UPSC Examination Syllabus - 2019

The Civil Services exam is conducted by UPSC in India for recruitment of various designated posts i.e., IAS (Indian Administrative Service), IPS (Indian Police Service), IFS (Indian Foreign Service), IRS (Indian Revenue Service) and allied services

UPSC Civil Services Exam is conducted in three phases:

  • Phase 1: Preliminary Examination or CSAT (Objective Section)
  • Phase 2: Main Examination (Subjective Section)
  • Phase 3: Personality Development Test

Phase 1: Preliminary Examination Syllabus

  • The IAS Prelims exam consists of two papers of objective type, each of 200 marks (total of 400 marks) and two hours' duration. Candidates must attempt both the papers.
  • The Preliminary examination is meant for screening the candidates. The marks obtained by a candidate in the prelims who qualifies to the Main exam, will not be considered to determine their final merit.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus of 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, Bio-diversity and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialization General Science

UPSC Prelims Syllabus of 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)

Phase 2: UPSC Civil Services Main Examination Syllabus (1750 Marks)

Qualifying Papers On Indian Languages and English

The aim of the paper is to test the candidate's ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and express ideas clearly and correctly, in English and the Indian Language concerned. The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows :- (i) Comprehension of given passages (ii) Precis Writing (iii) Usage and Vocabulary (iv) Short Essays in Indian Languages :- (a) Comprehension of given passages (b) Precis Writing (c) Usage and Vocabulary (d) Short Essays (e) Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa.

Note 1: The Papers on Indian Languages and English are of Matriculation or equivalent standard, and of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.

Note 2: The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved).

PAPER-I Essay:

Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion and 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 culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature & 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 the 18th century, such as Industrial Revolution, World Wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, etc., - their forms and effects on the society.
  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India. Role of women and women's organizations, 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.
  • Salient features of 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); Important Geophysical phenomena, such as earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic activity, cyclones, 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.

  • 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.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Center and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
  • Issues related to development and management of Social Sector/Services in the field of Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Issues related 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.
  • 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, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  • Government Budgeting. 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. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
  • Investment models. Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievement of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
  • 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 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

This paper will include questions to test the candidates' attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects.

The following broad areas will be covered. 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; 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 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 above issues.


  • Optional Subject - Paper II (250 marks)

Phase 3: Interview/Personality Test (275 Marks)

  • Candidates who qualify the UPSC Mains Exam will move to the next and final phase called Personality Test/Interview, where the candidate will be interviewed by a Board. The Board will have candidate's DAF (Detail Application Form) with them.
  • The interview round is held by a competent and unbiased Board, intended to assess candidate's social traits and his interest in current affairs. The motive of the board is to analyse the personal aptness of the candidate for a career in public service
  • Candidate can give interview in their preferred language as UPSC will make arrangement for the translators.

Personality Test:

  • The Interview test will be of 275 marks.
  • The total mark of the written examination is 1750 Marks.
  • The Interview/Personality Test will be of 275 marks.
  • The Grand Total 2025 Marks

Know all about the UPSC Civil Services Examination pattern (in details)

  • The civil services examination is a nation wide competitive examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India, including Indian Administrative Service (IAS) , Indian Foreign Service (IPS) among others.
  • The UPSC civil services exam is conducted in two phases a preliminary examination consisting of two objective type papers(general studies and aptitude test) and the main examination consisting of nine papers , followed by personality test(interview)
  • From 2011 onwards, the preliminary examination officially called as General studies paper I and General studies paper II intends to focus on analytical abilities and understanding rather than the ability to memorize.
  • The new UPSC civil services examination pattern includes two papers of two hours duration and 200 marks each. Both papers have multiple choice objective type questions
  • Paper I of the civil services preliminary tests the candidate's knowledge on current events, history of India and Indian national movement, Indian and world geography, Indian polity and governance, economic and social development, environmental ecology, biodiversity, climate change and general science
  • Paper II of the UPSC civil services preliminary Tests the candidate's ability in comprehension, interpersonal and communication skills, logical reasoning, analytical ability, decision making and problem solving ability, basic numeracy, data interpretation and general mental ability
  • The main examination is a written examination consisting of nine papers, two qualifying and seven for ranking purpose. Candidates who pass the qualifying papers are ranked according to marks obtained in the remaining 7 papers. The selected candidates are called for the Interview or Personality Test at the commission's discretion
  • There is one paper on essay for 250 marks wherein the candidate is required to write two essays, of 175 marks each, in three hours.
  • There are four papers of General studies for 250 marks each which comprises of Indian Heritage, history and culture, Geography of India and the World, Indian Polity, constitution and governance, Social Issues, International relations Indian economic development, biodiversity and environment, security and disaster management as well as ethics integrity and aptitude
  • Besides the GS papers, the candidate will also have to answer 2 papers of 250 marks each from a subject chosen from a list of Optional subjects. Two qualifying papers are of Indian language and English
  • The overwhelming share of General studies in the total scheme of examination warrants an extensive preparation of these subjects for getting qualified in this examination. Selection of optional subject is also very important in the overall context

Current Affairs analysis