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UPSC Syllabus 2024 PDF – IAS Prelims & Mains Syllabus

UPSC Syllabus 2024 PDF

At IAS NEXT, aspirants of the Civil Services Examination can access comprehensive details of the UPSC Syllabus. Here, you will find the complete IAS Syllabus for all stages of the examination:

  1. Preliminary Stage – General Studies & CSAT
  2. Mains Stage – 9 Theory Papers (GS I-IV, Language Papers, Essay & Optional)
  3. Personality Test – Interview

UPSC Syllabus 2024 PDF in English (IAS Prelims):-

UPSC Syllabus 2024 PDF

UPSC Syllabus 2024 PDF in Hindi (IAS Prelims):-

UPSC Syllabus for CSE Prelims

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) Prelims serves as the initial stage of the IAS recruitment process. In 2023, over 11 lakhs candidates applied for UPSC Prelims, while approximately 10 lakhs did so in 2022.

Awareness with the syllabus for IAS Prelims is imperative, as it acts as the qualifying test for the subsequent Mains stage. Aspirants for the UPSC Exam must acquaint themselves with the exam pattern and IAS Exam syllabus prior to commencing their preparation.

For those gearing up for UPSC 2024, initiating preparation by February 2023 is crucial. A year-long preparation timeline is essential for scoring well in the UPSC 2024 exam. This nearly year-long duration is pivotal for a structured and effective preparation phase, allowing aspirants to fortify their understanding of concepts and address any uncertainties regarding topics.

Exam ComponentDetails
Compulsory PapersGeneral Studies Paper-I
General Studies Paper-II (CSAT)
Number of Questions (GS Paper-I)100
Number of Questions (CSAT)80
Total Number of Marks400
GS Paper-I – 200 Marks
CSAT – 200 Marks
Negative Marking1/3 of the total marks deducted for each wrong answer
Time AllottedTwo hours each
GS Paper-I – 2 Hours (9:30 AM – 11:30 AM)
CSAT – 2 Hours (2:30 PM – 4:30 PM)
The two papers of the IAS prelims are mention in detail below:

1. General Studies

  • The General Studies test is the primary paper of the preliminary examination.
  • Its purpose is to evaluate a candidate’s general awareness across a broad spectrum of subjects, including Indian Polity, Geography, History, Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, International Relations, and relevant UPSC current affairs.

2. Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)

  • The Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), usually conducted between 2:30 PM and 04:30 PM, aims to gauge the candidate’s aptitude in solving ‘Reasoning and Analytical’ questions, in addition to ‘Reading Comprehension’ and occasionally ‘Decision Making’ questions.
  • The ‘Decision Making’ questions typically do not carry negative marks.
Important to Know:
  • The preliminary examination is only meant for screening a candidate for the subsequent stages of the exam.
  • The marks obtained in the Prelims will not be added up while arriving at the final rank list.

The subjects included in the prelims are common for all candidates. However, in the mains phase of the examination, candidates have the option to choose from a few subjects. You can find the detailed list of IAS subjects included in the syllabus for UPSC prelims and mains in the linked article.

UPSC Syllabus for GS Paper (Prelims Paper I)
  • 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 specialisation.
  • General Science
UPSC Syllabus for CSAT Paper (Prelims Paper-II)
  • 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)

Mains Examination Syllabus for UPSC

IAS Mains Exam Pattern
Sr. No.PaperSubjectMarks
1.Paper-IEssay (can be written in the medium of the candidate’s choice)250
2.Paper-IIGeneral Studies – I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)250
3.Paper-IIIGeneral Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)250
4.Paper-IVGeneral Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)250
5.Paper-VGeneral Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)250
6Paper-VIOptional Subject – Paper I250
7.Paper-VIIOptional Subject – Paper II250

Read Also: Subject-wise Current Affairs For UPSC IAS Prelims Examination

Must-Know Facts about UPSC Mains

The Mains examination is the second phase of the Civil Services Examination, and candidates can only write it after successfully qualifying in the prelims exam. This phase assesses the candidate’s academic depth and their ability to present their understanding in a time-bound manner as per the question requirements.

