UPSC GS 1 Syllabus - IAS Mains GS Paper 1 Syllabus PDF

By Aarna Tiwari|Updated : August 6th, 2022

UPSC GS Paper 1 Syllabus of the UPSC Mains is one of the four GS Papers. Along with UPSC Mains GS Paper 1, there are eight other papers in the Mains stage of the UPSC Exam. The GS Paper 1 Syllabus consists of History, Geography, Art and Culture, and Indian Society. Unlike other papers in General Studies, the questions from GS 1 Syllabus for UPSC are usually direct in nature.

The candidate needs to connect the static GS Paper 1 Syllabus with the current affairs to write a multi-dimensional answer. The article thoroughly covers the GS 1 Syllabus, including detailed subject-wise topics that must be covered for the IAS Exam.

Table of Content

What is GS Paper 1 Syllabus for UPSC?

History, Art & Culture, and Geography are the three major subjects that are covered in the GS Paper 1 Syllabus. The UPSC GS Paper 1 is titled the ‘Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society, and consists of 250 marks.

The score obtained in this paper is added to the UPSC Marksheet during the UPSC Result.

The Overview of the UPSC GS Paper 1 Syllabus includes:

Subjects of GS 1 Syllabus

Sub-topics of the GS Paper 1


Modern History, World History, Art & Culture


Human Geography, Physical Geography of India and the World

Indian Society

Demography, Social Issues, and Developments in Indian Society

Official UPSC GS 1 Syllabus

It is clear from the UPSC Mains GS Paper 1 syllabus that the paper broadly covers history, art & culture, and geography. To ace GS Paper 1 of the Mains exam, one needs to know in detail all the topics covered in the subject so that candidates, while writing answers, can interlink and present full-fledged answers.

UPSC GS 1 Syllabus

GS 1 Syllabus for Modern History

The modern Indian history section of GS 1 Mains Syllabus includes events from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, and issues. It also includes the Freedom Struggle, its various stages, and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country. The GS 1 Syllabus also includes the Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

GS 1 Modern Indian History Topics

The topics under Modern Indian History are:

  • Socio-economic Condition of People
  • European Penetration of India
  • British Conquest of India
  • British Policies & Their Impact - Economic, Administrative & Socio-cultural
  • Socio-cultural Reform Movements
  • Uprisings Against British Pre-1857
  • Revolt of 1857
  • Growth of Nationalism in India
  • Political, Economic & Administrative Unification of the Country
  • Role of Western Education
  • Role of Press
  • Rediscovery of India's Past
  • Early Political Movements
  • Formation of INC
  • Era of Moderates
  • Growth of Militant Nationalism & Revolutionary Activities

Freedom Struggle UPSC Syllabus

The topics under the Freedom Struggle section include:

  • Swadeshi & Boycott Movement
  • Surat Split
  • International Influence
  • Morley - Minto Reforms
  • Growth of Communalism
  • Beginning of Mass Nationalism
  • Mahatma Gandhi - His Ideas & Leadership
  • Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms
  • Rowlatt Act, Satyagrah and Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
  • Non-cooperation & Khilafat Movement
  • Swarajists & No-Changers
  • The emergence of New Forces - Socialistic Ideas, Youth & Trade Unionism
  • Revolutionary Activity
  • Simon Commission & Nehru Report
  • Civil Disobedience Movement
  • Round Table Conferences
  • Communal Award & Poona Pact
  • Participation in Elections to Central Legislature & Provincial Assemblies
  • Government of India Act, 1935
  • Towards Freedom & Partition
  • National Movement During World War II
  • August Offer
  • Individual Satyagraha
  • Growth of Communalism
  • Peasant Movements
  • State People's Struggle
  • Cripps Mission
  • Quit India Movement
  • Wavell Plan
  • INA & Subhash Chandra Bose
  • Cabinet Mission
  • Nationalist Upsurge Post-World War II
  • Independence with Partition

Post-independence Consolidation and Reorganization for GS 1 Syllabus

The topics covered under the Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country, are:

