UPSC Mains Syllabus

UPSC Mains Syllabus |IAS Mains Syllabus | – Civil Services Mains Syllabus

Main menu
UPSC Mains GS-1 Syllabus
Click Here for separate tab

Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society.

  • Topic 1 / Art & Culture : Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  • Topic 2/ Modern History : Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues. The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.
  • Topic 3/ Post-Independence : Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
  • Topic 4/ World History : History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.
  • Topic 5/ Indian Society : 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. Effects of globalization on Indian society. Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
  • Topic 6/ Physical Geography : Salient features of world’s physical geography.
  • Topic 7/ Human and Economic Geography : Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).
  • Topic 8/ Geophysical Phenomena : Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
UPSC Mains GS-2 Syllabus  (Go to main menu)
Click Here for separate tab


  • Topic 1 : Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
  • Topic 2 : Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  • Topic 3 : Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Topic 4 : Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
  • Topic 5 : Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  • Topic 6: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
  • Topic 7 : Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
  • Topic 8 : Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
  • Topic 9 : Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
  • Topic 10 : Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Topic 11 : Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  • Topic 12 : Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
  • Topic 13 : Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Topic 14 : Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  • Topic 15 : Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
  • Topic 16 : Role of civil services in a democracy.
  • Topic 17 : India and its neighbourhood- relations.
  • Topic 18 : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
  • Topic 19 : Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
  • Topic 20 : Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
UPSC Mains GS-3 Syllabus (Go to main menu)
Click Here for separate tab


  • Topic 1 : Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
  • Topic 2 : Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  • Topic 3 : Government Budgeting.
  • Topic 4 : Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.
  • Topic 5 : 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; economics of animal-rearing.
  • Topic 6 : Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  • Topic 7 : Land reforms in India.
  • Topic 8 : Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
  • Topic 9 : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
  • Topic 10 : Investment models.
  • Topic 11 : Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
  • Topic 12 : Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
  • Topic 13 : Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
  • Topic 14 : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
  • Topic 15 : Disaster and disaster management.
  • Topic 16 : Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
  • Topic 17 : Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  • Topic 18 : Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
  • Topic 19 :Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
  • Topic 20 : Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.
UPSC Mains GS-4 Syllabus (Go to main menu)
Click Here for separate tab


This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered :

  • Topic 1 : Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
  • Topic 2 : Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  • Topic 3  : 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.
  • Topic 4 : Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
  • Topic 5 : Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
  • Topic 6 : Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
  • Topic 7: Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; 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, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.
  • Topic 8: Case Studies on the above issues.

Important Sub- topics of UPSC Mains GS -1 Syllabus (Go to main menu)

Important topics and sub-topics in Indian Heritage and Culture 

Important topics 

Sub-topics under each topic 

Indian Philosophy 

  • Philosophy of Buddhism and Jainism 
  • Philosophies associated with religions (Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, etc) 
  • Other Philosophies (NyayaSamkhyaVaisheshikaYogaPurva  mimamasaVedantaCarvaka, etc) 

Indian Literature 

  • Religious Literature (Vedic, Buddhism, Jainism, Bhakti & Sufi movement, etc) 
  • Non-religious literature (Social, Political, Economic, Sangam literature, etc) 
  • Ancient and Medieval sources (Archaeological and Foreigners literary works) 

Note: Archaeological literature includes Inscriptions/Epigraphs, Numismatics/coins. 

  • Other literary works (Aaranyakas, Upanishads, Puranas etc) 
  • Literary works during the freedom struggle 


  • Cave architecture 
  • School of art (Amaravati, Gandhara and Mathura school) 
  • Temple architecture 
  • Indo-Islamic architecture 
  • Modern architecture 

Temple Architecture 

  • Basics of Temple architecture (Mandapa, Shikara, Gharbhgriha, gopuram, Vimana, etc) 
  • Various styles of temple architecture (Nagara, Vesara, and Dravida) 

Indo-Islamic Art and Architecture 

  • Imperial art and Architecture (Sultanate and Mughal, Vijayanagar and Bahmani) 
  • Provincial art and architecture (Regional architecture from Jaipur, Jaunpur, Bijapur, Malwa, Kashmiretc) 

