Download UPSC Political Science Optional Syllabus PDF

UPSC Political Science Optional Syllabus

UPSC Exam is the most popular exam in India. Aspirants can read or download UPSC Political Science Optional Syllabus here. UPSC exams are conducted by Union Public Service commission of India. These are the popular exams for government jobs in India.

The Government of India has assigned UPSC to fill posts in various department under Indian Government. Every year a large number of candidates appear in this exam. The Most dedicated candidates  are selected by the commission.

UPSC Exam Scheme

Scheme and Subjects for the preliminary and Main examination:
The Examination shall comprise of two compulsory Papers of 200 marks each.
(i) Both the question papers will be of the objective type (multiple choice questions).
(ii) The General Studies Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.
(iii) The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English.
(iv) Details of the syllabi are indicated in Part A of Section III.
(v) Each paper will be of two hours duration. Blind candidates and the candidates with Locomotor Disability and Cerebral Palsy where dominant (writing) extremity is affected to the extent of slowing the performance of function
(minimum of 40% impairment) will; however, be allowed an extra time of twenty minutes per hour for each paper.

The written examination will consist of the following papers
Qualifying Papers:
(One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution).          300 Marks
English                                 300 Marks

Papers to be counted for merit
Paper-I    – Essay   – 250 Marks

Paper-II    – General Studies I    – 250 Marks
(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
Paper-III    – General Studies – II  – 250 Marks
(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)
Paper-IV      – General Studies – III     – 250 Marks
(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
Paper-V     – General Studies -IV   – 250 Marks
(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
Paper-VI     – Optional Subject – Paper 1   – 250 Marks
Paper-VII    – Optional Subject – Paper 2    – 250 Marks

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

Candidates may choose any one of the optional subjects from amongst the list of subjects given below

List of optional subjects for Main Examination:
(1) Agriculture
(ii) Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
(iii) Anthropology
(iv) Botany
(v) Chemistry
(vi) Civil Engineering
(vii) Commerce and Accountancy
(viii) Economics
(ix) Electrical Engineering
(x) Geography
(xi) Geology
(xii) History
(xiii) Law
(xiv) Management
(xv) Mathematics
(xvi) Mechanical Engineering
(xvii) Medical Science
(xviii) Philosophy
(xix) Physics
(xx) Political Science and International Relations
(xxi) Psychology
(xxii) Public Administration
(xxiii) Sociology
(xxiv) Statistics
(XXV) Zoology
(xxvi) Literature of any one of the following languages:
Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri,
Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.

(i) The question papers for the examination will be of conventional (essay) type.
(ii) Each paper will be of three hours duration.
(iii) Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except the Qualifying Language Papers, Paper-A and Paper-B, in any of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India or in English.
(iv) Candidates exercising the option to answer Papers in any one of the languages mentioned above may, if they so desire, give English version within brackets of only the description of the technical terms, if any, in addition to the version in the language opted by them. Candidates should, however, note that if they misuse the above rule, a deduction will be made on this account from the total marks otherwise accruing to them and in extreme cases, their script(s) will not be valued for being in an unauthorized medium.
(vi) The question papers (other than the literature of language papers) will be set in Hindi and English only.
(vii) The details of the syllabi are set out in Part B of Section III.

NOTE : Candidates are advised to go through the Syllabus published in this Section for the Preliminary Examination and the Main Examination, as periodic revision of syllabus has been done in several subjects.

Part A-Preliminary Examination
Paper I – (200 marks)                 Duration: Two hours

  • 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
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);
Note 1 : Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.
Note 2: The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type.
Note 3: It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination.

Part B-Main Examination
The main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory. The nature and standard of questions in the General Studies papers (Paper II to Paper V) will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study. The questions will be such as to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services. The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyze, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.

The scope of the syllabus for optional subject papers (Paper VI and Paper VII) for the examination is broadly of the honors degree level i.e. a level higher than the bachelors’ degree and lower than the masters degree. In the case of Engineering, Medical Science and law, the level corresponds to the bachelors’ degree.
Syllabi of the papers included in the scheme of Civil Services (Main) Examination are given as follows:

The aim of the paper is to test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express his ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian language concerned.
The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows:
(1) Comprehension of given passages.
(i) Precis Writing.
(ii) Usage and Vocabulary.
(iv) Short Essays.
Indian Languages :-
(i) comprehension of given passages.
(i) Precis Writing
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.
(iv) Short Essays.
(v) Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.
Note 1: The papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of
qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.