  • Nation Building
  • Partition and Its Aftermath
  • Integration of Princely States
  • Reorganisation of States
  • Issue of Official Language
  • Tribal Consolidation
  • Regional Aspirations
  • Foreign Policy
  • Non-Aligned Movement
  • Panchsheel
  • Wars with Pakistan & China
  • Nuclear Policy
  • Economy
  • Planned Development
  • Green Revolution, Operation Flood & Cooperatives
  • Agrarian & Land Reforms
  • Industrial Reforms
  • LPG Reforms
  • The era of One-Party Dominance
  • The emergence of Opposition Parties
  • Emergency: Crisis of Democratic Order
  • Rise of Regional Parties
  • Coalition Era
  • Popular Movements
  • Communalism
  • Indian Women Since Independence
  • Naxalism

GS Paper 1 Syllabus for World History

History of the World includes events from the 18th century such as the industrialrevolution, world wars, redrawing of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization,political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, etc. their forms and effecton society. The detailed coverage of topics is as under:

  • Industrial Revolution
  • Renaissance
  • Discovery of Sea Routes
  • Reformation
  • Counter-Reformation
  • European Nations Settle North America
  • Rise of Slave Trade
  • American War of Independence
  • French Revolution
  • Nationalism in Europe
  • Rise of Capitalism, Colonialism & Imperialism
  • World War I
  • Causes of the World War I, along with the Scope & Course of the War
  • Russian Revolution
  • End of the War & Peace Treaties
  • Consequences of the War
  • League of Nations
  • World Between the Two Wars
  • Europe After the War - Fascism & Nazism
  • The Great Depression
  • The emergence of the Soviet Union
  • Nationalist Movements in Asia & Africa
  • The US as a Strong Power
  • World War II
  • Fascist Aggression & Response of Western Democracies
  • The outbreak of the War
  • Theatres of the War
  • US Entry into the War
  • Global Nature of the War
  • The Holocaust
  • Resistance Movements
  • After-effects of the War
  • Decolonisation & Redrawal of National Boundaries
  • Europe after World War II
  • Cold War
  • Rise of Asia & Africa
  • Developments in West Asia & North Africa
  • Spread of Communism
  • Korean War
  • Vietnam War
  • Cuban Crisis
  • The collapse of the Soviet Union
  • Concept, Types & Social Impact of Political Philosophies
  • Communism
  • Capitalism
  • Socialism

GS 1 Syllabus for Art & Culture

Most of the questions ranging from Ancient and Medieval History are asked in the Art & Culture section. The Art & Culture parts cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature, and Architecture from ancient to modern times. The topics include:

  • Indian Art Forms
  • Indian Paintings
  • Classical Dance Forms
  • Folk Dance Forms
  • Classical Music
  • Puppetry
  • Pottery
  • Drama/Theatre
  • Martial Arts
  • Ancient Indian Literature
  • Classical Sanskrit Literature
  • Literature in Pali and Prakrit
  • Early Dravidian Literature
  • Medieval Literature
  • Women Poets of Bhakti
  • Trends in Medieval Literature
  • Modern Indian Literature
  • Harappan Architecture
  • Temple Architecture
  • Cave Architecture
  • Indo-Islamic Architecture
  • Medieval Architecture
  • Modern Architecture
  • Contribution of Buddhism & Jainism to the Development of Indian Architecture
  • Rock Cut Architecture
  • Colonial Architecture & the Modern Period

Geography Syllabus for UPSC GS 1

The Geography section of the GS 1 Syllabus includes the salient features of the world's physical geography, distribution of key natural resources across the world, factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world, along with the Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, tsunamis, Volcanic activity, cyclones, etc., geographical features and their location changes in critical geographical features.

The detailed topics covered under the Geography section of GS Paper 1 syllabus are:

