UPSC Prelims Syllabus – Download UPSC Prelims Subject-Wise Syllabus PDF

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 20th, 2023

The UPSC prelims syllabus is of enormous importance for candidates preparing for the IAS exam. To clear the exam, it is crucial to understand the syllabus in a detailed and comprehensive manner. The UPSC Prelims syllabus includes two papers GS 1, and GS Paper 2. General Studies Paper 1 determines the score of the candidates, and General Studies Paper 2 is qualifying in nature, where the candidate has to score more than 33%.

Download the PDFs for effective preparation for the exam-

The UPSC prelims syllabus is released by Union Public Service Commission annually along with the official notification. Candidates preparing for the upcoming prelims exam must download the UPSC Prelims syllabus PDF 2023 and kickstart their preparation. Union Public Service Commission releases the syllabus in both English and Hindi. The candidates must get acquainted with the core concepts and the fundamentals to be able to gain complete details of the essential topics. Below mentioned are all the details about the UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2023, which includes topics covered in both Paper 1 and Paper 2 with topic weightage, latest changes, and more.

What is UPSC Prelims Syllabus?

The UPSC IAS Prelims syllabus is the syllabus for the first stage of the IAS exam. The IAS exam is conducted in three stages, Prelims, Mains, and Interviews. Candidates must clear each stage to be eligible for the next one. The UPSC Prelims is an elimination round as approximately 5-7% of applicants clear the cutoff for Prelims.

The IAS Prelims syllabus of the UPSC 2023 Exam is divided into two parts

  • UPSC Prelims Syllabus Paper 1 – General Studies
  • Syllabus for UPSC Prelims Paper 2 – CSAT

After completing the UPSC pre-syllabus, aspirants must cover the UPSC Mains Syllabus timely. Go through the official UPSC Syllabus to access prelims, mains, and optional syllabus in detail.


Subject-Wise UPSC Prelims Syllabus PDF

The official UPSC prelims syllabus 2023 is released along with UPSC Notification by Union Public Service Commission on the official website. Download the latest UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2023 PDF by visiting the link to figure out a solid preparation strategy.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus PDF 2023

The UPSC prelims syllabus 2023 PDF mentioned here is in both English and Hindi. You can also download the syllabus PDF in Hindi. One of the best strategies to use the syllabus PDF is by pasting it into your study space and utilizing it like a checklist for the topics covered.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus Paper 1

The UPSC Prelims Paper 1 syllabus contains topics from Geography, Economy, General Science, Polity and Governance, and Current affairs questions. Below we will cover the details of each topic’s syllabus. As per the official syllabus, the following topics are included in UPSC Pre Syllabus for Paper 1-

  • CSE General Studies-Paper-I Current Events of National and International Importance.
  • Indian Polity and Governance, including topics such as Panchayati Raj, Political System, Constitution, Public Policy, Rights, Issues, etc.
  • Geography – Indian and World, including Physical, Social, and Economic Geography.
  • Indian History, along with Indian National Movement
  • Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development Goals, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity, and Climate Change.
  • General Science

Below is the detailed subject-wise syllabus of UPSC prelims along with all the important topics to be covered for the upcoming CSE Exam.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus for History

This section of the UPSC Pre syllabus mentions that the question from the paper will be based on the “History of India and Indian National Movement”. Candidates must prepare well to score well in this part. The Prelims History includes Ancient, Medieval, and Modern History. Check the list of topics to be covered in the history syllabus for UPSC.

UPSC Prelims Ancient History Syllabus

The Ancient History syllabus mandates an in-depth comprehension of the topics. It elaborates on the occurrence of the events in pre-historic times, Rig Vedic and Later Vedic Period. It includes an illustration of Buddhism, Jainism, the Mauryan Empire, etc. The complete details of the Prelims syllabus UPSC have been elaborated here-

Medieval History Syllabus of UPSC Prelims

Medieval history is a connecting link between ancient and modern history. Questions can be asked from this section in UPSC prelims and mains. The candidates can check the detailed topics that have been illustrated herewith.

UPSC Prelims Modern History Syllabus

IAS Prelims Syllabus Geography

As per the UPSC prelims Geography syllabus, this section comprises the Social, Physical, and Economic Geography of India and the world. Geography is a vast subject like History, and it is also present in the list of optional subjects in IAS Mains. Candidates must go through the detailed Geography Syllabus for UPSC to be able to plan their preparation in a more productive manner.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus of Indian Geography

IAS Prelims Syllabus of General Geography includes the Universe and the evolution of Earth. The syllabus of Oceanography includes Hydrosphere, Waves, Ocean Currents, Tides, Marine Resources, Submarine Relief features, Temperature, and Salinity, Ocean, Deposits, and Corals.


