Civil Services Examination
Civil Services Examination

UPSC Syllabus 2023: Get IAS Exam Syllabus PDF for Prelims & Mains

UPSC syllabus is released on the official website of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The syllabus is released along with the official notification. Candidates must go through the UPSC syllabus before they start their IAS preparation.
UPSC Syllabus 2023

UPSC Syllabus 2023

UPSC Syllabus is released by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on its official website. The syllabus is released along with the notification by the commission. Candidates seeking to be recruited for the positions of IAS, IPS, and posts must thoroughly check the UPSC syllabus. Candidates are also urged to adhere to the syllabus outlined in the official UPSC notification. The syllabus is extensive, and preparing for the exam demands consistent study.

Candidates must always keep the UPSC syllabus with themselves and refer to it while preparing for the exam. Since the IAS Syllabus is the mainspring of the UPSC examination, candidates' preparation for the exam must be centred around it. Also Read: UPSC Exam Pattern 2023

Candidates must adhere to the curriculum, although it should be emphasized that the syllabus is not defined. In other words, the UPSC does not specify the vertical of the syllabus. In other words, a topic in the IAS syllabus is defined, but the depth of the topic is not. The thorough syllabus on a certain topic might stretch to any length. As a result, students must cover everything related to that specific topic.

The UPSC exam 2023 is split into three phases, the third of which is the interview round. The syllabus for the prelims and mains examinations overlaps, with the prelims examination syllabus being shorter. Read More: UPSC Selection Process 2023

UPSC IAS Prelims Syllabus 2023

The prelims examination has two papers, namely, General Science (GS) Paper & Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT). The Paper I is conducted to test the knowledge of the candidate in different topics of General Science including History, Polity, Geography, and others. The CSAT paper is undertaken to test the knowledge of the candidates in English comprehension, Logical Reasoning, and basic Mathematics.

IAS Syllabus for Prelims GS I

The UPSC preliminary examination decides whether the candidate is eligible to go for the mains examination or not. Candidates clearing the minimum cutoff take the UPSC mains exam. The IAS Syllabus for General Studies paper in the prelims examination covers the following topics:

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

It is worth noting that the UPSC has prioritized current affairs in the IAS syllabus for the prelims examination. This can be a component in determining the direction of the IAS preparation. Aspirants for the IAS should study all topics in light of current events of national and international relevance.

IAS Syllabus for CSAT

The CSAT paper of the UPSC preliminary examination is qualifying in nature, with students needing only 33% to pass the exam. In other words, the examination scores are not factored into the UPSC Prelims cutoff.


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 IAS Syllabus for Mains 2023

UPSC Mains examination is the crucial stage of the whole UPSC CSE examination process. The examination is conducted to check the knowledge depth of the candidate in a variety of subjects and their constitutive topics.

The nature and level of questions in the General Studies papers (Papers II to Paper V) shall be such that a well-educated individual will be able to answer them without needing to do any specialized study. The questions will be designed to assess a candidate's broad knowledge of a number of areas relevant to a vocation in the Civil Services. The questions are likely to assess the candidate's fundamental comprehension of all pertinent topics, as well as their capacity to analyze and weigh in on competing socio economic aims, objectives, and requirements. Candidates must provide answers that are relevant, insightful, and brief.

In general, the optional subject papers (Paper VI and Paper VII) for the examination are of honors degree level, which is higher than the bachelor's degree but lower than the master's degree.

IAS Syllabus for Essay Paper

The IAS Essay paper assesses applicants' thorough knowledge and grasp of various subjects. The paper will be divided into two sections, each with four questions. Candidates are supposed to attempt two questions, one from each section. The essay should be written in around 1000-1200 words.

Candidates are required to write essays on a range of topics in the IAS essay paper. They will be expected to stay on subject, arrange their thoughts in an orderly manner, and express clearly. Essay writing that is precise and accurate will be rewarded with a high score.

The syllabus for the UPSC Mains Essay Paper is not specified, and questions might be asked about current events, social issues, philosophy, and other topics.

