UPSC Syllabus 2020 | Download UPSC CSE Syllabus PDF for Prelims & Mains

You will find complete Syllabus for UPSC Civil Service Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission.  Usually, CSE is considered one of the toughest and prestigious examinations held in India. You can access the detailed syllabus for UPSC IAS Exam 2020 from this page.

In general, the Syllabus of UPSC is Split as per three categories namely Prelims, Mains, and Interview. You will have common UPSC Syllabus for Services like IAS, IPS, IFS and, few others, etc. However, different stages of the IAS Exam will have different syllabus. You can also make use of the UPSC Syllabus PDF available in the further modules and understand the topics you need to cover.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus

UPSC organizes Preliminary Examination as the first round of the selection process. UPSC frames prelims questions in such a way that you need to have complete knowledge to answer them. UPSC IAS Syllabus concentrates on general and societal awareness and tests it through Objective Type Questions. All the Options are close enough that you end up keeping the wrong option if you aren’t familiar with the entire concept.

Aspirants need to appear for two general studies papers as a part of the Preliminary Examination. General Studies Paper-II is also referred to as the Civil Services Aptitude Test.

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern

General Studies No. of Questions No. of Marks Duration
Paper-I 100 200 2 Hours
Paper-II 80 200  2 Hours
Total 180 400 4 Hours

Syllabus of UPSC Prelims General Studies Paper – I

  • Current events of national and international importance
  • History of India and Indian National Movement
  • General Science
  • Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World
  • General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity, and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
    Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.

UPSC CSE Syllabus for General Studies Paper-II(CSAT)

  • Comprehension
  • Decision making and problem-solving
  • General mental ability
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical 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).

Also Check: Best UPSC Mains Reference Books for Civil Services that aid your preparation

UPSC Mains Syllabus

Mains Exam is the 2nd Phase of Civil Services Examination. You will be allowed to write the Mains Exam only after qualifying the Prelims Examination. UPSC Mains Exam usually tests the candidate’s ability to present their understanding as per the requirements of the question within a time limit. All together IAS Mains Exam includes 9 Papers of which two are qualifying.

Usually, in Mains Exam you will have descriptive type paper for which you need to write lengthy answers to questions. Apart from the general studies papers, you will have an essay paper in which you need to write 2 essays.

UPSC Civil Services Mains Test Pattern

Paper  Subject Marks
Paper-A (Qualifying Paper) Indian Language (One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution) 300
Paper-B (Qualifying Paper) English 300
Paper-I Essay 250
Paper-II General Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society) 250
Paper-III General Studies -II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) 250
Paper-IV General Studies -III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) 250
Paper-V General Studies -IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude) 250
Paper-VI Optional Subject – Paper 1 250
Paper-VII Optional Subject – Paper 2 250
Sub Total Written Test 1750

UPSC Civil Services Syllabus for Indian Language & English

  • Comprehension of given passages
  • Short Essays
  • Usage and Vocabulary
  • Precis Writing
  • Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.

UPSC CSE Syllabus for Mains General Studies Paper I

  • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
  • The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.
  • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
  • History of the world will include events from the 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, re-drawal 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.
  • Salient features of the world’s physical geography.
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society.
  • Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems, and their remedies.
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
  • 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.

Syllabus for UPSC Mains General Studies Paper II

  • Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
  • Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, the conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  • Separation of powers between various organs disputes redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Government strives to have a workforce that reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions, and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
  • Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  • Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  • Role of civil services in a democracy.
  • Important International institutions, agencies, and fora- their structure, mandate.
  • Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions, and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
  • India and its neighborhood- relations.
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

UPSC Exam Syllabus for Mains General Studies Paper III

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development, and employment.
  • Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  • 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.
  • Government Budgeting
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it
  • 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
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc
  • Land reforms in India
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
  • Investment models
  • Science and Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
  • Achievements 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
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cybersecurity; money laundering and its prevention
  • Conservation, environmental pollution, and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
  • Disaster and disaster management
  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism
  •  Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

UPSC IAS Mains Syllabus for General Studies Paper IV

  • 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.
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker sections.
  • Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world.
  • Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and 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.
  • 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.
  • Case Studies on the above issues.

UPSC Optional Syllabus

  • UPSC Agriculture Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Anthropology Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Botany Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Chemistry Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Civil Engineering Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Commerce & Accountancy Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Economics Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Electrical Engineering Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Geography Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Geology Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC History Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Law Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Management Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Mathematics Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Mechanical Engineering Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Medical Science Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Philosophy Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Physics Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Political Science & International Relations Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Psychology Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Public Administration Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Sociology Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Statistics Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Zoology Optional Syllabus
  • UPSC Assamese Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Bengali Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Bodo Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Dogri Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Gujarati Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Hindi Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Kannada Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Kashmiri Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Konkani Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Maithili Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Malayalam Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Manipuri Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Marathi Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Nepali Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Odia Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Punjabi Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Sanskrit Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Santhali Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Sindhi Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Tamil Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Telugu Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC English Optional Syllabus (Literature)
  • UPSC Urdu Optional Syllabus (Literature)

UPSC Interview Syllabus

Candidates who have cleared the UPSC Mains Examination will be called for the final stage of the selection process i.e. Personality Test(Interview). The interview is more of a purposive conversation that is intended to reveal the mental qualities of a candidate.


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