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UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024: Master the UPSC Mains exam with the comprehensive UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024. Get a clear understanding of the topics and excel in your preparation.

The IAS main exam consists of 9 papers and the grades of 7 of these papers will be considered in the final merit list. His other two papers, English and Indian are essentially qualified (a score of 25% or higher is required for a candidate to be selected). Only candidates who exceed the limits on the first stage (Prelims) of the IAS exam are eligible for her Mains. Preliminary exams contain only objective questions (MCQs), whereas subjective main exams require a deeper understanding of the topic.

The most coveted Civil Service Examination (IAS Exam) is administered annually by UPSC to recruit candidates for various services and positions in the Government of India.  

  • Primary Civil Service Preliminary Examination (Objective Type) His two-stage exam to select candidates for the main exam. 
  • Second major civil service examination (written and oral) to select candidates for various positions and posts, as indicated in the official notice.

The first stage of the Civil Service Preliminary Examinations are elective exams only and are administered to narrow down candidates for the main exam. Grades achieved on the preliminary exam will not be taken into account when preparing the final certificate.

UPSC Mains Syllabus

The purpose of this phase of the UPSC exam is to test the candidate’s comprehension and ensure that they have the intellectual ability to present their answers in a clear, concise, and coherent manner within the time frame given.

Language papers (Indian language and English): 

These two items are just qualifying questions, but candidates must not be satisfied because if they do not get below 25% on either of them, the rest of the answer sheets will not be graded either. Both papers follow a similar question pattern as shown below. 

  • 1 essay question of 100 points – Candidate must select one topic from multiple given topics. 
  • A total of 60 points on 5-6 questions related to reading comprehension. Accurate writing out of 60 – The answer sheet has a different grid structure in which this must be completed. 
  • 20 English to language translations of your choice. 
  • 20 translations from your chosen language to English Basic language use including grammar and synonyms, sentence modification, a total of 40 points. 
  • The UPSC Mains Paper offers candidates the opportunity to select topics in several sections. This is an advantage for applicants as it allows them to choose their strengths and improve their overall score. 


The network’s UPSC syllabus does not include a prescribed syllabus for the essay work itself. According to the UPSC, “Candidates are expected to stick firmly to the topic of the essay, organize their thoughts in an orderly manner, and write concisely. The effective and precise language will be recognized.”

GS Paper I: Indian Culture – 

Prominent aspects of art forms, literature and architecture from ancient to modern times. 

modern Indian history

  • Important events, themes and people from the mid-18th century (the 1750s) to the present day. 
  • Various stages and major contributors of The Freedom Struggle, as well as contributions from different regions of the country. 
  • Post-independence domestic integration and restructuring. 

world history – Events, forms, and influences on society since the 18th century, including world wars, industrial revolutions, colonization, redrawing borders, decolonization, and political philosophies such as communism, capitalism, and socialism

society- Indian Society and Diversity – Salient Aspects. The role of women and women’s organizations, population and related issues, poverty and development issues, urbanization, its problems and solutions. Social empowerment, communism, regionalism, secularism. Impact of globalization on Indian society. 

Geography- Distribution of important natural resources around the world, including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Factors involved in the location of primary, secondary and tertiary industries in different parts of the world including India. Major geophysical events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic activity, and cyclones; changes in geographical features and their locations, significant geographical features (including water bodies and polar ice caps) and flora and fauna, and the effects of such changes. A salient feature of the physical geography of the world.

GS Paper II: Indian constitution- 

historical foundation, development, characteristics, Modifications, Mandatory Provisions, basic structural theory, India’s Constitutional System and Comparison with Other Countries.

  • Tasks and responsibilities of the Commonwealth and the Federal States, problems and tasks of the federal structure, transfer of powers and finances to the municipal level and tasks there. 
  • Different bodies, dispute resolution mechanisms and separation of powers between bodies.
  • Administrative and judicial structure, organization and operation.

Parliament and state legislatures – structure, function, business conduct, Power and Privilege and Problems That Arise. 

  • government ministries and departments; interest groups and formal/informal groups and their roles in politics; Characteristics of the National Representation Act 
  • Appointed to a wide range of constitutionally mandated positions with varying levels of authority, responsibilities, and powers within a variety of institutions. different quasi-judicial entities such as the statutory and regulatory bodies The formulation and implementation of policies and interventions by the government targeted towards the growth of diverse sectors. Processes of development and industries of development- NGOs, self-help groups, and other organisations, as well as institutions and other parties, all play a part. The development and implementation of social assistance programmes for the most needy citizens in cities and countries alike.
  • Mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies are put in place to protect and improve these vulnerable groups. Issues relating to the development and management of social sectors/services related to health, education and human resources 
  • Questions about poverty and hunger.
  • Key aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, achievements, limitations and possibilities. Civic Charter, Transparency and Accountability, Institutional and Other Measures.
  • Civil service role in a democracy.

