UPSC Mains Syllabus: Check GS and Optional Papers IAS Mains 2023 Syllabus PDF

By Balaji

Updated on: April 24th, 2023

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2023 is released by the Union Public Service Commission along with the official notification on its official website. The UPSC Mains exam consists of 2 qualifying papers and 7 other papers; including 4 GS Papers and two optional subject papers. The Mains syllabus includes syllabi for essays, General studies papers, and optional subjects.

A clear understanding of the UPSC Mains Syllabus is a crucial milestone to cracking the CSE exam with a good score. Aspirants must be aware that they will only be eligible for the Mains Exam if they qualify for the prelims. Let us now understand the UPSC IAS Mains Syllabus in detail for the upcoming exam.

UPSC Mains Syllabus

The UPSC Mains syllabus is vast; therefore, it is important to understand the basic structure and the papers in the UPSC Mains Exam. The first two papers – Indian Language and English are qualifying papers and will not be included while preparing the merit list.

It is also important to note that the UPSC prelims syllabus overlaps with the Mains syllabus; hence, note the similarities for preparing strategically. The following syllabus is included in UPSC Mains Syllabus 2023.

  • UPSC Mains Language Paper Syllabus
  • UPSC Mains Syllabus for Paper 1
  • UPSC Mains Paper 2 Syllabus
  • UPSC Mains Syllabus Paper 3
  • UPSC Mains Syllabus Paper 4
  • UPSC Mains Paper 5 Syllabus
  • UPSC Mains Optional Syllabus

When preparing for the IAS exam, candidates must prepare simultaneously for UPSC Prelims and mains exams. One should focus equally on the UPSC CSAT syllabus as well, as the paper is qualifying in nature, and if failed, the aspirant would be out of the competition.

UPSC Mains Syllabus PDF

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2023 PDF is available on the official website of UPSC. However, the candidates can also download the syllabus in PDF directly from the links above. Candidates preparing for the upcoming UPSC Exam must analyze the syllabus to create an efficient study plan and preparation strategy.

The main goal of the UPSC CSE syllabus is to understand the ability of the candidates and whether they have the intellectual ability to present the answer in the best possible way in a limited time. In this post, we will cover the paper-wise UPSC Mains Syllabus.

UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus for Qualifying Papers

The language papers of the UPSC Mains Syllabus 2023 include Indian Language (Paper A) and English (Paper B). These two papers are qualifying in nature, and the candidates must score 25% or above to qualify for these papers.

If the candidate scores less than 25% marks either in these papers, their other answer sheet won’t get evaluated.

  • UPSC Mains Indian Language Syllabus: Comprehension, Precis Writing, Usage and Vocabulary, and Short Essays.
  • UPSC Mains Compulsory English Syllabus: Comprehension of a given passage, Precis Writing, Short Essays, Usage and Vocabulary, Translation from English to the Indian Language, and vice-versa

UPSC Mains Syllabus (Essay)

UPSC Mains Essay Syllabus is not explicitly defined. The essay paper in UPSC Mains can be from any niche, and candidates need to focus only on the main topic while writing the essay and note down their ideas; candidates will get a list of topics. They need to choose two to write two essays with a total of 250 marks.

UPSC Mains Syllabus for GS 1 (Paper 2)

UPSC Mains Syllabus for GS 1 includes history, geography, Indian heritage culture, and society.

UPSC Mains Syllabus GS 1
Indian Culture Salient Aspects of Art Forms, Literature, and Architecture from Ancient to modern times
UPSC Mains GS 1 History syllabus – Modern Indian Significant personalities, events, and issues from the middle eighteenth century(the 1750s) until the present.

Different stages and the important contributions and contributors from various locations of the country in “The Freedom Struggle”

Post-Independence reorganization and consolidation within the country.

World History Syllabus for UPSC Mains Forms, events, and effects of society since the 18th-century decolonization

World wars, the Industrial Revolution, Colonization, redrawing of national boundaries, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, etc.

Indian Society Mains Syllabus Indian society and diversity- Salient aspects

Social empowerment, regionalism & secularism, communalism

Role of women and women’s organizations, poverty and developmental issues, population and associated issues, urbanization, their problems, and remedies.

Effects of Globalization on Indian Society

Geography Important Geophysical phenomena include tsunamis, Volcanic activity, earthquakes, cyclones, etc.

Distribution of key natural resources across the world, including the Indian sub-continent and South Asia: factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary industries in various regions of the world, including India.

Salient features of the world’s physical geography

Geographical features and their location, changes in critical geographical features and in flora and fauna, and the bad impact of these changes.

UPSC Mains Syllabus for GS 2 (Paper 3)

UPSC Mains GS 2 syllabus is about Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International Relations. Unlike GS 1, this paper requires analytical thinking and correlation between different topics and Current Affairs. Laxmikant mostly covers the CSE Mains syllabus for GS Paper 2.

The concise form of the UPSC mains GS 2 syllabus and the important topics to be covered are mentioned below.

UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus GS 2
UPSC Mains Syllabus for Polity Indian Constitution, Features of Indian Constitution, Amendments in Indian Constitution, Provisions, Constitutional and non-constitutional bodies
UPSC Mains Governance Syllabus Government Schemes, policies, and interventions, Governance, Transparency, Accountability, E-governance applications
Social Justice Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services, Issues relating to poverty and hunger
IAS Mains Syllabus for International Relations Bilateral Groupings, Regional and global groupings, Agreements involving India and affecting India’s interests

IAS Mains Syllabus for GS 3 (Paper 4)

UPSC Mains Syllabus for GS 3 includes the following subjects

  • Technology
  • Economic Development
  • Biodiversity, Environment
  • Security and Disaster Management

GS Paper 3 also requires consistent correlation with current affairs as the questions asked usually demand analysis of the static topic with the current events.

