UPSC Syllabus 2024: Prelims + Mains ( GS Paper 1,2,3 and 4 )

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UPSC Syllabus

Civil services aspirants are at the correct place to get the most detailed information regarding the upsc syllabus. Usually, the UPSC does not change the syllabus for the IAS Prelims and Mains examination every year. In this article, we have covered the complete upsc syllabus 2024 for all stages of the exam including prelims, mains, and interviews. This article can help you build your own strategy for UPSC 2024.

Stage Description
PrelimsConsists of General Studies and CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test)
Tests candidates’ general knowledge and aptitude
Mains GS I-IV: Covers subjects like history, geography, polity, economics and ethics 
Language Papers: Assess proficiency in languages
Essay: Evaluate analytical and writing skills
Optional Paper: Allows in-depth study of a chosen subject
Interview The final stage assessing personality traits, communication skills, and suitability for administrative roles
Importance of face-to-face interaction in evaluating overall suitability

UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2024

The initial phase of the Civil Services Examination is known as IAS Prelims. In 2023, around 11 lakh candidates applied for the UPSC Prelims, compared to roughly 10 lakh candidates in 2022.

Understanding the IAS Prelims syllabus is very important because it is the entrance exam that moves students to the Mains. All candidates for the UPSC Exam must first become familiar with the syllabus and exam format of the IAS Exam before beginning their preparation. 

To be eligible for UPSC 2024, candidates must begin studying for the Civil Services examination in February 2023. It takes a full year of study for candidates to do well on the UPSC 2024 exam. This nearly year-long timetable is essential if you wish to have a planned preparation phase where you can work on your concepts and clarify all doubts related to topics.

Exam Syllabus and Pattern for UPSC Prelims 
Two Compulsory PapersGeneral Studies Paper-I
General Studies Paper-II (CSAT)
Number of Questions asked in GS Paper-I 100
Number of Questions asked in CSAT80
Total Number of Marks400
GS Paper I – 200 Marks
CSAT – 200 Marks
Negative Marking ⅓ of the total marks allotted to the question will be deducted for every 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 following section  provides a detailed discussion of the two IAS preliminary papers:

Paper General StudiesCivil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)
DescriptionTests general awareness in various subjectsAssesses aptitude in reasoning,
Analytical thinking,
Reading comprehension, and
Subjects CoveredIndian Polity,
Indian Economy,
Science and Technology,
Environment and Ecology, International Relations,
UPSC Current Affairs
Analytical Thinking,
Reading Comprehension,
Decision Making
Time of ExaminationGenerally conducted in the morning sessionGenerally conducted between 2:30 PM and 4:30 PM
Negative MarkingPresentDecision-making questions are usually exempt from negative marking
DurationUsually 2 hoursUsually 2 hours

UPSC Syllabus for GS Paper (Prelims Paper I)

UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2024 Topics
General Studies Paper – ICurrent 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 specialisationGeneral Science

Here we have attached some important links that can help you prepare for UPSC Prelims GS Paper-I 2024::

UPSC Prelims Previous Year QuestionsNCERT Notes for UPSC
Important Acts of IndiaWorld Organizations List
UPSC Prelims Exam Date 2024Famous Places in India GK

UPSC Syllabus for CSAT Paper (Prelims Paper-II)

UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2024Topics
CSAT/ General Studies Paper-IIComprehensionInterpersonal 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)

Here we have attached some important links that can help you prepare for the UPSC CSE syllabus for the CSAT paper:

CSAT TopicsUPSC Preparation for Working People
UPSC Prelims Exam PatternBackup Plan for UPSC Aspirants
UPSC Previous Year Papers For Last 10 YearsUPSC Prelims History

UPSC Syllabus for Mains

The following section  provides a detailed discussion on the information regarding UPSC mains papers::

Examination Phase2nd phase of the Civil Services Examination
PrerequisiteQualification in the Prelims exam is mandatory
PurposeTests academic talent and ability to present understanding effectively
Number of Papers9 papers
Qualifying PapersAny Indian Language Paper (300 marks)
English Language Paper (300 marks)
EvaluationPapers on Essays, General Studies, and Optional Subjects
Minimum Qualifying Standard25% marks required in both language papers
Consideration of MarksMarks are not considered if the candidate fails in qualifying language papers

The IAS exam mains pattern is stated below :

