As aspirants of the UPSC examinations, we are all aware of the vast UPSC syllabus and the extent of knowledge that one needs to be prepared with, to crack civil services. We know of the current affairs, general studies, and other subjects that the civil service preparations entail.

One quick look at the syllabus and subjects can tell us the amount of social science and humanities subjects like history optional, political science, sociology, philosophy, and psychology, etc, one needs to go through and be prepared with. In this respect, students from social sciences and humanities have an extra edge and advantage if they prepare for the civil service examinations.

Even the current affairs that one has to study to prepare for the civil service exams have an obvious and a deep-rooted link to the social, political, historical, and economic milieu and contexts of the country and the world that students of social science and humanities are aware of and familiar with.

Also Read: Complete Guide to Choosing Geography as Optional UPSC Subject

UPSC Examination

According to the ICS syllabus, the UPSC subjects for 2022 will be the same that we all have studied in our school in the name of general studies. Subjects are essential in the UPSC exam. The candidate can win or lose as per his/her choice of subject in the examination.

After the prelims, you get the option to select a subject from the list of 48 subjects. The aspirants can either choose the subject that they are interested in or can go ahead with the one that they had in their graduation. It solely depends on the student’s choice.

Many people select their graduation subject because they have deep knowledge about it as they have read it pretty soon. So, we all know about the rigorously tough UPSC examination, so you have to choose the subject very wisely to answer all the questions asked in the examination.

UPSC Optional Subject

If one thinks about history, an important part of the social science discipline forms a major part of the prescribed syllabus of the civil services examinations for both the preliminary as well as the mains exam. The students of history will have an understanding of the subject; they will have a certain orientation as well as a certain familiarity with the subjects.

Having a familiarity with the subject of history will give them a baseline to start thinking of other subjects, a certain starting point, as well some background of a lot of other things that they need to study for the UPSC examinations.

Also Read: Is the Study of BSc Medical Beneficial for UPSC Preparation? Best Optional Subjects for BSc Students

Humanities Optional for UPSC

Students who have studied philosophy will also have a similar advantage as the students of history as they will have in place a certain way of meaning-making and understanding of many concepts and issues around them. And in a larger context, these students also have some familiarity with ideas of ethics, dilemmas, morality, and philosophical thoughts.

Political Science Optional for UPSC

Students who have studied political science have an edge in many ways in the civil services examinations. They can use their familiarity with the concepts of political science like political theory, political philosophy and ideals of democracy, secularism, power relations, and so on to answer the questions about power structures, international relations, aspects of democracy, political administration, and so on.

Students of political science can use their knowledge of the subject to develop an insight into the Indian democracy, Indian state, and mechanisms of government and its relationship with other nations.

Also Read: UPSC Exam Subject List: The Ultimate Preparation Strategy for the Civil Service Examination

Sociology UPSC Optional Subject

People who have studied sociology are always at a lot of advantage if they prepare for civil services examinations. Their familiarity with the concepts of society, formations of social relations, civil society, etc will give them a base to interact with other subjects and help them relate to the concepts and ideas of other subjects.

Sociology students will have a certain understanding of religion, kinship studies, rural structures, and caste structures which will help them to understand current affairs with some depth.

The Advantage for Students of Humanities Subjects

Students who have studied the social sciences and humanities subjects can also take up the subjects that they have studied as their mains’ subjects. This will certainly ease out some burden.

Even if they take any other social science subject as their mains’ subject, they will not be unfamiliar with discipline as such and will have a certain orientation and base their understanding of those subjects. These students will enjoy a certain advantage in the analysis and critical reading of current affairs and general studies.

This kind of advantage will certainly not be enjoyed by the majority of the students of other disciplines who are UPSC  civil services examinations, aspirants.

Also Read: Optional Subject List for UPSC: Detailed Guide to Help You Choose the Perfect Optional Subject

Other Merits for Students of Humanities Subjects

This advantage is huge as it saves the time a student might have to spend on making a baseline to make an understanding of a lot of things that one has to study. This will save a lot of time and energy that one would have to spend on doing some background reading to be able to start comprehending and developing an understanding of the happenings of current affairs and issues of general studies like ethics.

The kind of UPSC syllabus and approach that civil services examinations have is looking for candidates who will not just look at concepts, events, and other information presented to them, but be able to look beyond the obvious observation and develop an outlook of clarity, depth, and critique towards things and events.

Tips for Optional Subject

The most prominent and basic tip for the optional subject is that the aspirants should select the subject very wisely and carefully. The optional subject is not only asked in the Mains exam but also can be asked by the examiners in the interview.

The examiner’s perception works according to your selection of the optional subject. They can either ask you about the topics or concepts related to your subject or can even ask you about the reason for choosing a particular subject.

So, you need to be ready with a perfect answer. The candidates must give appropriate time to prepare for the optional subject in detail. You should find the study material from books and online platforms to understand each concept of your subject. You must have a deep understanding of all the concepts and should not avoid any sphere.

You should also be aware of some relevant and current topics to your subject. These things will make your performance highly appreciable. It will also benefit you in the future. So, work on your optional subject and ace this paper.

Also Read: A Detailed Guide to Choose the Best Optional Subject for UPSC Exam: Find out WHich Optional is Best!


This kind of analytical and critical lens is present with students familiar with social science and humanity disciplines through any of the above-mentioned subjects.

This is a clear advantage that students of social science and humanities have and thus it is very very beneficial for them if they prepare for civil services examinations. They have a great chance and probability to be successful at the UPSC examinations.

If you need guidance over any point and portion of the examination, you can visit the UPSC Pathshala which is a popular website among the UPSC candidates for the best preparation of each section of the test. You will get in touch with the best professionals who will teach you the ways to answer in the paper as well as to excel at different questions and portions. You can make your career by choosing the right sphere and platform. All the best!

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Graduate in Humanities Subject? Here's Why You Should Go for UPSC Exam
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Graduate in Humanities Subject? Here's Why You Should Go for UPSC Exam
Graduate in humanities subject? This article will tell you about the subjects of the UPSC examination along with the optional subject. So, get into the article and understand everything.
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UPSC Pathshala
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About the Author

Shruti Rag

Shruti is a creative and enthusiastic content writer along with being a budding journalist. She is a genuine-hearted and exploring girl with a dash of millennial approach. Her love for speaking and writing has made her pursue her bachelor's in journalism and mass communication. She believes in the quote, "if you will never fail in life, you will never rise like a phoenix from its ashes''. She gives strengthening and positive paths to the students by her content. Her interest lies in reading, traveling, and singing. Innovations and realism let you discover your identity. She has faith in wisdom and determination to touch the skies.

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