UPSC/IAS CSE Syllabus 2023 PDF & Exam Pattern: Prelims & Mains

The Civil Service Exam is the toughest exam in the nation conducted by UPSC. But no matter what, courageous and determined aspirants accomplish their goals by cracking the UPSC exam and this can’t be done without going through the whole UPSC syllabus 2023. 

In this article, we will guide you through the UPSC syllabus 2023 and give assurance to cover all related details of all stages.

  • Preliminary Stage – General Studies Paper I & II (CSAT)
  • Mains Stage – Nine Theory Papers (GS I-IV, Essay & Optional)
  • Personality Test – Interview

UPSC Syllabus for Prelims

The first stage is Prelims for the Civil Services Examination. It comprises two papers, General Studies Paper I & General Studies Paper II (CSAT) after which aspirants are qualified for the next stage i.e Mains. It is the screening test with multiple-choice questions (objective type).

All aspirants should first acquaint themselves with the UPSC syllabus subject wise and pattern and prepare accordingly.

– 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, Panchayati Raj, Political System, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
– Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Demographics, Poverty, Inclusion, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
– General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that does not require subject specialisation.
– General Science
2 Hours200 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)
2 Hours200 marks

UPSC Syllabus for Mains

A candidate’s rank depends only on those marks which were scored in the Mains exam and Interview. The mains exam carries 1750 marks while interview has 275 marks.

The written examination (mains) consists of the following nine papers, but only 7 out of 9 papers will be counted for the final merit ranking. Each year, the UPSC prescribed the minimum score for the rest two papers. The UPSC Syllabus for Mains is as follows: –

PAPER-ACompulsory Indian Language300 (qualifying)3 Hours
PAPER-BEnglish300 (qualifying)3 Hours
PAPER-IEssay2503 Hours
PAPER-IIGeneral Studies I – History & Geography of the World & Society, Indian Heritage & Culture2503 Hours
PAPER-IIIGeneral Studies II – Governance, Welfare Initiatives, Constitution, Social Justice & International Relations2503 Hours
PAPER-IVGeneral Studies III – Technology, Biodiversity, Economic Development, Agriculture, Security & Disaster Management2503 Hours
PAPER-VGeneral Studies IV – Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude2503 Hours
PAPER-VIOptional Subject – Paper I2503 Hours
PAPER-VIIOptional Subject – Paper II2503 Hours

Here’s the detailed UPSC syllabus for mains paper: –

Qualifying Papers: – Indian Languages and English

Structure of the language papers:

The types of questions asked are –

  1. Essay – 100 marks
  2. Reading comprehension – 60 marks
  3. Precis Writing – 60 marks
  4. Translation:
    • English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) – 20 marks
    • Compulsory language to English – 20 marks
  5. Grammar and basic language usage – 40 marks

The rest of the seven papers can be done in any of the languages mentioned under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India or in English.

The pattern of questions would be as follows:

English Language

a. Comprehension of given passages.

b. Precis Writing.

c. Usage and Vocabulary.

d. Short Essays.

Indian Languages

a. Comprehension of given passages.

b. Precis Writing.

c. Usage and Vocabulary.

d. Short Essays.

e. Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.

Paper-I: Essay

UPSC syllabus CSE for Paper-I: Essay: –

Candidates are required to write essays on multiple topics.

They will be expected to keep close to the body of the essay to arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion and to write it concisely.

Credit will be given for exact and effective expression.

Paper-II: General Studies-I

UPSC syllabus for Paper-II: General Studies-I: –

Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society.

– The salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times, will covered by the Indian culture.

– Modern Indian history from the middle of the 18th century until the present- significant events, personalities, and issues.

– The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors and their contributions, from different parts of the country.

– Post-independence reorganization and consolidation within the country.

– History of The World includes events from the 18th century such as the Industrial Revolution, World Wars, Redraw of The National Boundaries, Colonization, Decolonization, Political Philosophies like Communism, Capitalism, Socialism etc.— their effect and forms on the society.

– Diversity of India, Salient features of Indian Society

– Role of women and women’s organization, poverty and developmental issues, population and associated issues, urbanization, their remedies and their problems.

– Globalization Effects on Indian society.

– Social empowerment, regionalism, secularism & communalism.

– World’s physical geography’s salient features.

– Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors which are 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, Volcanic activity, Tsunami, cyclones etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and icecaps) and flora & fauna and the effects of such changes.

Paper-III: General Studies-II

UPSC syllabus for Paper-III: General Studies-II: –

Governance, Polity, Social Justice, Constitution, and international relations.

– Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, features, evolution, significant provisions, amendments, and basic structure.

– Functions & responsibilities of the States and the Union, challenges and issues about the federal structure, devolution of powers & finances up to local challenges and levels therein.

– Separation of powers between various organs disputes redressal the mechanisms and institutions.

– Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of the other countries.

– State and Parliament legislatures—structure, the conduct of business, functioning, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

– Organization, structure and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries & Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal and informal associations and their role in the Polity.

– The Representation of People’s Act, salient features.

– Appointment to various Constitutional powers, posts, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

– Regulatory, statutory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

– Government interventions and policies for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their implementation and design.

– Development processes & the development industry —the role of SHGs, NGOs, various groups and associations, charities, donors, institutional and other stakeholders.

– Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the States and Centre and the performance of these schemes; laws, mechanisms, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections.

– Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Health, and Human Resources.

– Issues relating to poverty & hunger.

– Important aspects of governance, transparency & accountability, e-governance- applications, limitations, models, successes, and potential; transparency & accountability, citizens charters, and institutional and other measures.

– Civil services role in a democracy.

– India & its neighborhood- relations.

– Regional, Bilateral and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

– Effect of policies and politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

– Important International institutions, agencies & fora – their structure, mandate.

Paper-IV: General Studies-III

UPSC syllabus CSE for Paper-IV: General Studies-III: –

Technology, Biodiversity, Environment, Economic Development, Security and Disaster Management

– Indian Economy and the issues relating to mobilization of resources, planning, growth, development and employment.

– Inclusive growth & issues arising from it.

– Government Budgeting.

– Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country – different types of irrigation & irrigation systems storage, transport & marketing of agricultural produce and issues & related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

– Issues related to direct & indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System-functioning, objectives, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks & food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

– Food processing & related industries in India- scope & significance, upstream and downstream requirements, location, supply chain management.

– Land reforms in India.

– Liberalization effects on the economy, changes in industrial policy & their effects on industrial growth.

– Infrastructure: Energy, Roads, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

– Investment models.

– Science & Technology- developments and their applications & effects in everyday life.

– Achievements of Indians in science and technology; indigenization of technology & developing new technology.

– Awareness in the fields of IT, Computers, Space, robotics, Nanotechnology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

– Environmental impact assessment, Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.

– Disaster & disaster management.

– Linkages between development & spread of extremism.

– Role of external state & non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

– Challenges to internal security through communication networks, basics of cyber security; money-laundering & its prevention, role of media & social networking sites in internal security challenges.

– Security challenges & their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

– Various Security forces & agencies and their mandate

Paper-V: General Studies-IV

UPSC syllabus CSE for Paper-V: General Studies-IV: –

Integrity, Ethics and Aptitude

This paper includes questions to test the candidates’ attitudes and approaches to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life & problem-solving approach to various issues & conflicts faced by him in dealing with society.

Questions may contain the case study approach to determine these aspects.

The following broad areas will be covered:

– Ethics & Human Interface: Essence, determinants & consequences of ethics in-human actions; ethics – in private and public relationships; dimensions of ethics. Human Values – lessons from the teachings and lives of great leaders, reformers and administrators; the role of family society & educational institutions in inculcating values.

– Attitude: structure, content, function; its influence & relations with thought and behaviour; moral & political attitudes; social influence & persuasion.

– Aptitude & foundational values for Civil Service, impartiality, integrity, and non-partisanship, empathy, objectivity, dedication to public service, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker sections.

– Emotional intelligence-concepts & their utilities and application in administration & governance.

– Contributions of moral thinkers & philosophers from India and world.

– Public or Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status & problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government & private institutions; rules, laws, regulations and conscience as the sources of ethical guidance; accountability & ethical governance; strengthening of ethical & moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations & funding; corporate governance.

– Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance & probity; Information sharing & transparency in government, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Right to Information, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Utilization of public funds, Quality of service delivery, challenges of corruption.

– Case Studies on the above issues.

Paper – VI & VII

Optional Subject Papers I & II. Here aspirants have to choose one subject from the list and that subject will have two papers.

A candidate may opt for any one Optional Subject from the following:

(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

(xxvi) Literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Dogri, Gujarati, Bengali, Bodo, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Manipuri, Marathi, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Nepali, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Odia, Punjabi, Telugu, Sanskrit, Urdu and English.

UPSC Syllabus for IAS Interview

Also, known as Personality Test, UPSC Interview is the last stage of the UPSC examination. In the UPSC guidelines, there is no defined UPSC syllabus CSE for interviews.

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