Paper SubjectMarks
Paper-IEssay (can be written in the medium of the candidate’s choice)
Paper-IIGeneral Studies – I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History &
Geography of the World & Society)
Paper-IIIGeneral Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity,
Social Justice & International Relations)
Paper-IVGeneral Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development,
Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)
Paper-VGeneral Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)
Paper-VIOptional Subject – Paper I
Paper-VIIOptional Subject – Paper II250

Let us now go through the syllabus of each of the papers individually:

UPSC GS1 Syllabus 

General Studies‐I is also called Paper-II of UPSC Mains. It covers – Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society. The detailed UPSC Syllabus for this paper is given below:

  • Indian Culture – 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 the Industrial Revolution, world wars, the Redrawal of National Boundaries, Colonization, Decolonization, political philosophies like Communism, Capitalism, Socialism, etc.— their forms and effects 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 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, 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.

For your ease and convenience we have subdivided the upsc syllabus of GS1 under important sub-topics:

Indian CultureArt Forms
Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times
Modern Indian HistorySignificant events
Famous Personalities
The Freedom StruggleVarious stages
Important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country
Post-independence IndiaConsolidation and Reorganization
History of the WorldEvents from the 18th century onwards
Industrial RevolutionWorld Wars
Political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, etc.
Salient Features of Indian SocietyDiversity of India
Role of women and women’s organizations
Population and associated issues
Poverty and developmental issues
Urbanization and associated problems and remedies
Effects of Globalization on Indian Society
Social EmpowermentCommunalismRegionalismSecularism
Salient Features of the World’s Physical GeographyDistribution of key natural resources across the world
Factors responsible for the location of industries
Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic activity, cyclones, etc.
Changes in critical geographical features and flora/fauna, and the effects of such changes

UPSC GS2 Syllabus

General Studies-II is also called Paper-III of UPSC Mains. It majorly covers Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International relations. The detailed UPSC syllabus for this paper is given below:

  • 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 the Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, and 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.

For your ease and convenience we have subdivided the upsc syllabus of GS2 under important sub-topics:

Constitution of IndiaHistorical underpinnings
Significant provisions
Basic structure
Functions and Responsibilities of Union and StatesIssues and challenges about federal structure
Devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges
Separation of PowersBetween various organs
Dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions
Comparison of Indian Constitutional SchemeWith other countries
Parliament and State LegislaturesComparison of the Indian Constitutional Scheme
Executive and JudiciaryMinistries and Departments of Government
Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in Polity
Representation of People’s Act
Salient features
Appointment to Various Constitutional Posts
Powers, functions, and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
Government Policies and InterventionsFor development in various sectorsIssues arising out of their design and implementation
Development Processes and the Development IndustryRole of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable SectionsBy Centre and States<br>- Performance of these schemesMechanisms, laws, institutions, and Bodies for protection
Social Sector/ServicesHealth, Education, Human Resources
Governance, Transparency, and AccountabilityE-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential
Citizens charters
Institutional measures
Bilateral, Regional, and Global Groupings and AgreementsInvolving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing CountriesOn India’s interests Indian diaspora
Important International Institutions, Agencies, and ForaTheir structure and mandate

UPSC GS3 syllabus

General Studies-III is also called Paper-IV of the UPSC Mains. The major topics covered are Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management. The detailed UPSC syllabus for this paper is given below:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development, and employment.
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  • Government Budgeting.
  • Major crop-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 development of 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.

For your ease and convenience we have subdivided the upsc syllabus of GS3 under important sub-topics:

Indian Economy and IssuesPlanningResource mobilization
Growth and development\EmploymentInclusive growth
Government Budgeting
Major Crops and Cropping PatternsIrrigation and irrigation systems
Storage, transport, and marketing of agricultural produce
E-technology for farmers
Farm Subsidies and Minimum Support PricesPublic Distribution System
Buffer stocks and food security
Economics of animal-rearing
Food Processing and Related IndustriesScope and significance Supply chain management
Land Reforms in India
Effects of Liberalization on EconomyChanges in industrial policy 
Effects on industrial growth
Investment Models
Science and TechnologyDevelopments and applications
Achievements of Indians
Indigenization of technology
Awareness in IT, Space, Computers, etc.Issues relating to intellectual property rights
Conservation and Environmental PollutionEnvironmental impact assessment
Disaster management
Spread of ExtremismLinkages with development
Internal Security ChallengesCommunication networks
Role of media and social networking sites
Basics of cyber security
Money Laundering Prevention
Security Challenges in Border AreasLinkages of organized crime with terrorism
Security Forces and AgenciesMandate

UPSC GS4 Syllabus

UPSC Mains Paper-V is another name for General Studies Paper-IV. It addresses aptitude, ethics, and integrity as its main subjects. This section assesses the applicants’ attitudes on matters of integrity, probity in public life, and their approach to resolving conflicts and other problems they encounter when interacting with society. The case study method may be used in questions to ascertain these elements. We’ll talk about the following topics in general:

  • 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; the 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 the above issues. 

