UPSC CSE Syllabus


The Exam Pattern of the UPSC IAS Exam Civil Services Preliminary Examination 2016-2017 is as follows:

The Questions in the Preliminary or the Prelims Exam of the UPSC IAS Exam Civil Services are Objective Type with MCQ’s . The IAS Prelims Exam 2016 includes two Papers which are Paper I as well as Paper II. The IAS Prelims Paper I exam consists of 200 marks on the Topics of General Studies as well as IAS Prelims Paper II also consists of 200 Marks on the Topics of Aptitude. The Duration for the IAS Prelims Paper I & Paper II is 4 Hours (Paper – I: 2 Hours & Paper – II: 2 Hours). The Selection of the Candidates to the Mains Exam is done on the basis of the marks (Qualifying marks) scored in the Paper I (General Studies). The Candidates have to obtain 33% to get qualified in the Paper II(Aptitude Test or General Ability Test).  The Students have to note that the Marks obtained by the Candidates in Prelims are for Qualifying but are not determined in the Final Ranking or Merit.


S.No.Name of the Paper.Name of the Subject.Questions will be asked in a medium of.No.of Questions to be asked.Marks.Duration of the Exam.
1.Paper – I.General Studies.English & Hindi.100 Questions.200 Marks.2 Hours.
2.Paper – II.General Ability or Aptitude.English & Hindi.80 Questions.200 Marks.2 Hours.
Total.180 Questions.400 Marks.4 Hours.

Note: The Paper I & Paper II in the UPSC IAS Civil Services Exam will be conducted in two Sessions.


The Exam Pattern of the UPSC IAS Exam Civil Services Mains Examination 2016-2017 is as follows:

The UPSC IAS Civil Services Mains Exam is a written examination which contains 9 Papers. The Paper A as well as Paper B are Qualifying nature. The Papers Which are considered for Ranking are Paper I, Paper II, Paper III, Paper IV, Paper V, Paper VI and Paper VII which include the papers of optional Subjects. The Candidates can select the Medium of Hindi or English for the UPSC Civils IAS Mains exam 2016-2017. The Final Ranking of the Candidates is done based on the Marks the Students have Obtained in their Mains as well as Personality Test or an Interview.



S. No.Name of the Paper.Name of the Subject.Nature of the Paper.Duration of the Exam.Medium in which Questions are askedMarks.
1.Paper – A.Indian Language. 

Qualifying Nature.

3 Hours.Only in English.300 Marks.
2.Paper – B.English Language.3 Hours.Hindi & English.300 Marks.


3.Paper – I.Essay. 




Merit Ranking Nature.

3 Hours.Hindi & English.250 Marks.
4.Paper – II.General Studies – I.3 Hours.Hindi & English.250 Marks.
5.Paper – III.General Studies – II.3 Hours.Hindi & English.250 Marks.
6.Paper – IV.General Studies – III.3 Hours.Hindi & English.250 Marks.
7.Paper – V.General Studies – IV.3 Hours.Hindi & English.250 Marks.
8.Paper – VI.Optional Subject (Paper – I).3 Hours.Hindi & English.250 Marks.
9.Paper – VII.Optional Subject (Paper – II).3 Hours.Hindi & English.250 Marks.
Total.1,750 Marks.


Interview or Personality Test.275 Marks.
Grand Total.2,025 Marks.



UPSC Syllabus – IAS Prelims

UPSC Syllabus for Paper I – (200 marks) Duration: Two hours (Counted for the merit rank in the Prelims)

  • 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 Syllabus for Paper II- (200 marks) Duration: Two hours (Not counted for the merit rank in Prelims but a qualifying Paper; just needs 33% marks)

  • 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).

UPSC Syllabus – Civil Services Mains Exam

A candidate’s rank in UPSC-CSE depends only on the mark scored in Main and Interview. The main exam has 1750 marks while interview has 275 marks.The written examination (main) will consist of the following nine papers, but only 7 papers will be counted for final merit ranking. For the rest two papers, the candidate should secure minimum marks prescribed by UPSC each year.


Qualifying Papers – Not counted for final ranking

A. 1.Topics in Indian Language (Paper – I):

  1. Comprehensive Type of Questions related to the Given Passage.
  2. Short Essay.
  3. Vocabulary & Usage.
  4. Precise Writing (in other words, making a summary).
  5. Translation from English to the Selected Indian Language and Vice Versa.

The List of the Languages, as well as the Scripts to be used for the respective Languages, are given below here.

S.No.Name of the Language.Script.
11.Santhali.Olchiki or Devanagari.
20.Sindhi.Arabic or Devanagari.


2.Topics in Paper II: English

  1. Comprehensive Type of Questions related to the Given Passage.
  2. Short Essay.
  3. Vocabulary & Usage.
  4. Precise Writing (in other words, making a summary).


B. Papers to be counted for merit ranking:


1. Paper‐I : Essay 250 Marks

The Candidates are given some Topics. They have to Write Essays on those Given Topics in Brief. They Should not Deviate from the Given Topics. The Essay can be Written in the Language selected by the Candidates. The Candidates have to write the Essay in Orderly manner briefly.