The UPSC Mains exam comprises 9 papers, with two being qualifying papers of 300 marks each. These are:

  1. Any Indian Language Paper
  2. English Language Paper

Only the papers on Essay, General Studies, and Optional Subject of candidates who attain at least 25% marks in both the language papers will be evaluated. Marks obtained by candidates who do not qualify in these language papers will not be considered.

Read Also: Top Priorities In UPSC CSE : Essential IAS Exam Topics

IAS Syllabus for UPSC Mains GS-I

General Studies‐I, also known as Paper-II of UPSC Mains, covers Indian Heritage and Culture, History, Geography of the World, and Society. The detailed UPSC Syllabus for this paper is as follows:

  • 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, redrawal 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 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. 
IAS Syllabus for Mains GS-II

General Studies‐II, also known as Paper-III of UPSC Mains, covers Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations. The detailed UPSC Syllabus for this paper is as follows:

  • Constitution of India —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 neighbourhood- 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.

Read Also: UPSC Recruitment 2024: Explore Posts, Vacancies, Eligibility, And Application Process

IAS Syllabus for Mains GS-III

General Studies‐III, also known as Paper-IV of UPSC Mains, covers Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management. The detailed UPSC Syllabus for this paper 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, 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.

Read Also: UPSC Previous Year’s Mains Paper With Solution Subject Wise

IAS Syllabus for Mains GS-IV

General Studies‐IV, also known as Paper-V of UPSC Mains, covers Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude. This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues related to integrity, probity in public life, and their problem-solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced in dealing with society. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects. The detailed UPSC Syllabus for this paper is as follows:

  • 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 behaviour; 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 the above issues.
IAS Syllabus for Language and Essay Papers
Essay Paper – It is the Paper-I of UPSC Mains

Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to stay close to the subject of the essay, organize their ideas in an orderly fashion, and write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and precise expression.

Qualifying Papers on 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 written in any of the languages mentioned under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India or in English.

The aim of the papers is to test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious discursive prose and to express ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian language concerned. The pattern of questions would broadly be as follows :

(i) Comprehension of given passages.

(ii) Precis Writing.

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.

(iv) Short Essays.

Indian Languages:-

(i) comprehension of given passages.

(ii) Precis Writing.

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.

(iv) Short Essays.

(v) Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.

UPSC Syllabus for IAS Interview

Known as the Personality Test, the UPSC Interview represents the final stage of the examination. Unlike the previous stages, there is no defined UPSC syllabus for the interview. Questions are asked on a wide range of issues.

Candidates who qualify the UPSC Mains Exam will be summoned for the ‘Personality Test/Interview’. They will be interviewed by a Board appointed by the UPSC.

The objective of the interview is to evaluate the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in civil services by a board of competent and unbiased observers.

The interview is more of a purposive conversation intended to explore the mental qualities and analytical ability of the candidate.

The Interview test carries 275 marks, while the total marks for the written examination amount to 1750. This sums up to a Grand Total of 2025 Marks, based on which the final merit list will be prepared.

Read Also: UPSC Civil Services Personality Test: Embracing The Challenge With Confidence

FAQs About UPSC Examinations

How to apply for Examinations conducted by the UPSC?

Answer – Candidates can apply online for the UPSC Examinations by accessing the online portal hosted on the UPSC’s website (

When is the Examination Notice available?

Answer – UPSC Examination Notices encapsulate the Rules of Examinations notified by the Government. Examination Notices of all the 13 Structure Examinations are mention on the Commission’s website around 3 months before the date of Examination. Examination Notices (indicative) are also publishes on the Employment News/Rozgar Samachar.

When will be the UPSC Admit Cards available to download?

Answer – The eligible candidates will be able to download the e-Admit Cards around three weeks before the commencement of the Examination. The UPSC Admit Cards are made available on the UPSC website [] for downloading by the candidates. The Admit Card is not sent by post. Page 5 of 19 If a candidate is not issued his/her e-Admit Card or does not receive any other communication regarding his/her candidature for the Examination around three weeks before the commencement of the examination, you should immediately contact the Commission at the concerned email ID. Information in this regard can also be obtained from the Facilitation Counter located in the Commission’s Office either in person or over phone Nos. 011- 23381125/011- 23385271/011-23098543.

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