UPSC Syllabus for Climatology includes Atmosphere, Air Mass, Fronts, Cyclones, Jet Streams, Wind and Pressure Belts, Precipitation, Inversion of Temperature, Insolation and Heat Budget, and Climate Zones of the World.

The main segments of the syllabus on Bio-Geography include Soil Characteristics and Vegetation Resources.

Pre Syllabus of UPSC Human and Economic Geography

The main segments of the world’s regional Geography are Continents, Countries, and Cities’ locations in the news.

UPSC Prelims Environment Syllabus

The UPSC prelims paper 1 syllabus also includes environment and ecology. In recent years, many questions have been asked in this section. The Pre Environment Syllabus includes two major sections – Ecology & Environment and Biodiversity. Check the list of topics to be covered under the UPSC Prelims Syllabus of Environment.

The topics included in the Ecology & Environment are the adaptation of species and interactions, terrestrial ecosystems, the origin of life forms, basic concepts of ecology, ecosystem functions, population ecology, aquatic ecosystem, and Nutrient Cycling.

The topics of the Pre UPSC Syllabus for Biodiversity are the basics of bio-diversity, biodiversity conservation, threats to biodiversity, animal and plant diversity, mangroves, coral reefs,  estuaries, and Wetlands.

Other Important Topics of GS 1 Prelims Syllabus

UPSC Prelims Syllabus Polity

Indian polity and governance syllabus for UPSC Prelims contains Political System, Constitution, Public Policy, Panchayati Raj, Right Issues, etc. This is one of the biggest sections of the UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2023 and approximately 12-14 questions are asked from the Polity. Go through the polity important topics for UPSC prelims 2023 below. Check the polity books for UPSC to prepare better.


Constitution of India

Another important part of the syllabus is the schedules of the Indian Constitution.


  • Article 5-11
  • PIO, NRI, OCI and Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
  • Citizenship Amendment Act of 2016
  • New policies, schemes, and recent changes in voting.
  • Privileges available for Indian citizens and foreigners.

Union and its Territory

  • Articles 1-4
  • Federal nature
  • Recent issues
  • State reorganization and different Commissions.

Fundamental Rights (FR)

  • Article 12 to Article 35
  • Different types of Writs
  • Enforcement and Exceptional cases about FRs.
  • RTE and recent issues related to FR.
  • A thorough understanding of Articles 14- 30 and Art. 32.
  • Rights and privileges are available to citizens of India only and both to citizens and foreigners.
  • 44th Amendment Act

Fundamental Duties (FD)

  • Article 51A
  • Enforcement of FDs
  • Recent issues with FD
  • Difference between FR and FD
  • Significance and Criticism

Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)


  • The basic idea of Articles 52-73
  • Qualification and Election
  • Function and Powers – (Executive, Legislative, Financial, Judicial, Diplomatic, Military, and Emergency Powers)
  • Prime Minister and council of ministers – The basic idea of Article 74 to Article 75.
  • Resignation and impeachment
  • Role and responsibilities and relationship with Prime minister, Council of Ministers, and Cabinet ministers.
  • Powers and Functions
  • Council of ministers
  • Resignation and Removal
  • Attorney General of India
  • Parliament


  • The basic idea of the article is related to the judiciary.
  • Qualification and appointment
  • Removal procedure
  • Recent controversy, verdicts, and constitutional provisions.
  • Powers of the Supreme court and high court

State Government-State Executive

  • Governor – Appointment, removal, and special powers.
  • Executive, Legislative, Financial, and Judicial powers and discretionary of the governor
  • Chief minister and council of ministers
  • Power of chief minister
  • State Legislature
  • 7th constitutional amendment
  • Administration of Union Territories (UT)
  • Special provision for Delhi
  • Administration and jurisdiction in UT’s

Administration of Special Areas

Emergency Provisions

Panchayati Raj and Municipalities

  • Elections, auditing, powers, and authority of panchayats.
  • 3 tier structure
  • Relation with FR and DPSP
  • Schemes introduced
  • 73rd Amendment Act and the 74th Amendment Act
  • The metropolitan planning committee and urban development.

State-Centre and Interstate Relations

  • The basic idea of Articles 262 and 263.
  • Recent disputes between states, controversies, etc.
  • New policies or schemes which impact interstate relation.
  • Composition and functions of Interstate Council and Zonal Council.
  • Inter-State Trade and Commerce

Reservation is also an important topic for the UPSC prelims syllabus. The complete details of the topics will enable the candidates in getting hold of the concept.

