IAS Syllabus 2020
Updated on Jan 16, 2020 - 5:07 p.m. IST by Shristi Kirti
#UPSC Civil Services Exam

UPSC IAS Syllabus 2020 will be released by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) along with the official notification of Civil Services Exam on February 12 at upsc.gov.in. UPSC IAS 2020 syllabus will be released for both prelims and mains exam for all aspiring candidates. The syllabus of UPSC IAS 2020 will contain all the topics and chapters from where the questions will be asked in the exam. Candidates must go through UPSC IAS syllabus 2020 before they start their preparation. By going through UPSC IAS 2020 syllabus, candidates will be able to find all important topics to study and maintain a study plan. Candidates need not go here and there to look for the topics to study for UPSC IAS as they will get all topics in the syllabus itself.
UPSC IAS 2020 prelims exam is scheduled to be held on May 31, 2020. As per the exam pattern of UPSC IAS 2020, the test will be held in three phases - prelims, mains, and interview. The prelims exam will be held for two compulsory papers - paper I and II of 200 marks each while the mains exam will be held for paper A (optional paper 1), B (optional paper 2), I, II, III, IV, V, VI, and VII. To know more about UPSC IAS syllabus 2020, go through the article below.
Latest: The application form of UPSC IAS 2020 is available now!

IAS Syllabus - Stage Wise

The examination authorities determine the syllabus of UPSC IAS for each stage of the following stages:

  • Prelims

  • Mains

  • Interview

UPSC IAS 2020 Syllabus For Prelims - Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT)

The first stage of UPSC IAS exam is the prelims. Candidates who pass the prelims phase will become eligible to appear for the mains exam. The prelims exam of UPSC IAS is conducted for two papers - General Studies paper I and General Studies paper II, both of which contain objective type multiple choice questions. UPSC IAS prelims exam is intended to test the general awareness of a candidate in subjects like Indian Polity, Geography, History, Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, International Relations and associated current affairs. The detailed IAS syllabus for prelims stage is mentioned below.

UPSC IAS Prelims Syllabus 2020 - General Studies (Paper I)

The topics below need to be prepared for the IAS paper I syllabus.

  • Current events of national and international importance.

  • General issues on Environmental ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialization

  • Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.

  • General Science.

  • Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc

  • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.

Best books for UPSC IAS For General Studies Paper I

In order to study in an organised way, candidates must pick the best books for IAS. The list of books for General Studies.

  • Manorama Yearbook

  • Yojana Magazine

  • Newspapers: Hindu or Indian Express

  • NCERT Biology Class 12th

  • Indian Economy- Ramesh Singh

  • Economic Survey of India, by the Ministry of Finance

  • The Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Niraj Kumar

  • NCERT Class 9th to 12th

  • NCERT Class 12th

  • Indian Polity, by Laxmikanth

  • Introduction to the Constitution of India, by Durga Das Basu

  • Certificate Physical & Human Geography, by Goh Cheng Leong

  • Geography of India, by Majid Hussain

  • Oxford School Atlas

  • NCERT Class 6th to 12th

Prelims Syllabus of UPSC IAS 2020 For General Studies (Paper-II)

In the General Studies paper II (CSAT) of IAS prelims exam, questions will be asked from the following topics.

  • 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

Recommended Best Books for IAS General Paper II CSAT

  • Yojana, Kurukshetra, Frontline and the newspapers like Indian Express, The Hindu

  • Analytical Reasoning – MK Pandey

  • Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning– RS.Aggarwal

UPSC IAS Syllabus 2020 - Mains

According to UPSC IAS selection process, the next stage is the mains stage wherein there will be seven papers - paper I, II, II, IV, V, VI, and VII. The table below contains the topics for each of the seven papers from the questions are expected to be asked.

UPSC IAS 2020 Syllabus - Mains paper I

In paper I of the mains exam of UPSC IAS exam 2020, candidates will be given multiple topics out of which candidates will have to write an essay.

UPSC IAS Syllabus - Mains 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the 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, 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.

UPSC IAS Syllabus 2020 - Mains 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Salient features of the Representation of the People's Act.

  • 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 the 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 IAS 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.

UPSC IAS 2020 Syllabus - Mains Paper IV

General Studies - III: Technology, Economic Development, 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.

  • 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.

UPSC IAS Syllabus 2020 - Mains Paper V

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Government strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply.Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.

