UPSC Optional Subjects: A Comprehensive List of Subjects to Choose From


The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is one of the most prestigious civil services in India. The IAS is responsible for the administration of various government policies, including social welfare, law and order, and economic development. It is a highly competitive exam that requires a lot of preparation and hard work. One of the most critical aspects of the IAS exam is the Mains exam, which includes several optional subjects. 

In this article, we will discuss optional subjects for UPSC

UPSC Paper Format 

The IAS Mains exam consists of nine papers, out of which two are qualifying papers, and seven are merit-based papers. The merit-based papers include four General Studies papers, one Essay paper, and two optional papers. The optional papers are crucial in determining the rank of the candidate. The candidate can choose one subject from the list of optional subjects provided by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

UPSC Preparation Tips

Preparing for UPSC is a rigorous and challenging process. Here are some tips that can help you in your preparation:

Firstly, understanding the exam pattern and syllabus is essential. The UPSC exam consists of three stages – Prelims, Mains, and Interview. The Prelims consist of objective-type questions, while the Mains involve essay writing and subjective-type questions. It is important to know the weightage of each section and focus on the areas where you need improvement.

Secondly, time management is crucial. Make a study plan that is realistic and achievable. Allocate time for each section and subject and stick to the schedule. Take regular breaks to avoid burnout and maintain your productivity. Also, solve previous year’s question papers and take mock tests to assess your preparation and improve your speed and accuracy. Additionally, reading newspapers and staying updated with current affairs is important for the Mains exam. Stay motivated, remain consistent, and do not let failures demotivate you.

UPSC Civil Services Optional Subjects/Optional List for UPSC:

The UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) provides a list of 48 optional subjects for the Civil Services Exam. The list of optional subjects is as follows:

For Mains Exams 

Here is a table for the optional subjects in UPSC with their corresponding subject codes and numbering:

#Optional SubjectSubject Code
2Animal Husbandry and Veterinary ScienceANIM
6Civil EngineeringCIVL
7Commerce and AccountancyCMAC
9Electrical EngineeringELEC
16Mechanical EngineeringMECH
17Medical ScienceMEDC
20Political Science and International RelationsPSIR
22Public AdministrationPUBA

For Literature Subjects

Sure, here is a table for the UPSC Optional Subject List for Literature Subjects with their corresponding subject codes and numbering:

#Optional SubjectSubject Code
1Assamese LiteratureASML
2Bengali LiteratureBEGL
3Bodo LiteratureBODO
4Dogri LiteratureDOGR
5English LiteratureENGL
6Gujarati LiteratureGUJR
7Hindi LiteratureHIND
8Kannada LiteratureKANN
9Kashmiri LiteratureKASH
10Konkani LiteratureKONK
11Maithili LiteratureMAIT
12Malayalam LiteratureMLYM
13Manipuri LiteratureMANI
14Marathi LiteratureMRTI
15Nepali LiteratureNEPL
16Odia LiteratureODIA
17Punjabi LiteraturePUNJ
18Sanskrit LiteratureSANS
19Santali LiteratureSANT
20Sindhi LiteratureSIND
21Tamil LiteratureTAML
22Telugu LiteratureTELG
23Urdu LiteratureURDU

Note: This table may not be exhaustive and may be subject to change. Please refer to the official website of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for the latest information on the IAS exam.


The UPSC exam includes two optional papers, and the candidates can choose one subject from the list of 48 optional subjects provided by the UPSC. The optional papers carry a weightage of 500 marks and are crucial in determining the candidate’s rank in the exam. The candidates should choose their optional subject based on their interest, academic background, and availability of study material. They should also prepare thoroughly for the optional papers and practice solving previous years’ question papers and mock tests. With the right preparation and hard work, the candidates can perform well in the Mains exam and achieve their dream of becoming an IAS officer.