GS 4 Syllabus - Ethics Syllabus for UPSC | Download PDF

By Ritesh|Updated : August 6th, 2022

UPSC GS 4 Syllabus consists of Ethics, Aptitude, Human Interface, Attitude, Foundational values of civil services, and code of conduct of governance. The GS Paper 4 is one of the 9 papers in the Mains Exam of UPSC Civil Services Examination. The GS 4 Syllabus is designed to rest on the candidate's approach and attitude to issues relating to integrity and problem-solving approach to various conflicts and issues faced by him.

In this article, we will cover the UPSC GS 4 Syllabus that every UPSC assistant must analyze properly before starting his/her preparation for UPSC Mains. Additionally, we will cover some effective strategies and books that would help to cover the UPSC ethics syllabus efficiently.

Table of Content

GS 4 Syllabus for UPSC Mains

The syllabus of GS 4 is largely independent of the syllabus of other General Studies papers. However, it may have a slight overlap of the topics with Governance and Social Justice from the General Studies II in UPSC CSE mains paper. The UPSC GS 4 syllabus includes-

  1. Ethics
  2. Integrity
  3. Aptitude

The total marks of the GS Paper 4 are 250, and candidates will get 3 hours of time duration for this exam.

GS 4 Syllabus

Below, we have mentioned the UPSC GS 4 Syllabus in detail. It is recommended that aspirants understand all the topics covered in the GS 4 Paper before starting their preparation.

UPSC GS 4 Syllabus for Mains

Ethics and Human Interface

The essence of Ethics, Determinants and Consequences of Ethics in Human Interaction

Human Values - lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators

Dimensions of Ethics

Role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating moral and ethical values

Ethics in private and public relationships


Content, structure and function of attitude

Moral and Political attitudes

Social influence and persuasion

Influence of attitude on thought and behaviour

Relation of attitude to thought and behaviour


Aptitude and foundational values of Civil Service

Dedication to public service

Empathy, tolerance and compassion toward the weaker sections of the society


Impartiality and non-partisanship


Emotional Intelligence

Concepts of emotional intelligence

Utility and application of emotional intelligence in administration and governance

Contributions of Thinkers and Philosophers

Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world to the concepts of morality

Public/Civil Service Values and Ethics in Public Administration

Status and associated problems

Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions

Strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance

Ethical Issues in international relations and funding

Laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance

Accountability and ethical governance

Probity in Governance

Concept of public service, The philosophical basis of governance and probity, Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen's Charters, Work culture, Challenges of corruption, Utilization of public funds, Quality of service delivery

Important Topics from UPSC GS 4 Syllabus

Here, we have mentioned the important topics from UPSC GS 4 Syllabus that candidates must give extra focus on during the preparation. However, candidates are recommended cover all the topics as question trends can vary.

  • The fundamental notions of ethics-definitions and terminologies
  • Morality, political attitudes, and social impact, and their connection to ethics.
  • Different aspects of ethics
  • Form and function of ethical conceptions
  • Ethics determinants and consequences on human conduct
  • concepts of attitude, integrity, and impartiality
  • Ethics in public administration
  • concept of emotional intelligence, its application, governance, and management.
  • Workplace culture and corruption challenges.
  • Probity in governance, philosophical foundations of governance, and the concept of probity.

GS 4 Syllabus Trend Analysis

Below, we have mentioned the number of questions asked for each section of the GS paper 4 syllabus. It would help the candidates to question trends and help them to prepare accordingly.





Basics and thinkers




Work and office




Family and society




Public organisation




Private organisation




Case Studies




Structure of GS Paper 4 for UPSC Mains

This is one of the most unpredictable paper and the questions asked from the GS 4 syllabus varies from year to year. The following are the important features of this paper:

  • It consists of 12 questions and is divided into two sections. Before 2018 a total of 14 questions were asked in the Ethics paper. With time the number of questions has been reduced, and the complexity has increased.
  • The GS 4 carries a total of 250 marks, and the questions carry 10/20 marks each.
  • The word limit for the 10 marks question is 150 words, and for the 20 marks question is within 250 words.
  • There are two types of questions asked in this paper
    • Direct Concept related, which tests the understanding of ethical issues, and concepts related to aptitude and integrity (125 marks)
    • Case Studies test the application of those concepts in various situations involving the candidate and pressure groups, politicians, the public and other people (125 marks)

Strategy to Cover GS 4 Syllabus for UPSC Mains

It is one of the most scoring papers in the UPSC CSE Mains exam. However, without an effective strategy and robust study plan, you won't be able to crack this paper. That's why we have mentioned some effective strategies that would help to cover the UPSC gs paper 4 syllabus efficiently.

  • Try to define and write about 100-150 words for each of the micro topics- compassion, integrity, probity, honesty, etc. You can use this in answer-writing for different topics.
  • You need to get conceptual clarity of the topics covered in the GS 4 Syllabus. Make small notes on topics that are part of integrity and ethics.
  • See Code of Conduct, RTI, citizen's charter, and Probity in governance reports.
  • Remember thinkers' quotes and apply them to the required situation.
  • Solve the CSAT decision-making questions.
  • Case studies on the above-mentioned topics are required. You need to keep yourself in the shoes of an administrator and think about what you have done in a certain situation.
  • Go through the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers.
  • Choose the highly recommended UPSC Books for preparation.

Best Books to Cover UPSC GS 4 Syllabus

Candidates need to have the below-mentioned books while covering the GS Paper 4 and Ethics syllabus for UPSC.

  1. Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude - G Subba Rao & P N Roy Chowdhury
  2. Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude for IAS General Studies Paper IV - Niraj Kumar
  3. Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude - M Karthikeyan
  4. Ethics in Governance: Innovations, Issues, and Instrumentalities - Ramesh K Arora
  5. ARC Reports
  6. Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude - Santosh Ajmera & Nanda Kishore Reddy

Download UPSC GS 4 Syllabus PDF

We recommend candidates keep a printout of the UPSC GS 4 syllabus PDF during their preparation so that they don't miss out on important topics. Below we have provided a direct link to download the GS 4 syllabus in PDF format

>> Download UPSC GS 4 syllabus PDF


write a comment

FAQs on UPSC GS 4 Syllabus

  • The ethics syllabus UPSC also known as GS 4 syllabus, includes Ethics, Integrity, and, Aptitude. These topics are again divided into various sub-topics.

  • First, the candidates need to analyze the GS 4 syllabus thoroughly. After that, candidates should make short notes and get the conceptual clarity of the topics in the syllabus. Candidates should go through the UPSC previous year’s questions and read the books more than one time.

  • The important topics in GS Paper 4 syllabus are fundamental notions of ethics-definitions and terminologies, Morality, political attitudes, and social impact and their connection to ethics, Different aspects of ethics, Form and function of ethical conceptions, Ethics determinants and consequences on human conduct, concepts of attitude, integrity, and impartiality.

  • Candidates can download the UPSC GS 4 syllabus PDF from here.

Follow us for latest updates