How to Become an IPS Officer?

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : May 11th, 2022

Candidates who aspire to become an IPS officer in India often wonder How to become an IPS Officer? There are a series of steps and preparation involved to clear the exam and become an IPS officer. Giving extra effort, endless energy and a well-planned IPS preparation can help you achieve your goal. 

The IPS preparation begins with being well versed with the UPSC exam and its syllabus. After the aspirants clear the IPS exam, selected IPS officers are trained at LBSNAA and SVPNPA. The responsibility of an Indian Police Officer reclines in safeguarding the public and maintaining harmony amongst them.

Know more about how to become an IPS Officer along with details about preparation, training, roles & responsibilities. 

Table of Content

Who can become an IPS Officer?

One can become an IPS Officer if he or she knows about the eligibility criteria of the exam. Before you begin your IPS preparation, you must understand the eligibility details. 

S. No 




Physical Requirements

  • The minimum height of women is 150cm.
  • The minimum height of men is 165cm. 
  • The minimum chest girth of women and men is 84cm and 79cm.
  • Myopia should not exceed minus 4.00D.
  • Hyper myopia should not exceed plus 4.00D.


Educational qualification for IPS Exam

  • A candidate should have a Bachelor's degree from a recognized UGC university or possess an equivalent qualification. 


Age limit for IPS Exam

  • Must have a minimum age of 21 years.
  • Should have a maximum age of 32 years on 1st of August in the year of examination.



  • Should be a citizen of India.
  • Should be the subject of Nepal.
  • Must be a Tibetan refugee who came to India before January 1, 1962, for permanent settlement of India.
  • Migrants from any of the following countries for the permanent settlement in India- Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, and many more. 

How to become an IPS Officer?  [Step-Wise Guide]

To become an IPS officer, a candidate must pass the Civil Services Examination held by the Union Public Services Examination. We all know that around 8 lakh candidates apply every year but only a handful of candidates become IPS officers. 

Go through the below steps to know how to become an IPS officer-

  • Apply for UPSC Exam - IPS Officer Exam
  • IPS preparation- It is important to ensure that you are fully prepared for the IPS exam. 
  • Give the UPSC Prelims exam
  • Give the UPSC Mains exam
  • Go for the Personal Interview 

After the interview, UPSC announces the final merit list based on the Mains exam and  interview

Apply to UPSC: The first and foremost step to becoming an IPS Officer is to apply for the Civil Services Examination by completing the application form released by the Union Public Services Commission every year. The candidates will be informed about the IPS Exam through various famous newspapers such as Rozgar Samachar, Employment news, and many more. 

IPS Preparation: The Civil Services Examination consists of three stages such as-

  1. Preliminary Examination: The first part of the IPS officer exam is a preliminary exam. The total number of marks assigned for the prelims exam is 400 marks which are divided into two papers. Both the papers will be objective types that are multiple-choice questions. It is the qualifying exam for the final exam. After clearing the prelims exam, you can appear for the mains examination.
  2. Mains Examination: The second part of the UPSC exam is the mains exam. This exam can only be taken if you have cleared the prelims examination. The exam paper is of descriptive type.
  3. Personal Interview: Once you have cleared the mains exam, the candidate is then eligible to appear for the interview or personality test round where the general knowledge, subject knowledge, mental ability, and critical thinking skills of the candidate are assessed. 

What to study to become an IPS Officer? 

For the IPS preparation, many candidates have doubts about what to study to become an IPS officer. Check the books mentioned below to efficiently prepare for the IPS exam. 

Important Books for UPSC (IAS) Preparation: Prelims - UPSC Book List 2021

History & Indian Culture

Modern History

A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir

Ancient History

‘Ancient India’ by RS Sharma (Old NCERT)

Medieval History

History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra (Old NCERT)

Indian Culture

1.‘Facets of Indian Culture’ by Spectrum

2. Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania


Physical Geography

1. Certificate Physical and Human Geography

2. Maps Oxford School Atlas

Indian Geography

India: Physical Environment (NCERT)

World Geography

1. Fundamentals of Human Geography (NCERT)

2. Certificate Physical And Human Geography



1. India People and Economy (NCERT)

2. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh



Indian Polity by Laxmikanth

Current Affairs

Daily, Monthly & Weekly Current Affairs

The Hindu


Science & Tech

Science & Tech


2. Daily Newspapers

3. ISRO website

Environment & Ecology

Environment & Ecology

1. Recent Events on Climate change through Newspapers

2. NIOS Study Materials

What Subjects are Required to Become an IPS Officer?

