UPSC Optional Subjects

IAS exam or the Indian Administrative Services exam is considered to be one of the most challenging yet prestigious exams in the country. The Union Public Service Commission conducted this exam every year to recruit eligible candidates for the prestigious All India Services and Central Civil Services in India. UPSC recruits the candidates for Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Police Services (IPS) and Central Civil Services including the Indian Foreign Services through this exam. All the ministries and the departments in the union and state governments are headed by the IAS officers. Hence the IAS exam commands great importance in the departments. 

Many candidates from around the country appear for this examination thus adding to the competition and lowering the chances of securing a seat. As the IAS examination is approaching, the candidates might have many dilemmas in their mind, such as, ‘ How many subjects are there‘How many optional subjects are there’, which optional subject should I choose in the IAS exam’, etc.

This article will give you the answers of all such questions and familiarise you with the IAS Exam subjects.

How many optional subjects are there in the IAS Exam?

As per the IAS Exam Pattern, the candidates have to choose just one optional subject for the mains exam. The optional subject has two papers of 250 marks each. Candidates have a wide range of options to choose from in optional subjects.

The optional subject papers will be subjective in nature and the duration of the paper will be three hours. All the papers, except the literature ones, will be bilingual (Hindi and English). The choice of optional paper can be a significant determinant of your performance in the IAS Exam.

The complete list of optional subjects in the IAS exam is given below:

S. No List of Optional Subjects in UPSC
1 Agriculture
2 Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
3 Anthropology
4 Botany
5 Chemistry
6 Civil Engineering
7 Commerce & 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 & International Relations
21 Psychology
22 Public Administration
23 Sociology
24 Statistics
25 Zoology

The list of literature optional subjects in the IAS exam is given below:

S.No List of Literature Optional Subjects
1 Assamese
2 Bengali
3 Bodo
4 Dogri
5 Gujarati
6 Hindi
7 Kannada
8 Kashmiri
9 Konkani
10 Maithili
11 Malayalam
12 Manipuri
13 Marathi
14 Nepali
15 Oriya
16 Punjabi
17 Sanskrit
18 Santhali
19 Sindhi
20 Tamil
21 Telugu
22 Urdu
23 English

How to choose the best optional subject for yourself?

Here are some of the factors that you must consider to choose the best from the list of optional subjects for UPSC:

Overlapping with the Syllabus: There are some optional subjects whose topics get repeated in other compulsory subjects. Choosing such subjects can decrease your load and allow you to study for subjects while studying just one topic.

Length of the Syllabus: The compulsory subjects of the IAS Exam Syllabus are lengthy enough; choose subjects with a comparatively shorter syllabus. Choose subjects that you can easily cover within the stipulated time.

Availability of Resources: Choose the subject whose study material is easily available in the market or the internet. Choosing subjects with limited study material can restrict your knowledge, thereby affecting your preparation for the exam. There are many Online IAS Courses that can help you with reliable and trustworthy study material for optional subjects.

Familiarity with the subject: If you have a subject as part of your graduation or post-graduation, then that subject can be a good choice for you. Otherwise, opt for a subject that you can consistently study without losing interest.

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