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All Optional Papers Syllabus

We will delve into the detailed syllabus of all the optional papers for the UPSC IAS exam. Aspirants face a plethora of optional subjects to choose from and often get confused with the syllabus.

Our aim is to provide the most comprehensive and crisp outline of each subject to help you make an informed decision. From history and geography to economics and psychology, we promise to cover all the essential topics that will aid you in your preparation.

Keep reading to discover what each IAS syllabus entails and take the first step towards achieving your dream of becoming an IAS officer.

UPSC IAS examination- Overview

The UPSC IAS examination is a competitive exam for civil services in India. It is one of the most prestigious and challenging exams in the country. The exam is divided into three stages, with the second stage being the main examination. The main examination comprises nine papers, two of which are optional. The optional papers are an important part of the exam, as they allow candidates to choose a subject in which they have a special interest or expertise.

However, it is crucial to choose the right optional paper, as it can make a significant difference in the overall score. Therefore, candidates should carefully consider their strengths and interests before making a decision. The preparation strategy for optional papers should include thorough research, proper time management, and practicing the UPSC optional previous year’s papers.

Scoring well in optional papers requires a deep understanding of the syllabus and consistent practice. By following the right approach, candidates can improve their chances of success in the UPSC IAS examination.

Also read, ABOUT UPSC CSE

Syllabus Pattern of Optional Subjects

The syllabus pattern for the optional papers is designed to test the in-depth understanding of the candidates in the chosen subject. Each subject has its own syllabus, which covers various concepts, theories, and practical applications related to the subject. The syllabus is divided into two parts – Paper 1 and Paper 2, each with a duration of 3 hours.

Candidates need to prepare thoroughly for the optional papers, as they can significantly impact their overall scores. Choosing the right optional subject and devising a smart preparation strategy are the keys to scoring well in the optional papers.

Detailed syllabus for optional papers

As the name suggests, aspirants can choose their preferred subject from a list of 26. This is where the real challenge begins, as choosing optional papers can make or break an aspirant’s dream.

In this article, we will take a look at the detailed syllabus for each of the optional papers and provide tips on choosing the right one and preparing for it.

Agriculture Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Anthropology Botany Chemistry
Civil Engineering Commerce and Accountancy Economics Electrical Engineering Geography
Geology History Law Management Mathematics
Mechanical Engineering Medical Science Philosophy Physics Political Science and International Relations
Psychology Public Administration Sociology Statistics Zoology

UPSC IAS Literature Optional Subjects Syllabus

Assamese Bengali Bodo Dogri Gujarati
Hindi Kannada Kashmiri Konkani Maithali
Malayalam Manipuri Marathi Nepali Odia
Punjabi Sanskrit Santhali Sindhi Tamil
Telugu Urdu English

A. Agriculture

Agriculture is a highly relevant subject given the widespread dependence on agriculture for sustainable growth in the Indian economy. The syllabus is divided into two parts – Paper I and Paper II. While Paper I covers the principles of agronomy, soil science, and horticulture, Paper II focuses on the agricultural economy, agricultural engineering, and plant breeding.

B. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

The syllabus for Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science covers topics like Animal Nutrition, Physiology and Reproduction, Livestock Production and Management, Animal Diseases, Veterinary Public Health, Meat Hygiene and Technology, etc.

C. Anthropology

Anthropology is an interesting subject that deals with the study of human societies, cultures, and traditions. The syllabus for anthropology includes topics like the origin of humans, social structure, cultural evolution, tribal communities, and more. As an optional subject, anthropology can be a great choice for candidates interested in human behavior and society. However, it’s important to note that preparing for anthropology requires a thorough understanding of the subject and a clear strategy.

D. Botany

Botany is one of the optional papers in the UPSC IAS examination. The syllabus for the paper revolves around the study of plants and their life processes. It covers topics such as plant anatomy, taxonomy, genetics, and ecology. Aspiring IAS candidates can opt for Botany as their optional paper if they have a keen interest in the subject and a strong foundation in biology.

E. Chemistry

The Chemistry syllabus can be broadly divided into two parts: Physical Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry. Physical Chemistry includes topics such as Atomic Structure, Chemical Bonding, and Equilibrium. Inorganic Chemistry includes topics such as d-block and f-block elements, periodic trends, and coordination compounds.

F. Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is a popular optional paper choice among UPSC IAS aspirants. This discipline deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the built environment, including infrastructure like roads, bridges, and buildings. In the Civil Engineering optional paper, candidates are tested on their theoretical understanding and practical application of various engineering concepts. The syllabus for this paper includes subjects like structural analysis, mechanics, geotechnical engineering, surveying, and transportation engineering.

G. Commerce and Accountancy

Commerce and Accountancy is an ideal choice for candidates with a background in finance, accountancy or commerce. The syllabus for this optional paper is quite expansive and covers topics such as financial accounting, financial management, cost accounting, auditing, taxation, and corporate accounting. To prepare for this paper, candidates need to have a clear understanding of accounting principles and financial concepts. They should also focus on current affairs related to the economic sector.