Constitution Bodies

Non-Constitutional Bodies

The basic idea of functions, Composition, and working of Non-Constitutional Bodies such as the-


  • The basic idea about Article 323A and tribunals under Article 323B.
  • Different tribunals and the importance.
  • Recent controversial issues related to tribunals.

Current Affairs

  • Recent issues related to the above-mentioned categories.
  • Important laws, schemes, programs, missions, and policies launched by the government.
  • Recent Government Bills and Governance- Actions

UPSC CSE Prelims Syllabus for Economics

The Indian Economy Section is common to the UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2023, and Mains syllabus. It is also an optional subject in the Mains. To score well in this section the candidates need to focus on current affairs related to the Indian economy. Check the economy syllabus for UPSC Prelims.

  • Basic Concepts – Macroeconomic and Microeconomic Concepts.
  • Money & Banking – Money Function & Classification, Financial Markets & its Instruments along with Banking Structure in India.
  • Economic Measurements – National Income and its calculation, Economic Growth and Development and Inflation.
  • Planning – Meaning, Objective & History, NITI Aayog, Planning Institutions along with Five Year Plans in India.
  • Public Finance in India – Budgeting, Tax Structure in India
    Fiscal Policy, Centre-state Distribution.
  • Open Economy – Foreign Trade Concepts, Recent Development.
    International Organizations, Trade Agreements
  • Economic Sectors – Poverty, Employment, and Unemployment.
  • Government Schemes and Programmes

UPSC Prelims Science Syllabus

In IAS Prelims Syllabus most of the questions come from topics/issues in the news. So candidates need to spend time preparing current affairs along with the UPSC books. Topics covered under the UPSC Prelims Syllabus for General Science are the following:

  • Cell Organelles – Plant Cell vs Animal Cell
  • Carbohydrates – Monosaccharides, Polysaccharides
  • Proteins – Amino Acids, Enzymes
  • Universe – Big Bang, Redshift, Blueshift
  • Star Formation – Stellar Evolution, Life Cycle of A Star
  • Solar System Formation – Nebular Theory of Laplace
  • India’s Three-Stage Nuclear Power Programme
  • Vitamins and Minerals – Deficiency Diseases
  • Sun – Internal Structure, Atmosphere
  • Nuclear Fission, Nuclear Reactor Types
  • Animal Tissues – Epithelium, Connective Tissues
  • Solar System – Planets, Inner Planets, Outer Planets
  • Nucleic acids – DNA and RNA, Recombinant DNA
  • Mitosis – Cell Cycle, Cell Division, Meiosis – Mitosis – Meiosis Comparison
  • Endocrine Glands and Hormones
  • Biological Classification
  • Five Kingdom Classifications of Plants and Animals
  • Plant Parts and Their Functions
  • Human Digestive System – Digestive Glands
  • Respiratory System – NCERT General Science
  • Fats – Healthy Fats and Unhealthy Fats
  • Sex Determination – Genetic Disorders
  • Diseases Caused by Microorganisms
  • Microbes in Human Welfare – Useful Microbes
  • Immunity – Human Immune System
  • Human Neural System – Human Brain
  • Muscular and Skeletal System
  • Inheritance – Mendel’s Laws of Inheritance, Chromosomal Theory, Human Genome Project
  • Blood – Blood Groups – Formed Elements
  • Circulatory System, Double Circulation
  • Excretory System – Kidney, Urine Formation
  • Origin and Evolution of Life on Earth
  • AIDS, Cancer – causes
  • Drugs and Alcohol Abuse
  • Diseases – Acute, Chronic, Communicable Diseases
  • Plant Kingdom – Halophytes, Bryophytes
  • Sexual and Asexual Reproduction in Plants
  • Classification of Animal Kingdom (Animalia)
  • Classification of Vertebrata (Phylum Chordata)
  • Human Reproductive System
  • Plants with Seeds – Gymnosperms and Angiosperms
  • Plant Tissue – Simple, Complex Permanent Tissue
  • Plant Nutrition – Photosynthesis, Nitrogen Cycle, Fixation
  • Biotechnology – Genetic Engineering – Processes and Applications
  • Atomic Theory – Structure of an Atom

UPSC Prelims Paper 2 CSAT Syllabus

The UPSC Prelims Paper 2 syllabus is also known as the CSAT (Civil Service Aptitude Test) Syllabus. The CSAT Syllabus has been part of the IAS Prelims syllabus since its introduction. In the year 2014-15, CSAT was declared to be a “Qualifying Exam” with 33% passing criteria. This section aims to check the analytical skills of the IAS Aspirants. Candidates can download the UPSC prelims syllabus PDF and start their preparation as soon as possible.

