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UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024 and Exam Pattern Download PDF

UPSC Mains is the second phase of the selection process for UPSC Civil Service examinations. The UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024 is a comprehensive guide for candidates aspiring to crack the Civil Services Examination, one of the most prestigious and competitive exams in India. It outlines the various subjects and topics that candidates need to be well-versed in to succeed in the exam. Mains Syllabus 2024 has a vast coverage area. The Union Public Service Commission publishes the official notification on its website along with the UPSC Syllabus 2024.

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024

UPSC Mains is the second phase of the examination for the candidate who has qualified for the prelims exam. UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024 consists of General Studies, electives, and essay writing topics are all covered. It is crucial information for applicants as they organize their study plans and schedule specific times for every subject. There are nine conventional descriptive-style papers in the written examination.

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024 Overview

Candidates who are preparing for the UPSC examination need to know the syllabus of both the preliminary and main examinations. In this article, we have provided the detailed syllabus of the main examination. Check the overview of the main examination below in the table

IAS Mains Syllabus 2024
Category UPSC Syllabus 2024
Number of Papers  Nine
Types of Paper Conventional Papers (Descriptive Type)
Duration of Exam  3 hours Each Paper
Total Marks  1750
Language of Exam English & Hindi (Except Language Paper)
Negative Marking  No negative marking but Penalty Marking for various mistakes made by candidates
Marks Counted in Merit  Yes
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UPSC Mains Exam Pattern 2024

Candidates who pass the preliminary exam can take the main exam. Candidates must be qualified for each paper as this is the stage of the exam procedure where scores and rankings are determined. The Mains exam assesses a candidate’s academic knowledge and capacity to effectively articulate their understanding following the question’s requirements within the allotted time.Candidates must obtain minimum passing marks in the nine Mains exam papers. Language papers, i.e., English and Indian Language papers, are qualifying papers, and the remaining papers, i.e., GS-I, GS-II, GS-III, GS-IV, Essay paper, Optional Paper 1, and Paper 2, will be graded.

Qualifying Papers in UPSC Mains Exam

  • Paper-A: One of the Indian languages listed in the Constitution’s Eighth Schedule must be selected by the candidate – 300 Marks
  • Paper-B: English – 300 Marks

Papers Counted for Merit in UPSC Mains Exam

Paper Detail Marks
Paper 1 Essay Paper 250 Marks
Paper 2 General Studies I:General Studies Paper I consists mainly of the History and Geography of the World and Society, Indian Heritage, and Culture. This paper primarily revolves around History, Geography, and Society 250 Marks
Paper 3 General Studies II: General Studies Paper II consists mainly of Polity, Constitution, Governance, Social Justice, and International relations. 250 Marks
Paper 4 General Studies III: General Studies Paper III consists mainly of Economic Development, Technology, Environment, Biodiversity, Security and Disaster Management. 250 Marks
Paper 5 General Studies IV: General Studies Paper IV consists mainly of Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude. 250 Marks
Paper 6 Optional Subject – Paper 1 250 Marks
Paper 7 Optional Subject – Paper 2 250 Marks
Sub Total Written Test 1750

Some Important Facts about UPSC Mains Exam

  • The main exam consists of two qualifying papers at 300 marks each, “Paper A” and “Paper B.”
  • Any Indian Language from the Eight Schedule” and “English Language Paper” are two qualifying papers for the Mains Exam.
  • Candidates must obtain 25% on the two qualifying exams, or 75 marks on each paper.
  • The final merit list will incorporate their scores because all seven papers are scored.
  • Candidates may answer every question in either English or one of the eight scheduled languages in the 7 merit-based papers.
  • Candidates must choose one subject from the list for Papers VI and VII as their optional subject.

Read More: UPSC Syllabus in Hindi

UPSC Mains Topic-wise Syllabus

Apart from the Indian Language and English Papers, other primary examination papers are counted for merit. Read the complete article for detailed coverage of the UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus of General Studies and Essay papers.

