UPSC Mains Syllabus

Part B - Mains Exam:-

The 9 papers below are of the subjective type and occur over a period of 5 days.

Paper Marks

Paper 1 - Essay writing (Merit ranking)


Paper 2 - General Studies I (Merit ranking)


Paper 3 - General Studies II (Merit ranking)


Paper 4 - General Studies III (Merit ranking)


Paper 5 - General Studies IV (Merit ranking)


Paper 6 - Optional subject (Merit ranking)


Paper 7 - Optional subject (Merit ranking)


Paper 8 - Indian Language (Qualifying)

300 (Not considered)

Paper 9 - English Language (Qualifying)

300(Not considered)



IAS Interview


Overall Total


Paper - I Candidates are required to write essays on multiple topics. This will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion and to write concisely.

Paper - II General Studies (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society).

Indian Culture-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, Redrawal of 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. 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, cyclone 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. India and its neighbourhood- relations. Bilateral, regional and global grouping and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries, Indian diaspora. Important International Institutions, Agencies and Further Structure, Mandate etc.

Paper-III General Studies (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social justice & International Relations)

Indian Constitution historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure. Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein. Separation of powers, redressed mechanisms and institutions. Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries. Parliament and State Legislatures, structure, functioning, the 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, Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors and charities. 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 neighbourhood relations. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries, Indian diaspora. Important International institutions, Agencies and Further Structure, Mandate etc. 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. Development processes and the development industry - the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities. Roles of civil services in a democracy.

Paper-IV General Studies (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, 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, 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. 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. Public Distribution System Objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc. Investment models. Science and technology-developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security. Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the 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. Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Paper-V General Studies (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 behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion. Aptitude and functional values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections. Issues relating to integrity, probity in public life. 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. 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 topics.


What is UPSC CSE Exam ?

UPSC CSE is one of the most difficult exams conducted every year for the recruitment of IAS, IPS, IFS and other officers in Indian Civil Services.

How many exams are there to clear UPSC?

The exam takes place in 3 phases:- 1. Prelims (MCQs), 2. Mains (Subjective) & 3. Personal Interview (Personality test).

Is admit card issued?

The UPSC IAS mains admit card will be issued in its official website:-

How to fill online application form?

Candidates can apply online for UPSC exam by visiting website:- or Application will not be accepted in any other mode.

How eligibility of age calculated?

It is calculated based on the cut-off date as per the notification.

What is the age criteria to appear for UPSC CSE Exam ?

Candidates must have completed 21 years of age by 1st August of that given year when the exam is held. The upper age limit is 32 years for General candidates, 35years for Candidates of OBC, 37 years for SC/ST candidates, 42 years for Gen-PH and 45 years for OBC-PH, 47 years for PH SC/ST.

Is there any negative marking in UPSC CSE exam?

UPSC Prelims has a negative marking too. For every wrong answer, there will be a deduction of 0.33. GS Paper 2 is qualifying in nature, which needs only 33% to score for the candidates.

What is the cut off marks of UPSC IAS exam?

UPSC Prelims this year took place on May month. The expected UPSC Cut Off For Prelims this year is 82-85 marks. The UPSC Prelims cut off will be out for all candidates once the exam results are published.

How to download admit card of UPSC exam?

1. Visit or Go to
2. Candidates will require Registration Number or Roll Number followed by Date of Birth, Enter captcha in the given field then submit.
3. If the candidate has not received any information regarding his/her admit card, candidate should immediately contact the commission on concerned email id- or or Commission's Office either in person or over phone Numbers are: 011-23381125 / 011-23385271 / 011-23098543.

How seat is allocated in the UPSC CSE exam?

Seat allocation is done on the basis of "First Application First Allocation" through computer without any manual intervention.

Is UPSC exam conducted online or offline?

UPSC IAS Prelims & Mains Exam are held offline in pen and paper mode.

What is the time to reach the examination centre?

The examination venue will be closed 90 minutes before the commencement of examination. For example:- If the exam starts at 10:00 A.M. the examination venue will close at 08:30 A.M.

Who all can appear in UPSC IAS ?

The below candidates are eligible to appear in UPSC CSE exam:- (a) A citizen of India, (b) A subject of Nepal, (c) A subject of Bhutan, (d) A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January 1962, (e) Persons of Indian Origin & (f) Overseas Citizens of India.

Can candidate give exams in their own language?

Candidate can give exam either in Hindi or English.

Is jeans allowed in UPSC CSE exam?

Wearing jeans is strictly avoided.

What is to dress code to appear for an interview?

Men should wear light coloured formal shirts and dark trousers. A neck-tie is ok if you are comfortable. Women should wear decent light coloured clothes with no overdo makeup and hairstyle.

Is UPSC interview tough?

We can say the exam is challenging but not tough. The syllabus is really vast and requires lot of sitting. Which may lead this exam as toughest exam.

Is one year enough for UPSC preparation?

Yes, One year enough to appear for UPSC exam.

How result is calculated?

The result of Civil Services Examination is subject to changes that may be necessitated by the orders passed by the Honourable Courts in cases pending before them.