UPSC Civil Services Exam is conducted in three phases:

Phase 1: Preliminary Examination (Objective Section)

Phase 2: Main Examination (Subjective Section)

Phase 3: Interview (Vocal Section)

Phase 1: Preliminary Examination (Objective Section)

Name of Paper No of Objective type Questions Duration Given Marks
Paper I: General Studies 100 2 Hours 200
Paper II: CSAT 80 2 Hours 200
Total Marks     400


Note: The marks which are secured in the prelims are only for qualifying the Mains Examination. It is not counted to determine the order of merit. The Qualifying marks for Paper II: CSAT is 33%. But the candidates will be promoted to the Mains only based on the marks in Paper I: General Studies.


UPSC Prelims Syllabus  Maximum Marks Duration Of Exam
General Studies 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, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation
  • General Science
200 Marks 2 Hours
CSAT/ General Studies Paper- II : Qualifying marks fixed at 33%.
  • 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)
200 Marks 2 Hours

Phase 2: Main Examination (Subjective Section)

The Mains Examination is a written Examination. It consists of 9 Papers out of which 2 are Qualifying in nature namely Paper A and Paper B; remaining 7 papers which are  Paper I to Paper VII marks added to interview marks for final Ranking. The Questions will be available in Hindi as well as in English.

S.No. Name of the Paper. Name of the Subject. Marks.
1. Paper-A. Modern Indian Language. (Qualifying Paper). 300.
2. Paper-B. English (Qualifying Paper). 300.
3. Paper-I. Essay. 250.
4. Paper-II. General studies-I. 250.
5. Paper-III. General studies-II. 250.
6. Paper-IV. General studies-III. 250.
7. Paper-V. General studies-IV. 250.
8. Paper-VI. Optional Subject (Paper-1). 250.
9. Paper-VII. Optional Subject (Paper-2). 250.
    Sub-Total. 1750.    
    Interview. 275.
  Total.   2025.

Note: Here, Modern Indian Language means any language which is included in the 8thSchedule to the Constitution of India.

The Final Ranking of the candidates is based on the marks obtained in the Mains and the Interview.


The Syllabus of IAS Mains Examination :


 Paper Name


1 Essay Paper Any Topic/Topics (Current issues) 250

GS Paper I

Indian Heritage and
Culture, Indian History, World History, World Geography, Indian Society, Important Geo-physical phenomena



GS Paper II

Governance, Indian Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and
International relations, Welfare Schemes, Statutory, regulatory and quasi-judicial bodies, Role of civil services in  a democracy, India’s relation with neighbour countries, International institutions,



GS Paper III

Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment,
Indian Economy and its various sectors

Government Budgeting

Land Reforms

Inclusive Growth

Security and Disaster Management



GS Paper IV

Ethics and Human Interface



Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

Public/Civil service value

Probity in Governance

Case study on above topics

Indian Language Paper
(i) Comprehension of given passages
(ii) Précis Writing
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary
(iv) Short Essays
(v) Translation from English to the Indian
language and vice-versa 
7 English
Comprehension of given passages
Précis Writing
Usage and Vocabulary
Short Essays 


Optional Paper I

As opted by Candidate



Optional Paper II As opted by Candidate 250
List of Optional Subject in IAS Mains Exam - 

The List of Optional Subjects is as follows:   

(i) Agriculture

(ii) Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

(iii) Anthropology

(iv) Botany

(v) Chemistry

(vi) Civil Engineering

(vii) Commerce and Accountancy

(viii) Economics

(ix) Electrical Engineering

(x) Geography

(xi) Geology

(xii) History

(xiii) Law

(xiv) Management

(xv) Mathematics

(xvi) Mechanical Engineering

(xvii) Medical Science

(xviii) Philosophy

(xix) Physics

(xx) Political Science and International Relations

(xxi) Psychology

(xxii) Public Administration

(xxiii) Sociology

(xxiv) Statistics

(xxv) Zoology

The literature of any one of the languages such as Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English.

Note: The candidate can select the literature of any of the above languages only if he or she has graduated in the Literature of that specific Language as the Main Subject.