UPSC Mains Language Paper Syllabus

There are two language papers, i.e., Paper A and Paper B, in the UPSC Mains Exam. The candidates need to select one language from the list of languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, which is shown in the table below. And English is the second language paper. Candidates must use the script corresponding to the language in the table below. The candidate can choose any of the following Indian Languages from the table.

Language Script
1. Assamese Assamese
2. Bengali Bengali
3. Gujarati Gujarati
4. Hindi Devanagari
5. Kannada Kannada
6. Kashmiri Persian
7. Konkani Devanagari
8. Malayalam Malayalam
9. Manipuri Bengali
10. Marathi Devanagari
11. Nepali Devanagari
12. Odiya Odiya
13. Punjabi Gurumukhi
14. Sanskrit Devanagari
15. Sindhi Devanagari or Arabic
16. Tamil Tamil
17. Telugu Telugu
18. Urdu Persian
19. Bodo Devanagari
20. Dogri Devanagari
21. Maithili Devanagari
22. Santhali Devanagari or Olchiki

Note: The question paper for the Santhali language will be printed in Devanagari script. However, candidates are free to answer in Olchiki or Devanagari.Below is a breakdown of how “Paper A” and “Paper B,” the language papers, are structured.

  • Essay – 100 marks
  • Reading Comprehension – 60 marks
  • Precis Writing – 60 marks
  • Translation: (i) English to Compulsory Language (e.g. Hindi) – 20 marks and (ii) Compulsory Language to English – 20 marks
  • Grammar and Usage of Basic Language – 40 marks

UPSC Mains Syllabus General Studies I

The main topics of the first General Studies paper are the History, Heritage, Geography, and Culture of the World and Society. The commission has outlined the essential themes of the General Studies I syllabus, which is mentioned below for candidates.

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

  • Indian Culture: It covers the salient features of Art Forms, Literature, and Architecture from ancient times to modern times.
  • Modern Indian History: It includes the significant events, personalities, and issues from the middle of the 18th century until now.
  • In The Freedom Struggle, Various stages, essential contributors, and contributions from different parts of the country.
  • Consolidation and Reorganisation of the government after independence.
  • Events from the 18th century will be included in the history of the world, such as the Industrial Revolution, world wars, redrawing of national borders, colonization, and decolonization, as well as political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, and others—their manifestations and social effects.
  • Essential characteristics of Indian society and India’s diversity.
  • The role of women and the organization of women, population and related issues, poverty and developmental challenges, urbanisation, associated problems, and solutions.
  • The social effects of globalization in India.
  • Communalism, Regionalism, Secularism, and Social Empowerment.
  • Important physical geography characteristics of the world.
  • Distribution of primary natural resources worldwide (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent); determinants of where primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries are located globally (including India).
  • Critical geographic features and their location-changes in flora and fauna, as well as in water bodies and ice caps and the impact of such changes. Critical geophysical phenomena include earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic activity, cyclones, etc.

UPSC Mains Syllabus General Studies II

The Polity, Governance, Constitution, Social Justice, and Interrelations topics are covered in the UPSC Mains Syllabus General Studies II paper. The detailed syllabus is provided to candidates below.

