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UPSC Syllabus 2023: Download Syllabus PDF for Prelims, Mains..

The UPSC syllabus for the Civil Services Examination is vast and covers a wide range of subjects. The exam consists of three stages: the Preliminary Examination, the Main Examination, and the Interview. The Preliminary Examination consists of two papers: General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II (CSAT). The Main Examination consists of seven papers, including an essay paper, four General Studies papers, and two Optional Subject papers. The Interview stage assesses the candidate’s overall personality, communication skills, and suitability for a career in civil services.

UPSC Syllabus 2023

Preliminary ExaminationPaper I

Current events of national and international importance

History of India and Indian National Movement 

Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.

Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.

General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.

General Science

200 marks
 Paper IIComprehension, 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)200 marks
Main ExaminationPaper-ACompulsory Indian Language300 marks
 Paper-BEnglish300 marks
 Paper-IEssay250 marks
 Paper-IIGeneral Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society)250 marks
 Paper-IIIGeneral Studies -II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International relations)250 marks
 Paper-IVGeneral Studies -III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)250 marks
 Paper-VGeneral Studies -IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)250 marks
 Paper-VIOptional Subject – Paper 1250 marks
 Paper-VIIOptional Subject – Paper 2250 marks

Note: The marks obtained in the Main Examination (written examination as well as the interview) are counted for the final selection of the candidate. Candidates may choose any optional subject from the list of subjects which are mentioned in the official notification of UPSC.

UPSC 2023 Exam Pattern

Sure, here’s a detailed breakdown of the UPSC 2023 exam pattern in tabular form:

StageExam TypePapersMarksDuration
Preliminary ExaminationObjectivePaper 1: General Studies2002 hours
  Paper 2: Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)2002 hours
Main ExaminationDescriptivePaper 1: Essay2503 hours
  Paper 2: General Studies 12503 hours
  Paper 3: General Studies 22503 hours
  Paper 4: General Studies 32503 hours
  Paper 5: General Studies 42503 hours
  Paper 6: Optional Paper 12503 hours
  Paper 7: Optional Paper 22503 hours
Personality TestInterview275

Here’s some more information about each stage:

  1. Preliminary Examination: The preliminary examination consists of two papers, both of which are objective type. Paper 1 covers general studies, including current events, history, geography, polity, economy, environment, and more. Paper 2 is the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) and tests the candidate’s comprehension, interpersonal skills, communication skills, logical reasoning, and analytical ability. The CSAT paper is of qualifying nature, and candidates need to score at least 33% marks to qualify for the next stage.
  2. Main Examination: The main examination consists of nine papers, out of which seven are counted for merit. Paper 1 is the essay paper, where candidates need to write an essay on a given topic. Papers 2 to 5 cover general studies, including topics like history, polity, economics, and more. Papers 6 and 7 are optional papers, and candidates can choose a subject from a list of options provided by UPSC. Each paper carries 250 marks and has a duration of 3 hours.
  3. Personality Test: Candidates who qualify for the main examination are called for the personality test, which carries 275 marks. The interview is conducted to assess the candidate’s suitability for a career in the civil services.

The final merit list is prepared based on the candidate’s performance in the main examination and personality test.

UPSC Syllabus 2023 - Ethics Paper

Ethics and Human Interface

– Essence, determinants, and consequences of Ethics in human actions.

Dimensions of ethics. 

Ethics in private and public relationships. Lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers, and administrators on human values.

Role of family, society, and educational institutions in inculcating values.


– Content, structure, and function of attitude.

Influence and relation of attitude with thought and behavior. 

Moral and political attitudes. 

Social influence and persuasion.

Aptitude and Foundational Values for Civil Service

– Integrity, impartiality, and non-partisanship. 

Objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance, and compassion towards weaker sections.

Emotional Intelligence– Concepts, utilities, and application in administration and governance.
Contributions of Moral Thinkers and Philosophers– From India and the world.
Public/Civil Service Values and Ethics in Public Administration

– Status and problems of public/civil service values. 

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.

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 and Quality of service delivery. 

Utilization of public funds. 

Challenges of corruption.

Case Studies– Case studies on the above issues.
The Ethics paper in the UPSC Mains examination aims to test the candidate’s understanding of ethical and moral dimensions of various issues that arise in public and private life, and their ability to analyze and evaluate them. The topics covered under the Ethics paper include ethics and human interface, attitude, aptitude, and foundational values for Civil Service, emotional intelligence, contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world, public/civil service values and ethics in public administration, probity in governance, and case studies on the above issues.
The Ethics paper aims to test the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of various ethical issues that they may face as a civil servant. It also tests their ability to evaluate and analyze situations from an ethical perspective and come up with solutions that are in line with ethical values and principles. Candidates must be well-versed with the above topics and have a good understanding of ethical values, principles, and their practical application in various situations.