Modern Art and Architecture 

  • Indo-gothic and Neo-Roman Architecture 
  • Mural, Miniature and wall paintings  
  • Modern painters and techniques etc 

Performing Art 

  • Indian Dance forms 
  • Indian Music (Carnatic and Hindustani Music) 
  • Indian Theatre arts 
  • Indian Puppetry 
  • Indian Martial arts 

Religious Movements in India 

  • Jainism 
  • Buddhism 
  • Brahmanism 
  • Bhakti and Sufi Movements 
  • Sikh religious movement etc 

Other sub-topics in art and Architecture 

  • Languages and their development 
  • Indian Calendar 
  • Indian sculptures and pottery 
  • Contribution of Indians in various fields (Science, art, music, astronomy, Medicine, etc) 
  • Indian Fairs and Festivals 
  • Cultural institutions in India etc 


Important topics and sub-topics for Modern History and Post- Independent India: 

Important topics 

Sub-topics under each topic 

History from the middle of the eighteenth century until the present– significant events, personalities, issues 


  • India in the Late 18th century 
  • The advent of Europeans and British Conquest in India 
  • India under East India Company 
  • The revolt of 1858 and the administrative changes after that 
  • Political Organizations (Prior to INC and after INC and INC) 
  • Revolutionary organisations 
  • Freedom struggle under Moderate, Extremist and Gandhian phase 
  • India and Neighbourhood relations 
  • Socio-Religious movements in India (19th and 20th Century) 
  • Personalities and their contribution to India’s freedom struggle (Gandhi, Nehru, SC Bose, etc) 

Important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country 

  • Peasants and Tribal Movements in India 
  • Regional movements in various part of India, Princely States   

Others topics 

  • Reforms in various fields under East India Company administration and British administration (Police, education, social, economic, etc) 

Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country 

  • Immediate development in India after Independence 
  • Consolidation of India after Independence (Territorial, Reorganisation of Indian States and Various policy initiatives like Tribal policy, Policy followed in North-East etc) 
  • India under Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi etc. 


Important Topics and Sub-topics in World History: 

Important topics 

Sub-topics under each topic 

Various events from the 18th Century to till date 

  • Industrial Revolution 
  • American Revolution 
  • French Revolution 
  • Unification of Italy and Germany 
  • Russian Revolution 
  • Japanese Revolution 
  • Colonization and De-colonization in various parts around the world and its effects 
  • Chinese revolution 
  • World wars and the redrawal of national boundaries 
  • Cold war phase, NAM and the philosophical rivalry 
  • Disintegration of USSR and its aftermath etc 
  • Other Regional challenges like Apartheid, Israel-Palestine conflicts etc 

Political philosophies and their forms and effect on the society. 

  • Capitalism 
  • Communism  
  • Nazism 
  • Fascism 
  • Socialism etc 


Important Topics and Sub-topics in Indian Society: 

Important topics 

Sub-topics under each topic 

Salient features of Indian Society 

  • Caste system in India and its dynamics 
  • Sanskritization, Westernisation and Modernisation 
  • Kinship, Marriage and Family  
  • Class development (Middle Class) 

Diversity of India 

  • Unity in Diversity 
  • Types of Diversity exist in India (Religious, Caste, Race, Ethnicity, etc) 
  • Globalisation and Diversity 
  • Factors contributing to Unity amidst Diversity 
  • Challenges associated with Diversity 

Role of women and women’s organization 

  • Origin and evolution of Women Organizations in India 
  • Various women organizations existed in India since freedom struggle 
  • Challenges faced by women/ women organizations 
  • Government initiatives to encourage women / women organizations and the reason behind the same 
  • Women in various fields (agriculture, Industry, education, labour market, science and technology, etc) 
  • Role of men in development of women/women organizations  

Population and associated issues 

  • Population growth and distribution in India 
  • Demographic dividend and demographic curse and its challenges 
  • Population and other issues such as poverty, Employment, environment, resources, women empowerment etc 
  • Population control policies and their impact on population since independence. 
  • Other challenges associated with Population like Missing women, family planning etc 