Governance, Polity, Constitution, Social Justice and International Relations

  • The basic structures, features, modifications, major provisions, and historical context of the Indian Constitution.
  • Functions and duties of the Union and the States, problems and difficulties with the federal system, and obstacles with the devolution of authority and resources to local levels.
  • Power separation between multiple organs, conflict resolution procedures, and institutions.
  • Comparing the Indian constitutional design to other countries’ systems
  • Structure, administration, business practices, powers, and privileges of the Parliament and State Legislatures, and challenges resulting from these.
  • Governmental Ministries and Departments; Pressure Group organizations and formal/informal associations; and their purpose in the Polity.
  • Structure, organization, and operation of the Executive and the Judiciary.
  • The Representation of People’s Act’s key characteristics.
  • Appointment to several constitutional Bodies and their respective duties and responsibilities.
  • Statutory, regulatory, and various quasi-judicial agencies; Government interventions for development in many sectors; Problems resulting from the planning and execution of these interventions.
  • The role of NGOs, SHGs, diverse groups and associations, funders, charities, institutional, and other stakeholders in development processes and the development industry.
  • Welfare programs put in place by the federal government and individual states for the population’s most vulnerable groups, as well as the effectiveness of these programs, institutions, laws, and other organizations created to safeguard and improve the lives of these vulnerable groups.
  • Issues of the growth and administration of the social sector and services in health, education, and human resources.
  • Hunger and poverty-related issues.
  • Transparency and accountability are crucial components of governance, as are e-governance applications, models, accomplishments, limitations, and possibilities; citizens’ charters, transparency & accountability—institutional and other measurements.
  • The function of the civil service in a democracy
  • India’s relationship with its neighbours.
  • Groupings and agreements at the bilateral, regional, and international levels involving or impacting India and its interests.
  • Effect of developed and developing countries policies and politics on India’s interests and the Indian diaspora.
  • Important international organizations, agencies, and forums: their makeup and objectives.

Read More: UPSC Exam Pattern

UPSC Mains Syllabus General Studies III

The subjects of Science, Technology, Economics, Defense, Disaster Management, and Nature are thoroughly covered in UPSC Mains General Studies III. This paper will raise questions relating to many facets of life and recent developments in all areas of life.

Economic Development, Technology, Environment, Bio-diversity, Security and Disaster Management

  • Indian Economy, including planning, resource mobilization, growth, development, and employment difficulties.
  • Inclusive growth and the problems it raises.
  • Budgeting of Government.
  • Major crops, cropping patterns in various regions of the nation, various types of irrigation and irrigation systems, challenges with storage, transport, and marketing of agricultural products, and related limitations; the use of e-technology by farmers.
  • Concerns about buffer stocks and food security, direct and indirect farm subsidies, and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System goals, operations, and shortcomings; Technology missions; and the economics of animal husbandry.
  • Food processing and related sectors in India: their size and importance, where they are, what is needed upstream and downstream, and supply chain management.
  • Indian land reforms.
  • The economic implications of liberalization, changes to industrial policy, and how these affect the expansion of the industrial sector.
  • Infrastructure includes things like ports, roads, airports, and railroads.
  • Models for investments.
  • Science and technology breakthroughs and how they are used and impact daily life.
  • Scientific and technological advances made by Indians, indigenization of technology, and the creation of new technology.
  • Awareness of issues relating to intellectual property rights and IT, space, computers, robotics, nanotechnology, and biotechnology.
  • Environmental impact assessment, pollution and degradation of the environment, and conservation.
  • Disasters and disaster management; Relationships between extremism’s growth and dissemination.
  • The contribution of non-state and state actors from outside to the problems with domestic security.
  • Threats to internal security posed by communication networks, the media’s and social media’s role in such threats, the fundamentals of cyber security, and money laundering and its prevention.
  • Security issues and how to manage them in border regions – connections between organized crime and terrorism.
  • The function of various security agencies and organizations.

UPSC Mains Syllabus General Studies IV

Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude: This paper contains questions to assess the candidate’s attitude and approach toward matters relating to integrity, probity in public life, and their policy to problem-solving when dealing with various societal challenges and disputes. Questions may use the case study approach to determine these elements and cover area.

  • Ethics and Human Interaction: The purpose, factors, and outcomes of ethical behaviour in people; the dimensions of ethics; and the application of ethics in both personal and professional settings. The importance of family community and educational institutions in instilling values may be seen in the study of human values, which draws lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers, and administrators.
  • Moral and political attitudes, social influence, and persuasion are all aspects of attitude that include its content, structure, and function, as well as its relationship to cognition and behaviour.
  • Civil service aptitude and core principles include honesty, objectivity, non-partisanship, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance, and compassion for the weaker groups.
  • Emotional intelligence concepts and their benefits and use in governance and administration.
  • Contributions from moral philosophers and thinkers in India and around the world.
  • Public/Civil Service Values and Ethics in Public Administration: Status and Issues; Ethical Issues in International Relations and Funding; Corporate Governance; Laws, Rules, Regulations, and Conscience as Sources of Ethical Guidance. Accountability and Ethical Governance.
  • Probity in governance includes the idea of public service, the philosophical underpinnings of governance and integrity, information sharing and transparency in government, the right to information, codes of ethics and conduct, citizen’s charters, workplace culture, the effectiveness of service delivery, the use of public resources, and challenges posed by corruption.
  • Case Studies on the concerns above