International relations

  • India and Surroundings – International Relations 
  • India’s Interests, Impact of Developed and Developing Country Policies on Indian Diaspora. 
  • Significant international bodies, institutions, their structures and mandates

GS Paper III: 

Economy –

  • Government budgeting. 
  • Inclusive growth and related issues/challenges 
  • Economic impact of liberalisation (changes since 1991), changes in industrial policy and impact on industrial growth. 
  • Infrastructure – energy, ports, roads, airports, rail, etc. 
  • Investment model (PPP, etc.)
  • Agriculture

  • Main cropping patterns, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems, storage, transportation and marketing of agricultural products in different regions of the country, as well as issues and related restrictions. Electronic technology that favours farmers 
  • livestock economy. 
  • Issues related to direct and indirect agricultural subsidies and minimum support prices. PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM PURPOSE, FEATURES, LIMITATIONS, AND REVISIONS. Buffer stock issues and food security. technology mission 
  • Land Reform in India.

Science and technology

  • Recent Developments and Applications and Effects in Daily Life 
  • Indian achievements in science and technology. 
  • Domestic production of technology and development of new technology. 
  • General awareness in the fields of IT, space, computers, robotics, nanotechnology and biotechnology 
  • Intellectual Property Questions


  • Conservation
  • Environmental degradation and pollution
  • Environmental impact assessment

Disaster management (laws, acts, etc.)


  • Internal security challenges (external state and non-state actors) 
  • Relationship between the development and spread of extremism 
  • internal security challenges with communication networks, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, 
  • Fundamentals of cybersecurity; money laundering and its prevention 
  • Security challenges and how to deal with them in border areas. The relationship between organized crime and terrorism 
  • Various security forces and agencies and their powers

GS Paper IV:

This ethics dissertation from the UPSC Core Curriculum includes questions designed to identify test taker attitudes and approaches to issues related to honesty and integrity in public life, as well as approaches to problem-solving around various social issues. is included. Questions can use a case study approach to determine these aspects, and the exam covers the areas outlined in the syllabus below: 

Ethics and human interface

  • The essence of ethics, the determinants and consequences of ethics in human interactions 
  • ethical dimensions 
  • Ethics in Private and Public Relations 
  • Human Values – Lessons Learned from the Lives and Teachings of Great Leaders, Reformers and Administrators 
  • The Role of Family, Society and Educational Institutions in Teaching Moral and Ethical Values


  • Content, Structure, and Function of Postures 
  • Effects of Attitudes on Thoughts and Actions 
  • The Relationship Between Attitudes To Thoughts And Actions 
  • moral and political attitudes 
  • Social influence and persuasion


  • Public service suitability and core values  
  • majesty 
  • fairness and fairness 
  • Objectivity 
  • Commitment to Public Service 
  • Empathy, tolerance and compassion for the weaker segments of society

Emotional intelligence

  • Emotional intelligence concept 
  • Usefulness and application of emotional Intelligence in management and governance

Contributors of philosophers and thinkers

  • Contributions of Indian and World Moral Thinkers and Philosophers to Moral Concepts

Civil service values and ethics in public administration

  • Status and related issues 
  • Ethical Concerns and Dilemmas in Government and Private Institutions 
  • Laws, rules, rules and conscience as sources of ethical orientation 
  • Accountability and Ethical Leadership 
  • Enhancing ethical and moral values in governance 
  • Ethical Issues in International Relations and Finance 
  • Corporate governance

Probity in governance

  • public service concept 
  • Philosophical Foundations of Governance and Integrity 
  • Information sharing and transparency in government 
  • Information rights 
  • code of ethics 
  • rules of conduct 
  • civil rights 
  • work culture 
  • quality of service delivery 
  • Use of public funds 
  • Corruption issue

Optional subject (two papers)

Candidates must choose one elective (out of a total of 48 electives). A total of 500 points for 2 works. Choosing the best option theme for your UPSC network should be carefully considered and determined. 

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern

The IAS core syllabus is comprehensive, and the questions asked in the CSE require not only some depth of understanding but also the ability to present answers consistently. The UPSC Main Curriculum includes both static and dynamic aspects. It is therefore imperative that IAS candidates track and classify current affairs under appropriate papers/headlines according to the UPSC Core Syllabus. 

The Mains exam has a total of 1750 points (7 tasks x 250 points), and applicants who clear the stage pass the interview (UPSC personality test). The candidate’s interview score (out of 275) is added to UPSC main grades to produce the final recommended candidate merit list.

UPSC’s main exams are designed to test a candidate’s academic expertise and ability to present knowledge consistently. The UPSC Mains exam is designed to assess a candidate’s general intellectual aptitude and conceptual understanding. The main civil service exams serve to test an applicant’s scientific aptitude and ability to present knowledge clearly and coherently.

