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The Union Public Service Commission has released the UPSC Mains Syllabus 2022 along with the official notification on the official website. The UPSC mains exam consists of two qualifying papers and seven other papers, four of which are GS papers and two of which are optional subject papers. The syllabus for the IAS Mains includes essays, General Studies papers, and optional subjects.

A thorough understanding of the UPSC Mains Syllabus is a critical step toward passing the IAS Mains exam with a high score. IAS aspirants should be aware that they will be eligible for the IAS Mains only if they pass the IAS prelims. 

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Overview of UPSC CSE 2022 Mains Syllabus

The UPSC CSE Mains 2022 syllabus and pattern are as follows:

UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus
Paper Name Syllabus Time Marks Comments
Indian Language (Paper A) Chosen Indian language (Class 10th Level) 3 hours 300 Qualifying in nature (33%)
English (Paper B) English Language (Class 10th Level) 3 hours 300 Qualifying in nature (33%)
Essay (Paper 1) Essays on various topics. 2 topics are to be selected. 3 hours 250 Marks added in final score
General Studies- 1 (Paper 2) History (ancient to present), Geography, Society, etc. 3 hours 250 Marks added in final score
General Studies- 2 (Paper 3) Indian Polity, Governance, International relations, etc. 3 hours 250 Marks added in final score
General Studies- 3 (Paper 4) Indian Economy, Agriculture, Environment, Security, etc. 3 hours 250 Marks added in final score
General Studies- 4 (Paper 5) Ethics, Ethical theories, Case studies, etc. 3 hours 250 Marks added in final score
Optional Subject-1 (Paper 6) Part 1 of the optional subject. 3 hours 250 Marks added in final score
Optional Subject-2 (Paper 7) Part 2 of the optional subject. 3 hours 250 Marks added in final score
Total Mains Marks 1750

Syllabus for UPSC Mains Qualifying Papers

The UPSC Mains Syllabus 2022 language papers include Indian Language (Paper A) and English (Paper B). These two papers are qualifying in nature, with candidates needing to score 25% or higher to qualify. If a candidate receives less than 25% in either of these papers, their other answer sheet will not be evaluated.

UPSC Mains Indian Language Syllabus: Comprehension, Precis Writing, Usage and Vocabulary and Short Essays.

UPSC Mains Compulsory English Syllabus: Comprehension of a given passage, Precis Writing, Short Essays, Usage and Vocabulary, Translation from English to the Indian Language, and vice-versa.

Syllabus for Essay Paper

The syllabus for UPSC Mains Paper 1 Essay is not stated explicitly. The UPSC Mains Essay Paper can be from any subject area, and applicants must keep their writing to the main subject and clearly note their ideas. Candidates will be given a list of topics, from which they must select two to write two essays of combined 250 marks.

Syllabus for GS 1 (Paper 2)

The syllabus for UPSC Mains GS Paper 2 covers subjects like history, geography, Indian heritage culture, and society.

IAS Mains Syllabus for Indian Culture

Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times

UPSC Mains GS 1 History syllabus – Modern Indian

Significant personalities, events, and issues during the middle eighteenth century(the 1750s) until the present.

Different stages and the important contributions and contributors from various locations of the country in “The Freedom Struggle”

Post-Independence reorganization and consolidation within the country.

UPSC Mains World History Syllabus

Forms, events, and effects of society since the 18th-century decolonization

World wars, Industrial revolution, Colonization, redraw of national boundaries, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, etc.

Indian Society UPSC Mains Syllabus 

Indian society and diversity- Salient aspects

Social empowerment, regionalism & secularism, communalism

Role of women and women’s organizations, poverty and developmental issues, population and associated issues, urbanization, their problems, and remedies.

Effects of globalization on Indian society

UPSC Mains Syllabus Geography

Important Geophysical phenomena such as Tsunami, Volcanic activity, earthquakes, cyclones, etc.

Distribution of key natural resources across the world including the Indian sub-continent, and South Asia: factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary industries in various regions of the world including India.

Salient features of the world’s physical geography

Geographical features and their location, changes in critical geographical features, and in flora and fauna, and bad impact of these changes.

Syllabus for GS 2 (Paper 3)

The topics of Governance, Constitution, Politics, Social Justice, and International Relations are covered in the UPSC Mains General Studies Paper 3 syllabus. In contrast to GS 1, this paper necessitates analytical reasoning and topical correlation. Laxmikant primarily covers the GS Paper 2 IAS Mains syllabus.

The important topics to be covered and the summarised version of the UPSC mains GS 2 syllabus are listed below:

UPSC Mains Syllabus for Polity

Indian Constitution, Features of Indian Constitution, Amendments in Indian Constitution, Provisions, Constitutional and non-constitutional bodies

UPSC Mains Governance Syllabus

Government policies and interventions, Governance, Transparency, Accountability, E-governance applications

Social Justice

Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services, Issues relating to poverty and hunger

IAS Mains Syllabus for International Relations

Bilateral Groupings, Regional and global groupings, Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Syllabus for GS 3 (Paper 4)

The following subjects are covered in the syllabus for UPSC Mains General Studies Paper 3:

  • Technology
  • Biodiversity, Environment
  • Economic Development
  • Security and Disaster Management

As the questions typically demand analysis of the static topic with the current events, GS Paper 3 also requires consistent correlation with current affairs. The following list includes the complete UPSC mains syllabus for GS Paper 3.