The UPSC Civil Services IAS Interview : 

The interview is conducted after the Candidate is passed in the Mains Examination. The Interview plays an important role in the Selection of the Candidate.

  • The Selected candidate will be interviewed by a Board which consists of the Competent as well as fair-minded members. The Board will have the record of career of the Candidate. The candidate will be asked questions on the General interest of the Board. The purpose of the interview is mainly to review the Candidate’s Personality Suitability for a Career in Public Service i.e. IAS. The Board also observes and judges the Mental Ability as well as Mental Caliber of the Candidate. The Interview is conducted to assess the intellectual qualities as well as the Social behavior of the Candidate and the interest of the candidate in the Current affairs. The Board essentially observes the qualities such as Mental Alertness, Clear & Logical Exposition, Critical Powers of Assimilation, Social Traits, Interest & Knowledge on Current Affairs, Balance of Judgment, Variety & Depth of Interest, Ability of Social Cohesion, Leadership Skills, and Intellectual & Moral Integrity.
  • The Objective of the Interview is not to cross-examine the candidate, but to analyze his or her Intellectual & Mental Qualities.
  • The Board is interested to ask the questions relating to the events occurring in India as well as the World. As the candidates are already examined on the topics of Current Affairs and the Subjects in the written Examinations, the Board is interested to ask these questions. The Score of the Candidate will be based on the Personality test conducted as well as the intellectual Qualities.                               

History Optional Syllabus

Paper -  I

1. Sources :

Archaeological sources:

Exploration, excavation, epigraphy, numismatics,monuments.


Literary sources:

Indigenous: Primary and secondary; poetry, scientific literature, literature, literature in regional languages, religious literature.


Foreign account:

Greek, Chinese and Arab writers.


2. Pre-history and Proto-history:


Geographical factors; hunting and gathering (paleolithic and mesolithic); Beginning of agriculture (Neolithic and chalcolithic).


3. Indus valIey Civilization:

Origin, date, extent, characteristics-decline, survival and

significance, art and architecture.


4. Megalithic Cultures:

Distribution of pastoral and farming cultures outside the Indus, Development of community life, Settlements, development of agriculture, Crafts, Pottery, and Iron industry.


5. Aryans and Vedic Period:

Expansions of Aryans in India:

Vedic Period: Religious and philosophic literature;

Transformation from Rig Vedic period to the later Vedic period;

Political, social and economical life; Significance of the Vedic Age; Evolution of Monarchy and Varna system.




6. Period of Mahajanapadas:

Formation of States (Mahajanapada): Republics and monarchies;

Rise of urban centres; Trade routes; Economic growth; Introduction of coinage; Spread of Jainism and Buddism: Rise of Magadha and Nandas.

Iranian and Mecedonian invasions and their impact.


7. Mauryan Empire:

Foundation of the Mauryan Empire, Chandragupta, Kautilya and Arthashastra: Ashoka; Concept of Dharma: Edicts; Polity, Administration, Economy; Art, architecture and sculpture: External contacts; Religion; Spread of religion; Literature.

Disintegration of the empire: sungas and Kanvas.


8. Post-Mauryan Period Indo-Greeks, Sakas, Kushanas, Western Kshatrapas):

Contact with outside world; growth of urban centres, economy, coinage, development of religions. Mahayana. Social conditions, art, architecture, culture, literature and science.


9. Early State and Society in Eastern India, Deccan and South India:

Kharavela, The Satavahanas, Tamil States of the Sangam Age; Administration, Economy, land grants, coinage, trade

guilds and urban centres; Buddhist centres; Sangam literature

and culture; Art and architecture.


10. Guptas, Vakatakas and Vardhanas:

Polity and administration, Economic conditions. Coinage of the Guptas, Land grants, Decline of urban centres, Indian feudalism, Caste system, Position of women, Education and educational institutions; Nalanda, Vikramshila and Vallabhi, Literature, scientific literature, art and architecture.


