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What is UPSC Full Form? History, Functions And Exams Conducted by UPSC

The full form of the acronym UPSC is Union Public Service Commission. It was established on 01st October 1926 as a constitutional body. The UPSC acts as the central recruiting authority of India for officers under the Government of India. Lakhs of aspirants compete every year for the recruitments notified by the UPSC. It is considered one of the toughest examinations in India for securing a gazetted central government post.

Organization UPSC
UPSC Full-Form Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Group of posts under UPSC Group A and B posts
Official website upsc.gov.in
Exam mode Offline
Minimum eligibility criteria Graduate in concerned stream/ 12th Pass
UPSC Chairman Pradeep Kumar Joshi

UPSC Full Form and History

UPSC’s full form is Union Public Service Commission, as already mentioned above. Let us discuss about the origin or history of the UPSC.

The concept of a merit-based modern Civil Service exam in India was introduced in 1854 by the British East India Company. Initially, the examinations for the Indian Civil Service were conducted only in London and the syllabus was designed in such a way that only the British candidates could succeed in it. Nevertheless, in 1864, the first Indian, Shri Satyendranath Tagore brother of Shri Rabindranath Tagore succeeded.

It was only after the First World War and the Montagu Chelmsford reforms that Indian civil service exams began to be held in India. The Public Service Commission was set up in India for the first time on October 1, 1926. Sir Ross Barker, a member of the Home Civil Service, United Kingdom was the first Chairman of the Commission.

With the introduction of the Constitution of India on January 26, 1950, the Federal Public Service Commission came to be recognized as the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Hence, UPSC was formed as the central commission for conducting government job examinations. 

The UPSC conducts various examinations, including the Civil Services Examination (CSE), which is considered one of the most prestigious examinations in India. The CSE is conducted annually and provides a gateway to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and other central services.

Over the years, the UPSC has evolved and adapted to changing circumstances and demands. The commission consists of a Chairman and other members appointed by the President of India. The Chairman and members hold office for a term of six years or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. The UPSC operates independently and is responsible for maintaining the integrity and impartiality of the recruitment process.

What are the Functions of UPSC?

The functions of the UPSC as mentioned in Article 320 of the Constitution include the following:

  1. Conduct the recruitment examinations for appointment to the services of the Union.
  2. Direct recruitment of aspirants by selection through interviews.
  3. Appointment of officers in the cadre on promotion/deputation/absorption.
  4. Framing and amendment of the Recruitment Rules for services and posts under the Government.
  5. Managing disciplinary cases related to different Civil Services or officers.
  6. Advising the Government on any matter assigned to the Commission by the President of India.

Which examinations are conducted by UPSC?

To understand UPSC, you must know the examinations conducted by the UPSC. Here is the list of exams conducted by UPSC:

  • National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination (NDA)
  • Indian Statistical Service Examination (ISS)
  • Indian Economic Service Examination (IES)
  • Indian Forest Service Examination (IFS)
  • Combined Geo-Scientist and Geologist Examination
  • Indian Civil Services Examination (ICSE) for recruitment to IAS, IPS, IRS, etc officers
  • Indian Engineering Services Examination
  • Combined Medical Services Examination
  • Central Armed Police Forces (ACs) Examination
  • Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS)
  • Various Recruitment Tests for UPSC EPFO, other exams

What are the Minimum Qualifications for appearing for UPSC Exams?

If you are planning to apply for any of the mentioned examinations by UPSC, you must know about the minimum educational qualifications required by the particular exams. Check out below:

Examination Minimum Qualifications Required
National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination (NDA) 12th pass
Indian Statistical Service Examination (ISS) Bachelor’s Degree with Statistics/Applied Statistics/Mathematical Statistics
Indian Economic Service Examination (IES) Post-Graduate Degree in Economics/Applied Economics/Business Economics etc
Indian Forest Service Examination (IFS) Bachelor’s degree in any one of the mentioned subjects.
Combined Geo-Scientist and Geologist Examination Master’s degree in mentioned subjects
Indian Civil Services Examination (ICSE) for recruitment to IAS, IPS, IRS etc officers Bachelor’s degree in any subject.
Indian Engineering Services Examination Degree in Engineering
Combined Medical Services Examination MBBS
Central Armed Police Forces (ACs) Examination Bachelor’s degree
Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS) Bachelor’s degree


UPSC Civil Services exam consists of 3 stages passing which a candidate will be appointed for the posts under administrative departments:

  1. Preliminary examination
  2. Mains examination
  3. Interview

UPSC Preliminary examination

It consists of 2 mandatory papers for 200 marks each to be attempted in 2 hours. Paper 1 contains questions from General Studies (GS) while paper 2 is from the Aptitude Test.

Paper Subject Marks Duration
Paper 1 General Studies (GS) 200 marks 2 Hours
Paper 2 Aptitude Test 200 marks 2 Hours

UPSC Mains examination

The Mains exam consists of subjective type questions with a total of 9 papers with 2 papers that are qualifying in nature while the marks scored in 7 papers are added in the final merit. Each paper is of 3 hours duration.

Paper Subject Marks
One of the Indian Languages to be selected by the candidate 300 marks
English 300 marks
Paper-I Essay 250 Marks
General Studies-Indian
Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society 250 Marks
General Studies -II
Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations 250 Marks
General Studies -III
Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management 250 Marks
General Studies -IV
(Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)- 250 Marks 250 Marks
Paper-VI Optional Subject Paper 1 250 Marks
Paper-VII Optional Subject Paper 2 250 Marks

Click here to get the best UPSC Study Material, Test Series, and More


What is the full form of UPSC?

UPSC full form is Union Public Service Commission. It was founded in 1926.

Are UPSC and IAS the same?

UPSC or Union Public Service Commission conducts the examinations for central govt posts. IAS or Indian administrative service is a central government department, and the examination to get posted in the IAS is conducted by the UPSC.

What is the UPSC CSE examination?

UPSC CSE is a UPSC Civil services examination conducted for gazetted posts in the central government. It includes IAS, IPS, IRS, and other services.

What are the jobs in UPSC?

UPSC conducts examinations for various jobs namely NDA, ISS, IES, IFS, IAS, IPS, Indian engineering service, medical officers, defense services, Assistant Commandants, and other central government services.

Is the UPSC exam tough?

Yes, UPSC is considered one of the toughest exams in India. Especially, UPSC CSE is considered the most competitive of all government exams in India.

How long is the IAS Training Program?

IAS Training lasts for 75 weeks including the duration spent at LBSNAA and central government attachments.


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