Do you need post graduation to become IAS ? (Why you should or not)

When to appear for UPSC ? Before or After Post Graduation

Lakhs of student prepare and appear for UPSC exam every year but only few hundreds are selected at the end. It is among the toughest exam in India and clearing it isn’t an easy task. UPSC aspirant has to cover a vast syllabus, books, data and all this can be overwhelming for new aspirants which raises many confusion in their mind. Some of them being, “Whether to appear for UPSC before or after post graduation ” or “Is Post Graduation necessary for UPSC ?” such questions I will be answering in this article.

A simple answer to this would be :

No, post graduation is not neccessary to appear for UPSC examination. The only educational qualification need is a bachelor’s degree from a government recognized university apart from this there is no other minimum graduation percentage requirement for IAS or UPSC.

Post graduation is not necessary but completing your P.G course can be beneficial for you as well and this can depend on many different factors as well which we will talk about in this article.

What is The Current UPSC Eligibility Requirement ?

UPSC 2022 (Preliminary) exam is going to held on 5th June 2022 (all the latest detail about the exam can be found on their official website). It has all the details about the examination but it can be confusing for some students. So that’s why I will be explaining all the eligibility criteria in much more simpler terms in the article.

UPSC Exam Eligibility and Details Overview:

UPSC Exam Age Limit21 to 32 Years
Age RelaxationAs per category mentioned below*
Educational Qualification for UPSCGraduate from a Government Recognised University
No. of AttemptsAs per category mentioned below*
UPSC 2022 Exam Details Overview

Age Eligibility for UPSC:

According to latest eligibility, UPSC aspirant must be of age of 21 years and must not have attained 32 years age on 1st August 2022. So if your date of birth (DOB) is between 2nd August 1990 – 1st August 2001 then you are eligible for UPSC examination in 2022.

There are certain age relaxation to this based on category which are as follow:

Age Relaxation and Number of Attempts:

CategoryMinimum Age LimitMaximum Age LimitNo. of
General Category21 Years32 Years6
SC/ST21 Years37 YearsUnlimited
(Up to age limit)
OBC21 Years35 Years9
Person with Benchmark Disability
21 Years42 Years9
Ex-Servicemen21 Years37 Years
Upper Age Relaxation for UPSC 2022 as per category

Educational Qualification for UPSC:

Academic Qualification for UPSC examination as per latest update are as follow:

  • Minimum Qualification is that the aspirant must hold a Graduate degree from any university recognised by the Government.
  • Students who are in their final year of graduation or awaiting for the result can also apply for UPSC Preliminary Examination.
  • Students who have professional and technical qualification recognised by the Government as equivalent to professional degree are also eligible for the examination.
  • Medical Student who have passed the final year of MBBS but internship is pending are also eligible for the preliminary examination. Although they will have to submit a certificate of course completion including internship from the concerned authority in their UPSC Mains Exam Application.


Nationality qualification depends on what service you are giving UPSC exam for. The qualifications are as follow:

  • For IAS (Indian Administrative Service), IFS (Indian Foreign Service) and IPS (Indian Police Service) a candidate must be a citizen of India.
  • For all the other services, a candidate must be either a:
    • Citizen of India,
    • Subject of Nepal,
    • Subject of Bhutan,
    • Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
    • Person of Indian origin who has migrated from following country with the intention to permanently settling in India.
      • Pakistan
      • Burma
      • Sri Lanka
      • East African Countries (Kenya, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and
      • Vietnam

When to appear for UPSC ? (Pre or Post Graduation Completion):

Many aspirants have this query about whether they should appear for UPSC examination before completing post graduation or after completing post graduation.

Even though the answer to this question varies from person to person and depends on various factor such as “At What stage you are in your preparation” and “How serious you are about UPSC” but we will try to help you to take decision which is best for yourself based on different factors.

What Stage are You on of UPSC Preparation ?

