UPSC Optional Subject List: UPSC Aspirants must wisely make a choice for their optional subject as it holds 500 marks which is quite a considerable weightage to give a boost to your merit scores. Out of a total of 9 papers in the UPSC Mains Exam, 2 papers (GS VI & GS VII) depend on the optional subject chosen by the aspirants. The Optional papers in UPSC Mains are of 250 marks each with a total of 500 marks and the scores will be counted in the merit list. The applicants must make up their minds before filling out their UPSC application form as afterward no changes could be made to the optional subject.  

UPSC Optional Subjects

With so much importance in cracking the UPSC Civil Service Examination, the choice of UPSC optional subject for the UPSC IAS Exam must be done with proper analysing and research so that you do not regret it later on. To help you choose the best optional subject for the UPSC exam, we have discussed the reasons to opt for the particular subject in the article here. 

UPSC Optional Subject List

Depending on the ground of educational qualification and interest, the aspirant can make a choice for their optional subject from the list of options subjects in UPSC. A list of 26 optional subjects has been released by UPSC from which the applicants can choose any one of the optional subjects from the list of subjects given below

UPSC Optional Subject List
Agriculture GeographyPhysics
Animal Husbandry and Veterinary ScienceGeologyPolitical Science & Internationa Relations
AnthropologyHistoryPsychology
Botany LawPublic Administration
ChemistryManagementSociology
Civil EngineeringMathematicsStatistics
Commerce & AccountancyMechanical EngineeringZoology
EconomicsMedical ScienceLiterature
Electrical EngineeringPhilosophy 

Optional Languages in Literature

The aspirants can even choose Literature as their Optional Subject in UPSC, even if it was not their graduation subject.UPSC has given a choice to choose among the Literature subject of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.

Factors to be considered while choosing UPSC Optional Subject

Various factors like individual preference, study material availability, nature of syllabus, educational background, and many others play a vital role in making a choice for Optional Subjects in UPSC. To clear your head filled with doubts, read out some factors that you can consider while making choice among the list of the optional subjects in UPSC. 

1. Knowledge about the Subject- The first and foremost factor to be considered while opting for Optional Subject in UPSC is the subject that has been studied during their graduation. If your graduation subject lies within the list of Optional Subjects, then do choose the particular subject without any second thought as you must be cleared with the basics of the subjects and this is the bonus point for strengthening your preparation. 

2. Similar to General Studies Subject- In case, your graduation does not match with any of the subjects in the list, then do prefer the Optional Subject that is also included in the UPSC CSE Prelims Exam, as this would reduce your time of preparation & efforts to learn a new subject. Most of the relevant subjects that are included in both Prelims & Optional are- Geography, History, Sociology, Economics, Law, Political Science, Public Administration. Philosophy and Agriculture could also be a good choice to go with. 

3. Volume of Syllabus- As you are familiar with the fact that the syllabus for the UPSC exam is quite lengthy and complicated, so choosing an Optional Subject with a vast syllabus could not be a good choice to make. For covering a lengthy syllabus you have to dedicate more time which is not a good practice when you want to crack UPSC IAS Exam.

4. Availability of Study Material- This is the most crucial and important factor that an aspirant must not skip while choosing their optional subjects. To shortlist the subjects for which you can easily collect the study material and resources, then choose one among the shortlisted ones. 

Top 10 Most Chosen UPSC Optional Subjects

Though choosing the optional subject is the individual choice, however, as analysed the aspirants mostly prefer the following subjects as the best to opt as their Optional Subject. If confused to choose from 26 subjects, do prefer the list of 10 best optional subjects in UPSC from the below section-

  1. Sociology
  2. Law
  3. Psychology
  4. Medical Science
  5. Agriculture
  6. Literature
  7. Anthropology
  8. Public Administration
  9. Geography
  10. History

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UPSC Optional Subjects- FAQs

Ans. You can make a choice based on your educational qualification or interest in the subject.

Ans. There are 25 optional subjects out of which aspirant has to make a choice for 1 subject.

Ans. If you had studied any of the subject from the list in your graduation or the subjects whose syllabus overlaps with General Studies-1 Paper.

Ans. Sociology could be the best optional subject as it not only helps to score good marks but is also helpful in Essay and better writing skills.

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