Analytical Ability

Interpersonal Skills

Decision Making

Communication Skills

Problem Solving

Logical Reasoning

General Mental Ability

UPSC Prelims Basic Numeracy Syllabus

Numbers and their Relations

Data Interpretation

Orders of Magnitude

Divisibility rules

Square roots


Polynomials and unit digit calculation


Exponent in factorial


Formula based problems

Type of numbers

Decimal base conversion to binary

UPSC Mains Syllabus

UPSC Mains Paper I: Essay – 250 Marks

The topics of UPSC 2019 Essay paper –

  • Wisdom finds Truth
  • Values are not what humanity is, but what humanity ought to be
  • The best for an individual is not necessarily best for society.
  • Courage to accept and dedication to improving are two keys to success
  • South Asian societies are woven not around the state, but around their plural culture and plural identities
  • Neglect of primary health care and education in India are reasons for its backwardness
  • Biased media is a real threat to Indian democracy
  • Rise of Artificial Intelligence: the threat of jobless future or better job opportunities through reskilling and upskilling

UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-II

Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society – 250 Marks

UPSC Mains Indian Heritage and Culture Syllabus

Indian Art Forms


Indian Paintings

Harappan Architecture

Indian Dance Forms

Temple and Cave Architecture

Classical Music

Indo-Islamic Architecture

Puppetry and Pottery

Mughal Architecture


Heritage Sites

Rock Cut Architecture


Colonial Architecture & the Modern Period

Ancient Indian Literature

Classical Sanskrit Literature

Literature in Pali and Prakrit

Medieval Literature

Women Poets of Bhakti

Modern Indian Literature

UPSC Mains Modern Indian History Syllabus

Socio-economic Condition of People from the 18th century

Nation Building

European Rule in India

Integration of Princely States

British Colonisation of India

Reorganization of States
British Policies & Their Impact

Issue of Official Language

Socio-cultural Reform Movements

Tribal Consolidation
Revolt against British Pre-1857

Regional Aspirations

Growth of Nationalism in India 1858

Foreign Policy
Role of Western Education and Press

Non-Aligned Movement

Formation of INC

Beginning of Mass Nationalism

Wars with Pakistan & China

Mahatma Gandhi – His Ideas

Nuclear Policy
Participation in Elections to Central Legislature & Provincial Assemblies

Green Revolution, Operation Flood & Cooperatives

Government of India Act, 1935

Agrarian & Land Reforms

Towards Freedom & Partition

Industrial Reforms
National Movement During World War II

LPG Reforms

Quit India Movement

The era of One-Party Dominance

Nationalist Upsurge Post-World War II

The emergence of Opposition Parties

Independence with Partition

Emergency: Crisis of Democratic Order

Rise of Regional Parties

Coalition Era


Indian Women Since Independence


UPSC Mains World History Syllabus

Industrial Revolution

World War II

World War I

Europe after World War II

World Between the Two Wars

Concept, Types & Social Impact of Political Philosophies

UPSC Mains Indian Society Syllabus

Salient Features of Indian Society

Effects of Globalization on Indian Society

Role of Women and Women’s Organization

Social Empowerment

Population and Associated Issues


Poverty and Developmental Issues




Features of World’s Physical Geography


Soil Geography



Distribution of Key Natural Resources Across the World

Land resources

Agriculture resources

Water resources

Mineral & Energy Resources

Forest resources


Factors Responsible for the Location of Industries

Classification of Industries

Distribution of Major Industries

Location & Distribution of the Industries

Agglomeration & Footloose Industries

Important Geophysical Phenomenon





Geographical Features and their Location for UPSC Mains Exam

Factors Causing Changes in Critical Geographical Features

Examples of Changing Geographical Features – Melting of Ice Sheets, Desertification etc.

Impact of Changing Geographical Features

UPSC Mains General Studies Paper III:

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations – 250 Marks

UPSC Mains Governance  Exam Syllabus

Government Policies & Interventions for Development

Important Aspects of Governance, Transparency & Accountability


Role of Civil Services in a Democracy


Ailments/Issues Afflicting Indian Civil Services

Development Processes & the Development Industry

Reforming Bureaucracy to Strengthen Democracy

Society, Trust, and Cooperatives

UPSC Mains Indian Polity and Constitution Syllabus

Historical Underpinning & Evolution

Separation of Powers Between Various Organs

Sources of Constitution

Dispute Redressal Mechanisms and Institutions

Features of Constitution

Comparison of the Indian Constitutional Scheme With other Countries
Amendments and Provisions