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024 PDF Download

A thorough resource that offers detailed information regarding the syllabus for the UPSC Mains Exam is the IAS Mains Syllabus PDF. Candidates can download it from the official website or the link below. It covers various topics, including general studies, elective subjects, and qualification exams. Download the UPSC IAS Mains Syllabus PDF from the link provided below, both in Hindi and English.

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024 PDF Download in English

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024 PDF Download in Hindi

UPSC Optional Subjects

Papers 6 and 7 of the UPSC Mains exam are Optional subject papers. Candidates may select any of the UPSC Optional Subjects, if you want to check the list, please click on the mentioned link to get complete details.

UPSC Optional Subjects List
UPSC Agriculture Syllabus UPSC Law Syllabus
UPSC Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Syllabus  UPSC Management Syllabus
UPSC Anthropology Syllabus UPSC Mathematics Syllabus
UPSC Botany Syllabus UPSC Mechanical Engineering Syllabus
UPSC Chemistry Syllabus UPSC Medical Science Syllabus
UPSC Civil Engineering Syllabus UPSC Philosophy Syllabus
UPSC Commerce and Accountancy Syllabus UPSC Physics Syllabus
UPSC Economics Syllabus UPSC PSIR Syllabus
UPSC Electrical Engineering Syllabus UPSC Psychology Syllabus
UPSC Geography Syllabus UPSC Public Administration Syllabus
UPSC Geology Syllabus UPSC Sociology Syllabus
UPSC History Syllabus UPSC Statistics Syllabus
UPSC Zoology Syllabus

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UPSC Mains Syllabus FAQs

What is UPSC Mains Syllabus?

UPSC Mains has an exhaustive syllabus which includes two qualifying Language Papers, 4 General Studies Papers, 2 Optional Papers, and 1 Essay Paper.

Which are the 9 papers in UPSC mains?

9 papers in the UPSC Mains exam are:

Indian Language Paper
English Paper
Essay Paper
General Studies I
General Studies II
General Studies III
General Studies IV
Optional Paper I
Optional Paper II

How many total marks are in UPSC Mains?

There are 1750 total marks from the UPSC CSE mains written exam and 275 marks for the Personality Test or Interview. To determine the final merit list, both marks are clubbed together.

What are the 7 papers of UPSC counted for Merit?

7 papers of UPSC counted for Final Merit:

Paper‐1: (Essay) – 250 Marks
Paper‐2: (General Studies I) – 250 Marks
Paper‐3: (General Studies II) – 250 Marks
Paper‐4: (General Studies III) – 250 Marks
Paper‐5: (General Studies IV) – 250 Marks
Paper‐6: (Optional Subject Paper I) – 250 Marks
Paper‐7: (Optional Subject Paper II) – 250 Marks

How to download UPSC Mains Syllabus PDF?

The UPSC mains syllabus 2024 in PDF format is available to candidates on the UPSC website in the form of official notification.

Which is paper 1 in UPSC?

It is a subjective type of paper consisting of subjects like History, Geography, Art and Culture, and Indian Society.

How much paper in UPSC mains?

There are a total of nine papers in the UPSC Mains Exam including two language papers that are qualifying in nature, one essay paper, four General Studies papers, and two optional papers

How to download UPSC Mains Syllabus PDF?

Candidates can download the UPSC mains syllabus PDF from the official website of UPSC or from the mentioned link in this post above.

About the Author

I, Sakshi Gupta, am a content writer to empower students aiming for UPSC, PSC, and other competitive exams. My objective is to provide clear, concise, and informative content that caters to your exam preparation needs. I strive to make my content not only informative but also engaging, keeping you motivated throughout your journey!

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