UPSC Psychology Syllabus: Download IAS Psychology Syllabus PDF

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : October 4th, 2022

UPSC Psychology Syllabus has a substantial emphasis on applied psychology, and many aspirants find it highly interesting. Psychology optional tests the ability of the candidates to understand the subject as science and apply that information to solve problems. The topics included in the UPSC Psychology Syllabus are related to both theoretical and applied psychology.

Mostly, the candidates who have studied psychology as a part of their curriculum opt for this subject as their optional in the Civil Services Exam. In this post, we are going to cover the complete psychology optional syllabus.

Table of Content

UPSC Psychology Syllabus - Overview

Being familiar with the psychology optional UPSC syllabus should be the first addition to the UPSC Exam preparation strategy. Knowing what topics to cover at the beginning will help the candidates to strengthen their foundation, and they will be able to score well. 

Topics like introductions, related issues, methods and etc. are included in the psychology syllabus for UPSC. Candidates need to prepare for both papers efficiently. Below we are going to provide a detailed psychology syllabus UPSC optional for both papers.

The psychology optional UPSC syllabus has two papers, Paper 1 and Paper 2. Each paper holds 250 marks and a total of 500. The performance in the optional paper will highly impact the score on the final score of the UPSC Exam. That’s why aspirants must understand each topic of the UPSC Psychology Syllabus and prepare accordingly.

UPSC Psychology Syllabus 


Paper 1

Foundations of Psychology

Paper 2

Psychology: Issues and Applications

UPSC Psychology Syllabus PDF Download

Every candidate should download the UPSC Psychology Syllabus, and kickstart the preparation. The PDF file can be downloaded from the direct link that we have provided below

UPSC Psychology Syllabus Paper 1

Paper 1 of the psychology optional UPSC syllabus includes Foundations of Psychology, and it is further divided into subtopics.

UPSC Psychology Syllabus

UPSC Psychology Syllabus

Psychology Optional Syllabus for UPSC Paper 2

Paper 2 of the UPSC Psychology Syllabus is based on Psychology: Issues and Applications, and is segmented into sub-topics.

UPSC Psychology Syllabus:

UPSC Psychology Syllabus:

Preparation Strategy for UPSC Psychology Syllabus

The psychology optional UPSC syllabus is vast, and that’s why candidates should keep must keep a few aspects in their mind while studying and writing their answers. Keeping these things in check would definitely help them cover the whole UPSC Psychology Syllabus effectively, and ace their exam. However, candidates also ensure to complete the other papers of the UPSC Mains Syllabus to increase their overall score.

  • Candidates must clear their basic concepts of each topic from the psychology optional syllabus.
  • Including experimental studies in your paper will add a huge advantage
  • Make sure to come up with real-life examples, which will help you to boost your score
  • Creating flowcharts would help you to understand the concepts in a better way
  • Attempt mock tests, and practice previous year’s questions to cover the entire UPSC Psychology Syllabus in the best possible way.

What are the Best Books for Psychology Optional UPSC Syllabus

Effective preparation for the UPSC Psychology Syllabus won’t be achievable without books. Even though there are so many options when it comes to choosing the UPSC Books, not all of them are worth your attention. Below we have shared some of the highly recommended Psychology UPSC Books by experts to perform well in this psychology optional subject. 

  • Understanding Psychology by Robert S. Feldman
  • Psychology – Classes XI & XII NCERT textbooks
  • Psychology by Robert A Baron
  • Tests, Measurements, and Research Methods in Behavioural Sciences by A K Singh
  • Psychology by Saundra Ciccarelli
  • Applied Psychology by Smarak Swain
List of UPSC Optional Subjects Syllabus
UPSC Agriculture SyllabusUPSC Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Syllabus
UPSC Anthropology SyllabusUPSC Botany Syllabus
UPSC Chemistry SyllabusUPSC Civil Engineering Syllabus
UPSC Commerce and Accountancy SyllabusUPSC Economics Syllabus
UPSC Electrical Engineering SyllabusUPSC English Literature Syllabus
UPSC Geography Syllabus UPSC Geology Syllabus
UPSC Hindi Literature SyllabusUPSC History Syllabus
UPSC Law SyllabusUPSC Management Syllabus
UPSC Maths Optional SyllabusUPSC Mechanical Engineering Syllabus
UPSC Medical Science SyllabusUPSC Philosophy Syllabus
UPSC Physics SyllabusUPSC Political Science and International Relations (PSIR) Optional Syllabus
UPSC CSAT SyllabusUPSC Public Administration Syllabus
UPSC Science and Technology SyllabusUPSC Sociology Optional Syllabus
UPSC Statistics SyllabusUPSC Zoology Syllabus


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UPSC Psychology Optional Syllabus FAQs

  • The syllabus for Psychology optional UPSC includes two papers namely Paper 1 and Paper 2. Paper 1 contains Foundations of Psychology whereas paper 2 deals with Psychology: Issues and Applications.

  • There are two papers in the UPSC psychology syllabus, and each paper carries 250 marks which makes it a total of 500 marks.

  • With a robust study schedule and proper time management, the UPSC psychology syllabus can be covered on time. It would be wise for the candidates to start their preparation as early as possible, which would leave enough time for revision.

  • Some of the highly recommended books to cover the syllabus of Psychology optional syllabus are 

    • Understanding Psychology by Robert S. Feldman
    • Psychology – Classes XI & XII NCERT textbooks
    • Psychology by Robert A Baron
    • Tests, Measurements and Research Methods in Behavioural Sciences by A K Singh
    • Psychology by Saundra Ciccarelli
    • Applied Psychology by Smarak Swain
  • No, there are no similarities between the UPSC psychology syllabus and the UPSC prelims syllabus. The psychology optional syllabus is only part of the UPSC mains exam. 

  • The UPSC Psychology Syllabus can be downloaded from the official website of UPSC, along with the whole UPSC syllabus. We also have provided the direct link above in this post.

  • Yes, The UPSC Psychology Syllabus is basically of the honors degree level, i.e. a level higher than a bachelor's degree but lower than a master's degree. 

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