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IAS Exams

IAS Optional Subject List

According to the revised UPSC exam pattern, candidates will have to choose one IAS optional subject for IAS Exam. Also, UPSC will set the IAS optional question paper at bachelor’s degree level.

Why UPSC optional selection is an important decision in your IAS preparation?

  • The UPSC optional subject carries 500 marks in the 1750 total marks considered for your ranking from IAS Mains. So, scoring high in IAS optional paper is crucial for getting better UPSC ranking in the UPSC final selection list.
  • Optional is important for your IAS preparation strategy as the optional subject selection is left for the candidate’s choice.
  • If the IAS optional subject matches with IAS mains general studies, it will be an added advantage for scoring and time-saving.

How to select best UPSC Optional/ IAS Optional?

There is no one ‘best UPSC optional subject to choose’ nor a ‘high scoring UPSC optional’, then how to select the right UPSC optional?

  • It mainly depends on your area of interest, you should be comfortable with the subject to score high.
  • Before choosing the IAS optional subject:
    i) Go through the UPSC optional syllabus and the related topics
    ii) Analyze the IAS optional previous year question papers, you will get a clear picture of your IAS optional choice.

Is Academic Background is necessary to select the Optional subject:

Case 1 : With Academic Background of UPSC Optional Subject

It is not necessary to have an academic background to ace the IAS optional papers, but having an academic background has its added values

Case 2 : Without Academic Background of UPSC Optional Subject

It is not mandatory to select IAS optional subject from your academic background. Selecting the IAS optional apart from your academic background can have it own benefits.

  • A fresh start from UPSC exam point of view can give you a clear understanding of concepts.
  • With proper UPSC preparation and planning, you can score high even if you have chosen a UPSC optional subject outside your academic background.

Our students have scored highest marks in many UPSC optional subjects. Even when their choice of optional subject is not from their educational background. In Bangalore, many civil service coaching centers provide coaching for optional subjects. But at Himalai IAS coaching, we are experts guiding aspirants to their ‘Right UPSC optional selection’. If you want to find your best optional subject for UPSC, get prepared for UPSC with us! (

UPSC optional subject list




Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science



Mechanical Engineering


Medical Science



Civil Engineering


Commerce and Accountancy

Political Science and International Relations



Electrical Engineering

Public Administration








Literature of any one Indian Language

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