  • Origin & Evolution of Earth
  • Interior of the Earth
  • Distribution of Continents & Oceans
  • Plate Tectonic Theory
  • Distribution of Earthquakes & Volcanoes
  • Rocks & Rock Cycle
  • Geomorphic Processes - Endogenic & Exogenic
  • Landforms & their Evolution
  • Oceanography
  • Hydrological Cycle
  • Seafloor Spreading
  • Ocean Floor Configuration
  • Temperature & Salinity of Oceans
  • Movement of Oceans - Waves, Tides, Currents
  • Climatology
  • Earth's Atmosphere - Composition & Structure
  • Solar Radiation, Heat Budget & Temperature
  • Atmospheric Circulation & Weather Systems
  • World Climate (examples)
  • Soil Geography
  • Soil & Soil Contents
  • Process of Soil Formation
  • Soil Forming Factors
  • Types of Soils (examples)
  • Soil Erosion & Conservation
  • Types of Resources- On the Basis of Origin, Ownership, Exhaustability, etc.
  • Land Resources
  • Land Utilisation
  • Land Use Pattern
  • Land Degradation & Conservation
  • Forest Resources
  • Types & Distribution - Grasslands, Forests etc.
  • Causes of Depletion
  • Conservation of Forests
  • Water Resources
  • Marine & Freshwater
  • Water Scarcity & Need For Conservation
  • Integrated Water Resources Management
  • Agricultural Resources
  • Types of Farming
  • Cropping Patterns
  • Contribution to Economy, Employment & Output
  • Food Security
  • Mineral & Energy Resources
  • Classification of Minerals - Ferrous & Non-Ferrous
  • Occurrence of Minerals
  • Conservation of Minerals
  • Classification of Energy Resources - Conventional & Non-Conventional
  • Occurrence of Energy Resources
  • Conservation of Energy Resources
  • Classification of Industries
  • Location & Distribution of the Industries
  • Raw Material
  • Labour
  • Market
  • Capital
  • Land
  • Grants & Financial Incentives
  • Power
  • Transport
  • Water
  • Communication
  • Distribution of Major Industries - Iron & Steel, IT, Cotton Textile
  • Agglomeration & Footloose Industries
  • Earthquakes
  • Why Does Earth Shake?
  • Earthquake Waves
  • Shadow Zone
  • Types of Earthquake
  • Measuring Earthquake
  • Effects of Earthquake
  • Tsunami
  • What Causes Tsunami
  • Effect of Tsunami
  • Mitigating the Impact of Tsunami
  • Volcanoes
  • Types of Volcanoes
  • What Causes Volcanoes?
  • Volcanic Landforms
  • Cyclone
  • Tropical Cyclones
  • Anti-Cyclone
  • Extra-Tropical Cyclones
  • Factors Causing Changes in Critical Geographical Features
  • Examples of Changing Geographical Features - Melting of Ice Sheets, Desertification, etc.
  • Impact of Changing Geographical Features

GS 1 Syllabus for Indian Society

The GS 1 syllabus for Indian Society includes the Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India, Role of women and women's organization, population and associated issues, poverty

and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems, and their remedies. It also covers the effects of globalization on Indian society and the concepts of social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

The topics include:

  • Diversity - caste, linguistic, social and religious, race, tribe and ethnicity, culture
  • Challenges posed by Diversity
  • Unity
  • Pluralism
  • Unity in Diversity
  • Inequality and Exclusion
  • Family System
  • Women's Organisations - Empowerment through Action
  • 19th Century Social Reform Movements and Early Women's Organisations - Agrarian Struggles and Revolt, Participation in Freedom Struggle
  • Women's Organisations Post 1947
  • The resurgence of Women's Movement in the 70s: Emergence of New Organisations, Approaches, and Issues
  • Contemporary Women's Issues & Organisation Response
  • Women's Organisations and SHGs
  • Challenges faced by Women's Organisations
  • Basic Demography of India
  • Population Trends in India and their Implications
  • Causes and Effects of OverPopulation
  • Challenges of Population Explosion
  • Changing Age Structure of Indian Population
  • Demographic Dividend: Boon or Bane for India
  • Population Aging in India
  • India's Population Policy & Initiatives
  • Concept of Development and Poverty
  • Types of Poverty
  • Measurement of Poverty - Poverty Line
  • Causes of Poverty
  • Poverty as a Social Problem
  • Socio-economic Spread of Poverty
  • Consequences of Poverty
  • Inequality
  • Who is worst affected by poverty?
  • The problem of Rising Urban Poverty
  • Poverty Alleviation Initiatives
  • The policy shift from Trickle Down Economics to Inclusive or Pro-poor Development to Reduce Poverty
  • Relation between Poverty Reduction and Development: Poverty-Inequality-Development Nexus
  • Urbanisation Trends in India and Their Implications - Demographic and Social Dimensions
  • Factors Driving Urbanisation
  • State of Service Delivery and Challenges posed by Urbanisation
  • Problems of Urban Areas
  • Social Consequences of Urbanisation
  • Impact of Urbanisation in Rural Areas
  • Urban Planning and Role of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs)
  • Reforms Required and Government Initiatives Taken So Far
  • Problems of Slums
  • Understanding Globalisation - Its Different Dimensions
  • Globalisation & Culture - Homogenisation vs. Glocalisation
  • Factors Driving Globalisation
  • Globalisation & India
  • Impact of Globalisation on India - Socio-cultural, economic, on women, agrarian sector, etc.
  • Does Globalisation Cause Poverty?
  • Which are the Socially Disadvantaged Groups?
  • Dimensions of Social Empowerment
  • Government Initiatives to Aide Social Empowerment
  • Communalism - Its Characteristics
  • Communalism in India in the Past
  • Communalism in Contemporary India
  • Causes of Communalism
  • Consequences of Communalism
  • Measures to Control & Eradicate Communalism
  • Secularism as an Antidote to Communalism
  • Concept of Region & Regionalism
  • Different Forms of Regionalism
  • Regionalism in India
  • Causes of Regionalism
  • Concept of 'Sons of Soil'
  • Consequences of Regionalism
  • Federalism & Regionalism
  • Role of Regional Parties
  • Measures to Contain Regionalism
  • Regionalism in the International Sphere
  • Concept of Secularism
  • Indian Model of Secularism
  • Secularism in India
  • Nature & Practice of Secularism in India
  • Uniform Civil Code
  • Challenges faced by Secularism in India
  • Measures to Make India Truly Secular