11. Regional States during Gupta Era:

The Kadambas, Pallavas, Chalukyas of Badami; Polity and Administration, Trade guilds. Literature: growth of Vaishnava and Saiva religions. Tamil Bhakit movement, Shankaracharya; Vedanta: Institutions of temple and temple architecture: Palas, Senas, Rashirakutas. Paramaras. Polity and

administration; Cultural aspects. Arab conquest of Sind;

Alberuni, The Chaluky as of Kalyana. Cholas, Hoysalas,

Pandyas; Polity and Administration; Local Government;

Growth of art and architecture, religious sects, Institution of

temple and Mathas, Agraharas, education and literature,

economy and society.


12. Themes in Early Indian Cultural History:

Languages and texts, major stages in the evolution of art and architecture, major philosophical thinkers and schools,ideas in Science and Mathematics.


13. Early Medieval India, 750-1200:

— Polity: Major political developments in Northern India and the peninsula, origin and the rise of Rajputs.

—The Cholas: administration, village economy and society “Indian Feudalism”.

— Agrarian economy and urban settlements.

— Trade and commerce.

— Society: the status of the Brahman and the new social order.

— Condition of women.

— Indian science and technology


14. Cultural Traditions ¡n India, 750-1200:

  • Philosophy: Skankaracharya and Vedanta, Ramanuja and

Vishishtadvaita, Madhva and Brahma-Mimansa.


  • Religion: Forms and features of religion Tamil devotional cult, growth of Bhakti, Islam and its arrival in India,Sufism.
  • Literature: Literature in Sanskrit, growth of Tamil literature, literature in the newly developing languages, Kaihan’s Rajtarangini, Alberunis India.
  • Art and Architecture: Temple architecture, sculpture, painting.

15. The Thirteenth Century -

  • Establishment of the Delhi Sultanate: The Ghurian invasions - factors behind Ghurian success.
  • Economic, Social and cultural consequences.
  • Foundation of Delhi Sultanate and early Turkish Sultans.
  • Consolidation: The rule of Iltutmish and Balban.

16. The Fourteenth Century:

  • “The Khalji Revolution”.
  • Alauddin Khalji: Conquests and territorial expansion, agrarian and economic measure.
  • Muhammad Tughluq: Major projects, agrarian measures, bureaucracy of Muhammad Tughluq.
  • FiruzTugluq: Agrarian measures, achievements in civil engineering and public works, decline of the Sultanate,foreign contacts and lbn Battuta’s account.

17. Society. Culture and Economy in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries:

  • Society: composition of rural society, ruling classes, town dwellers,  religious classes, caste and slavery under the Sultanate, Bhakti movement, Sufi movement.
  • Culture: Persian literature, literature in the regional languages of North India, Literaute in the languages of South India, Sultanate architecture and new structural forms, painting, evolution of a composite culture.
  • Economy: Agricultural Production, rise of urban economy and non-agricultural production, trade and commerce.


18. The Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century-Political devdopnwnts and Economy:

  • Rise of Provincial Dynasties: Bengal. Kashmir(Zainul Abedin). Gujarat.
  • Malwa, Bahmanids.
  • The Vijayanagara Empire.
  • Lodis.
  • Mughal Empire, first phase : Bahur, Humayun.
  • The Sur Empire : Sher Shah’s administration.
  • Portuguese colonial enterprise. Bhakti and Sufi Movements.


19. The Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century- Society and culture:

  • Regional cultures specificities.
  • Literary traditions.
  • Provincial architectural.
  • Society, culture, literature and the arts in Vijayanagara Empire


20. Akbar:

  • Conquests and consolidation of empire.
  • Establishment of jag ir and ininsab systems.
  • Rajput policy.
  • Evolution of religious and social outlook. Theory of SuIh-i-kul and religious policy.
  • Court patronage of art and technology.


21. MughaI Empire in the Seventeenth Century:

  • Major administrative policies of Jahangir. Shah jahan and Aurangzeb.
  • The Empire and the Zamindars.
  • Religious policies of Jahangir. Shahjahan and
  • Aurangzeb.
  • Nature of the Mughal State.
  • Late Seventeenth Century crisis and the revolts.
  • The Ahom kingdom.
  • Shivaji and the early Maratha Kingdom.


