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Which BA is best for UPSC?


Blog Date
March 31,

Do you aspire to contribute to the nation’s growth by joining the civil services? Becoming a civil servant with the UPSC can be both challenging and rewarding. Choosing a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree as the first step offers a solid foundation and myriad benefits for those considering this path. Most UPSC aspirants choose to pursue a BA or Bachelor of Arts degree because it best matches the requirements of civil services exams. The curriculum of BA courses and the subjects that the degree covers, such as Law, Political Science, History, Economics, Public Administration, and the like, are best deemed relevant to the civil services domain.

Let’s explore why opting for a BA can be the ideal starting point in preparing for the UPSC examinations and what are the best BA majors for UPSC preparation. 

Bachelor of Arts for UPSC 

As stated earlier, a majority of students preparing for UPSC as a career path prefer to take up a Bachelor of Arts, or BA, as a suitable degree. Here are 5 reasons for their degree choice:

  1. BA subjects best align with the UPSC syllabus’s prelims and mains. Students intending to prepare for the civil services should ideally have a fair knowledge of subjects such as Political Science, History, Geography, Philosophy, or Public Administration. These subjects generally have direct relevance to civil services and are therefore considered ideal for UPSC studies.
  1. BA degree gives more focus to humanities. This is exactly the focal point of the syllabus covered for IAS exams. UPSC preparations emphasize more on social sciences and the subjects covered in the Humanities domain, which are well covered by BA study programs.
  1. BA courses facilitate enhanced preparation for General Studies, a pivotal component of the UPSC curriculum. The subjects covered in BA programs perfectly match those taught in General Studies and the Optional (Elective) syllabus for the civil services exam, which is very helpful for BA students aspiring to prepare for UPSC after that. 
  1. BA courses enable a seamless transition from the world of academia to real-world administrative services. This is because both BA and UPSC curriculums are so well integrated that students who choose to pursue a BA gain comprehensive knowledge of the subjects covered in UPSC exams right from the first year of their graduation. This gives them a competitive edge over their peers when sitting for civil services exams. 
  1. BA is the perfect foundation stone for students to build their expertise for UPSC. When you start learning the topics covered in the UPSC syllabus early on in BA study programs, you get sufficient time to delve deeper into the topics later on when pursuing UPSC. This allows you to build your expertise in these areas. 

Best BA majors for UPSC preparation

We have already established that taking up a BA is the ideal option for UPSC aspirants among all the streams pursued at the undergraduate level. Let us now look at the recommended BA majors for UPSC success.

Among the various subjects you can choose to major in for your Bachelor’s, BA Political Science is one of the best options for UPSC preparations. The comprehensive curriculum covers an array of subjects crucial for UPSC, including governance, international relations, public administration, and constitutional law. Furthermore, the analytical and critical thinking skills honed during the course greatly benefit aspirants in navigating the complex landscape of UPSC examinations.

Some of the other options considered by students for BA majors that could prove helpful in UPSC preparations include:

  • BA Public Administration
  • BA History
  • BA Geography
  • BA Philosophy
  • BA Economics

All of these subjects have direct relevance to civil services and also tend to overlap with the syllabus prescribed for civil services exams. Students choosing to major in any of the above subjects have the advantage of getting a fair idea of the concept before appearing for the UPSC exams. 

How to start preparing for UPSC after the 12th?

Students interested in appearing for and qualifying through the UPSC exams after completing class 12 must prepare a clear strategy to achieve their goal. Below are a few helpful tips:

  • Understand the eligibility criteria: The first step in preparing for UPSC is to clearly understand the eligibility requirements for the exam. Listed below are the key UPSC exam eligibility for different BA majors:
  • The candidate must be an Indian citizen.
  • They should be aged between 21 and 32 years of age (General category), 35 years (OBC category), 37 years (SC/ST category), and 42 years (PWD category).
  • They must have either completed their graduation from a university recognized by the government or are in their final year.
  • Choose your UG degree wisely: It is crucial to make a wise choice concerning the degree you choose to pursue at the undergraduate level if you plan to pursue UPSC ahead. The syllabus for the UPSC exam generally includes subjects like History, Political Science, Mathematics, Geography, and the like. It would, therefore, be helpful to choose a Bachelor’s degree in similar subjects that overlap with the UPSC curriculum so that your UG degree perfectly aligns with the latter. A BA degree in Political Science, Economics, History, Geography, or similar subjects is the perfect choice for UPSC.
  • Understand the UPSC syllabus: Before proceeding with preparing for the UPSC exams, it is important to familiarize yourself with the syllabus and general examination pattern. This will help you know what exactly to focus on during your preparation. 
  • Consider taking coaching: It is best to seek professional assistance while preparing for civil services. Considering that the competition is tough, it’d be helpful to join UPSC exam coaching from a professional institute. Your teachers would be better able to guide you and hand-hold you to success. 
  • Read up on success stories of UPSC toppers with BA degrees: These would help encourage you and boost your confidence and morale to appear for the exam. It also gives you a clearer picture of which BA major can help you climb the success ladder with UPSC.

Is an online degree valid for UPSC?

Absolutely. Online undergraduate degrees are valid and accepted while appearing for UPSC exams. The only condition that applies here is that the online Bachelor’s degree must be recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC). 

UGC-approved degrees, even though secured online or through distance education programs, are generally recognized by governments, thereby opening up paths for civil services for students. In addition, online BA degrees are indeed helpful for students preparing for UPSC. Listed below are a few ways how UPSC aspirants can benefit from online BA degrees:

  •  Greater flexibility: Online learning enables students to choose flexible study times at their convenience. This allows them to comfortably pursue their BA degrees while charting out dedicated time to prepare for UPSC.
  • Easy affordability: Online study programs are generally easier on the pocket as compared to offline courses. Pursuing an online BA can, therefore, help you save up for UPSC coaching or examination fees, books, study materials, and the like.
  • Personalized guidance: Online classes can help students receive one-on-one personalized assistance and mentorship from teachers via email, video calls, etc. This helps clarify any doubts they may have and helps them understand concepts better than they do in group classes.
  • Wider access to knowledge: Online learning opens doors to many useful resources available on the internet. Students can learn more concepts about their BA major and also find other relevant information for UPSC preparations through YouTube videos and other similar knowledge hubs.  


Bachelor of Arts is indeed the best choice for UPSC aspirants, helping them better understand in detail the subjects taught in the UPSC syllabus since these are quite similar to those taught in BA courses. Besides, pursuing BA online is a much better choice than doing it the traditional way (offline) as it would allow you more time to focus on your UPSC preparation. 

Sikkim Manipal University (SMU) offers online BA courses on the Online Manipal platform to students all over. The program is offered with a combination of 3 primary subjects – Political Science, Sociology, and English – all of which are particularly useful and find a place in the UPSC syllabus as well. Sikkim Manipal University is accredited with an A+ grade by NAAC, and its online BA course is UGC-entitled. This makes it easily validated and accepted by governments across the world, opening up lucrative career paths for UPSC candidates.   


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.

  • TAGS
  • bachelor of arts
  • Online Bachelor of Arts
  • online degree
  • UPSC

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