Poverty and developmental issues 

  • Poverty and various types of poverty and their measurements 
  • Causes and consequences of poverty in India 
  • Vicious cycle of poverty and Hunger 
  • Poverty in rural and urban areas, poverty and women etc and its impacts 
  • Role of non-state actors in alleviating poverty and hunger 
  • Role of government in Poverty alleviation (evolution and impacts of policies, committees, schemes, Acts etc) 

Urbanization, their problems and their remedies 

  • Urbanization and its evolution, causes and concentration in India 
  • Problems and opportunities due to Urbanization 
  • Migration and its impacts like pollution, urban crimes, congestion, waste generation, transport etc. 
  • Slum and Squatter settlements 
  • Urbanization and urban planning in India 
  • Urban out growth and its impact, terms associated like satellite cities etc 
  • Urbanization and feminisation of agriculture 
  • Urbanization and Industrialization and Globalization etc 
  • Government initiatives to equitable urban growth (evolution and impacts of policies, committees, schemes, Acts etc) 

Effects of globalization on Indian society 

  • Globalization and its impacts such as economic, social, environmental etc 
  • impact of globalization on family levelcultural level, among various sections like women, children, elderly etc. 
  •  Impact of globalization on general values, ideas and lifestyle of Indian society 

Social empowerment 

  • Concept, need, evolution and various models of social empowerment 
  • Difference between social empowerment and Political, economic empowerment 
  • Role of non-state actors in social empowerment 
  • Various government initiatives to different sections of society like tribal, women, social and culturally backward sections of people etc. 

communalism, regionalism & secularism 


  • Meaning, type, evolution of Communalism 
  • Reason for prevalence of communalism  
  • Impact of communalism  
  • Role of State and non-state actors in reducing Communalism 


  • Meaning, type, evolution, son of soil concept of Regionalism 
  • Various regional movements in India since Independence and their impacts like Dravida Nadu movement, Khalistan movement, Telangana movement, Movements in North east etc. 
  • Regionalism and Nationalism 
  • Regionalism and Federalism 
  • Regionalism, Extremism and Separatism differences and concepts  
  • Impact of regionalism in International arena  
  • Constitutional protections against regionalism and government initiatives to strengthen cooperative federalism 


  • Concepts and sources of Indian secularism 
  • Difference between Indian and western Secularism 
  • Secularism and Communalism 
  • Factors threatening secularism and the way ahead 


Important Topics and Sub-topics in Geography: 

Important topics 

Sub-topics under each topic 

Physical Geography 

Physical Geography of world 

  • Solar system and the basics of Earth 
  • Geomorphology (Earth’s interior, rock classification, External and Internal forces, Various orders of land form development) 
  • Climatology (Structure, composition, atmosphere, weather and climate, pressure belts, winds, jet streams, precipitation, world climatic regions) 
  • Oceanography (Ocean waves, tidescurrents, tsunamis, temperature and salinity etc) 
  • Bio geography (Soils, classification, distribution, erosion and conversion) 
  • Continents and their evolutions 


Physical Geography of India 

  • Location, area and boundary of India 
  • Structure and Relief: Physiographic Divisions 
  • Weather, Climate and Seasons  
  • Bio geography of India 
  • Natural Vegetation, Plant and Animal Life  

Human and Economic Geography 

Human and Economic Geography of World 

  • Primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary and quinary activities 
  • Human Geography of world 
  • World Population, Distribution & Density, Races & Tribes, Settlement & Migration 


Human and Economic Geography of India 

  • Agriculture and Agro-Climatic Regions 
  • Land Resources  
  • Water Resources  
  • Mineral and Energy Resources  
  • Industries  
  • Transport and Communication  
  • Population, Migration, Settlements 


General topics 

  • Natural resources and mineral resources and distribution of key natural resources  
  • Agriculture and agro-climatic regions  
  • Industry and location factors  
  • Map based questions 

Geophysical Phenomena  

  • Earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc. 
  • Geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and their location-changes and flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.