H. Economics

Economics is one of the most sought-after optional papers in the UPSC IAS examination. This paper is targeted towards candidates who have an economics background or are interested in studying the subject in-depth. The syllabus for economics is well-defined and covers various topics like micro and macroeconomics, economic development, and international trade.

Candidates who choose economics as their optional paper should have a clear understanding of micro and macroeconomics. They should also be able to analyze and interpret data, understand economic policies and their implications, and apply theoretical concepts to practical problems.

I. Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is one of the optional papers for the UPSC IAS exam. It requires a thorough understanding of electrical systems and applications. The syllabus is divided into two parts: paper 1 and paper 2. Paper 1 includes topics like circuit theory, electromagnetic theory, electronic devices, and digital electronics. Paper 2 includes topics like control systems, power systems, power electronics, and electrical machines.

J. Geography

Geography is one of the most popular optional subjects among candidates. The syllabus for Geography is classified into two parts – Physical Geography and Human Geography. It covers a wide range of topics such as Geomorphology, Climatology, Oceanography, and Economic Geography.

K. Geology

Geology is a fascinating optional subject choice for the UPSC IAS exam. The syllabus for this optional paper is extensive and covers a wide range of topics from mineralogy to geomorphology. It is a popular subject among science students, and its relevance in various aspects of life cannot be emphasized enough.

Some of the key topics covered in the Geology syllabus include Earth’s structure, plate tectonics, sedimentology, hydrogeology, and environmental geology. As a geology student, you will also learn about natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, among others.

L. History

History is one of the optional papers proposed by UPSC for the IAS examination. History, one of the most loved UPSC optional papers, has a detailed syllabus that spans ancient, medieval, and modern periods. This optional paper seems to be scoring, and it’s crucial to build an excellent subjective understanding of History to advance in the selection process.

M. Law

One popular optional paper is Law. The syllabus for Law includes Indian Constitutional Law, Jurisprudence, Administrative Law, Family Law, and Tort Law, among other topics.

N. Management

Management is an all-encompassing field that covers different industries and sectors, and it is one of the optional papers for the UPSC IAS exam. The syllabus covers a wide range of topics, including organizational behaviour, HR management, industrial relations, international business, and business ethics.

O. Mathematics

Mathematics is one of the optional papers for the prestigious UPSC IAS examination. The optional papers carry a significant weightage in the overall score, which makes it crucial for the aspirants to choose the right optional subject. The syllabus for mathematics paper comprises topics such as algebra, calculus, analysis, linear programming, and vector spaces.

P. Mechanical Engineering

As a subject, Mechanical Engineering covers a vast range of topics and requires an in-depth understanding of concepts. The syllabus covers the basics of mechanics, thermodynamics, engineering materials, manufacturing processes, and machine design.

Q. Medical Science

The Medical Science optional paper covers a wide range of topics related to medical science, including physiology, anatomy, pharmacology, microbiology, pathology, and community medicine.

R. Philosophy

Philosophy is a subject that delves into the deepest questions of human existence and aims to understand the world in a comprehensive way. The syllabus for the philosophy paper includes topics such as Indian Philosophy, Western Philosophy, Ethics, and Socio-Political Philosophy. To choose philosophy as an optional paper, one must possess a strong interest in the subject and have a good understanding of philosophical concepts.

S. Physics

Paper 1 of Physics covers topics such as mechanics, waves, optics, and thermodynamics, while paper 2 covers topics like Modern Physics, Solid-State Physics, and Nuclear Physics. If you have a strong foundation in Physics and enjoy studying the subject, selecting Physics as your optional paper may be a good choice.

T. Political Science and International Relations

The optional paper of Political Science and International Relations has garnered quite a popularity in the UPSC IAS examination. As the name suggests, this paper assesses a candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the world of politics and diplomacy. From traditional theories to contemporary issues, this paper requires a thorough understanding of concepts in a global context.

The syllabus for Political Science and International Relations includes topics such as theories of international relations, foreign policy, global organizations like the UN and NATO, international law, and current affairs. It requires immense analytical and critical thinking skills to answer the questions with precision.

Political Science and International Relations can prove to be an excellent choice for someone with a keen interest in global politics and diplomacy.

U. Psychology

The syllabus for psychology includes topics like perception, learning, memory, motivation, emotion, personality, intelligence, mental disorders, therapies, and social psychology. Aspiring candidates who have an interest in understanding human behavior and the mind can opt for psychology as their optional paper.

V. Public Administration

Public Administration is a popular choice among students due to its practical and theoretical application in governance and administration. The syllabus for Public Administration covers topics such as administrative theories, concepts, and principles, public policy, financial administration, human resource management, and decentralization.

