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Can I pursue UPSC without having humanities in 12th?

Blog Date
April 24,

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is an Indian constitutional organization responsible for conducting exams to select candidates for the government’s civil services. The Civil Services Examination is considered one of the most prestigious and challenging exams in India, with millions of candidates applying annually. In 2023, 13 lakh candidates applied for 1,255 available seats.

Civil servants hold significant authority and responsibility in government, making decisions on policy creation, execution, and management. They also enjoy perks like housing, healthcare, allowances, excellent pay, and work stability.

The UPSC exams are conducted in three phases:

  • Preliminary Test: The two objective-type papers that make up the preliminary test are General Studies Paper 1 and General Studies Paper 2.
  • Main Exam: The main exam has nine papers: two qualifying exams in English and Indian languages and seven papers covering essays, general studies, and optional courses.
  • Interview: The UPSC exam procedure ends with the interview.

Eligibility to pursue UPSC examination without humanities

There are no particular eligibility requirements for the UPSC exam based on any academic field or study stream. A bachelor’s degree is the minimal requirement, regardless of the field—humanities, sciences, commerce, engineering, agriculture, or medicine, to mention a few. Candidates from a variety of educational backgrounds, including those without a background in the humanities and UPSC without arts in 12th, are welcome to apply. 

As per reports, among applicants for the UPSC Civil Services Exam (UPSC CSE) Mains between 2017 and 2021, 63% (or 2,783 individuals) held engineering degrees. In fact, a big portion of exam applicants are from an engineering or tech background. The reasons for this include:

  • Engineering and technical education often require strong analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, and logical thinking, which are crucial for cracking the UPSC examination, especially in the General Studies papers.
  • Quantitative thinking and mathematics are key components of engineering programs, and they can help answer numerical questions on the UPSC test, especially in fields like economics, statistics, and data interpretation.
  • Candidates with engineering and tech backgrounds may have an advantage in some optional topics like engineering, mathematics, and science because of their familiarity with the subject, potentially providing them a competitive advantage.

Tips for non-humanities students to prepare for UPSC exams

Now that you know you can go ahead with UPSC even without a humanities background, let’s help you prep! If you aspire to crack the UPSC exams, follow the tips for UPSC preparation for non-humanities below:

  • Go through the syllabus. First, review the UPSC curriculum and get all the necessary books to begin your test preparation. Learn the examination structure and pattern, and stay current on information and trends.
  • Focus on General Studies (GS). Students pursuing non-humanities subjects should concentrate on General Studies papers, which cover various subjects like current events, science, technology, economics, geography, politics, history, and current affairs.
  • Stay updated with current affairs. Use news channels, magazines, newspapers, and websites to stay up-to-date on current events. Pay attention to significant events, government policies, socio-economic trends, and news from both domestic and foreign sources.
  • Pick your optional subject carefully. Consider your background, interests, and strengths while choosing your optional subject. Popular humanities courses include geography, history, and political science, while high-scoring fields include literature, sociology, or public administration.
  • Adopt some good habits. Adhere to a study schedule, practice answering questions, take mock tests, revise on time, and maintain momentum by having faith in your skills.

UPSC posts and how they are classified

The UPSC conducts examinations for various service groups, each offering different posts with distinct responsibilities, difficulty levels, and pay scales. There are 24 posts under UPSC, divided into three categories.

  • All India Services
  1. Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
  2. Indian Police Service (IPS)
  3. Indian Forest Service (IFoS)
  • Group ‘A’ Civil Services
  1. Indian Foreign Service (IFS) 
  2. Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS) 
  3. Indian Audit & Accounts Service (IAAS)
  4. Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)
  5. Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)
  6. Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)
  7. Indian Information Service (IIS)
  8. Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS)
  9. Indian Communication Finance Services (ICFS)
  10. Indian Postal Service (IPoS)
  11. Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)
  12. Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)
  13. Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)
  14. Indian Revenue Service (IRS)
  15. Indian Trade Service (ITS)
  16. Railway Protection Force (RPF)
  • Group ‘B’ Civil Services
  1. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (AFHCS) 
  2. Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS) 
  3. Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Service (DANIPS)
  4. Pondicherry Civil Service
  5. Pondicherry Police Service

Prominent UPSC profiles

Some of the prominent UPSC positions are mentioned in detail below. The salary for all the primary UPSC jobs ranges between INR 50,000 and INR 2,50,000, depending on each officer’s grade. Additionally, government aid, allowances, or perks such as house allowances, medical facilities, and more are the same for all UPSC roles.

Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

IAS officers are crucial in the Indian government’s administrative machinery. They are responsible for policy formulation, implementation, and decision-making. They tackle complex socio-economic issues, law and order, and public service delivery. The IAS exam is challenging due to its extensive syllabus and tough competition. 

Indian Police Service (IPS)

IPS officers are responsible for maintaining law and order, preventing crimes, and ensuring internal security. They lead police forces at district, state, and central levels. The IPS exam is challenging, requiring leadership qualities, physical fitness, and knowledge of criminal law.

Indian Forest Service (IFoS)

Director General (DG) of Forests is the highest title held by Indian Forest Service (IFoS) personnel who work for the central government. IFoS officials must be well-versed in environmental science, current events, and forestry principles and have strong analytical and problem-solving abilities.

Indian Foreign Service (IFS)

IFS officials are crucial in managing diplomatic affairs, creating foreign policy, and representing India in international forums. They maintain India’s global influence and foster political, economic, and cultural ties. Passing the exam requires a solid understanding of diplomacy, current events, international relations, general knowledge, analytical skills, and effective communication.

Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)

ICAS, employed by the Ministry of Finance, oversees central government departments’ accounts and finances to maintain financial legality and transparency. They require a strong understanding of accounting concepts, financial management, economics, general knowledge, analytical skills, and familiarity with financial and economic policy.

Indian Revenue Service (IRS)

IRS personnel manage and collect taxes, enforce tax legislation, and ensure compliance. They significantly impact national policies and economic conditions. They require a strong understanding of accounting, financial management, economics, general knowledge, and analytical skills.

Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (AFHCS)

The Ministry of Defence oversees this service, which the Defence Secretary leads. The test requires analytical skills, general knowledge, current events, military affairs, and national security. Candidates should also be able to make decisions, be leaders, and be dedicated to public service.

Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Service (DANIPS)

It is a federal police service of India that administers Delhi and other union territories. Comprehensive knowledge of the criminal justice system, law enforcement, current events, general knowledge, leadership skills, good physical condition, and analytical skills are required for the test.

Take your career forward with Online Manipal

Online degree programs provide flexibility and convenience in balancing education with UPSC test preparation. They allow you to efficiently organize your time so that you may focus on both your graduation and UPSC test preparation at the same time.

Manipal University Jaipur (MUJ) offers different graduate and postgraduate degrees, such as BCA, BBA, B.Com, MBA, M.Com, and more, in a 100% online mode, providing students with the flexibility to pursue their education from anywhere in the world.


There are numerous career options without humanities available. You can take the UPSC test even if you didn’t study humanities in your 12th grade as long as you fulfill the UPSC’s fundamental eligibility requirements. However, taking humanities in the twelfth grade might provide you with some exposure to topics like political science, economics, history, and geography. Dedicated preparation can help candidates from a variety of educational backgrounds—including science, business, and the arts—succeed in the UPSC test. The most crucial elements are the candidate’s commitment, due diligence, and holistic preparation approach, irrespective of the subject they choose.

Key Takeaways:

  • UPSC preparation is a continuous learning process. Candidates need to stay updated with current events, government policies, and socio-economic developments.
  • UPSC doesn’t require candidates to have studied humanities or any other specific subjects in 12th grade. The exam is open to candidates from all academic backgrounds.


Information related to companies and external organizations is based on secondary research or the opinion of individual authors and must not be interpreted as the official information shared by the concerned organization.

Additionally, information like fee, eligibility, scholarships, finance options etc. on offerings and programs listed on Online Manipal may change as per the discretion of respective universities so please refer to the respective program page for latest information. Any information provided in blogs is not binding and cannot be taken as final.

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