Executive and the Judiciary – Structure & Functions


Ministries and Departments of the Government

Union and States – Roles and Responsibilities

Pressure Groups and their role

Issues & Challenges of Federal Structure

Appointment to Constitutional Posts

Cooperative & Competitive Federalism

Representation of People’s Act

Centre-State Relations

Statutory, Regulatory & Quasi-Judicial Bodies

Inter-State Relations

Emergency Provisions

Role of Governor

Reports of Various Commissions

UPSC Mains Social Justice Syllabus

Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections – SCs, STs, Minorities, Children, Elderly, Disabled, Women, Transgender

Performance of These Schemes

Laws and Institutions for Protection & Betterment of these Sections

Poverty & Hunger in India

Development & Management of Social Sector/Services

Health, Education and Human resources

UPSC Mains International Relations Syllabus

India and its Neighborhood – Relations

Effect of Policies & Politics of other Countries on India’s Interests

Agreements and Summits Involving India and/or Affecting India’s Interests

Indian Diaspora

Important International Institutions

UPSC IAS Mains General Studies Paper IV:

Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management – 250 Marks

UPSC Science and Technology Syllabus

Chemicals in Food

Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology


Indigenization of Technology

Cleansing Agents

Developing New Technology


Awareness in Different Fields
Water Softener

Intellectual Property Rights

Water Purification/Disinfection

Microwave Oven, etc.

UPSC Mains Security Syllabus

Linkages Between Development & Spread of Extremism

Money-Laundering & its Prevention

Challenges to Internal Security by internal and external state

Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism

Basics of Cyber Security

Security Forces & Agencies in India

Security Management in Border Areas

Internal Security and Communication Networks

UPSC Mains Economic Development Syllabus

Indian Economy & Issues Relating to Planning

Fiscal Policy

Mobilization of Resources

Deficit Reduction

Growth and Development

Land Reforms in India


LPG Policy

Inclusive Growth

Industrial Policy & Industrial Growth

Government Budgeting


Investment Models

UPSC Biodiversity and Environment SYllabus for Mains


Major Crops and Cropping Patterns in India

Environmental Pollution & Degradation

Different Types of Irrigation & Irrigation Systems Storage

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Transport & Marketing of Agricultural Produce

Disaster Management

E-Technology in the Aid of Farmers, Technology Missions

National Environment Agencies, Legislations and Policies

Direct & Indirect Farm Subsidies

International Environment Agencies & Agreements

Minimum Support Prices

Economics of Animal-Rearing

Public Distribution System

Issues of Buffer Stocks & Food Security

Food Processing & Industries in India

UPSC Mains General Studies Paper V:

Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude – 250 Marks

UPSC Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude Syllabus

Ethics and Human Interface

Emotional Intelligence Concepts

Attitude – Content, Structure, and Function

Moral Thinkers and Philosophers from India and the World.

Aptitude and Foundational Values for Civil Service

Public/Civil Service Values and Ethics in Public Administration

Probity in Governance

Case studies on above

UPSC Optional Paper I and Optional Paper II – 250 Marks Each

This is the list of all the UPSC Optional Subjects –

AgricultureAnimal Husbandry
ChemistryCivil Engineering
Electrical EngineeringGeography
MathematicsMechanical Engineering
Medical SciencePhilosophy
PhysicsPolitical  Science
PsychologyPublic Administration
ZoologyEnglish Literature
Gujarati LiteratureAssamese Literature
Kannada LiteratureKashmiri Literature
Konkani LiteratureManipuri Literature
Bengali LiteratureHindiLiterature
Sindhi LiteratureSantali Literature
Tamil LiteratureMaithili Literature
Telugu LiteratureDogri Literature
Urdu LiteratureBodo Literature
Sanskrit LiteratureOdia Literature
Nepali LiteraturePunjabi Literature
Malayalam LiteratureMarathi Literature

UPSC IAS Interview Syllabus

There is no particular syllabus for the UPSC Interview. The questions asked are usually around general knowledge or current affairs. The interviewers may question the candidates about their career choice and the details they filled in application forms. They are looking for well-educated youth and will examine your personality and soft skills.


This was the syllabus for the UPSC exam. As you saw, it is a commitment you make to yourself. If you are a candidate appearing for this exam, then you should go through the syllabus very thoroughly. This article will guide you about all the topics under each category subject wise. We have covered the syllabus for both UPSC prelims and mains exam.

1 Response

  1. Shubham sharma says:

    Please send me


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