UPSC GS Paper 1 Syllabus PDF

The UPSC GS Paper 1 Syllabus PDF comes in very handily during the preparation of UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains. It helps us to segregate topics according to the relevance of the UPSC Prelims Syllabus and UPSC Mains Syllabus and cover them accordingly. Below is a compiled PDF for the Syllabus of General Studies Paper 1. Download it, and keep it handy all the time during the UPSC Exam Preparation.

Strategy to Crack UPSC GS Paper 1 Syllabus

The UPSC Mains GS Paper 1 Syllabus is elaborate but very scoring if the concepts are clears. A concise and full-fledged UPSC Preparation Strategy of the Syllabus of General Studies Paper 1 can help the candidate score above average marks and help him/her get the desired IAS, IPS, IRS, or IFS. The strategy to crack UPSC Mains GS Paper 1 Syllabus is to:

  • Familiarize with Exam Pattern: It is very necessary to familiarize oneself with the UPSC Exam Pattern. Hence, one knows what areas to focus on. The UPSC Exam is conducted in three stages, UPSC Prelims, UPSC Mains, and the Interview Stage.
  • Know the Syllabus thoroughly: As a UPSC aspirant, you must know the UPSC Syllabus at your fingertips. Though integrated, the UPSC Prelims Syllabus and UPSC Mains Syllabus require a completely different approach to tackle.
  • Keep Resources Limited: One thing to keep in mind during the UPSC Preparation is to keep the booklist and resources limited and revise them regularly. One should start with the NCERT Books for UPSC to have a firm foundation, then proceed with the recommended UPSC Books. For UPSC Mains GS Paper 1 Syllabus, one should focus more on the History Books for UPSC, Geography Books for UPSC, and Art & Culture Books for UPSC. The topics of the Indian Society can be covered through Current Affairs and by referring to Social Problems in India by Ram Ahuja.
  • Refer to Previous Year Questions: One way to ace the UPSC Exam is to practice the UPSC Previous Years Question Papers immensely. The PYQs help us understand the pattern of the questions asked and let us know the areas that need more attention.
  • Focus on Current Affairs: Aspirants need to focus on Current Affairs, which can be covered through newspapers and Current Affairs Videos. Though the Syllabus of General Studies Paper 1 is more on the static side, correlating it with recent developments and verified research helps to make the answer multi-faceted.

Important Topics of GS Paper 1 Syllabus

To prepare for the upcoming UPSC Mains 2022 Exam, some of the important topics that should be covered for the GS Paper 1 Syllabus are:

  • Temple architecture
  • Themes of ancient Indian history
  • Four important agitations/movements: Swadeshi and Boycott movement, Khilafat and Non-cooperation movement, Civil Disobedience movement and Quit India movement.
  • Social/religious reform movements: personalities and their contributions
  • Important movements after 1947
  • Communism
  • American, French, Russian and Industrial Revolution
  • World War I and II
  • Location of industries in India
  • Water bodies
  • Climate change
  • Diversity in India
  • Diversity in India
  • Women Empowerment

