UPSC Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility Criteria:


The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a nationwide competitive examination in India conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India, including the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) among others.It is conducted in two phases - a preliminary examination consisting of two objective-type papers (general studies and aptitude test), and a main examination consisting of nine papers of conventional (essay) type followed by a personality test (interview).


Eligibility for the examination is as follows:


·        For the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Foreign Service and the Indian Police Service, a candidate must be a citizen of India.

·        A citizen of India

·        A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India

·        For other services, a candidate must be one of the following:

·        A citizen of India

·        A citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan

·        A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Myanmar, 

Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India


All candidates must have as a minimum one of the following educational qualifications:

·        A degree from a Central, State or Deemed university

·        A degree received through correspondence or distance education

·        A degree from an open university

·        A qualification recognized by the Government of India as being equivalent to one of the above

The following candidates are also eligible, but must submit proof of their eligibility from a competent authority at their institute/university at the time of the main examination, failing which they will not be allowed to attend the exam.

·        Candidates who have appeared in an examination, the passing of which would render them educationally qualified enough to satisfy one of the above points

·        Candidates who have passed the final exam of the MBBS degree but have not yet completed an internship

·        Candidates who have passed the final exam of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), ICSI and ICWAI

·        A degree from a private university

·        A degree from any foreign university recognized by the Association of Indian Universities


A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on August 1 of the year of examination. Prescribed age limits vary with respect to caste reservations. For other backwards castes (OBC) the upper age limit is 35, and for scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST) the limit is 37 years. The upper age limit is relaxed for certain candidates who are backward with respect to other factors and physically handicapped people.

Numbers of attempts

The number of times a candidate may attempt the exam is limited as follows:

·        General category candidates = 6

·        OBC category candidates = 9

·        SC/ST candidates = unlimited attempts till 37 years of age

Appearing to attempt one of the papers in the preliminary examination is counted as an attempt, including disqualification/ cancellation of candidature. However, applying to sit the exam but failing to attend is not counted as an attempt.

List of Services

Following are the services which one gets on qualifying the Civil Service Examination.

All India Services

·        Indian Administrative Service

·        Indian Police Service

Group A Services

·        Indian Audit and Accounts Service

·        Indian Civil Accounts Service

·        Indian Corporate Law Service

·        Indian Defence Accounts Service

·        Indian Defence Estates Service

·        Indian Foreign Service

·        Indian Information Service

·        Indian Ordnance Factories Service

·        Indian Post & Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service

·        Indian Postal Service

·        Indian Railway Accounts Service

·        Indian Railway Personnel Service

·        Indian Railway Traffic Service

·        Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax)

·        Indian Revenue Service (CBEC)

·        Indian Trade Service

·        Railway Protection Force

Group B Services

·        Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service

·        Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service

·        Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Service

·        Pondicherry Civil Service

·        Pondicherry Police Service


Examination Pattern

The UPSC Civil Services Exam is conducted in two stages Prelims and Mains which are then followed by an interview.  

Scheme and subjects for the Preliminary and Main Examinations is as follows:

Civil Services Preliminary exam comprises of two compulsory papers of 200 marks each (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II). The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type. The marks in prelims will not be counted for final ranking, but just for qualification for main exam.

The Commission will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Service (Main) Examination based on the criterion of minimum qualifying marks of 33% in General Studies PaperII of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination and total qualifying marks of General Studies Paper-I of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination as may be determined by the Commission.

UPSC Syllabus for  prelims

Paper I – (200 marks) Duration: Two hours (Counted for the merit rank in the Prelims)

·        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, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.

·        General Science.


Paper II- (200 marks) Duration: Two hours (Not counted for the merit rank in Prelims but a qualifying Paper; just needs 33% marks)

·        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).

Civil Services Mains Exam

A candidate’s rank in UPSC Civil Service Exam depends only on the mark scored in Main and Interview. The main exam has 1750 marks while interview has 275 marks.

The written examination (main) will consist of the following nine papers, but only 7 papers will be counted for final merit ranking. For the rest two papers, the candidate should secure minimum marks prescribed by UPSC each year.

Qualifying Papers – Not counted for final ranking:

·        Paper  A – Indian Language – Syllabus. (One of the Indian Languages to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution. This paper will not be compulsory for candidates hailing from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim.) 300 Marks.

·        Paper B – English Language – Syllabus . 300 Marks.

Papers to be counted for merit ranking:

1.   PaperI Essay – Syllabus. 250 Marks.

2.   PaperII General Studies – I – . 250Marks. (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society).

3.   PaperIII General Studies –II – Syllabus. 250 Marks. (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations).

4.   PaperIV General Studies –III – Syllabus. 250 Marks. (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management).

5.   PaperV General Studies –IV – Syllabus. 250 Marks. (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude).

6.   PaperVI Optional Subject – Paper 1 – 250 Marks.

7.   PaperVII Optional Subject – Paper 2 – 250 Marks.


Optional Subjects for Civil Services Main Exam

This is the complete list of optional subjects for civil services main examination. You have to opt for any one subject. Optional paper consists of two papers of 250 marks each.

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  3. Anthropology
  4. Botany
  5. Chemistry
  6. Civil Engineering
  7. Commerce and Accountancy
  8. Economics
  9. Electrical Engineering
  10. Geography
  11. Geology
  12. History
  13. Law
  14. Management
  15. Mathematics
  16. Mechanical Engineering
  17. Medical Science
  18. Philosophy
  19. Physics
  20. Political Science and International Relations
  21. Psychology
  22. Public Administration
  23. Sociology
  24. Statistics
  25. Zoology
  26. Literature of any one of the following languages: AssameseBengaliBodoDogriGujaratiHindi,KannadaKashmiriKonkaniMaithiliMalayalamManipuriMarathiNepaliOriyaPunjabi,SanskritSanthaliSindhiTamilTeluguUrdu and English.

Civil Services Interview

1.   The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his/her career. He/she will be asked questions on matters of general interest. The object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers. The test is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms, this is really an assessment of not only his/her intellectual qualities but also social traits and his/her interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.

2.   The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.

3.   The interview test is not intended to be a test either of the specialised or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own state or country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well educated youth.

Sub Total (Written test) : 1750 Marks
Personality Test: 275 Marks
Grand Total: 2025 Marks


Important Books for IAS


Author’s Name


NCERT’s (old, 11th & 12th stds.) 
S.N. Lal’s ,Ramesh Singh or Sankar Ganesh Key Notes


Old NCERT’s (11th& 12th stds. ) 
Bipin Chandra’s book
Sumit Sarkar’s book


Deenanath Verma’s 
Akhil Murthy’s


Spectrum Publications


NCERT’S books (11th & 12th stds. Books)
Ram Ahuja’s


Oxford School Atlas
Orient Longman
K.Siddharatha’s Map book
NCERT’s (11th & 12th books)
Mahesh Barnwal


Above Atlas
Mahesh Barnwal book
Khullar’s (‘Indian Geography’)


9TH TO 12 th NCERT’s books (old & new) 
Braj Kishore Sharma’s
Bare Acts 
D.D. Basu’s


Chronicle (special issues)
Related Ministries’ Annual Reports
Planning Commission’s documents 


Pushpesh Pant’s
Tapan Biswal’s
‘World Focus’ magazine




IGNOU- 2 issues


Savinder Singh’s


Chronicle (special issues)


6TH-12TH stds. NCERT’s


Drishti’s notes
Subba Rao and Roy Chowdhury 
Ramesh Arora


Website updates


The Hindu (English Newspaper)
Dainik Jagran 
Dainik Bhaskar