The detailed UPSC mains syllabus for GS Paper 3, including all topics, is mentioned below.

UPSC Mains Syllabus for Economics

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development, and employment.
  • Government Budgeting.
  • Infrastructure – Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.
  • Investment models (PPP, etc.)
  • Inclusive growth and associated issues/challenges
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy (post-1991 changes), changes in industrial policy, and their effects on industrial growth.

UPSC Mains Agriculture Syllabus

  • Major cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport, and marketing of Indian agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in aid of farmers
  • Economics of animal rearing.
  • 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
  • Food processing and related industries in India – scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  • Land reforms in India.

IAS Mains Syllabus for Science and Technology

  • Indigenization of technology and development of new technology.
  • Recent developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology.
  • General awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nanotechnology, and biotechnology
  • Issues relating to intellectual property rights

UPSC Mains Syllabus for Internal Security and Disaster Management

  • Disaster Management (Laws, Acts, etc.)
  • Challenges to internal security (external state and non-state actors)
  • Linkages between the development and spread of extremism
  • Basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges,
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandates

UPSC Mains Syllabus for Ethics (GS 4)

IAS Mains syllabus for GS 4 is the ethics syllabus. The Ethics paper evaluates the candidate’s sense of cultural and social ethics. Here the candidates will get questions that will check the candidate’s responses and attitudes toward social issues along with their problem-solving ability.

Below we have mentioned the complete UPSC ethics syllabus.

UPSC Mains Syllabus for GS 4 (Ethics)
UPSC Syllabus For Ethics 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; contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world, Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion, Ethics, and Human Interface: Essence, determinants, and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships, Case Studies on the above issues.
Integrity Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public Administration, Laws, rules, regulations, and conscience as sources of ethical guidance, Status, and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions, Strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; accountability and ethical governance, Corporate governance, Ethical issues in international relations and funding
Aptitude 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.

UPSC Mains Syllabus For Optional Subjects

The candidate must choose one optional subject out of 48 subjects for the UPSC Mains examination. Candidates have to give two papers on that subject, each with 250 marks. The candidates need to choose the right Optional subject based on their strengths.

UPSC Mains Optional Subject’s Syllabus:

UPSC Mains Syllabus for Other Optional Subjects
UPSC Syllabus for Civil Engineering UPSC Mains Medical Science Syllabus
Electrical Engineering IAS Mains Syllabus UPSC Mains Syllabus Political Science Optional
IAS Mains Commerce and Accountancy Syllabus UPSC Mains Philosophy Syllabus
UPSC Mains Syllabus for Agriculture UPSC Mains Syllabus History Optional
UPSC Mains Economics Optional Syllabus Physics Optional IAS Mains Syllabus
UPSC Mains Syllabus Botany UPSC Mains Maths Optional Syllabus
Anthropology UPSC Mains Syllabus UPSC Mains Syllabus – Management
UPSC Mains Syllabus Geography Optional UPSC Mains Syllabus for Public Administration
UPSC Mains English Optional Syllabus Psychology Syllabus for UPSC Mains
UPSC Mains Syllabus for Chemistry IAS Mains Syllabus – Mechanical Engineering
UPSC Mains Syllabus for Hindi Literature IAS Mains Syllabus for Statistics
Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science IAS Mains Syllabus for Law
Geology UPSC Mains Syllabus UPSC Mains Sociology Optional Syllabus
Zoology Optional IAS Mains Syllabus

UPSC Mains Syllabus in Hindi

जो छात्र हिंदी माध्यम में परीक्षा की तैयारी कर रहे हैं, वे UPSC Mains Syllabus in Hindi को डाउनलोड कर सकते हैं। पाठ्यक्रम वही रहता है और इसमें भाषा के प्रश्नपत्र, सामान्य अध्ययन और वैकल्पिक विषय शामिल होते हैं।

UPSC मुख्य परीक्षा अंग्रेजी और हिंदी दोनों में आयोजित करता है।

Tips to Prepare UPSC Mains Syllabus

UPSC mains exam syllabus is vast and exhaustive; therefore, it is essential to have a robust UPSC Preparation Strategy to complete the syllabus promptly. To begin with, candidates must analyze the syllabus and the UPSC question papers to learn what questions are asked and the weightage of various topics.

  • Prepare for the GS papers alongside the optional papers. Divide your day plan according to the UPSC Time table to give equal weightage to both.
  • After covering an important topic, try answer writing for a topic in the mains exam.
  • Always cover and correlate current affairs topics with the static portion of the syllabus while preparing.
  • Revision is the most important part of the UPSC mains preparation.
  • Keep practicing UPSC mock tests and answer writing.

Best Books to Cover UPSC Mains Syllabus

Below are some of the important UPSC books required to complete the GS portion of the IAS mains syllabus.

  • GS Paper 1: Ancient India by RS Sharma, India After Independence by Bipan Chandra, India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra, History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra, History NCERTs, Geography of India – Majid Hussain, World Geography- Majid Hussain, Oxford Atlas, Central Physical and Human Geography by GC Leong, Geography NCERTs (Class XI and XII)
  • GS Paper 2: Indian Polity by M Laxmikanth, Constitution of India by DD Basu, India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri
  • GS Paper 3: Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh, Annual Budget, Indian Economic Survey
  • Best Books for UPSC Mains syllabus GS Paper 4: Ethics Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon, Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude by Subba Rao and PN Rao Chaudhry.
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