UPSC Syllabus 2023: IAS Syllabus for Prelims & Mains Exam


UPSC Syllabus 2022: IAS Syllabus for Prelims & Mains Exam

The UPSC 2021 mains examination is over. So it is high time for the candidates who are aiming for the UPSC 2020 examination. The candidates from this year who could not make this year would try this coming year with a lot more preparation and homework. 

UPSC Syllabus 2023: IAS Syllabus for Prelims & Mains Exam

The UPSC 2021 mains examination is over. So it is high time for the candidates who are aiming for the UPSC 2022 examination. The candidates from this year who could not make this year would try this coming year with a lot more preparation and homework. 

Since the UPSC examination is one of the toughest examinations in India, the IAS exam syllabus is a little bit complicated. In this write-up, we are going to disclose the IAS exam syllabus for you so that you can start your preparation as soon as possible.

But before we start, here is brief and basic information regarding the examination:

Important dates


1st February of the year 2023

The notification of the UPSC examination will be officially announced

1st February of the year 2023

On that very same date, the examination forms will be available too

21st February of the year 2023

  The last date of submission of forms

28th May of the year 2023

Date of  Prelims Examination

Exam attempts granted:

Participants are only allowed to take the UPSC test within a certain time frame. 

  • Applicants, in general, are allowed to attempt the exam six times. 
  • Aspirants from the OBC are permitted nine attempts. 
  • For SC and ST applicants, there is no such constraint.

Criteria for appearing the examination:

  • The applicant must be at least 21 years old and no more than 32 years old.
  • SC and ST applicants get a 5-year age relaxation, while OBCs get 3-year age relaxation.
  • Ex-commissioned personnel and defense service officers are entitled to a five-year and three-year age relaxation, respectively.
  • Entrants must have earned a graduate degree from an Indian university.
  • UPSC CSE is conducted in three steps as mentioned below:

    • Preliminary examination
    • Mains
    • Interview

    Each of the steps has its curriculum as mentioned below:

IAS syllabus:

Preliminary examination syllabus carrying 200 marks for each paper

  • General studies paper –I:

    1. Current events of national and international importance
    2. Syllabus of History of India and the heroes of ancient India, Indian national movement
    3. Indian and World Geography- it includes every aspect of geography including physical, social, economic geography across the world
    4. Indian Politics and governance and its history – right from the Indian constitution to our political system that covers the areas of Panchayati raj, public policy, Rights issues, etc.
    5. Economic and social development of India as well as the world economy– the economic history of India as well as world history of economics and its interrelations. The important topics that should be highlighted include sustainable development, poverty, inclusion, demographics, social sector initiatives etc.
    6. General issues regarding the current situation of environmental ecology, our biodiversity and climate change. It does not require specialized studies. An overview of the subject and clear concepts can do well.
    7. General Science.
  • General studies paper –II:

    1. Comprehension skills
    2. Interpersonal skills including communication skills and management
    3. Logical reasoning and analytical ability
    4. Decision making and problem-solving (it has no negative marking)
    5. General mental ability to solve problems
    6. Basic numerical problems that include numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude etc up to Class X level and Data Interpretation including charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc up to class X level
    7. English Language Comprehension skills and writing ability (Class X level).

Mains examination syllabus:

This stage consists of 9 papers, with the assessment depending on the completion of traditional and essay-style questions. Two of these papers are qualifying in nature. Each paper is worth 250 marks.

Paper A: (Indian Language language paper)................. (300 marks)

Paper B: English language paper ……………………… (300 marks)

Paper I: - Essay paper

Paper-II: General studies- I: Indian and world history, geography, culture and heritage (250 marks)


  • 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 the 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 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 the 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, cyclones 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.

Paper III: General Studies II: Indian constitution and its policy, social justice and rights, international relations (250 marks)


  • 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 dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.  Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.  
  • Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, 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.  
  • 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 interests.  
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.  
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

Paper IV: General Studies - III : Environment study, biodiversity, security and disaster management, technology (250 marks)


  • 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, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.  
  • 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 technology.  
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology 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.  
  • 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 terrorism.  Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate. 

Paper V: General Studies - IV Ethics, integrity, and aptitude (250 marks)


  • This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered :
  • 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 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

Paper VI: optional subject (250 marks)

Paper VII: optional subject (250 marks)

The optional subjects include:

Optional Subjects in UPSC 




Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science


Political Science & International Relations






Public Administration




Civil Engineering



Commerce & Accountancy

Mechanical Engineering



Medical Science


Electrical Engineering


*Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.


After the major tests have been completed, the qualified candidates are invited to an interview. The UPSC notification has given a scheme for the interview stage as well. 

The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of the candidate’s career. The candidate will be asked questions on matters of general interest. The object of the Interview/Personality Test is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers. The Interview/Personality Test is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms this is really an assessment of not only intellectual qualities but also social traits and interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.

The technique of the Interview/Personality Test is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate. The Interview/Personality Test is not intended to be a test either of the specialized or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own State or Country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well-educated youth.