2. Paper‐II 250Marks. (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society).General Studies – I

    • Indian culture will cover the 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,
    • redraw 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 subcontinent);
    • 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.
    • Reference Books for General Studies Paper 1
  1. Comprehensive History of Modern India by Brishti Bandyopadhyay.
  2. India Since Independence by Bipan Chandra.
  3. History of the World: From the Late Nineteenth to the Early Twenty-First Century by Arjun Dev.
  4. Mastering Modern World History by Norman Lowe.


3. Paper‐III 250 Marks.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 disputes redressal 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 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 Centre and States and the
performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the
protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
• Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,
Education, Human Resources.
• Issues relating 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.
• The 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
• Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian
• Important International institutions, agencies, and their structure, mandate


Reference Books for General Studies Paper 2 

  1. The Constitution of India.
  2. An Introduction to the Constitution of India by M.V. Pylee.
  3. Introduction to the Constitution of India by Durga Das Basu.
  4. Select Constitutions by Anup Chand Kapur, A.C. Kapur & K.K. Misra.
  5. Fifty Years of Indian Parliament by G.C. Malhotra.
  6. Social Theory, Development Administration & Development Ethics by Mohit Bhattacharya.
  7. Our Parliament by Subhash Kashyap.
  8. Public Institutions in India: Performance and Design by Devesh Kapur & Pratap Bhanu Mehta.
  9. Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri.
  10. India’s Foreign Policy Since Independence by V.P. Dutt.
  11. ARC reports; special focus on the fourth report on Ethics in Governance and the fifth report on Public Order.
  12. PIB.
  13. for Welfare Schemes.
  14. Articles from Planning Commission Website.
  15. The Diplomat Magazine.
  16. Briefs on Foreign Relations from MEA.


4. Paper‐IV  250 Marks.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 change in industrial policy and their effects on industrial
• Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
• 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
• Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology 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.
• The 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
• Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Reference Books for General Studies Paper 3

  1. NCERT Class X – Understanding Economic Development, NCERT Class XI – Indian Economic Development (All Chapters 1 to 10) and NCERT Class XII – Macroeconomics, NCERT Class VIII Geography text, Resources and Development.
  2. A book like Science &Technology for Civil Services Examinations by A.K. Singh.
  3. Science and Technology in India (Spectrum).
  4. Security Management: UPSC Civil Services Main Examination by Shama Hussain.
  5. Biodiversity, Environment, and Disaster Management: UPSC Civil Services Main Examination by Shama Hussain
  6. Newspapers like The Hindu Business Line, Business Standard or Economic Times.
  7. Five Year Plan from Planning Commission Website :
  8. Budget from
  9. India Yearbook from the Publication Division, Government of India.
  10. ‘State of India Agriculture’ reports on
  11. Union Ministries of Water Resources (
  12. Union Ministry of Power (
  13. Ministry of Science and Technology.
  14. Food Security Aspects :


5. Paper‐V  250 Marks.General Studies – IV (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; 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 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 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.

Reference Books for General Studies Paper 4

  1. 4rth Report of 2nd ARC.
  2. The Handbook on Building Motivation and Positive Attitudes in Government Organisations published by the Centre for Good Governance, Hyderabad.
  3. Moral Attitudes.
  4. Probity in Governance – Law Ministry.
  5. Corporate Governance – Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
  6. Emotional Intelligence in Bureaucracies.



 6. Topics in Paper VI: Optional Subject (Paper – 1)

The Candidates have to select the Optional Subject. The Questions asked in this Paper depends on the Subject selected by the Candidate.

7.  Topics in Paper VI: Optional Subject (Paper – 2)

The Candidates have to select the Optional Subject. The Questions asked in this Paper depends on the Subject selected by the Candidate.

Optional Subjects: The Candidates have to select two subjects as Optional Subjects. The Optional Subjects are as follows.

  • Agriculture.
  • Anthropology.
  • Chemistry.
  • Commerce & Accountancy.
  • Civil Engineering.
  • Electrical Engineering.
  • Geology.
  • Law.
  • Mathematics.
  • Medical Science.
  • Physics.
  • Psychology.
  • Sociology.
  • Zoology.
  • Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science.
  • Botany.
  • Economics.
  • Geography.
  • History.
  • Management.
  • Mechanical Engineering.
  • Philosophy.
  • Political Science & International Relations.
  • Public Administration.
  • Statistics.

C. UPSC IAS Interview Syllabus 

The Candidates who are selected and qualified in the Prelims Examination & Mains have to attend an interview. There will be Questions asked about You, Your Hobbies, Your Home Town, the Current Affairs, General Knowledge, Politics, Economics, Situation Questions, etc.., The Main factors which are considered in the Personality Test are as follows.

  1. Mental Alertness.
  2. Clear & Logical Exposition.
  3. Knowledge & Interest of Current Affairs.
  4. Specificness & Depth of Interests.
  5. Leadership Skills.
  6. Critical Powers of Assimilation.
  7. Social Traits.
  8. Balance of Judgement.
  9. Ability of Social Cohesion.
  10. Intellectual & Moral Integrity.