UPSC Syllabus: Everything you need to know

The Union Public Service Commission Examination (UPSC) is the examination held by the Central Government authorities for recruitment in the government sector. Following are the details of the UPSC Syllabus: Everything you need to know-


Following are the important parts of the subjects included in the UPSC Syllabus of Prelims Examination. 

  • 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 specialization General Science

UPSC Prelims Paper- General Studies

The broad paper included in the UPSC Syllabus of the Prelims examination includes the subjects associated with General Studies. Following are some of the important subjects in that curriculum-

  • Comprehension

  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills

  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability

  • Decision-making and problem solving

  • General mental ability

UPSC Mains Paper 1- Essay

The first paper in the UPSC Mains Examination included in the UPSC Syllabus is a topic on essay. The candidates will be instructed to write an essay on multiple topics of their choice. Their choice of words, their ability to express their opinion and the judicious usage of words to cite a solution to a problem will determine whether the candidate is capable of being administered the position of a UPSC officer of the administration department. 

UPSC Mains Paper 2- General Studies-I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

The second paper of the General Studies involves different subjects which include the topics like Descriptive Indian and World History, Indian Geographical boundaries and societal and cultural developments in the country over centuries. Following are the important elements of the core UPSC Syllabus for 2021- 

  • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature & Architecture from ancient to modern times.

  • The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.

  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

  • 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 the world’s physical geography.

UPSC Mains Paper- General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations

The second paper of General Studies of the UPSC Syllabus concerns subjects like the Governance and functioning systems of the country. Along with that discussions about the political structure of the country and the international and national judicial and justice structures and crime and law enforcement functions are discussed. 

  • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions, and basic structure.

  • Separation of powers between various organs, dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

UPSC Mains Paper- General Studies -III: Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

This paper deals with subjects like environmental conservation and actions taken while advocating disasters, development of economic portfolio and security and maintenance of environmental prospects included in the UPSC Syllabus. 

  • Indian economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

  • E-technology in the aid of farmers Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices. 

UPSC Mains General Studies IV: Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude

This paper deals with the personal capabilities of the candidate to judge how the candidate reacts to different situations. In the UPSC Syllabus, this paper deals with business ethics and principles, the integrity of understanding and logical reasoning and aptitude skills. Following the core areas of the UPSC Syllabus of this paper-

  • 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 behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

Other optional papers of the UPSC Syllabus Examination include- 

Paper-VI: Optional Paper-I

Optional Subject -Paper I (250 Marks) )

Paper-VII: Optional Paper-III

Optional Subject – Paper-II (250 marks)


Therefore intense preparation and a thorough understanding of the UPSC Syllabus is necessary if you want to become successful and qualify for the final interview session for the UPSC Examination. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many Vacancies will be filled through UPSC IAS Civil Services Recruitment 2021?

UPSC has notified a total of 712 vacancies under the UPSC IAS Civil Services Recruitment 2020. These 796 posts include 24 vacancies reserved for Persons with Benchmark Disability (PwBD)

What is the AGE LIMIT to apply for UPSC IAS Recruitment 2021?

Minimum Age Limit: 21 Years

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