UPSC Indian Police Services (IPS) Exam - Syllabus for the Indian Police Service Exam

Last Modified: 15 May 2024

Indian Police Services examination is among the toughest exams in the country. Aspirants are required to go through a multi-level recruitment process which comprises of Preliminary phase, Main phase, and Interview process. Those who qualify a phase are eligible for the next phase. The final selection of the candidates is done after the interview round. The pattern for both the Preliminary and Main phase exam is different. And, so is the syllabus. Here, we are covering the entire UPSC IPS exam syllabus for both phases in detail.

UPSC IPS Exam Previous Years Solved Papers

  • UPSC Civil Services & IFS Preliminary Solved Papers (E-Book) Download
  • IES 2009 - 2018 Previous Year Papers E-Book Download

Indian Police Service Syllabus in Detail -

UPSC IPS Preliminary Exam Syllabus


  • Current events of national and international importance
  • History of India and Indian National Movement
  • Indian and World Geography - Economic, Physical, Social Geography of India and the World Indian Polity and Governance - Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development - Inclusion, Sustainable Development, Social Sector Initiatives, Poverty, Demographics, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change
  • General Science


  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Decision making and problem-solving
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • General mental ability
  • Class X level Basic Numeracy (orders of magnitude, numbers and their relations, etc.), Data Interpretation (graphs, tables, charts, data sufficiency etc.)

UPSC IPS Main Exam Syllabus

Paper A and Paper B - The papers on Indian languages and English will have questions of Matriculation or equivalent standard. The pattern of the papers will be:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Precis Writing
  • Usage and Vocabulary
  • Short Essays
  • Translation from English to Indian languages and vice-versa


Essay - Writing essays on multiple topics in an effective expression.


General Studies-I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

  • Indian Culture - Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times
  • Modern Indian history - from the middle of the eighteenth-century to the present significant events, issues, personalities.
  • The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country
  • History of the world will include events from the 18th century such as world wars, the industrial revolution, colonization, decolonization, redraw of national boundaries, political philosophies like capitalism, communism, socialism etc. - their forms and effect on the society
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country
  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India
  • Role of women and women’s organization, poverty and developmental issues, population and associated issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society
  • Salient features of the world’s physical geography
  • Social empowerment, regionalism & secularism, communalism
  • Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)
  • Important Geophysical phenomena such as Tsunami, Earthquakes, Cyclone, Volcanic Activity, etc. geographical features and their location - changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes


General Studies-II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations

  • Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, features, evolution, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure
  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions
  • Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges, and issues arising out of these
  • Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act
  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary - Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Development processes and the development industry - the role of NGOs, SHGs, donors, charities, various groups and associations, institutional and other stakeholders
  • Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/ Services relating to Education, Health, Human Resources
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; laws, mechanisms, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
  • Important aspects of governance, e-governance applications, transparency and accountability, successes, models, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures
  • Role of civil services in a democracy
  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger
  • Important aspects of governance, e-governance applications, transparency and accountability, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures
  • India and its neighbourhood- relations
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate


General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, growth, mobilization of resources, development and employment
  • Government Budgeting
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it
  • Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management
  • Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, - different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers
  • Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, revamping; limitations, issues of buffer stocks and food security; economics of animal-rearing; Technology missions
  • Land reforms in India
  • Investment models
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth
  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology
  • Science and technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
  • Conservation, environmental impact assessment, environmental pollution and degradation
  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Computers, Space, Robotics, Nano-technology, Bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights
  • Disaster and disaster management
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cybersecurity; money-laundering and its prevention
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas - linkages of organized crime with terrorism
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate


General Studies- IV: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; ethics - in private and public relationships, dimensions of ethics. Human Values - lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; the role of family society and educational institutions in inculcating values
  • Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, impartiality and non-partisanship, integrity, objectivity, empathy, dedication to public service, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections
  • Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world
  • Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Information sharing and transparency in government, Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Citizen’s Charters, Codes of Conduct, Work Culture, Quality of service delivery, challenges of corruption, Utilization of public funds.
  • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; rules, laws, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; accountability and ethical governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance
  • Case Studies on the above issues

Paper-VI and Paper-VII

For Paper-VI and VII, candidates are required to select a subject from the list of optional subjects. The UPSC IPS syllabus for all the optional subjects is provided in the official notification. Candidates can refer to the same as per the subject he has selected. The list of optional subjects is as under:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Anthropology
  3. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  4. Botany
  5. Chemistry
  6. Civil Engineering
  7. Commerce and Accountancy
  8. Electrical Engineering
  9. Economics
  10. Geology
  11. Geography
  12. History
  13. Law
  14. Mathematics
  15. Management
  16. Medical Science
  17. Mechanical Engineering
  18. Physics
  19. Philosophy
  20. Psychology
  21. Political Science and International Relations
  22. Public Administration
  23. Statistics
  24. Sociology
  25. Zoology
  26. The literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bodo, Bengali, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kashmiri, Kannada, Konkani, Malayalam, Maithili, Marathi, Manipuri, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Santhali, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Telugu, Tamil, Urdu and English.

The UPSC IPS exam syllabus is vast and candidates are advised to prepare for the exam with determination covering the entire syllabus in depth.