UPSC Physics Optional Books: Important Physics Books for UPSC

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : March 24th, 2022

UPSC Physics Optional Books includes a wide range of topics that deal with properties, nature of matter, energy, light, heat, mechanics, and other related themes. Candidates who have chosen physics as their optional subject need to choose the Best Physics Optional Books for UPSC as the optional subject carries a total of 500 marks, and it can make a huge impact on UPSC Mains merit list. Preparing from the best books for UPSC physics optional would help the candidates to fetch optimum marks in the optional subject, which results in a better rank in the UPSC exam.

Just like other optional subjects, physics also consists of two papers, Paper 1 and Paper 2. In this post, we have covered Physics Optional Books for UPSC for both papers along with additional sources, and some preparation strategies that will level up the preparation of UPSC aspirants.

Table of Content

UPSC Physics Optional Books for Paper 1

Topics like Classical Mechanics, Special Relativity, Physical Optics, etc are part of the Paper-1 of UPSC Physics Optional Syllabus. Below we have provided UPSC Physics Optional Book List that covers these topics.

  • A Dictionary of Physics – Goldstein
  • A Textbook of Sound – Khanna & Bedi
  • Advanced Level Physics – Nelkon & Parker
  • Any fundamental book on electrical engineering like B.L Theraja (Vol 1) or Vincent Del Toro
  • Classical Mechanism -Gupta, Kumar & Sharma – Takewale & Puranik -H.Goldstein
  • Electricity & Magnetism: D.C. Tayal, B.S. Agarwal, Griffith
  • Introduction of Electrodynamics – David Griffiths
  • EM Theory -Chopra&Agarwal/Satya Prakash
  • Physics Vol I&II by David Halliday and Resnick
  • Optics – Brijlal & Subramanyam, B.S. Agarwal, Ajoy & Ghatak
  • Properties of Matter – B. Aggarwal
  • Solid State Physics -Kittel
  • Special Relativity-R.Resnick -Gupta & Goyal

UPSC Physics Optional Book List for Paper 2

Paper 2 of the physics syllabus for UPSC includes topics namely Quantum Mechanics, Molecular Physics, Nuclear Physics, Electronics and etc. following is a list of UPSC Physics Optional Books to cover these topics. 

  • Atomic & Molecular Spectra -Rajkumar
  • Atomic Physics – J. B. Rajan
  • Concept of Modern Physics – Arthur Beiser
  • Electronics – Millman & Halkias, S. Ramnam, Ryder or Bolstead, Malvina
  • Electronics -Allen Mottershead
  • Fundamental of Magnetism electricity – D.N. Vasudeva
  • Mechanics – D.S. Mathur, B.S. Agarwal
  • Mechanics – Kleppner & Kolenkow -D.S. Mathur
  • Modern Physics – A Beiser (Concepts of modern physics), S.L. Gupta, B.S. Agarwal, J.B. Rajan
  • Nuclear Physics – D.C. Tayal
  • Nuclear Physics -S.B Patel Optics-Ajoy Ghatak-B.S. Agarwal
  • Quantum Mechanics – A Ghatak
  • Quantum Mechanics -Ghatak & Lokanathan
  • Quantum Physics- Resnick & Eisberg
  • Statistical Physics -B.B laud
  • Thermal Physics – P.K Chakraborty – Satya Prakash, Singhal & Agarwal
  • Thermal Physics – Singal, Agarwal & Prakash, B.S. Agarwal, Shah & Srivastava
  • University Physics – Zemansky
  • Wave/Spl.Relatively – D.S. Mathur/Kleppner Kolenkow
  • Waves and Oscillations – Brijlal & Subramanyam, B.S. Agarwal

Physics Optional Books for UPSC PDF

Candidates can also download the list of best books for UPSC physics optional from the PDF link given below. We have divided the physics books for both Paper 1 and Paper 2 to make things easier for the candidates.

>>Physics Optional Books for UPSC PDF

How to Prepare with UPSC Physics Optional Books?

Covering the UPSC Books can be easy with effective strategy and preparation methods.

We have prepared a strategy on how to cover the physics optional books for UPSC below. This strategy is backed by Divyanshu Jha who secured AIR 9, in CSE 2013 with physics optional.

  • You need to have an in-depth study of all the topics covered in the syllabus from the original books. 
  • At first, you can rely on the foreign authors for their clarity and lucidity as well as presentation, and then read the Indian authors to figure out the exam writing styles and detailed derivations.
  • Make sure you pick one book at a time while reading a particular topic. And try to make short notes which can come pretty handy at the time of revision.


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  • The Paper 1 of the UPSC physics syllabus includes topics like Classical Mechanics, Special Relativity, Physical Optics, etc. Some of the best UPSC physics optional books to cover these topics are 

    • A Dictionary of Physics – Goldstein
    • Physics Vol I&II by David Halliday and Resnick
    • Advanced Level Physics – Nelkon & Parker

    We have covered the complete list above in this post

  • We have given a direct link above to download the UPSC Physics Optional Books list PDF, in the PDF we have covered all the important physics books for both Paper-1 and Paper-2. Download the book list and kickstart the preparation for the physics optional subject. It is important to choose the right books as scoring well in the optional subject

  • Paper 2 of the physics syllabus for UPSC includes topics namely, Molecular Physics, Nuclear Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Electronics and etc. Some highly recommend UPSC Physics Optional Books to cover these topics are

    • Atomic and Molecular – Resnick and Eisberg*, Banwell*, Rajkumar*, S B Patel
    • Nuclear and Particle – S B Patel, Pandya and Yadav, Resnick and Eisberg, D C Tayal
  • Quantum Mechanics – A Ghatak, Quantum Mechanics -Ghatak & Lokanathan are two of the most popular UPSC physics optional books for covering the quantum mechanics section. Apart from that, you can give a read to Quantum Mechanics by Mourdine Zettler.

  • Mechanics-D.S. Mathur, B.S. Agarwal, and Mechanics – Kleppner & Kolenkow -D.S. Mathur would be the best two Physics optional books for UPSC. For additional reading An Introduction to Mechanics by Kleppner and Kolenkow  would be a great pick.

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