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UPSC CSE Syllabus 2023 - Check Prelims & Mains Paper-Wise Syllabus

Updated By Shivangi Ahirwar on 02 Aug, 2023 13:09

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UPSC Syllabus 2023

UPSC Syllabus 2023: Searching for the UPSC syllabus PDF? Look no further! All the applicants preparing for the exam can find the UPSC Prelims syllabus and the UPSC Mains syllabus right on this page. 

As part of the Prelims syllabus, candidates are evaluated based on their knowledge and aptitude in current affairs. In the Civil Services Mains exam, a candidate is evaluated based on his/her academic expertise in his/her specialized subject. It also looks at an individual's overall intellectual traits and understanding of concepts. Basically, the questions that are asked in the Civil Services examination test the candidate’s understanding and clarity of concepts related to a variety of subjects, which is relevant to a career in Civil Services. 

UPSC CSE 2023 Prelims exam was conducted on May 28, 2023, and UPSC CSE Mains is scheduled to be held on September 15, 16, 17, 23 & 24, 2023. read below to know the UPSC CSE 2023 syllabus for the prelims and mains exam provided on this page.

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UPSC Syllabus 2023: Overview

The recruitment process for UPSC is done in three stages; Preliminary, Main, and Interviews. With each stage, the difficulty level increases. Every topic of UPSC Syllabus is necessary, hence candidates appearing for the exam must do thorough study to perform at his/her level best.

For the purpose of getting selected for UPSC Mains, the candidate must qualify the UPSC Prelims cutoff. Only those who pass the Mains exam are invited for the interview phase (Personality Test), which serves as the UPSC Civil Services Selection Process and is used to evaluate the candidates' intelligence, attentiveness, balance of judgment, and human traits including honesty, integrity, and leadership abilities.

Here’s an overview of the UPSC Syllabus 2023

UPSC Syllabus 2023




Date of Examination

28th May 2023

15th to 19th September 2023

Total Number of Papers



Question types

Objective Type

Descriptive Type

Exam Duration

2 hours each

3 hours each 

Total Marks



Medium of Exam

English & Hindi

English & Hindi (Language paper excluded)

Negative Marking 

⅓rd mark

Zero negative marking

Marks Counted in Merit



UPSC Syllabus 2023: Prelims

There are two stages in which UPSC Prelims are conducted; Paper I and Paper II. The first paper of UPSC Prelims mainly focuses on testing candidates' knowledge of current affairs, History, Geography, Indian policy, etc. Whereas Paper II revolves around logical and analytical reasoning abilities. 

To have a better understanding of the UPSC Prelims Syllabus, analyse the table given below.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus Paper I and II

Paper IPaper II
Current events of national and international importanceComprehension
History of India and Indian National MovementInterpersonal skills including communication skills
Indian and World Geography-PhysicalLogical reasoning and analytical ability
Social, Economic Geography of India and the WorldDecision-making and problem-solving
Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.General mental ability
Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. — Class X level)
General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity, and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialisation---
General Science---

Also ReadUPSC Prelims 2023- Most Important Chapters and Topics.

UPSC Syllabus 2023: Mains

Candidates who qualify for the UPSC Prelims exam become eligible to appear for the UPSC Mains. It is the scores and ranks of the candidates that help in deciding whether they have qualified for the UPSC preliminary exam or not. 

UPSC Mains syllabus tests the candidates’ academic knowledge and the ability to explain and convey the idea based on the type of question in a given time. 

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2023

Qualifying PapersMarks

Paper - A

(One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution).         

 300 Marks

Paper - B


300 Marks

Papers to be Counted for Merit

Paper - I


250 Marks

Paper - II

General Studies-I

(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)

250 Marks

Paper - III

General Studies – II
(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

250 Marks

Paper - IV

General Studies – III
(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and

Disaster Management)

250 Marks

Paper - V

General Studies – IV
(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)

250 Marks

Paper - VI

Optional Subject – Paper 1

250 Marks


Optional Subject – Paper 2

250 Marks
Sub Total (Written test)1750 Marks
Personality Test275 Marks
Grand Total2025 Marks

UPSC Mains Syllabus: Paper I Essay

Candidates appearing for UPSC Mains are required to write essays on a varied range of topics. Aspirants have to write two essays in under 3 hours with a 1000-1200 word limit. Each essay is of 125 marks for a total of 250 marks. Also, aspirants are expected to arrange their ideas in an orderly manner to write concisely. The UPSC Syllabus also States that credit will be given for effective and coherent expression. 

UPSC Mains Syllabus: Paper II

General Studies- I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

  • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature & 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 the 18th century, such as the Industrial Revolution, World Wars, redraw of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, etc., - their forms and effects on the society.

  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India. Role of women and women's organizations, 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, tsunami, 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.

UPSC Mains Syllabus: Paper- III

General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and 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, 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 related to development and management of Social Sector/Services in the field of Health, Education, Human Resources.

  • Issues related 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 neighborhood - 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.

Also ReadUPSC CSE Prelims Passing Marks 2023

UPSC Mains Syllabus: Paper- IV

General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and 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 Achievement 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, 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; linkages of organized crime with terrorism Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Also ReadUPSC Prelims Question Paper - 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019

UPSC Mains Syllabus: Paper- V

General Studies- IV: Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude

  • 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; 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, and challenges of corruption. Case Studies on the above issues.

Also ReadList of NCERT Books Required for UPSC Preparation 2023

UPSC Mains Syllabus: Paper VI & VII

There are 48 optional subjects in total with 26 generic subjects and 22 literature subjects. Candidates are requested to keep two important points in mind before they choose an optional subject or the UPSC exam:

  • Go through the syllabus of UPSC Mains Optional subjects.
  • Pick a subject in which they already have a good grasp,
  • Choose a subject that consumes less time in preparation.

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Dear Student,

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