Syllabus for Economics

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development, and employment
  • Government Budgeting
  • Investment models (PPP etc)
  • Infrastructure – Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy (post-1991 changes), changes in industrial policy, and their effects on industrial growth
  • Inclusive growth and associated issues/challenges

Syllabus for Agriculture

  • Major 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
  • Land reforms in India.
  • Food processing and related industries in India – scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  • Economics of animal rearing.

Syllabus for Science and Technology

  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology.
  • General awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nanotechnology, biotechnology
  • Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
  • Recent developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
  • Issues relating to intellectual property rights

Syllabus for Environment

  • Environmental Pollution, and degradation
  • Conservation
  • Environmental impact assessment

Syllabus for Internal Security and Disaster Management

  • 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
  • Challenges to internal security (external state and non-state actors)
  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism
  • Security challenges, and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
  • Disaster Management (Laws, Acts, etc.)
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandates

Syllabus for Ethics (GS 4)

The ethics syllabus is covered in the IAS Mains Paper 4 syllabus. The purpose of the Ethics paper is to assess the candidate’s understanding of social and cultural ethics. The questions asked here will gauge the candidates’ responses to and attitudes toward social issues as well as their capacity for problem-solving.

The complete UPSC ethics syllabus is provided below:

UPSC Syllabus For Ethics

  • 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.
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world.
  • Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants, and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.
  • Case Studies on the above issues.


  • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration
  • Laws, rules, regulations, and conscience as sources of ethical guidance
  • Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions
  • Strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance
  • Accountability and ethical governance
  • Corporate governance.
  • Ethical issues in international relations and funding

GS 4 Syllabus UPSC- Aptitude

  • 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.

Syllabus For Optional Subjects

UPSC CSE Mains optional carry a total of 500. Two optional papers—Paper 1 and Paper 2—will be offered. Additionally, it is common to expect some questions from optional subjects during interviews.

The importance of optionals in determining students’ final grades cannot be overstated. There are many optional subject options offered by UPSC.

Preparation Tips for UPSC Mains Exam

Since the IAS Mains exam’s syllabus is extensive and comprehensive, it is crucial to have a strategic plan in place to finish it on time. In order to understand the types of questions that are asked and the importance of different topics, candidates must first analyse the syllabus in conjunction with the UPSC question papers.

  • Along with the optional papers, get ready for the GS exams. Divide your daily schedule in half to give each equal weight.
  • Try to write an answer to a question that was asked in the UPSC mains exam after covering a significant topic.
  • When preparing, always go over and make connections between current events and the static portion of the syllabus.
  • The most crucial component of UPSC mains preparation is revision.
  • Continue honing your mains answer writing and test-taking skills.

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Recommended Books for UPSC Mains Exam

The basic books required to complete the GS portion of the UPSC mains syllabus are given below:

Books for UPSC Mains syllabus for GS Paper 1 

  • India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • Geography of India – Majid Hussain
  • History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  • History NCERts
  • India After Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • Central Physical and Human Geography by GC Leong
  • Oxford Atlas
  • World Geography- Majid Hussain
  • Geography NCERTs (Class XI and XII)
  • Ancient India by RS Sharma

Books for UPSC Mains syllabus for GS Paper 2

  • Constitution of India by DD Basu
  • India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri
  • Indian Polity by M Laxmikanth

Books for UPSC Mains syllabus for GS Paper 3

  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  • Annual Budget
  • Indian Economic Survey

Books for UPSC Mains syllabus for GS Paper 4

  • Ethics Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon
  • Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude by Subba Rao and PN Rao Chaudhry

Frequently Asked Questions

Ques. Which UPSC CSE Mains GS paper is the simplest?

Ans. The GS 2 Political Science and International Relations and the GS 4 Ethics exams are both very successful. If you examine the top students’ grade reports, you’ll see that these two papers are where they really shine. Additionally, the essay is a very effective piece of writing.

Ques. Do I need NCERT for the UPSC CSE Mains?

Ans. Actually, NCERTs can help you pass the Prelims exam. The hardest part of the Mains is writing the answers; if you study from the NCERTs and simultaneously practice the Mains paper from the previous year, good results can be attained.

Ques. What do UPSC Mains penalty marks imply?

Ans. The examiners may deduct penalty points if your answer was written in sloppy handwriting, was poorly organised, contained irrelevant information, or had haphazard diagrams.

Ques. How can the UPSC Mains Syllabus be covered in three months?

Ans. A strategic and organised approach will enable candidates to finish the UPSC Mains Syllabus in three months. They must establish a strong foundation, use the appropriate resources, and have a comprehensive study plan. It is crucial to review the UPSC Question Papers from prior years in order to determine the types of questions that are asked and to make the appropriate preparations.

Ques. What subjects are included in the UPSC Mains Syllabus as optional?

Ans. The IAS mains syllabus offers a total of 48 optional subjects. Candidates are allowed to select any subject they want. There are two papers in the optional subject exam: Paper 1 and Paper 2. The most popular electives include PSIR, philosophy, public relations, pub advertising, sociology, anthropology, geography, etc.

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