The UPSC conducts exams to recruit various officers in the government services in India. There are 3 stages of the exam – Prelims, Mains and Interview. So, Prelims consists of 2 papers. Both of them are based on General studies. Further, the Mains exam consists of 9 papers out of which 2 papers are based on the UPSC Optional paper that the candidate chooses. In this article, we will be talking about the UPSC optional subject list and the syllabus which form a part of the Mains exam.[speaker-mute] [/speaker-mute]
About UPSC Optional Subject Syllabus
The optional syllabus consists of 48 subjects and students can choose any one of these for Paper-I and Paper-II. Both the papers are of 250 marks each. So, it becomes a matter of concern as to which optional subject one must choose to score really well and up the score. Further, we have provided a UPSC optional subject list along with the syllabus so you are able to analyze what options are available to you and what exactly you need to study when it comes to IAS optional syllabus.
Which Optional should I choose?
The optional paper plays a huge role in helping candidates secure high and thus up their rank. So to achieve this, it is very important that a lot of serious thought and discussion be paid to choosing the best fit. You must pick the optional subject which interests you and you have to desire to learn more about it. If you will want to know more about the subject, you will have tons of questions which will lead you to answers. With so many answers at hand, you will master the subject in no time. Also, it does not take much time to finish an optional subject. Few months of dedication and hard work will help you gain proficiency in the subject.
Apart from an interest in the subject, you can even talk to your teachers and fellow mates for suggestions on the subject that you should choose. Also, make sure that the books are readily available. But, always keep in mind that no matter whatever people guide you to do, always decide on the basis of what you would want to learn about. It all comes to your inclinations!
Which Optional subject is the most scoring?
As per trends, the following subjects have been performing well for the past years. But, it is not a parameter to help you choose your optional subject. It is just data on how many students opt for the subject and how many clear the exam based on these subjects. The success rate depends on how engaged the students are with their subjects, the syllabus as well as the availability of books for that particular subject. So, you can keep an eye on the success ratio but do not make a decision solely on the basis of these facts. They may change tomorrow if candidates start choosing very different subjects and perform really well. Also, if you want to choose a subject that you haven’t read in your life, you might need a coaching institute for the same, Read more to know about tips to choose the best IAS coaching institute.
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UPSC optional subject list
The 48 optional papers of the UPSC optional subject list are as follows –
- Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
- Medical Science
- Political Science
- Public Administration
Engineering Subjects – UPSC Optional paper
- Civil Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
Commerce and Management subjects
Literature of any one of the following
UPSC optional subject syllabus
Let us look at the optional subject syllabus one by one to get a better understanding. It is important that you are thorough with the optional papers in a detailed manner. This is so because a detailed understanding will help you choose the suitable optional so you can score optimum marks.
Further, you will be able to get an idea as to which subject will give you the time to revise more and what exactly you have to read under the specific optional paper. Also, you will be able to decide whether the topics under the specific papers interest you or not.
- Ecology, natural resources, Physical and social environment, cropping pattern. Environmental pollution and associated hazards to crops, animals and humans. Climate change, Greenhouse effect and global warming.
- Cropping patterns in different agro-climatic zones of the country. Organic and Precision farming.
- Important features and scope of various types of forestry plantations.Conservation of forest flora and fauna.
- Soils of India
- Rainwater harvesting. Water pollution, etc.
- Role of Krishi Vigyan Kendra’s (KVK), NGO, SHGs, etc.
2. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
- Animal Nutrition
- Genetics and animal breeding
- Animal Physiology
- Livestock, etc.
- Meat hygiene and technology
- Microbiology, plant pathology
- Cryptogams , phanerogams
- Cell biology
- Genetics, plant breeding
- Physiology, etc.
- Meaning, relation with other branches, scope, etc.
- Human evolution
- Nature of culture, society, etc.
- Family, religion, etc.
- Application, genetics, etc.
5. Chemistry – UPSC Optional Subjects
- Atomic structure
- Chemical bonding
- Organic and Inorganic chemistry
- Photochemistry, etc.
- Rocks, etc.
- Economic zoology
- Cell biology, genetics, evolution, etc.
- Waves and optics
- Thermal, quantum physics, etc.