Detailed UPSC Political Science Optional Syllabus

Political Theory and Indian Politics :
1. Political Theory: meaning and approaches.
2. Theories of state: Liberal, Neo-liberal, Marxist, Pluiralist, post-colonial and Feminist
3. Justice : Conceptions of justice with special reference to Rawl’s theory of justice and its communitarian
4. Equality : Social, political and economic, relationship between equality and freedom; Affirmative action.
5. Rights : Meaning and theories; different kinds of rights; Concept of Human Rights.
6. Democracy : Classical and contemporary theories; different models of democracy-representative, participatory and deliberative.
7. Concept of power: hegemony, ideology and legitimacy.
8. Political Ideologies : Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism, Fascism, Gandhism and Feminism.
9. Indian Political Thought: Dharamshastra, Arthashastra and Buddhist Traditions; Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Sri Aurobindo, M. K. Gandhi, B. R. Ambedkar, M. N. Roy.
10. Western Political Thought: Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, John S. Mill, Marx, Gramsci, Hannah

Indian Government and Politics
1. Indian Nationalism:
(a) Political Strategies of India’s Freedom Struggle : Constitutionalism to mass Satyagraha, Non- cooperation, Civil Disobedience; Militant and Revolutionary Movements, Peasant and Workers Movements.
(b) Perspectives on Indian National Movement;Liberal, Socialist and Marxist; Radical Humanist and Dalit.

2. Making of the Indian Constitution : Legacies of the British rule; different social and political perspectives.
3. Salient Features of the Indian Constitution: The Preamble, Fundamental Rights and Duties, Directive Principles; Parliamentary System and Amendment Procedures; Judicial Review and Basic Structure doctrine.

4. (a) Principal Organs of the Union Government : Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature
and Supreme Court
(b) Principal Organs of the State Government : Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature
and High Courts.
5. Grassroots Democracy: Panchayati Raj and Municipal Government; Significance of 73rd and 74th Amendments; Grassroot movements.
6. Statutory Institutions/Commissions : Election Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General, Finance Commission, Union Public Service Commission, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Women; National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Minorities, National Backward Classes Commission.
7. Federalism : Constitutional provisions, changing nature of centre-state relations; integrationist tendencies and
regional aspirations; inter-state disputes.
8. Planning and Economic development : Nehruvian and Gandhian perspectives; Role of planning and public sector; Green Revolution, land reforms and agrarian relations; liberalization and economic reforms.
9. Caste, Religion and Ethnicity in Indian Politics.
10. Party System : National and regional political parties, ideological and social bases of parties; Patterns of coalition politics; Pressure groups, trends in electoral behaviour; changing socio-economic profile of Legislators.
11. Social Movement : Civil liberties and human rights movements; women’s movements; environmentalist

UPSC Political Science Optional – PAPER-II
Comparative Politics and International Relations

Comparative Political Analysis and International Politics :
1. Comparative Politics : Nature and major approaches; Political economy and political sociology perspectives;
Limitations of the comparative method.
2. State in Comparative Perspective : Characteristics and changing nature of the State in capitalist and socialist
economies, and advanced industrial and developing societies.
3. Politics of Representation and Participation : Political parties, pressure groups and social movements in advanced industrial and developing societies.
4. Globalisation : Responses from developed and developing societies.
5. Approaches to the Study of International Relations : Idealist, Realist, Marxist, Functionalist and Systems
6. Key Concepts in International Relations : National interest, security and power; Balance of power and
deterrence; Transational actors and collective security; World capitalist economy and globalisation.

7. Changing International Political Order :

(a) Rise of super powers; Strategic and ideological Bipolarity, arms race and cold war; Nuclear threat;
(b) Non-aligned Movement :Aims and achievements.
(c) Collapse of the Soviet Union; Unipolarity and American hegemony; Relevance of non-alignment in the contemporary world.
8. Evolution of the International Economic System: From Brettonwoods to WTO; Socialist economies and the
CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance); Third World demand for new international economic order; Globalisation of the world economy.
9. United Nations : Envisaged role and actual record; Specialized UN agencies-aims and functioning, need for UN reforms.
10. Regionalisation of World Politics : EU, ASEAN, APEC, AARC, NAFTA.
11. Contemporary Global Concerns : Democracy, human rights, environment, gender justice terrorism, nuclear proliferation.

India and the World
1. Indian Foreign Policy : Determinants of foreign policy; the institutions of policy-making; Continuity and change.
2. India’s Contribution to the Non-Alignment Movement Different phases; Current role.
3. India and South Asia :
(a) Regional Co-operation : SAARC-past performance and future prospects.
(b) South Asia as a Free Trade Area.
(C) India’s “Look East” policy.
(d) Impediments to regional co-operation : River water disputes; illegal cross border migration; Ethnic conflicts and insurgencies; Border disputes.
4. India and the Global South : Relations with Africa and Latin America; Leadership role in the demand for NIEO
and WTO negotiations.
5. India and the Global Centres of Power: USA, EU, Japan, China and Russia.
6. India and the UN System: Role in UN Peace-keeping; Demand for Permanent Seat in the Security Council.
7. India and the Nuclear Question : Changing perceptions and policy.
8. Recent developments in Indian Foreign Policy: India’s position on the recent crises in Afghanistan, Iraq and
West Asia, growing relations with US and Isreal; Vision of a new world order.


Here was the UPSC Political Science Optional Syllabus. This will help all aspirants in preparing in right direction. All serious candidates need to understand the complete UPSC syllabus.

Candidates can download UPSC Political Science Optional syllabus here. – Download Syllabus PDF


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