Important points to remember

  • Indian language and English papers (Paper A and Paper B) are inherently eligible and the grades obtained on these papers do not count towards the ranking. 
  • Papers in Indian and English (Paper A and Paper B) must be of the admission standards or equivalent. 
  • Essays, General Studies and Electives will only be considered for candidates who have achieved 25% points in ‘Indian’ and 25% in ‘English’ as the minimum eligibility criteria for these qualification papers. 
  • Only grades given to candidates for papers I-VII count toward the merit ranking. 
  • The assignment sheets for this exam are traditional (short essay), 3 hours each. 
  • Candidates have the option to answer all questionnaires, except for the qualifying language papers, Paper A and Paper B, in any of the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India or English. 
  • Questionnaires (excluding literature on language courses) are written in Hindi and English only. 
  • For blind volunteers and volunteers with motor impairment and cerebral palsy, 20 minutes per hour if the dominant (writing) limb is impaired to the extent that performance is impaired (minimum 40% impairment). compensation time is allowed. Civil Service Preliminary Examination and Civil Service Final Examination.
  • Completing a UPSC Mains dissertation is a major challenge in itself and many applicants fail to complete their thesis due to poor time management in the lab. 
  •  Candidates should therefore start writing their answers before the exam in order to practice and plan their time management. 
  • Usually, you need to build up some basic knowledge before you start writing your answer. Candidates can then look at UPSC papers from the previous year to learn the types of questions that will be asked on the main exam. 3-4 months before the 
  •  UPSC Mains Exam, candidates can start their Answer Writing exercises. Response writing skills can be instilled even if the candidate is struggling and lacks confidence at first.

Some things to remember while writing the mains answer

  • Your response should impress reviewers and give the impression that the response was written by a future administrator. 
  • Your answer should answer the question asked in a concise, clear, orderly, descriptive, and beautiful way. Another important point is that examiners expect to different answers for electives and majors. 
  • Electives expect candidates to have a thorough understanding of concepts. This is a “selected” subject and your answers should reflect that understanding. 
  • Learn more about the best UPSC options here. However, the GS thesis requires candidates to have a good (but not necessarily deep) understanding of concepts that can be presented multi-dimensionally. This means, for example, that questions from the field of international relations should be answered within that field itself, but that candidates can apply it to fields such as state and governance, social affairs, and homeland security. Help when you can. And so on, extrapolating and so on. 
  • Leading questions generally contain specific key phrases called “directives” that provide clues as to how to answer them.
  • Presentation: Responses must be written in clear, legible handwriting. Include headings and subheadings as needed. If it improves the quality of your response, please also provide tables and figures. 
  • Simple language: Always write in the simple, error-free language. Writing should be clear, complete and concise. Avoid jargon and flower language. Ambiguity in answers and lower grades is possible. 
  • Periods or paragraphs: Many applicants have the question of whether to write with periods or paragraphs. There are no rules to follow here. It depends on your comfort level and what you are comfortable with. If you feel you can write better in dots, keep doing it. If you like to express yourself in paragraphs, you should follow this convention. Adhere to the number of characters specified by UPSC. 
  • Practice: This is the most important tip one can give. Practice writing many answers in all subjects as part of your preparation for the IAS Main. Follow our comprehensive news analysis daily. There are two main exercises provided. Please post your answers in the comments section of the page.


This article covered every part of the UPSC Mains syllabus in detail. Writing good answers on the main IAS exams is as important as preparing the subject matter itself. Because what the examiner reads is what you got in the form of an answer, they don’t care about the countless hours you’ve spent studying. The art of writing the best and most appropriate answers is important.

PaperSubjectDurationTotal marks
Paper Alanguage (Indian)3 hours300 (qualifying)
Paper BEnglish Proficiency3 hours300 (qualifying)
Paper IEssay Writing3 hours250
Paper IIHistory & Geography,  Culture & Heritage, World History —  General Studies I 3 hours250
Paper IIIConstitution, Governance, Welfare, International Relations – General Studies II 3 hours250
Paper IVTechnology, Agriculture,  Economics and Biodiversity & Disaster Management – General Studies III 3 hours250
Paper VEthics & Integrity  –  General Studies IV3 hours 250
Paper VIOptional Subject – Paper I3 hours 250
Paper VIIOptional Subject – Paper II3 hours250

Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the UPSC Mains Syllabus.

What is the UPSC Mains syllabus?

The UPSC Mains syllabus outlines the subjects and topics covered in the written examination, which is the second stage of the civil services exam. ...Read full

How is the UPSC Mains syllabus structured?

The UPSC Mains syllabus comprises nine papers, including one Essay paper, two General Studies papers, and two papers on the Optional Subject chosen...Read full

What subjects are covered in the General Studies papers of UPSC Mains?

The General Studies papers cover a wide range of subjects, including History, Geography, Polity, Economy, Science and Technology, Environment, and ...Read full

How many Optional Subject papers are there in UPSC Mains?

There are two papers on the chosen Optional Subject in UPSC Mains. The Optional Subject is selected by the candidate from a list provided by UPSC....Read full

How can I effectively cover the UPSC Mains syllabus?

Create a structured study plan, focus on comprehensive understanding, practice answer writing, and revise regularly to cover the vast syllabus effe...Read full

Is the UPSC Mains syllabus the same for all candidates?

The General Studies papers are common for all candidates, but the Optional Subject allows candidates to specialize based on their choice.

How does the UPSC Mains syllabus contribute to the final selection?

The marks obtained in the Mains examination, along with the Interview, contribute to the final selection of candidates in the UPSC Civil Services E...Read full