W. Sociology

Sociology as an optional paper for the UPSC IAS examination has gained significant popularity in recent years. It is a social science that focuses on human behavior, society, and culture.

Paper-I mainly covers sociological theories, thinkers, research methodology, concepts of family, marriage, religion, and stratification in society. Paper II primarily covers topics such as development and social change, social problems like poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, and social movements.

X. Statistics

Statistics paper is one of the popular choices. This paper expects the candidates to have a good understanding of statistics such as mean, standard deviation, regression, correlation, and more. The syllabus covers topics like probability, statistical inference, linear models, and so on.

Y. Zoology

Zoology is a popular choice among science graduates. The syllabus pattern consists of both theoretical and practical aspects, with the latter being focused on fieldwork and laboratory studies. The syllabus for Zoology is vast and covers topics ranging from animal behavior and ecology to genetics and evolution.

Importance of optional papers

Optional papers in UPSC hold a unique and significant position in the UPSC IAS examination. They offer candidates the freedom to choose a subject that matches their interests and academic forte, providing an opportunity to showcase their skills in a specific domain.

Moreover, performing well in optional papers may elevate a candidate’s aggregate score and enable them to qualify for the main exam. To put things in perspective, a high score in the optional subject can compensate for a low score in the general studies portion.

Although you may feel tempted to select an easy-to-score subject, choosing a challenging optional paper that aligns with your interests and career aspirations is vital. Preparing for optional papers requires in-depth subject expertise, dedication, and self-discipline. So it’s crucial to choose a subject that motivates you and sustains your interest throughout the preparation period.

In addition to the practical benefits, choosing and scoring well in optional papers can also enhance your personal and professional skills, including analytical thinking, time management, research skills, and in-depth knowledge.

Therefore, it’s imperative to invest adequate time and effort in preparing for optional papers to increase your chances of cracking the UPSC IAS examination.

Choosing the right optional paper

Choosing the right optional paper for the UPSC IAS examination can greatly impact your success in the exam.

  • The first step is to assess your personal interests and strengths in order to determine the best fit.
  • Additionally, considering the availability of study material and coaching for the particular optional paper can be helpful.
  • It is important to thoroughly research the syllabus and previous year’s question papers to gain insight into the level of difficulty and scope of each optional paper.
  • It is also advisable to seek advice from professionals or seniors in the field.
  • Ultimately, choosing the right optional paper requires careful consideration and self-reflection.

Preparation strategy for optional papers

When it comes to the UPSC IAS examination preparation, choosing the right optional papers can often make or break your success. With a range of 26 different subjects to choose from, it’s important to find the one that best aligns with your interests and strengths.

However, it’s not just about choosing the right paper; it’s also about developing a solid preparation strategy to ensure you score well. One key tip is to tackle the tougher topics first and then move on to the easier ones. It’s also important to practice time management skills and to revise regularly.

Keep in mind that the syllabus for each paper is vast and diverse, so ensure you allocate sufficient time for each topic. By following a well-planned preparation strategy and implementing smart tactics, you can maximize your chances of success in the UPSC IAS optional papers.

Tips for scoring well in optional papers

One of the most crucial aspects of cracking the UPSC IAS examination is scoring well on the optional papers. As the syllabus for these papers is vast, it is essential to adopt a strategic approach to studying. Here are some tips for excelling in optional papers:

  1. Choose an optional paper that you are interested in and have a basic understanding of.
  1. Analyze previous years’ papers to understand the exam pattern and the type of questions asked.
  1. Devote ample time for preparation, keeping in mind the weightage of marks allocated to optional papers.
  1. Focus on developing conceptual clarity rather than rote learning.
  1. Revise and practice regularly to ensure retention of knowledge.
  1. Join study groups or seek expert guidance to clarify doubts and gain different perspectives.

By adopting these tips, you can not only score well in the optional papers but also gain a deeper understanding of the subject.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):-

Q1. How many optional papers are there in IAS?

Ans: There are a total of 26 optional papers to choose from in the IAS.

Q2. What are the top 10 optional subjects in UPSC?

Ans: Geography, History, Sociology, Public Administration, Agriculture, Medical Science, Psychology, Law, Literature and Political Science and International Relations are the top 10 optional subjects in UPSC IAS.

Q3. Which optional is most scoring in UPSC?

Ans: Although this will depend on the interest and preparation of the candidate, Geography in recent times has been viewed as one of the most scoring optional subjects in the UPSC.

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 Career Development Program 2023 Result PDF     Download UPSC Mains 2023 Question Papers PDF  Free Initiative links -1) Download Prahaar 3.0 for Mains Current Affairs PDF both in English and Hindi 2) Daily Main Answer Writing  , 3) Daily Current Affairs , Editorial Analysis and quiz ,  4) PDF Downloads  UPSC 2022 Final Result🔥5 out of Top 10 from PW OnlyIAS Community. UPSC Prelims 2023 Trend Analysis cut-off and answer key