22. Economy and society, in the 16th and 17th Centuries:

  • Population Agricultural and craft production.
  • Towns, commerce with Europe through Dutch, English and French companies: a trade revolution.
  • Indian mercantile classes. Banking, insurance and credit systems.
  • Conditions of peasants, Condition of Women.
  • Evolution of the Sikh community and the Khalsa Panth


23. CuItun during Mughal Empire:

  • Persian histories and other literature
  • Hindi and religious literatures.
  • Mughal architecture.
  • Mughal painting.
  • Provincial architecture and painting.
  • Classical music.
  • Science and technology.


24. The Eighteenth Century:

  • Factors for the decline of the Mughal Empire.
  • The regional principalities: Nizam’s Deccan, Bengal, Awadh.
  • Maratha ascendancy under the Peshwas.
  • The Maratha fiscal and financial system.
  • Emergence of Afghan power Battle of Panipat, 1761.
  • State of, ixlitical, cultural and economic, on eve of the British conquest.




1. European Penetration into India:

The Early European Settlements: The Portuguese and the Dutch; The English and the French East India Companies; Their struggle for supremacy; Carnatic Wars; Bengal-The conflict between the English and the

Nawabs of Bengal: Siraj and the English; The Battle of Plassey; Significance of Plassey.


2. British Expansion in India:

Bengal-Mir Jafar and Mir Kasim: The Battle of Buxar: Mysore; The Marathas; The three Anglo-Maratha Wars: The Punjab.


3. Early Structure of the British Raj:

The Early administrative structure: From diarchy to direct contol; The Regulating Act (1773); The Pitt’s India Act (1784); The Charter Act (1833); The Voice of free trade and the changing character of British colonial rule;

The English utilitarian and India.


4. Economic Impact of British Colonial Rule:

(a) Land revenue settlements in British India; The Permanent Settlement: Ryotwari Settlement; Mahalwari Settlement: Economic impact of the revenue arrangements; Commercialization of agriculture; Rise of landless

agrarian labourers; Impoverishment of the rural society.


(b) Dislocation of traditional trade and commerce; De- industrialization: Decline of traditional crafts; Drain of wealth: Economic transformation of India: Railroad and communication network including Telegraph and Postal Services, Famine  and poverty in rural interior, European business enterprise and its limitations.


5. Social and Cultural Developments:

The state of indigenous education, its dislocation: Orientalist-Anglicist controversy, The introduction of western education in india; The rise of press, literatureand public opinion; The rise of modem vernacular

literature; Progress of Science: Christian missionary activities in India.


6. Social and Religious Reform Movements in Bengal and Other Areas:

Ram Mohan Roy. The Brahmo Movement; Devendranath Tagore; Iswarchandra Vidyasagar; The Young Bengal Movement; Dayanada Saraswati; The social reform movements in India including Sati, widow

remarriage, child marriage etc.; The contribution of

Indian renaissance to the growth of modem india: Islamic revivalism-the Feraizi and Wahabi Movements.


7. Indian Response to British Rule:

Peasant movement and tribal uprisings in the 18th and 19th centuries including the Rangpur Dhing (1783), the Kol Rebellion (1832), the Mopla Rebellion in Malabar (1841-1920), the Santal Hul (1855), Indigo Rebellion

(1859-60), Deccan Uprising (1875) and the Munda Ulgulan (1899-1900); The Great Revolt of 1857 —Origin, character, casuses of failure, the consequences; The shift in the character of peasant uprisings in the post-

1857 period: the peasant movements of the l920s and 1930s


8. Factors leading to the birth of Indian Nationalism; Politics of Association; The Foundation of the Indian National Congress; The Safety-valve thesis relating to the birth of the Congress: Programme and objectives of Early Congress; the social composition of early Congress leadership; the Moderates and Extremists; The Partition of Bengal (1905); The Swadeshi Movement in Bengal; the economic and political aspects of

Swadeshi Movement: The beginning of revolutionary extremism in India.