9. Medical Science – UPSC Optional Subjects
- Human anatomy, physiology,
- General Medicine, Dermatology, etc.
- Probability, Statistical Inference,
- Sampling theory, Industrial statistics
- Demography and psychometry, etc.
- Linear Algebra
- Analytic Geometry
- Vector, linear programming
- Mechanics and Fluid dynamics
- Micro and Macroeconomics
- Banking, Finance, International economics
- India’s economy after independence
- Economic policies for development
- Indian and World geography
- Economica and human geography
- Planning, population, etc.
14. History – UPSC Optional Subjects
- Indian Art and Culture
- Ancient, Medieval and Modern India
- World History
- History and Problems of philosophy
- Socio-political aspects
- Philosophy of religion
16. Political Science and International Relations
- Political theory, Indian nationalism
- Comparative politics; Indian and the world
- Foundations of psychology
- Issues and applications
18. Public Administration
- Administrative thought, Behaviour, Organisation, dynamics
- Evolution of Indian Administration, ,PSUs
- Rural, urban development
- Law and order, etc.
- Sociology as a Science
- Methods, thinkers
- Politics, religion
- Social transformation, etc.
20. Law – UPSC optional paper
- Constitutional and Administrative law
- International law
- Crimes, legal developments, etc.
21. Civil Engineering
- Engineering Mechanics, Strength of Materials, and Structural Analysis
- Design of Structures
- Fluid mechanics
- Construction Technology, Equipment, Planning and Management
- Environmental Engineering and pollution
22. Electrical Engineering – UPSC Optional Subjects
- Digital electronics
- Analog communication
- Control system
- Digital communication
23. Mechanical Engineering
- Manufacturing process
- Thermodynamics, etc.
24. Commerce – UPSC Optional
- Financing, cost accounting
- Taxation, auditing
- Human resource management, Industrial relations, etc.
- Managerial function and process
- HR management
- Marketing management
- Production management
- Govt. business interface, etc.
26. Literature (23 available options)
All the literature subjects will revolve around the history, poetry, prose, etc. of the chosen language. Also, some of the subjects will require you to read about literary criticism and develop critical analysis of given texts. Although the literature subjects are difficult to score really high marks, the competition is less in these subjects as very few people choose these subjects. So, people interested in literature – prose, poetry, etc. and appreciate such aspects of any language should take up this optional.
Imp note: There are two papers for the optional subject and the syllabus is different and specific for both the papers. To know the exact syllabus of both the papers, you can further download the pdf released by UPSC which contains details on the UPSC optional papers and their syllabus. you can prepare for the exam at home with the help of our tips!
FAQs on UPSC Optional Subjects
There are 46 optional subjects made available to the candidates by the UPSC. Candidates have to choose one of the given subjects in which they wish to appear in the Mains exam. There are two papers – Paper-I and Paper-II.
The syllabus for both the papers has different topics under the same subject. So, candidates must be very careful while preparing as preparation often becomes confusing since the topics seem similar.
The answer to this question can only be found on the basis of your interest. If a subject interests you and you want to learn more about it, you are bound to score good marks. Also, if you have completed your graduation in a particular subject which is also an optional according to UPSC, going for that subject will be fruitful too. But, it all comes down to your desire to read and understand the subject. Just because an optional has been doing well in the papers doesn’t mean that you will be able to score that well. Thus, the most important criteria to choose your optional is your interest/desire to learn that subject!
Absolutely not. You have the liberty to choose whatever optional subject interests you.
As per trends, not many people have taken up literature optionals. The reason behind this is that literature subjects are subjective and it takes an in depth-study of the subjects to score well. If somebody has a history of studying literature on any of the available optional subjects in college, choosing the subject may in fact result in high scores.
COVID-19 Update | UPSC Optional Subjects
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in turmoil in every aspect of life. One such aspect is that of the UPSC aspirants who had been preparing for a long time for the UPSC Prelims, Mains, and Interview. Finally, on 4th October 2020, the Prelims exam was held and it is expected that the Mains exam will be conducted in January. Online classes and coaching gained momentum and have helped many students to prepare for the same. The UPSC optional subjects have also been taught virtually and it is expected that it will continue until the situation normalizes.