UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024 – Download Latest PDF for UPSC Mains Exam

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The UPSC Mains Syllabus is an essential document that every IAS aspirant must have and internalise. The UPSC Mains exam is the second phase of the IAS exam process and to qualify to take the mains, candidates must clear the first phase, i.e., the UPSC Prelims exam. The UPSC Mains Syllabus is released along with the official UPSC notification which is published around February every year on the official UPSC website.Candidates can easily access and download the UPSC Mains Syllabus PDF from the links provided below so that they have a convenient and organized resource for their exam preparation.

The UPSC Mains Syllabus PDF contains the topics on which questions are asked in the IAS mains examination. It covers a variety of subjects such as history, geography, polity, Indian economy, art & culture, science and technology, information technology, ethics, current affairs, etc. It is advisable for candidates to thoroughly analyze the UPSC Mains Syllabus and strategize their study plan accordingly to maximize their chances of success in the examination.

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024

The UPSC Mains Syllabus covers a wide range of subjects, making it crucial to grasp its basic structure and the different papers included in the UPSC Mains Exam. The two compulsory papers, Indian Language and English, in the UPSC Mains exam are qualifying papers, meaning they are not taken into account while calculating the final merit list. It is to be noted that there is an overlap between the UPSC prelims syllabus and the UPSC mains syllabus. Therefore, it is essential to recognize the similarities between the two and prepare strategically to cover common topics effectively.

There are four General Studies papers in the mains exam. Then, there are two optional subject papers as well. The optional papers offer candidates the flexibility to choose a subject of their interest. Proper preparation and a thorough understanding of the UPSC Mains Syllabus are vital for aspiring candidates aiming to crack the IAS exam. Candidates can check the detailed syllabus below.

UPSC Mains Syllabus PDF

UPSC Mains Syllabus PDF is a comprehensive document that provides detailed information about the syllabus for the UPSC Mains Exam. Candidates can download it from the official website or from the direct link provided above. It is imperative that candidates understand the USPC Mains Syllabus thoroughly because even the questions asked from the current affairs section can be linked directly to any topic in the IAS Mains Syllabus.

By referring to the UPSC Mains Syllabus PDF, candidates can plan their study schedule effectively and ensure that they cover all the required areas for the examination. Candidates can check and download the UPSC Mains Syllabus PDF for General Studies Paper I, II, III, IV from the direct links provided below.

UPSC Mains Syllabus for Qualifying Papers

The language papers of the UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024 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. This implies that candidates should score a minimum of 75 marks out of 300 in each of the language papers. If the candidate scores less than 25% marks in these papers, their other answer sheet won’t get evaluated.

  • UPSC Mains Syllabus for Indian Language: Comprehension, Precis Writing, Usage and Vocabulary, and Short Essays.
  • UPSC Mains Syllabus for Compulsory English: 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 for Essay

The UPSC Mains Essay Syllabus is not specific to any particular subject. Candidates are given a range of topics to choose from, and they must focus on the main theme while writing the essay. They are required to select two topics and write two essays, which carry a total of 250 marks. The emphasis is on expressing their ideas and thoughts effectively within the given topic. The essay paper provides an opportunity for candidates to showcase their writing skills and analytical thinking. Candidates should cover the topic from multiple perspectives and also provide apt quotes as part of the essay. The word limit for each essay is 1000-1200 words. The UPSC essay question paper is divided into two sections. Each section contains four topics out of which one must be selected by the candidate. Both sections are compulsory.

UPSC Mains Syllabus for General Studies 1 (Paper 2)

UPSC Mains Syllabus for GS 1 is a crucial component that covers diverse topics such as Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society, and Indian Society and its dynamics. It aims to assess candidates’ knowledge and understanding of various aspects of India’s past, global events, and societal issues.

UPSC Mains Syllabus for GS Paper 1
Indian Culture Salient Aspects of Art Forms, Literature, and Architecture from Ancient to modern times
Modern History Syllabus 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 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 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 General Studies 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 for the polity and governance section. 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 General Studies 3 (Paper 4)

UPSC Mains Syllabus for GS 3 focuses on subjects related to Technology, Economic Growth and Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management. This paper aims to evaluate candidates’ knowledge and comprehension of these diverse fields and their ability to analyze and present informed perspectives on contemporary issues in these areas.

UPSC Mains Syllabus for Economics

The Economics subject in the UPSC Mains Syllabus encompasses a wide range of topics related to economic theory, policies, and systems. It aims to evaluate candidates’ understanding of key economic concepts, their ability to analyze economic issues, and their knowledge of India’s economic development and policies.