IAS Mains General Studies Paper I Syllabus

IAS Mains General Studies Paper I contains topics that are static in nature. The paper includes questions from Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society. Candidates must thoroughly read NCERT books and other relevant books recommended by seniors, teachers and their mentors. The detailed syllabus for IAS Mains General Studies Paper I is as follows:

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.

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.

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 the society.

IAS Mains General Studies Paper II Syllabus

The IAS Mains General Studies Paper II constitutes dynamic questions from topics like Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations. The syllabus for the General Studies Paper II in the UPSC Mains examination is as follows:

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.

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.

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.

IAS Mains General Studies Paper III Syllabus

The IAS Mains General Studies Paper III includes questions from topics like Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and

 Disaster Management. The detailed syllabus is as follows:


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, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cybersecurity; 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

IAS Mains Ethics Syllabus

This exam will comprise questions designed to assess candidates' attitudes and approaches to problems of integrity and honesty in public life, and problem-solving approaches to different challenges and confrontations encountered while interacting with society. To identify these elements, questions may adopt the case study methodology. The following broad topics will be addressed in IAS Mains Ethics syllabus. 

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.

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.

Emotional intelligence: Concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.

Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world. 

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. 

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.

Case Studies on the above issues.

IAS Optional Subjects Syllabus 2023

The IAS main exam includes 25 optional subjects from which participants are required to select one subject. The two optional subject papers are for a total of 500 marks, with each paper given 250 marks. It accounts for about 30% of the maximum UPSC Mains marks. As a corollary, candidates should select their optional subject thoughtfully because it might either assist or impede their objective of passing the exam.

IAS Optional Subjects List




Medical Science

Mechanical Engineering


Political Science and International Relations



Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science





Civil Engineering


Commerce and Accountancy

Electrical Engineering





Public Administration





The candidates can choose literature subjects as their optional paper. Below is the list of literature subjects which candidates can choose from:

























IAS Interview Syllabus

The UPSC IAS interview is the final stage of the selection process. Candidates who qualify the IAS Mains Cutoff receive a call letter inviting them to the IAS interview process. The interview is performed to evaluate the candidates' capacity to think constructively. The IAS Interview panel evaluates applicants based on their ability to tackle societal problems using innovative ideas.

As a result, the UPSC has no mandated IAS Interview syllabus. Candidates must read everything that is going on around them in terms of the economy, society, policymaking, and international relations in order to do well in the interview. Aspirants must have a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter they studied in college. Candidates must also have a good knowledge of their hobbies and interests.

Qualities which will be judged by the panel in the IAS interview round:

  • Reasoning and Logical Arguments
  • Understanding of issues affecting people and society as a whole.
  • Integrity of moral character
  • Leadership Characteristics
  • Capability to make decisions
  • Ability to make judgments

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to Cover the IAS Syllabus 2023 for prelims and mains examination?

Candidates preparing for the UPSC examination should read the appropriate books. Over-studying is the most common reason for pupils failing the exam. Along with NCERTs, students should read GC Leong for Geography, Laxmikant for Indian Polity, Spectrum for Modern History, Indian Ancient Past, and Indian Medieval Past by BP Chandra and Satish Chandra, respectively. Furthermore, applicants must be consistent in their preparation and avoid studying multiple subjects at the same time.

How long does it take to complete the IAS Syllabus 2023?

IAS Syllabus is very vast and requires more than 1-1.5 years of time to complete the syllabus. Students taking the examination must read everything under the sky and have basic understanding of the concept.

How can I get a detailed syllabus of the IAS examination?

The detailed IAS syllabus for the preliminary and mains exams is provided in the article above. Candidates can read the article to clear up any confusion about the curriculum.

How frequently does the IAS syllabus 2023 change?

The syllabus of the IAS exam does not change very often. Every year, the topics are nearly the same. However, UPSC's topic choices shift regularly, to the point where they alter every year. For example, if UPSC asks questions mostly from History in the preliminary exam this year, it may ask questions from Environment & Biodiversity the next year. As a result, UPSC preferences for certain topics are dynamic, and students must stay prepared for this.

What is the CSAT syllabus in UPSC exam 2023?

The following topics covers the UPSC CSAT syllabus:

  • 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).