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UPSC Syllabus 2024: A Full Guide for UPSC Exam

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UPSC Syllabus 2024

The Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is one of the most prestigious and competitive exams in India. Aspirants who wish to pursue a career in the civil services must have a thorough understanding of the UPSC syllabus. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to the UPSC syllabus for both the Preliminary and Main examinations.

UPSC Preliminary Examination

The Preliminary Examination, also known as the UPSC Prelims, is the first stage of the Civil Services Examination. It consists of two compulsory papers: General Studies Paper-I and General Studies Paper-II (CSAT). Let’s delve into the syllabus and exam pattern for each paper.

General Studies Paper-I

The General Studies Paper-I covers a wide range of subjects to test the candidates’ knowledge and understanding of various topics. The syllabus includes:

  • Current events of national and international importance: This section tests the candidates’ awareness of current affairs and their understanding of the issues happening around the world.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement: It includes the significant events, personalities, and contributions to the Indian freedom struggle.
  • Indian and World Geography: This section covers the physical, social, and economic geography of India and the world.
  • Indian Polity and Governance: It includes the Indian Constitution, political system, Panchayati Raj, public policy, rights issues, and other related topics.
  • Economic and Social Development: This section focuses on sustainable development, poverty, inclusion, demographics, social sector initiatives, and other economic and social issues.
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change: It covers the basic understanding of environmental issues, biodiversity conservation, and climate change.
  • General Science: This section tests the candidates’ knowledge of general science topics.

General Studies Paper-II (CSAT)

The General Studies Paper-II, commonly known as CSAT, is a qualifying paper. It tests the candidates’ comprehension, logical reasoning, analytical ability, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. The syllabus includes:

  • Comprehension: Candidates need to demonstrate their ability to understand and respond to a given passage.
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills: This section focuses on the candidates’ communication abilities and their understanding of interpersonal relationships.
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability: It assesses the candidates’ logical reasoning and analytical thinking skills.
  • Decision-making and problem-solving: This section tests the candidates’ ability to make sound decisions and solve problems effectively.
  • General mental ability: It covers various aspects of mental ability, including logical reasoning, analytical ability, and problem-solving skills.
  • Basic numeracy and Data interpretation: Candidates need to have a basic understanding of numerical concepts and interpret data presented in various formats.

It is important to note that the marks obtained in the General Studies Paper-II (CSAT) are not counted for ranking. However, candidates must score a minimum qualifying mark in this paper to be eligible for the next stage of the examination.

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UPSC Mains Examination

The UPSC Mains Examination is the second stage of the Civil Services Examination. It consists of nine papers, out of which seven papers are considered for ranking purposes. Let’s explore the syllabus for each paper:

1. Essay (Paper-I)

The Essay paper is designed to test the candidates’ ability to articulate their thoughts and present them in a coherent and structured manner. Candidates are required to write essays on multiple topics covering a wide range of subjects.

2. General Studies Paper-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography)

This paper includes topics related to Indian heritage and culture, history of India and the world, and geography. The syllabus includes:

  • Indian culture: Art forms, literature, architecture from ancient to modern times.
  • Modern Indian history: Significant events, personalities, and issues from the middle of the eighteenth century until the present.
  • The Freedom Struggle: Various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
  • History of the world: Events from the eighteenth century, industrial revolution, world wars, colonization, decolonization, etc.
  • Indian society: Salient features, diversity, role of women, population issues, poverty, social empowerment, etc.
  • World geography: Physical and economic geography, distribution of key natural resources, geophysical phenomena, etc.

3. General Studies Paper-II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International Relations)

This paper focuses on governance, constitution, polity, social justice, and international relations. The syllabus includes:

  • Constitution of India: Historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, provisions, etc.
  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, federal structure, separation of powers, dispute redressal mechanisms, etc.
  • Parliament and State legislatures: Structure, functioning, powers, privileges, etc.
  • Executive and Judiciary: Structure, organization, functioning, and their role in the polity.
  • Government policies and interventions, welfare schemes, social sector initiatives, etc.
  • Development processes, social empowerment, poverty, governance, transparency, accountability, etc.
  • India’s relations with neighboring countries, international institutions, agreements, and their impact on India’s interests.

4. General Studies Paper-III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management)

This paper covers topics related to technology, economic development, biodiversity, environment, security, and disaster management. The syllabus includes:

  • Indian economy: Planning, growth, development, employment, inclusive growth, budgeting, etc.
  • Agriculture, land reforms, food processing, infrastructure, investment models, etc.
  • Science and technology: Developments, applications, achievements, awareness, etc.
  • Conservation, environmental pollution, biodiversity, climate change, disaster management, etc.
  • Internal security challenges, cyber security, money laundering, role of external state and non-state actors, etc.

5. General Studies Paper-IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)

This paper focuses on ethics, integrity, and aptitude. The syllabus includes:

  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants, consequences, human values, moral and political attitudes, etc.
  • Attitude: Content, structure, function, influence, and relation with thought and behavior.
  • Aptitude and foundational values for civil service, integrity, impartiality, objectivity, empathy, etc.
  • Contributions of moral thinkers, ethics in public administration, accountability, laws, and institutions.
  • Probity in governance, transparency, accountability, ethical concerns, challenges of corruption, etc.

6. Optional Subject – Paper I and Paper II

Candidates can choose one optional subject from a list provided by the UPSC. The syllabus for each optional subject may vary, covering in-depth knowledge of the chosen subject.

7. Language Papers (Qualifying in nature)

Candidates need to qualify in two language papers, one of which must be English. The language papers test the candidates’ proficiency in the chosen language.


The UPSC syllabus for the Civil Services Examination is extensive and covers a wide range of subjects. Aspirants must have a thorough understanding of the syllabus to plan their preparation effectively. This article has provided a comprehensive guide to the UPSC syllabus for both the Preliminary and Main examinations. It is crucial for candidates to study the syllabus carefully, gather relevant study materials, and develop a strategic preparation plan to succeed in this highly competitive examination.

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