UPSC Civil Services Exam: 2025-26 Age Limit, Eligibility Criteria, and Educational Qualification

UPSC Syllabus

Table of Contents

UPSC Syllabus

Table of Contents

UPSC Civil Services Exam: 2025-26 Age Limit, Eligibility Criteria, and Educational Qualification

Have you ever dreamt of making a real difference in India? Creating rules that affect millions of people’s lives. If so, then cracking the UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE) could be your gateway to achieving that dream. This highly competitive exam opens doors to prestigious positions like IAS, IPS, and IFS, allowing you to contribute significantly to the nation’s development. Before starting this challenging and rewarding path, it’s important to understand the eligibility criteria set by the UPSC syllabus

This blog post provides a comprehensive overview of the UPSC CSE eligibility criteria for the 2024 exam, covering aspects like age limit, educational qualifications, and number of attempts. We’ll also explore some answer frequently asked questions, and offer essential preparation tips to get you started, including information on available UPSC courses and top UPSC coaching institutes in Indore

UPSC Eligibility Criteria 2025-26

The UPSC eligibility criteria for the CSE exam are designed to ensure candidates possess the necessary qualifications and background for a career in civil service. These criteria provide various factors, including nationality, age, education, and number of attempts. Fulfilling all these requirements is mandatory to apply for the exam.

UPSC Age Limit

Imagine yourself leading a team that impacts millions of lives. That’s the kind of power a career in the civil service offers. But before you start studying, there’s an age limit to consider for the UPSC exam.

The UPSC CSE exam adheres to a specific age limit for candidates. As of August 1, 2025 (the cut-off date for the 2025 exam), the general age limit is:

Category

Minimum Age Limit for UPSC

Maximum Age Limit for UPSC

 General Category

21

32

EWS

21

32

SC/ST

21

37

OBC

21

35

This means candidates must be at least 21 years old and not exceed 32 years of age on the cut-off date. However, the UPSC offers age relaxations for certain categories:

UPSC Age Relaxation

The UPSC acknowledges the diverse backgrounds of aspiring civil servants and provides age relaxations for some categories. Here’s a breakdown of the relaxation offered:

UPSC Age Relaxation

Category

UPSC Age Limit- Upper Relaxation

General

32

OBC

35

SC/ST

37

Disabled Defence Services Personnel

35

Ex-Servicemen

37

EWS (Economically Weaker Section)

42

UPSC Qualification

The UPSC mandates a minimum educational qualification for appearing in the CSE exam. Candidates must possess a degree from a recognised university as defined by the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India. This includes:  
  • A Bachelor’s degree from a recognised university in India.
  • A degree from a foreign university recognised by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU).
  • A person of Indian origin (PIO) who has moved from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, or certain East African countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zaire, and Vietnam to settle in India permanently.
The degree can be in any discipline – Arts, Science, Commerce, Engineering, Law, etc. There’s no specific subject requirement for the UPSC CSE exam.

UPSC Exam Reservation System

The UPSC allocates a specific number of vacancies for different categories under the reservation policy. These quotas are determined based on caste and social background.
Here’s a table outlining the quota system for the UPSC CSE exam (subject to change):

Category

Quota (%)

General (GEN)

Unreserved

EWS

10%

Other Backward Classes (OBC)

27%

Scheduled Castes (SC)

15%

Scheduled Tribes (ST)

7.5%

 UPSC Eligibility – Nationality Criteria

For IAS and IPS:
  • Candidate must be a citizen of India
All other Services:
  1. Citizens of India
  2. Subjects of Nepal or Bhutan
  3. Tibetan refugees who came to India before 1962 on a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India
  4. Persons of Indian origin who migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, and Ethiopia with a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India are eligible to apply.

Number of Attempts in UPSC

The number of attempts permitted for the UPSC CSE exam varies depending on the candidate’s category. Here’s a breakdown:

Number Of Attempts

Category

Number of Attempts

General

6

OBC

9

SC/ST

Unlimited (Up to age limit)

Disabled Defence Services Personnel

9

Ex-Servicemen

9

EWS (Economically Weaker Section)

9

Note: These are the maximum permissible attempts. Candidates can appear for the exam fewer times than the limit allows.

Restrictions on Applying for the UPSC Exam

  • Candidates employed under the Government of India (Central Services/State Services/Public Sector Undertakings) or a Public Corporation controlled by the Government of India must obtain permission from their department before applying.
  • An individual cannot hold a State/Central Government service or a post under a local body at the time of appointment to the Civil Services.
  • Candidates who are Members of Parliament or State Legislatures are not eligible to apply.
  • Candidates against whom a criminal charge is pending in a court of law are not eligible to apply.

UPSC Physical Eligibility – Medical and Physical Standards

The UPSC doesn’t explicitly define any specific physical standards for appearing in the CSE exam. However, candidates who qualify for the interview round might undergo a medical examination to assess their fitness for certain civil services like IPS. This examination is conducted by authorized medical officers appointed by the UPSC.

Conclusion

Understanding the UPSC CSE eligibility criteria is crucial for anyone aspiring to take the exam. This blog post has comprehensively covered the various aspects, including age limit, educational qualifications, reservation quotas, number of attempts, and some restrictions on applying. 

Remember: It’s always advisable to refer to the official UPSC notification released for the specific year’s exam. The notification might contain the latest updates or any changes in the eligibility criteria. You can find the notification on the UPSC website https://upsc.gov.in/
Getting Started with UPSC Preparation:
The UPSC CSE exam requires thorough preparation. Here are some essential tips to help you get started:
  • Develop a study plan: Create a realistic and well-structured plan that allocates time for each subject and revision.
  • Choose the right resources: Utilize recommended study materials, previous years’ question papers, and mock tests.
  • Focus on current affairs: Stay updated with national and international news to strengthen your knowledge and analytical skills.
  • Practice answer writing: Regularly practice writing concise and well-structured answers for both objective and essay-type questions.
Seek guidance (optional): Consider top UPSC coaching institutes or online UPSC courses for mentorship and personalised guidance.
By fulfilling the eligibility criteria, familiarizing yourself with the UPSC syllabus, and undertaking strategic preparation through a well-structured UPSC course or with the help of a top UPSC coaching institute, you can increase your chances of success in the UPSC CSE exam. With hard work, dedication, and the right approach, you can crack this exam and make a significant contribution to India’s development.

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