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development, and employment.
  • Indian Budgeting System.
  • 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 Syllabus for Agriculture

The Agriculture subject in the UPSC Mains Syllabus focuses on various aspects of agriculture, including crop production, agricultural practices, agricultural extension, and rural development. It aims to assess candidates’ knowledge and understanding of agricultural techniques, government policies, and issues related to agricultural productivity and sustainability.

  • 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

The Science and Technology subject in the UPSC Mains Syllabus covers a wide range of topics related to scientific advancements, technological developments, and their societal implications. It aims to evaluate candidates’ understanding of scientific concepts, their ability to analyze the impact of technology on society, and their knowledge of recent developments in the field of 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

Internal Security and Disaster Management subject in the UPSC Mains Syllabus focuses on issues related to national security, terrorism, border management, cybersecurity, and disaster management. It aims to assess candidates’ understanding of the challenges and policies related to internal security and disaster preparedness, as well as their ability to analyze and suggest effective strategies in these areas.

  • 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 (General Studies 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 their responses and attitudes toward social issues along with their problem-solving ability. Below we have mentioned the complete UPSC Mains Syllabus for Ethics.

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 behaviour; 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:

Candidates can check the list of Optional Subjects for UPSC Mains Syllabus below.

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

Preparing for the UPSC Mains Syllabus can be a challenging task, it is essential to have a robust UPSC Preparation Strategy to complete the syllabus promptly. But with a strategic approach, it can be made more manageable. Here are some tips to help you prepare effectively for the UPSC Mains Syllabus:

  • Understand the Mains Syllabus: Thoroughly comprehend the UPSC Mains Syllabus, breaking it down into different subjects and topics. This will provide clarity on what needs to be covered.
  • Create a Study Plan: Develop a well-structured study plan that allocates sufficient time for each subject and topic. A systematic approach will help you cover the entire UPSC Mains Syllabus and ensure balanced preparation.
  • Refer to Standard Books: Choose recommended books or reliable sources to study the relevant topics. Consult standard textbooks, previous year question papers, and UPSC-specific study materials to gain comprehensive knowledge.
  • Focus on Conceptual Clarity: Emphasize understanding concepts rather than rote learning. Develop a conceptual understanding of the subjects, as it will facilitate effective answer writing and critical analysis of issues.
  • Take Notes: Make concise notes while studying to summarize important points. These will serve as a quick revision resource and help retain key information.
  • Practice Answer Writing: Answer writing is crucial for the mains exam. Practice answer writing within the prescribed word limit and time constraints. Analyze UPSC previous year question papers and model answers to understand the expected format and structure.
  • Stay Updated on Current Affairs: Stay abreast of current affairs topics related to national and international events. Read newspapers, magazines, and online sources to have a well-rounded understanding of contemporary issues.
  • Mock Tests and Revision: Take regular UPSC mock tests to evaluate your knowledge and improve your time management skills. Dedicate sufficient time for revision to reinforce concepts and review important topics.
  • Maintain Motivation and Balance: Preparing for the UPSC Mains Syllabus is a demanding process. Stay motivated, maintain a positive mindset, and take care of your physical and mental well-being. Take breaks, exercise, and engage in activities that help you relax and rejuvenate.

Best Books to Cover UPSC Mains Syllabus

Choosing the right UPSC books is crucial for the effective preparation of the UPSC Mains Syllabus. The recommended books listed below provide comprehensive coverage of the GS portion of the IAS mains syllabus, aiding candidates in gaining a strong understanding of various subjects. These books serve as valuable resources for aspirants, offering in-depth knowledge and insights necessary to excel in the UPSC mains examination. Check the list of best books for UPSC Mains Syllabus in the table below.

Subject UPSC Books
History, Indian Heritage & Culture

[GS Paper 1]

  1. Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
  2. India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  3. India after Independence by Bipan Chandra
  4. History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  5. Ancient India by R.S Sharma

[GS Paper 1]

  1. Geography of India by Majid Husain
  2. World Geography by Majid Husain
  3. World Atlas (Orient Black Swan)
  4. Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong
  5. Fundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11
Polity & International Relations

[GS Paper 2]

  1. Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth
  2. Introduction to the Constitution of India by DD Basu
  3. International Relations: Pushpesh Pant

[GS Paper 3]

  1. Indian Economy – Nitin Singhania
  2. Environment and Disaster Management – Tata McGraw Hill
  3. Challenges to Internal Security of India – Ashok Kumar

[GS Paper 4]

  1. Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary
Solved Papers
  1. IAS General Studies Prelims Solved Papers – Vishal Publications
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