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills, including communication skills;
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. — Class X level).

UPSC Prelims Syllabus in Hindi

उम्मीदवार पेपर 1 और पेपर 2 दोनों के लिए UPSC प्रीलिम्स सिलेबस को हिंदी में भी देख और डाउनलोड कर सकते हैं। UPSC Prelims Syllabus Paper 1 में निम्नलिखित विषय शामिल हैं:

  • राष्ट्रीय और अंतर्राष्ट्रीय महत्त्व की सामयिक घटनाएँ
  • भारत का इतिहास और भारतीय राष्ट्रीय आंदोलन
  • भारत एवं विश्व का भूगोल : भारत एवं विश्व का प्राकृतिक, सामाजिक, आर्थिक भूगोल
  • भारतीय राज्यतंत्र और शासन- संविधान, राजनीतिक प्रणाली, पंचायती राज, लोकनीति, अधिकारों संबंधी मुद्दे इत्यादि
  • आर्थिक और सामाजिक विकास- सतत् विकास, गरीबी, समावेशन, जनसांख्यिकी, सामाजिक क्षेत्र में की गई पहल आदि
  • पर्यावरणीय पारिस्थितिकी, जैव-विविधता और जलवायु परिवर्तन संबंधी सामान्य मुद्दे, जिनके लिये विषयगत विशेषज्ञता आवश्यक नहीं है
  • सामान्य विज्ञान

UPSC Prelims Syllabus Subject Wise Weightage

The IAS Prelims Syllabus for Paper 1 includes many subjects. The number of questions from each subject varies each year. The total number of questions asked in the UPSC Pre Paper 1 is 100 whereas 80 questions are asked in the UPSC CSAT paper. As per the UPSC Exam analysis, the following is the distribution of the UPSC Prelims syllabus for the past few years.

Subject Wise Weightage in Prelims Syllabus UPSC
Year 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Current Affairs 27 18 22 14 15 27 22
History 20 20 17 22 14 15 17
Geography 10 10 14 10 9 7 16
Polity 14 17 15 13 22 7 13
Economy 10 15 14 18 16 18 13
Science & Technology 8 10 7 10 9 8 8
Environment 11 10 11 13 15 18 11

UPSC Prelims subject-wise weightage varies across the years, and aspirants must download the previous year’s papers to better analyze the UPSC prelims weightage.

How to Prepare for UPSC Prelims Syllabus?

It is of high importance and essentiality for the candidates to adopt an accurate preparation strategy to be able to prepare effectively for the exam. The preparation tips have been curated by experts to aid the aspirants in preparing a methodical strategy for the exam. The candidates can prepare an effective timetable for UPSC preparation.

  • The candidates must acquaint themselves with the UPSC exam pattern and syllabus.
  • You must highlight the weaknesses and time-taking portions of the syllabus and prioritize the same while scheduling the timetable for UPSC preparation.
  • The aspirants must try to decipher the level of difficulty of the syllabus to be able to prepare accordingly.
  • The aspirants must build on the core concepts and fundamentals to be able to get a complete idea of the exam and the syllabus.

Important Topics of UPSC Prelims Syllabus

The candidates must keep track of the important topics of the UPSC prelims syllabus to be able to gain a complete understanding of the core concepts and fundamentals. Practicing the UPSC mock test will also enable the candidates to figure out the level of difficulty of the exam and the essential topics which are prevalent in the exam.

  • Current Affairs
  • History
  • Geography
  • Comprehension
  • Environment and Ecology

The candidates ought to check the syllabus of other subjects as well for comprehensive preparation. It is of supreme importance for the candidates to prepare an impeccable strategy for covering all the essential segments aptly.

Best Books for UPSC Prelims Syllabus

Referring to the best books for completing the UPSC prelims syllabus will enable the candidates in moving on the right direction. This will aid the candidates in brushing up on their core concepts and fundamentals. The aspirants must refer to the NCERT books to uplift their preparation. Check here the list of the books recommended by the toppers for efficient UPSC preparation-

  • India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipin Chandra
  • Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
  • Certificate Physical Geography
  • Indian Polity by Laxmikant
  • Indian Economy – Nitin Singhania
  • Economic Development and Politics in India- Jain & Ohri
  • Tata Mc Graw Hill CSAT Manual
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