GS 1 Syllabus for UPSC in Hindi

यूपीएससी मेन्स का जीएस पेपर 1 सामान्य अध्ययन के चार पेपरों में से एक है। यूपीएससी मेन्स जीएस पेपर 1 में इतिहास, भूगोल, कला और संस्कृति और भारतीय समाज जैसे विषय शामिल हैं।

  • भारतीय संस्कृति में प्राचाेन काल से आधुनिक काल तक के कला के रूप, साहित्य और वास्तुकला के मुख्य पहलू शामिल होंगे ।
  • 48वीं सदी के लगभग मध्य से लेकर वर्तमान समय तक का आधुनिक भारतीय इतिहास - महत्वपूर्ण घटनाएं, व्यक्तित्व, विषय।
  • स्वतंत्रता संग्राम- इसके विभिन्‍न चरण और देश के विभिन्‍न भागों से इसमें अपना योगदान देने वाले महत्वपूर्ण व्यक्ति/उनका योगदान।
  • स्वतंत्रता के पश्चात देश के अंदर एकीकरण और पुनर्गठन।
  • विश्व के इतिहास में 8वीं सदी की घटनाएं यथा औद्योगिक क्रांति, विश्व युद्ध, राष्ट्रीय सीमाओं का पुन: सीमांकन, उपनिवेशवाद, उपनिवेशवाद की समाप्ति, राजनीतिक दर्शन शास्त्र जैसे साम्यवाद, पूंजीवाद, समाजवाद आदि शामिल होंगे, उनके रूप और समाज पर उनका प्रआव।
  • भारतीय समाज की मुख्य विशेषताएं, भारत की विविधता।
  • महिलाओं की भूमिका और महिला संगठन, जनसंख्या एवं सम्बदध मुद्दे, गरीबी और विकासात्मक विषय, शहरीकरण, उनकी समस्याएं और उनके रक्षोपाय।
  • भारतीय समाज पर भूमंडलीकरण का प्रभाव।
  • सामाजिक सशक्‍्तीकरण, सम्प्रदायवाद, क्षेत्रवाद और धर्म-निरपेक्षता।
  • विश्व के भौतिक-भूगोल की मुख्य विशेषताएं।
  • विश्वभर के मुख्य प्राकृतिक संसाधनों का वितरण (दक्षिण एशिया और भारतीय उपमहादवीप को शामिल करते हुए), विश्व (भारत सहित) के विभिन्‍न भागों में प्राथमिक, दवितीयक और तृतीयक क्षेत्र के उद्योगों को स्थापित करने के लिए जिम्मेदार कारक।
  • भूकंप, सुनामी, ज्वालामुखीय हलचल, चक्रवात आदि जैसी महत्वपूर्ण भू-भतिकीय घटनाएं, भूगोलीय विशेषताएं और उनके स्थान-अति महत्वपूर्ण भूगोलीय विशेषताओं (जल-स्रोत और हिमावरण सहित) और वनस्पति एवं प्राणि-जगत में परिवर्तन और इस प्रकार के परिवर्तनों के प्रभाव।


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FAQs on UPSC GS 1 Syllabus

  • The UPSC GS Paper 1 Syllabus titles Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society and includes Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature, and Architecture from ancient to modern times, Modern Indian History, History of the World, Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India, Salient features of the World’s Physical Geography and important Geophysical phenomena, geographical features and their location changes in critical geographical features.

  • To prepare for UPSC GS Paper 1 Syllabus, one should start with the NCERT Books for UPSC, then proceed with the recommended UPSC Books. One should focus more on the History Books for UPSC, Geography Books for UPSC, and Art & Culture Books for UPSC. The topics of the Indian Society can be covered through Current Affairs and by referring to Social Problems in India by Ram Ahuja.

  • GS Paper 1 of UPSC Mains is one of the four general studies papers. It is a subjective type of paper consisting of subjects like History, Geography, Art and Culture, and Indian Society.

  • Modern History is a part of both Prelims and Mains. It is also among the widely opted UPSC Optional Subjects. Here are a few modern History Books for UPSC that are helpful in every stage of the UPSC Exam.

    • NCERT Class XI Modern India – Bipan Chandra
    • A New Look at Modern Indian History From 1707 to the Modern Times- Alka Mehta and B L Grover S
    • History of Modern World – Jain and Mathur
    • History of Modern India – Bipan Chandra
  • Click here to download the detailed UPSC GS Paper 1 Syllabus PDF for free.

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