In order to become an IPS Officer, you are required to qualify for the IPS exam conducted by the UPSC. There are no specific subjects or streams defined to become an IPS Officer. The Civil Service Examination requires knowledge in subjects such as history, geography, politics, science and technology, and many other subjects.

UPSC Prelims paper 1 syllabus includes the following subjects:

  • History - Ancient, Medieval, Modern History along with Post Independence History 
  • Indian Polity and governance
  • Indian and World Geography
  • Economic and Social Development
  • Environment 
  • General Science

UPSC Prelims paper 2 syllabus includes the following subjects:

  • Interpersonal Skills and Communication Skills
  • Basic English Comprehension Skills
  • Decision-making skills and problem-solving skills
  • Basic numeracy
  • General mental ability

The UPSC Mains Exam consists of 7 papers including various subjects. Check the details below. 



Paper 1

Essay (can be written in the medium of the candidate’s choice)

Paper 2

General Studies – 1 (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)

Paper 3

General Studies – 2 (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)

Paper 4

General Studies – 3 (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)

Paper 5

General Studies – 4 (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)

Paper 6

Optional Subject – Paper 1

Paper 7

Optional Subject – Paper 2

What after becoming an IPS Officer?

After you clear the IPS exam and become an IPS officer, you have training at LBSNAA and SVPNPA. 

Physical Training: Once the candidate qualifies all the three stages of the Civil Services Examination, including prelims, mains, and interviews, the top rankers are then acknowledged as IPS probationers and are forwarded to Sardar Vallabhai Patel Police Academy for a year. At this time, probationers undergo strict physical training and are taught all aspects of policing and administration. Following successful training, the IPS Officers are then placed as per the requirements of the state and the central government in policy and investigative organizations.

Here we will be discussing the Roles and Responsibilities of an IPS Officer:

The IPS Officer comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs. Now, we will see the roles and responsibilities of an IPS officer:

  • Performs Border functions and responsibilities such as Counter-terrorism, Border policing.
  • Protecting civil peace and order like Crime restrictions.
  • Maintains Anti-smuggling and narcotic trafficking, and VIP safety.
  • It also controls disasters such as Biodiversity and security/implementation of environmental laws. 
  • You need to serve as HoDs in policymaking in the Ministries and Departments of Central and State Governments, Public sector undertakings (PSUs) both at the center and in states.
  • You are supposed to interact and coordinate closely with Other All India Services; The Indian Army. and Armed Forces in general.


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FAQs about How to Become an IPS Officer?

  • We have two modes of becoming an IPS Officer. The first and foremost is through direct recruitment that is conducted under UPSC as the civil services exam. Another way is through promotional interviews and exams held within the unit.

  • Any candidate who has a bachelor’s degree can apply. The age limit for IPS officers is 21-32 years for the general category. The candidate must check the eligibility criteria to become an IPS officer.

  • The attempts for the IPS Exam for the following categories-

    • There are 6 attempts for the General candidates up to 32 years of age.
    • No limits for the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled tribes up to 37 years of age. 
    • There are 9 attempts for the Other Backward Classes up to 35 years of age.
    • There are 9 attempts for handicapped general and OBC and no limits for the SC/ST. 

    Candidates who prepare in a strategic manner can become an IPS officer in one year of the exam cycle. It varies from person to person.

  • In order to become an IPS officer after 12th, you need to pursue a Bachelor’s degree from a renowned university or should have an equivalent qualification. After doing this, you are required to register for the CSE exam organized by UPSC. After that, you need to go for the preliminary, main, interview round to be selected for training.

  • Growing into an IPS Officer is not an easy task. It requires a lot of effort and a huge amount of dedication. Only the best aspirants are selected for this post. In order to choose these deserving candidates, UPSC conducts the exam for candidates who wish to become an IPS officer.

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