UPSC Essay Syllabus

It may be necessary for candidates to write essays on a variety of subjects. As per the UPSC essay syllabus, aspirants will be asked to write, organize their thoughts logically, and stay close to the essay’s topic. Give credit where credit is due for clear and precise expression. Here we have attached certain important links related to the UPSC Essay Syllabus :

UPSC Essay Topics How to Write Essay in English
Essay on women empowerment Essay on Education System

Qualifying Papers Syllabus

The first of the nine papers of the Civil Services Mains Exam is the Compulsory Indian Language Paper (Paper A). The final rank will be determined without considering the grade received on the qualifying paper. You need to score 25%, or 75 or more points, out of a potential 300 to pass this paper.

Type of Question Marks Description
Essay100Writing an essay on a given topic.
Reading Comprehension60Understanding and answering questions based on passages provided.
Precis Writing60Summarizing passages into concise form while retaining essential information.
Translation40English to Compulsory Language (e.g., Hindi) – 20 marks
Compulsory Language to English – 20 marks
Grammar and Language Usage40Testing grammar rules, sentence structure, and language proficiency.
Short EssaysVariesWriting short essays on given topics.
ComprehensionVariesUnderstanding and interpreting passages provided in the language being tested.
Usage and VocabularyVariesAssessing vocabulary and language usage skills.

UPSC Optional Syllabus

There are 48 optional subjects on the UPSC list, and a candidate may choose one for each of the two exams. Two papers, Paper I and Paper II, both worth 250 marks, make up each optional subject’s total of 500 marks.

The optional papers’ syllabus is at the honors degree level, which is superior to that of an undergraduate degree but inferior to that of a master’s degree. Candidates may select an optional paper on literature. Your chances of success in UPSC 2024 can be significantly impacted by the optional you select.

Candidates must select one “Optional Subject” from the following list of subjects:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  3. Anthropology
  4. Botany
  5. Chemistry
  6. Civil Engineering
  7. Commerce and Accountancy
  8. Economics
  9. Electrical Engineering
  10. Geography
  11. Geology
  12. History
  13. Law
  14. Management
  15. Mathematics
  16. Mechanical Engineering
  17. Medical Science
  18. Philosophy
  19. Physics
  20. Political Science and International Relations
  21. Psychology
  22. Public Administration
  23. Sociology
  24. Statistics
  25. Zoology
  26. Assamese
  27. Bengali
  28. Bodo
  29. Dogri
  30. Gujarati
  31. Hindi
  32. Kannada
  33. Kashmiri
  34. Konkani
  35. Maithili
  36. Malayalam
  37. Manipuri
  38. Marathi
  39. Nepali
  40. Odia
  41. Punjabi
  42. Sanskrit
  43. Santhali
  44. Sindhi
  45. Tamil
  46. Telugu
  47. Urdu
  48. English

UPSC Interview Syllabus

In this section, we have discussed the details regarding the UPSC Interview Syllabus. This particular stage has no defined syllabus since its objective is to assess the overall personality of an individual. Read the table on the UPSC Interview Syllabus to clarify all  your doubts regarding the UPSC Interview : 

Exam StageUPSC Interview (Personality Test)
UPSC Interview SyllabusNo defined syllabus; questions cover wide-ranging issues
Interview ObjectiveAssess personal suitability for a career in civil services
Interview FormatPurposive conversation to explore mental qualities and analytical ability
Marks AllocationInterview: 275 marks
Written Examination: 1750 marks
Total: 2025 marks
Merit List PreparationThe final merit list is prepared based on the total marks obtained in the interview and written examination
UPSC Interview Syllabus Consistency (2021-2023)No changes were observed in the UPSC syllabus from 2021 to 2023
Board AppointmentInterview conducted by a board appointed by UPSC
Who Takes UPSC InterviewHow Many Subjects in UPSC Prelims?
How Many Questions in UPSC Prelims?20+ Questions for UPSC Interview
How Many Questions are there in UPSC Mains?UPSC Previous Year Question Papers For the Last 10 Years

This was all about the “UPSC Syllabus”. For more such informative blogs, check out our UPSC Exams Section, or you can learn more about us by visiting our  Indian exams page.

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