UPSC 2022 Syllabus: IAS Prelims, Mains & Interview Stages

26 Jul 2022  Read 1038 Views

Civil Services Exam (IAS Exam), the most desired exam of all, is conducted by UPSC every year to recruit candidates for several services & posts in the Indian Government. This 2- stage exam comprises the following:

1. Civil Services Preliminary Examination for the selection of candidates for the Main Examination. This is an objective type.

2. Civil Services Main Examination for the selection of candidates for various services & posts as mentioned in the official notification. It includes a written exam and interview.

UPSC Preliminary Examination

Exam Pattern for UPSC Prelims

Two mandatory Papers

General Studies Paper-I

General Studies Paper-II (CSAT)

Number of Questions asked in GS Paper-I

100 (2 marks per question)

Number of Questions asked in GS Paper- II (CSAT)

80 (2.5 marks per question)

Total Number of Marks


  • GS Paper-I – 200 Marks

  • CSAT – 200 Marks

Negative Marking 

One-third of the total marks allotted to the question will be deducted for every wrong answer.

Time Allotted

  • GS Paper-I: 2 Hours (9:30 AM -11:30 AM)

  • CSAT: 2 Hours (2:30 PM – 4:30 PM)

The syllabus of two papers of the IAS prelims are:

1. Syllabus of General Studies Paper- I

Indian Polity, Geography, History, Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, International Relations and associated.

  • 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

2. Syllabus of Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) 

This paper assesses the aptitude of the candidate in solving ‘Reasoning and Analytical’ questions, apart from ‘Reading Comprehension’ and the occasionally asked ‘Decision Making’ questions.

Note: The ‘Decision Making’ based questions are generally exempt from negative marks, and the marks obtained in the Prelims will not be added up while arriving at the final rank list; rather, it helps only in qualifying for the mains exam.

  • Comprehension

  • 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)

UPSC Mains Examination

Exam Pattern of UPSC Mains





Essay (can be written in the medium of the candidate’s choice)



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



General Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)



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



General Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)



Optional Subject – Paper I



Optional Subject – Paper II


All about UPSC Mains

  • It is the 2nd phase of the Civil Services Examination reached after qualifying the prelims.

  • The UPSC Mains exam consists of 9 papers, of which two are qualifying papers of 300 marks each.

  • The two qualifying papers are:

  • Any Indian Language Paper

  • English Language Paper

  • The papers on Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates who attain 25% marks in both the language papers as a minimum qualifying standard in these qualifying papers will be taken cognizance of for evaluation.

  • In case a candidate does not qualify in these language papers, then the marks obtained by such candidates will not be considered or counted.

1. Syllabus for UPSC Mains GS-I

General Studies‐I is also called Paper-II of UPSC Mains.

Includes Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society. The syllabus is herewith given:

  • Indian culture will cover the 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, and 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 the 18th century, such as the industrial revolution, world wars, redrawing of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on 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 the 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, floods, volcanic activity, cyclones 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. 

2. Syllabus for Mains GS-II

General Studies-II is also called Paper-III of UPSC Mains. 

It includes Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations. The detailed UPSC syllabus is:

  • Constitution of India —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, the 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 Center 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, and mandate. 

3. Syllabus for Mains GS-III

General Studies-III is also known as Paper-IV of the UPSC Mains. It includes:

  • 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 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 andṣ 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 development of 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, the 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 link organized crime with terrorism.

  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate. 

4. Syllabus for Mains GS-IV

General Studies Paper-IV is also called Paper-V of UPSC Mains. It majorly covers Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude. The questions are aimed at testing candidates’ attitudes and approaches to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and their problem-solving approach to several issues. The detailed syllabus is given hereunder:

  • 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; the 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 the 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. 

Syllabus for Language and Essay Papers

  • Essay Paper – 

It is the Paper-I of UPSC Mains. Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep close to the essay’s subject & write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.  The topics for the essay can include World Environment Day, Unity in diversity, Essay on Music, Save girl child or any other contemporary issues etc.

  • Qualifying Papers on Indian Languages and English-


The types of questions asked are –

  1. Essay – 100 marks

  2. Reading comprehension – 60 marks

  3. Precise Writing – 60 marks

  4. Translation:

    • English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) – 20 marks

    • Compulsory language to English – 20 marks

  5. Grammar and basic language usage – 40 marks

The rest of the seven papers can be written in any of the languages mentioned under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India or in English. The pattern of questions would broadly be as follows :

(i) Comprehension of given passages.

(ii) Precise Writing.

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.

(iv) Short Essays.

Indian Languages:-

(i) comprehension of given passages.

(ii) Precis Writing.

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.

(iv) Short Essays.

(v) Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa. 

Syllabus for Paper – VI & VII

The UPSC Mains syllabus lists 48 Optional Subjects, including Literature of different languages, i.e., Optional Subject Papers I & II. A candidate may opt for any one of the Optional Subjects from the following:

(i) Agriculture

(ii) Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

(iii) Anthropology

(iv) Botany

(v) Chemistry

(vi) Civil Engineering

(vii) Commerce and Accountancy

(viii) Economics

(ix) Electrical Engineering

(x) Geography

(xi) Geology

(xii) History

(xiii) Law

(xiv) Management

(xv) Mathematics

(xvi) Mechanical Engineering

(xvii) Medical Science

(xviii) Philosophy

(xix) Physics

(xx) Political Science and International Relations

(xxi) Psychology

(xxii) Public Administration

(xxiii) Sociology

(xxiv) Statistics

(xxv) Zoology

(xxvi) Literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English. Each Optional Subject has 2 compulsory papers. 

UPSC Syllabus for IAS Interview

Known as Personality Test, it is the final stage of the examination. There is no defined UPSC syllabus for the interview. Questions vary from wide-ranging issues.

  • Candidates who qualify for the UPSC Mains Exam will be called for the ‘Personality Test/Interview’. These candidates will be interviewed by a Board appointed by the UPSC.

  • The objective of the interview is to assess the candidate's personal suitability for a career in civil services by a board of competent and unbiased observers.

  • The interview is more of a purposive conversation intended to explore the candidate's mental qualities and analytical ability.

  • The Interview test will be 275 marks, and the total marks for the written examination are 1750. This sums up to a Grand Total of 2025 Marks, based on which the final merit list will be prepared.

The UPSC Syllabus 2022 is the same as UPSC Syllabus 2021 and UPSC Syllabus 2020.

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 137 Post(s)

Kakoli Nath is a legal Content Curator at Finology Legal who pursued BBA.LL.B (5 years integrated course) & she is a patent analyst. She has pursued advanced certification in Forensics Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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