UPSC Syllabus: List of Optional Subjects​

GroupOptional Subjects
Animal Husbandry and Veterinary ScienceAnimal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
ScienceBotany, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, Zoology
EngineeringCivil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
HumanitiesGeography, History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations, Psychology, Sociology
Commerce and AccountancyCommerce and Accountancy
Medical ScienceMedical Science
OthersPublic Administration
Note: The above table is not exhaustive, and the UPSC may add or remove optional subjects based on various factors. Candidates should check the official notification for the latest information.
Candidates can choose any one subject from the above list as their optional subject for the Mains examination. The syllabus for each subject is detailed and covers a wide range of topics. Candidates should choose a subject that they are interested in and have a good understanding of, as it will help them perform better in the examination.

UPSC Syllabus 2023 - Optional Subjects

Optional SubjectSyllabus
AgricultureCrop production, Horticulture, Plant breeding and genetics, Soil science, Agriculture engineering, Animal husbandry and veterinary science, Forestry and agroforestry, Fisheries
Animal Husbandry and Veterinary ScienceAnimal nutrition and feed technology, Animal breeding and genetics, Veterinary microbiology, Public health and hygiene, Livestock production management, Animal diseases, Veterinary anatomy, Physiology, Pharmacology, and Parasitology
AnthropologySocial and cultural anthropology, Physical anthropology, Archaeological anthropology, Tribal studies
BotanyPlant physiology and biochemistry, Genetics, Plant pathology, Ecology, Economic botany, Plant breeding and biotechnology
ChemistryPhysical chemistry, Organic chemistry, Inorganic chemistry, Analytical chemistry, Environmental chemistry
Civil EngineeringBuilding materials, Construction technology, Solid mechanics, Structural analysis, Design of structures, Geotechnical engineering, Water resources engineering, Environmental engineering
Commerce and AccountancyAccounting, Auditing, Income tax, Corporate accounting, Cost accounting, Business finance, Financial institutions and markets, Management accounting, Accounting standards
EconomicsMicroeconomics, Macroeconomics, International economics, Public economics, Indian economy
Electrical EngineeringElectrical circuits, Electromagnetic fields, Signals and systems, Electrical machines, Power systems, Control systems
GeographyPhysical geography, Human geography, Economic geography, Environmental geography, Geographical information systems
GeologyGeomorphology, Structural geology, Paleontology, Mineralogy, Petrology, Economic geology, Stratigraphy, Environmental geology
HistoryAncient history, Medieval history, Modern history, World history, Historiography, Historical methods
LawConstitutional law, Administrative law, Public international law, Mercantile law, Criminal law, Labour law
ManagementOrganizational behavior, Human resource management, Marketing management, Financial management, Strategic management
MathematicsAlgebra, Real analysis, Complex analysis, Linear algebra, Differential equations, Numerical analysis, Calculus of variations
Mechanical EngineeringMechanics, Thermodynamics, Power engineering, Manufacturing engineering, Design engineering, Industrial engineering, Mechanics of solids
Medical ScienceHuman anatomy, Human physiology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Microbiology, Pathology, Forensic medicine
PhilosophyEpistemology, Logic, Indian philosophy, Western philosophy, Ethics, Social and Political philosophy
PhysicsClassical mechanics, Quantum mechanics, Electromagnetic theory, Thermodynamics and statistical physics, Electronics and experimental methods
Political Science and International RelationsPolitical theory, Indian politics, Comparative politics, International relations
PsychologyPerception, Learning, Memory, Thinking, Motivation, Emotion, Intelligence, Personality, Social psychology, Abnormal psychology
Public AdministrationAdministrative theory, Organizational behavior, Personnel administration, Public policy, Financial administration, Comparative public administration
SociologySociological theory, Research methods, Social stratification, Family, Marriage, Kinship, Economic sociology, Political sociology, Environmental sociology
StatisticsProbability theory, Statistical inference, Linear regression, Multivariate analysis, Sampling theory, Statistical computing
ZoologyAnimal diversity, Animal physiology, Ecology, Genetics, Evolution, Behavior, Applied zoology

Note: The syllabus for each optional subject is not exhaustive and may change from time to time. Candidates should refer to the latest official notification for the detailed syllabus of each optional subject.

UPSC Syllabus 2023 FAQs

A: The UPSC Result 2023 is expected to be declared in March 2023, as per the tentative schedule released by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

A: The UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) 2022 is conducted in three stages, including the preliminary examination, main examination, and interview.

A: The number of candidates recommended for the appointment to the IAS, IPS, IFS, and other central services under Group A and Group B will be decided by the UPSC based on the number of vacancies and other factors.


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