To make everything simple to understand, let’s segregate students in 3 different categories:

  1. Planner : Students who are currently in class 10th or 12th and are planning to go for civil service exam and appear for UPSC in future.
  2. Believer : Students who have completed class 12th and are in undergraduate course right now who have already preparing for UPSC.
  3. Initiators : Student who have completed their graduation and have been preparing for UPSC for more than 2 years.

Let’s understand the different factors based on these 3 categories to help you decide better. There are three components which we will use to evaluate it:

  1. What stage are you at of UPSC preparation ?
  2. How serious are you about UPSC ?
  3. What other option are available for you ?

Stage of Your UPSC Preparation:

Based on the student category you belong to and your UPSC preparation stage we will try to conclude what will be best decision for you. Whether you should go for P.G course or not.

If you are a Planner and only have been thinking about to prepare for UPSC, you should not get worried about post graduation because for UPSC you only need a graduation degree and P.G is not neccessary for that. You have a lot of time left to decide about the career and try different option as well apart from UPSC. Take your time and try different options before finalising which career or course you like the most before committing fully to it.

If your are a believer who is currently in their undergraduate course preparing for UPSC examination then you should think about UPSC as a choice and think of other options as well before fully committing to it because there are certain number of attempts available. You should try for UPSC after completing your undergraduate course to know your progress but keep post graduation as your back-up plan.

If you are an initiator who has already completed their bachelors, fully committed to UPSC and even have attempted it 2-3 times but couldn’t make it. You should also consider a P.G course which you can complete while preparing for your UPSC examination. Having an extra knowledge about the subject can give you an advantage over the other and this can also work as your backup plan in worst case scenario.

How Serious are you About UPSC ?

Unlike the previous one, this one is a little tricky and not as straight forward. This depends more on an individual than in a group in general but we will still try our best to clear all your doubts.

If you are a planner and are just thinking to appear for UPSC but you only see it as an option and not as a definite career path then again I would recommend to try other possible career options available to you and take decision accordingly. Go for UPSC exam after getting your degree and pick a undergraduate course where you can have a career too other than UPSC as a backup.

If you are a believer than it can depend. If you have made your mind about cracking UPSC and have picked an undergraduate course just for the sake of degree to be eligible for UPSC than you should give your 100% in preparing for UPSC and don’t think about post graduation yet. Drive all your focus only on UPSC preparation and put all your effort in it.

If you are an Initiator than its clear that you are serious about UPSC and don’t want to go for any other career path. If you already have given several attempt but couldn’t make it than I would recommend to think about a P.G course to get more knowledge about the subject and if you can put this as a plus point in your interview round. This will give you an edge over other students.

Think about completing your post graduation because this will not only open a path to more knowledge about the subject to help you in UPSC preparation but will also help in worst case scenario to find other alternative career.

Other Career Options Available:

Alternate career options can be different for each individual based on their education, family financial condition, etc..

In case you are a planner than you still have lot of career options to choose from UPSC being one of them. As we mentioned previously, try out as many career options you can in these few years and go with the one you like the most. There is no need to stick with only UPSC if you don’t like it or think about post graduation yet. Go for UPSC if you like the job, check for your personal satisfaction first before thinking about monetary benefit because in long run, self satisfaction is more important.

If you are an believer, you won’t have as many career option available to you, it will mostly depend on the undergraduate course you have. Still I would recommend to go for Post graduation because that will open more career options and job opportunity for you in future.

If you are an Initiator than the options available to you are lot slimmer but not zero. If you believe that you can crack UPSC and believe in yourself based on your previous attempts. Than definitetly go for it and give it your 100%. Don’t worry about post graduation but if you are not confident about UPSC now than definitely seek for other career options based on your current qualification. If you can afford for post graduation course than definitely go for it.


Think practically and go for UPSC only after analysing all your current scenario. If you are just thinking about appearing for UPSC, don’t worry about post graduation yet. In case you have been preparing for UPSC during your undergraduate course than post graduation is also a viable option based on your current UPSC preparation.

I hope, I was able to help you with your decision. Even after all this, there will be scenario which will be different for each individual and I may have not been able to cover it all. So please feel free to ask your doubts and queries in the comment section below.

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