9. Rise of Gandhi

Character of Gandhian nationalism; Gandhias popular appeal: Rowlatt Satyagraha; the Khilafat Movement: the Non-cooperation Movement;

National politics from the end of the Non-cooperation movement to the beginning of the Civil Disobedience Movement; the two phases of the Civil Disobedience Movement: Simon Commission; The Nehru Report; the

Round Table Conferences; Nationalism and the Peasant Movements; Nationalism and Working class movements; ‘Women and Indian youth and students in Indian politics (1885-1947): the election of 1937 and the

formation of ministries; Cripps Mission: the Quit India

Movement; the Wavell Plan; The Cabinet Mission.


10. Constitutional Developments in the Colonial India between 1858 and 1935.


11. Other strands in the National Movement.

The Revolutionaries: Bengal, the Punjab, Maharashtra,U.P. the Madras Presidency, Outside India.

The Left: The Left within the Congress: Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose, the Congress Socialist Party; the Communist Party of India, other left parties.


12. Politics of Separatism: the Muslim League; the Hindu Mahasahha; Communalism and the politics of partition; Transfer of power, independence.


13. Consolidation as a Nation: Nehru’s Foreign Policy; India and her neighbours (1947-1964); The linguistic reorganization of States (1935-1947): Regionalism and regional inequality; Integration of Princely States;

Princes in electoral politics: the Question of National Language.


14. Caste and Ethnicity after 1947; Backward Castes and Tribes in post-colonial electoral politics; Dalit movements.


15. Economic development and political change; Land reforms; the politics of planning and ruraI reconstruction Ecology and environmental policy in post-colonial India; Progress of Science.


16. Enlightenment and Modern ideas:

(i) Major Ideas of Enlightenment: Kant. Rousseau.

(ii) Spread of Enlightenment in the colonies.

(iii) Rise of socialist ideas (up to Marx); spread of Marxian Socialism.


17. Origins of Modern Politics:

(i) European States System

(ii) American Revolution and the Constitution

(iii)French Revolution and Aftermath. 1789-1815

(iv) American Civil War with reference to Abraham Lincoln and the abolition of slaverý.

(v) British Democratic politics. 1815-1850: Parliamentary Reformers. Free Traders. Chartists.


18. Industrialization:

(i) English Industrial Revolution : Causes and Impact on Society

(ii) Industrialization in other courtines : USA. Germany. Russia. Japan.

(iii) Industrialization and Globalization.


19.Nation-State System:

(i) Rise of Nationalism in 19th century.

(ii) Nationalism: State-budding in Germany and Italy.

(iii) Disintegration of Empires in the face of the emergence of nationalities across the World.


20. Imperialism and Colonialism:

(i) South and South-East Asia.

(ii) Latin America and South Africa.

(iii) Australia

(iv) Imperialism and free trade: Rise of neo-imperialism.


21. Revolution and counter-Revolution:

  1. 19th Century European revolutions.
  2. The Russian Revolution of 1917-1921.
  3. Fascist Counter-Revolution. Italy and Germany.
  4. The Chinese Revolution of 1949.


22. World Wars:

(i) 1st and 2nd World Wars as Total Wars : Societal implications.

(ii) World War I : Causes and Consequences.

(iii) World War II: Causes and Consequences.


23. The World after World War II:

(j) Emergence of Two power blocs.

(ii) Emergence of Third World and non-alignment

(iii) UNO and the global disputes.


24. Liberation from Colonial Rule:

(j) Latin America-Bolivar.

(ii) Arab World-Egypt.

(iii) Africa-Apartheid to Democracy.

(iv) South-East Asia-Vietnam.


25. Decolonization and Underdevelopment:

(j) Factors constraining Development ; Latin America, Africa.


26. Unification of Europe:

(i) Post War Foundations ; NATO and European community.

(ii) Consolidation and Expansion of European Community

(iii) European Union.


27. Disintegration of Soviet Union and the Rise of the Unipolar World:

(i) Factors leading to the collapse of Soviet Communism and Soviet Union. 1985-1991.

(ii) Political changes in East Europe 1989-2001.

(iii) End of the Cold War and US Ascendancy in the World as the lone superpower.


All the best