  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world.

  • 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.

UPSC IAS 2020 Syllabus - Mains Paper VI and VII

Paper VI and VII will contain topics from the optional subject selected by the candidates. There are various subjects that the candidates can select for paper VI and VII, the list of which is mentioned below:

Syllabus of UPSC IAS for paper VI and VII





Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science






Civil Engineering

Electrical Engineering

Medical Science

Commerce and Accountancy







Political Science and International Relations



Public Administration



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

UPSC IAS Exam Pattern 2020

According to the exam pattern of UPSC IAS exam, the prelims exam comprises two papers – General Studies paper I and General Studies paper 2. Both the papers will contain only objective type questions. Prelims exam is conducted to select candidates for mains. The exam pattern of UPSC IAS prelims exam has been provided below.

UPSC IAS 2020 Syllabus - Pattern for Prelims

Name of paper

Number of Questions

Total Marks


General Studies 1



2 hours

General Studies 2



2 hours

All those candidates who will pass in the prelims exam of UPSC IAS 2020 will further have to appear for the mains exam, the exam pattern of which has been mentioned in the table below.

UPSC IAS Syllabus 2020 – Mains and Interview Pattern


Name of Paper

Total Marks


Paper A

Indian Language


3 hours

Paper B



3 hours

Paper 1



3 hours

Paper 2

General Studies 1


3 hours

Paper 3

General Studies 2


3 hours

Paper 4

General Studies 3


3 hours

Paper 5

General Studies 4


3 hours

Paper 6

Optional subject 1


3 hours

Paper 7

Optional subject 2


3 hours





Personality Test



45 minutes to 1 hours

Grand Total




UPSC IAS 2020 Question Papers

In order to prepare for the test, candidates must go through the previous years question papers of UPSC IAS. It will help the candidates understand the types of questions asked in the exam. Candidates can also check and download the question papers of the UPSC Civil Services Prelims exam for Paper I and II held. Check set-wise Civil Services question papers below.

Previous Year UPSC IAS Question Papers (2018) for Prelims (Set A, B, C, D)

Question Set

Set A

Set B

Set C

Set D

Download Link Paper I

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Download Link Paper II

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

UPSC IAS Admit Card 2020

The examination authorities will release the admit card of UPSC IAS in online mode on April 28, 2020 for prelims exam. Candidates will be able to download admit card by using application number and password/ date of birth. IAS admit card will contain the details related to the candidates and the exam like name, date of birth, registration and roll number, date and time of the examination and exam centre details etc. Candidates must carry the admit card to the UPSC IAS exam centre along with one of the prescribed photo ID proof.

How to Prepare for UPSC IAS 2020

In order to prepare for the UPSC IAS exam, candidates must strategise their preparation techniques so that they can prepare well for the exam. There are a few tips and tricks mentioned below to help the aspirant prepare well for the exam.

  • Know all the topics from where the questions can be asked in the exam.

  • Pick the best books for preparation

  • Make a study schedule and follow it

  • Solve previous year’s question papers

  • Take as many mock tests as possible

Contact details:

Union Public Service Commission

Dholpur House,

Shahjahan Road, New Delhi - 110069

Facilitation Counter Phone No: 011-23098543 /23385271 /23381125 /23098591

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) - IAS Syllabus 2020

Question: Which of the subjects can I choose for UPSC IAS exam ?


There are many subjects that are listed for appearing in UPSC IAS exam. You can choose any of the subjects of your choice. The top 10 optional subjects for UPSC IAS exam is listed below:

  • Agriculture

  • Medical Science

  • Economics

  • Chemistry

  • Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science

  • Commerce and Accountancy

  • History

  • Law

Question: Is there any change in UPSC CSE Syllabus 2020?


Since the detailed notification will be released by the authority in February 2020, you will be able to know any changes if done. However, for now, you can totally rely on the syllabus of the previous year.

Question: Who got highest marks in UPSC Ever?


The highest marks ever scored in the UPSC exam were by Anudeep Durishetty, the topper for UPSC 2017. He scored 1126 (55.60%) out of 2025 marks. He scored 950 out of 1750 marks in Mains and 176 out of 275 in the personality test (UPSCInterview).

Question: Which of the books can I refer by toppers to clear IAS preliminary exam


  1. Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations by M. Laxmikanth (Polity) ...

