UPSC CSE Mains and Interview Exam Syllabus

UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus

After clearing UPSC CSE Prelims exam, the next step towards your goal is UPSC CSE Mains Exam. Preliminary is just the beginning towards your goal, but Mains is the main part of the UPSC CSE. It is descriptive type consists of 9 papers constitutes 1750 marks total.

9 papers of Mains exam are as follows:





Paper A

3 hours

300 (Qualifying)

Compulsory Indian language

Paper B

3 hours

300 (Qualifying)


Paper I

3 hours



Paper II

3 hours


General Studies I – Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society

Paper III

3 hours


General Studies II – Governance, Constitution, Welfare Initiatives, Social Justice & International Relations

Paper IV

3 Hours


General Studies III – Technology, Economic Development, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management

Paper V

3 hours


General Studies IV – Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude

Paper VI

3 hours


Optional Subject – Paper I

Paper VII

3 hours


Optional Subject – Paper II

Now, let’s discuss the UPSC CSE Mains syllabus in detail:

Paper A - Compulsory Indian Language

The language papers, Paper A & B are the qualifying ones and are not counted for the rankings. Also, Paper A which is the Compulsory Language Paper, can be of any language chosen by the candidature among the the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution. For each of the Papers A & B, a time of 3 hours is provided. Both the Papers consist of 300 marks each.

  • The Compulsory Indian Language paper is the qualifying one.
  • Marks obtained in this paper would not be counted for the rankings.
  • Any one of the Indian Languages has to be selected by the candidate among the languages which are included in the Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution.
  • The Compulsory Indian Language paper would be of the Matriculation or equivalent level.
  • The paper would broadly follow the pattern of questions, mentioned below:
    • Comprehension of the provided passages.
    • Short essays to be written.
    • Vocabulary and usages.
    • Precise writing.
    • Translation - Includes English to Indian Language and vice-versa.
Paper B - English
  • The English paper is the qualifying one too.
  • Also, the marks obtained in this paper would not be counted for the rankings.
  • The paper would be of the Matriculation or equivalent level.
  • The paper would broadly follow the pattern of questions, mentioned below:
    • Comprehension of the provided passages.
    • Short essays to be written.
    • Vocabulary and usages.
    • Precise writing.
Paper I - Essay
  • The paper would require the candidate to write Essays on multiple topics.
  • 2 essays would have to be written for the paper, each of 1000-1200 word limit.
  • The Essay paper is divided into two parts- A and B, and each part consists of 4 essay topics and the candidate has to choose one from each and write 2 essays in total.
  • The effective and appropriate expressions receive credits in the Essay paper.
  • Not using the flowery language is suggested, instead the use of simple style could be preferred.
  • Keeping the statements precise, would help.
  • Also having a good handwriting is a bonus.

General Studies I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)
  • Indian Culture - Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  • 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.
  • Post-independence Consolidation and Reorganization within the country.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Salient features of World’s Physical 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).
  • 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.

General Studies II (Governance, Constitution, Welfare Initiatives, Social Justice & International Relations)

  • Indian Constitution—Historical Underpinnings, Evolution, Features, Amendments, Significant Provisions and Basic Structure.
  • 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.
  • Separation of Powers between various organs Dispute Redressal Mechanisms and Institutions.
  • Comparison of the Indian Constitutional Scheme with that of Other Countries.
  • Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these.
  • 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.
  • Salient Features of the Representation of People’s Act.
  • Appointment to various Constitutional Posts, Powers, Functions and Responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
  • Statutory, Regulatory and various Quasi-judicial Bodies.
  • Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.
  • Development Processes and the Development Industry — the Role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  • 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.
  • Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Issues relating to Poverty and Hunger.
  • Important Aspects of Governance, Transparency and Accountability, E-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; Citizens Charters, Transparency & Accountability and institutional and other measures.
  • Role of Civil Services in a Democracy.
  • India and its Neighbourhood- Relations.
  • Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
  • Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.
  • Important International Institutions, agencies and fora - their Structure, Mandate.

General Studies III (Technology, Economic Development, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.
  • Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it.
  • Government Budgeting.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Food Processing and Related Industries in India- Scope’ and Significance, Location, Upstream and Downstream Requirements, Supply Chain Management.
  • Land Reforms in India.
  • Effects of Liberalization on the Economy, Changes in Industrial Policy and their Effects on Industrial Growth.
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
  • Investment Models.
  • Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life.
  • Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-technology, Bio-technology and issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights.
  • Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.
  • Disaster and Disaster Management.
  • Linkages between Development and Spread of Extremism.
  • Role of External State and Non-state Actors in creating challenges to Internal Security.
  • 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.
  • Security Challenges and their Management in Border Areas - Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism.
  • Various Security Forces and Agencies and their Mandate.

General Studies IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)

  • 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:
  • 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.
  • Attitude: Content, Structure, Function; its Influence and Relation with Thought and Behaviour; 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 the weaker-sections.
  • Emotional Intelligence-Concepts, and their Utilities and Application in Administration and Governance.
  • Contributions of Moral Thinkers and Philosophers from India and World.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Case Studies on the above issues.

Paper VI & VII - Optional Subjects - Paper I & Paper II

The list has so many options that a candidate can choose from for the Optional Subjects. The optional includes two compulsory papers which are of 250 marks each and a time of 3 hours is allowed to the candidate for each Optional Subject Paper. Also, the list of options includes the literature options. 

  • Optional subject has 2 compulsory papers, i.e., Paper I and Paper II.
  • The list includes literature optional subjects too.
  • The candidate can choose literature optionals, even if he/she had not taken the subject for their graduation.
  • From a list of subjects, a candidate can choose any optional according to his/her interest and the list includes subjects which are as followed:
    • Agriculture
    • Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
    • Anthropology
    • Botany
    • Chemistry
    • Civil Engineering
    • Commerce & Accountancy
    • Economics
    • Electrical Engineering
    • Geography
    • Geology
    • History
    • Law
    • Management
    • Mathematics
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Medical Science
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Political Science & International Relations
    • Psychology
    • Public Administration
    • Sociology
    • Statistics
    • Zoology
    • Literature of any language among the languages which are included in the Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution, which are- Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.
This is the detailed syllabus about UPSC CSE Mains.

UPSC CSE Interview Syllabus

This is the third and final stage of UPSC CSE. This stage decides whether you are going to be an Administrator of India or not. This is a type of face-to-face Personality Test.

The interview consists of 275 marks which makes the grand total of maximum marks 2025. The board of UPSC Interview wants to see the following qualities in students:

  • Mental acuity
  • Critical thinking
  • Analytical thinking
  • Risk assessment skills
  • Crisis management skills
  • Ability to become a leader
  • Intellectual and moral integrity

This is the whole about UPSC CSE Syllabus. Hope this reading will worth you.

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