Central Government of India

List of Optional Subjects & Literature Papers

In order to choose the ideal and highest-scoring optional subject for CSE Mains, aspirants need to go through the list of optional subjects and literature papers provided below:

Choosing The Right Optional Subject

Now that you understand the importance of selecting the ideal subject for your UPSC CSE Mains, you need to be aware of the crucial factors to consider in deciding your optionals. What are they?

A student with laptop preparing UPSC and giving a thumbs up.
  • Existing Knowledge – It always makes sense to choose a subject where your knowledge is already at a decent level. It will allow you to focus on the GS papers without spending too much time on the optional subject.
  • Commonalities with GS Syllabus – If the optional subject has many topics in common with the GS syllabus, then you can cover more marks scoring areas by studying fewer topics. It will also give you more time to focus on subjects you are not too confident about.
  • Scope of Syllabus – The length of the syllabus of the optional subject you choose also matters quite a lot. It is always more prudent to select a subject with a limited syllabus because it will give you more time for GS and interview preparation.
  • Ease in obtaining study sources – Your preparation for optional subjects requires specialised knowledge. So, selecting a subject with plenty of easily available resources is always advisable.