  2. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

  3. Economic Survey by the Ministry of Finance

  4. Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania

  5. Oxford School Atlas by Oxford Publishers

  6. Certificate Physical and Human Geography by Goh Cheng Leong

Question: Which optional subjects have the highest success rate in IAS/UPSC exam


Optional Subject

Candidates Appeared

Success Rate













More like UPSC Civil Services Exam

Questions related to UPSC Civil Services Exam

Showing 1090 out of 1090 Questions

tell me all about upcs exam (IAS)

Rohan Goyal 20th Feb, 2020

Hi Divya,

IAS is a civil service examination which is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission ( UPSC ) . There are three stages of this exam and if you clear all the three stages then you will be posted in best and highly posted civil service like:- IAS, IPS etc. This is one of the toughest exam of India. But this can be cracked with a proper strategy,  study . This is an offline mode exam and conducted once in a year. The age limit prescribed is 21 years to 32 years and other for reserved candidates.  This exam contains both MCQ and descriptive questions.

Stage 1 Preliminary Exam

Stage 2 Mains Exam

Stage 3 UPSC Personality Exam ( Interview)

For more information you can go the link given below.

Link :- https://competition.careers360.com/exams/upsc-civil-services-exam

I hope you got your answer.

All The Best!


i want to know about nimset and preparing for 2021

Hrisheekesh Singh 19th Feb, 2020

Hi Bibhas,

NIT MCA Common Entrance Test (NIMCET), is the national level entrance exam conducted every year by one of the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) for taking admissions on merit basis to Master of Computer Applications (MCA) programme.

This exam works across the NITs located in Agartala, Allahabad, Kurukshetra, Calicut, Raipur, Warangal, Surathkal, Durgapur, Trichy, Jamshedpur, Bhopal and Kurukshetra.

The application form of NIMCET 2020 will be released soon through which the candidates can fill the form and appear in the entrance exam. NIMCET admit card will also be released to be downloaded by candidates. The exam will be conducted in offline mode and the result of the same will be declared on the official website of NIMCET 2020.

Total 809 seats are available and duration of exam is 2 hours.

NOTE:- NIMCET scores are used by many other universities and institutes for admissions to the MCA programmes offered by them.

You may refer to the source article for more information about NIMCET 2020 Exam.

I hope this information helps you.

Good Luck!


Iw ant to be an IAS officer which field I will choose

Papeya Dubey Student Expert 19th Feb, 2020

The eligibility criteria for UPSC is to have attained 21 years ago and passed graduation in any discipline from a recognized university. Even, final year students are eligible.

If you're asking this question in context of the fact that UPSC is more humanities oriented, then let me tell you from the past few years people from engineering, medical have made it to topper's list. So, what matters in this case is a good planning and strategy.Also  this is the very reason UPSC has made no discrimination, hence allowed people from every stream to apply for it. If you're interested in humanities stream, then go ahead with your choice but don't make it compulsory one in order to crack UPSC.

Is doing IT degree will be any help for IAS?

Papeya Dubey Student Expert 19th Feb, 2020

Eligibility Criteria for UPSC is to have attained 21 years age and passed graduation in any discipline from a recognized university. Even final year students are eligible to apply.

So, you can pursue graduation in any discipline to apply for UPSC Civil Service. Now, coming to year question UPSC is more humanities oriented, so people belonging to this stream are acquainted with the subject in a good way. Science students do not study these subjects at 10+2 level. But, having said that let me tell you in the past few years, if you look at the toppers of this exam, many people from engineering, medical too have qualified. Hence, this is the reason UPSC makes no discrimination and allow people from all discipline to appear for this.

please recommend me the best book for IAS study Hindi medium

anima chaudhary 18th Feb, 2020

As per the reviews these are the best books for the IAS in hindi medium are-

For Indian history Plassi se vibhajan, Adhunik bharat ka ethas by bipin Chandra , bharat gandhi ke baad by ramchandra guha.

For world history -samkaleen vishwa ka ithas (1890-2008)

For indian geography for oxford school atlas (hindi), bhugol mukhya pariksha by Dkhullar

For world history- bharat avum vishva ka bhugol by magbook

Bharat evam vishwa ka bhugol.

For art culture bhartiya kala sanskriti evam virsat and bhartiya kala evam sanskriti.

For Indian society you can prefer samajik samasyayein by ram Ahuja.
These are the ideal books , you didn't mention about the subject?
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