UPSC Anthropology Syllabus 2023 PDF (2023)

UPSC Anthropology Syllabus 2023: Paper-I

1.1 Meaning, Scope and development of Anthropology.
1.2 Relationships with other disciplines : Social Sciences, behavioural Sciences, Life Sciences, Medical Sciences, Earth Sciences and Humanities.
1.3 Main branches of Anthropology, their scope and relevance :

  1. Social-cultural Anthropology.
  2. biological Anthropology.
  3. Archaeological Anthropology.
  4. Linguistic Anthropology.

1.4 Human Evolution and emergence of Man :

  1. Biological and Cultural factors in human evolution.
  2. Theories of Organic Evolution (Pre-Darwinian, Darwinian and Post-Darwinian).
  3. Synthetic theory of evolution; Brief outline of terms and concepts of evolutionary biology (Doll’s rule, Cope’s rule, Gause’s rule, parallelism, convergence, adaptive radiation, and mosaic evolution).

1.5 Characteristics of Primates; Evolutionary Trend and Primate Taxonomy; Primate Adaptations; (Arboreal and Terrestrial) Primate Taxonomy; Primate Behaviour; Tertiary and Quaternary fossil primates; Living Major Primates; Comparative Anatomy of Man and Apes; Skeletal changes due to erect posture and its implications.

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1.6 Phylogenetic status, characteristics and geographical distribution of the following :

  1. Plio-preleistocene hominids in South and East Africa—Australopithecines.
  2. Homo erectus : Africa (Paranthropus), Europe (Homo erectus (heidelbergensis), Asia (Homo erectus javanicus, Homo erectus pekinensis).
  3. Neanderthal man—La-chapelle-aux-saints (Classical type), Mt. Carmel (Progressive type).
  4. Rhodesian man.
  5. Homo sapiens—Cromagnon, Grimaldi and Chancelede.

1.7 The biological basis of Life : The Cell, DNA structure and replication, Protein Synthesis, Gene, Mutation, Chromosomes, and Cell Division.


(a) Principles of Prehistoric Archaeology. Chronology : Relative and Absolute Dating methods.
(b) Cultural Evolution—Broad Outlines of Prehistoric cultures :

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  1. Paleolithic
  2. Mesolithic
  3. Neolithic
  4. Chalcolithic
  5. Copper-Bronze age
  6. Iron Age

2.1 The Nature of Culture : The concept and Characteristics of culture and civilization; Ethnocentrism vis-a-vis cultural Relativism.
2.2 The Nature of Society : Concept of Society; Society and Culture; Social Institution; Social groups; and Social stratification.
2.3 Marriage : Definition and universality; Laws of marriage (endogamy, exogamy, hypergamy, hypogamy, incest taboo); Type of marriage (monogamy, polygamy, polyandry, group marriage). Functions of marriage; Marriage regulations (preferential, prescriptive and proscriptive); Marriage payments (bride wealth and dowry).
2.4 Family : Definition and universality; Family, household and domestic groups; functions of family; Types of family (from the perspectives of structure, blood relation, marriage, residence and succession); Impact of urbanization, industrialization and feminist movements on family.
2.5 Kinship : Consanguinity and Affinity; Principles and types of descent (Unilineal, Double, Bilateral Ambilineal); Forms of descent groups (lineage, clan, phratry, moiety and kindred); Kinship terminology (descriptive and classificatory); Descent, Filiation and Complimentary Filiation; Decent and Alliance.

3. Economic Organization : Meaning, scope and relevance of economic anthropology; Formalist and Substantivist debate; Principles governing production, distribution and exchange (reciprocity, redistribution and market), in communities, subsisting on hunting and gathering, fishing, swiddening, pastoralism, horticulture, and agriculture; globalization and indigenous economic systems.

4. Political Organization and Social Control : Band, tribe, chiefdom, kingdom and state; concepts of power, authority and legitimacy; social control, law and justice in simple Societies.

5. Religion : Anthropological approaches to the study of religion (evolutionary, psychological and functional); monotheism and polytheism; sacred and profane; myths and rituals; forms of religion in tribal and peasant Societies (animism, animatism, fetishism, naturism and totemism); religion, magic and science distinguished; magico-religious functionaries (priest, shaman, medicine man, sorcerer and witch).

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6. Anthropological theories :

  1. Classical evolutionism (Tylor, Morgan and Frazer)
  2. Historical particularism (Boas) Diffusionism (British, German and American)
  3. Functionalism (Malinowski); Structural—Functionlism (Radcliffe-Brown)
  4. Structuralism (L’evi-Strauss and E. Leach)
  5. Culture and personality (Benedict, Mead, Linton, Kardiner and Cora-du Bois)
  6. Neo—evolutionism (Childe, White, Steward, Sahlins and Service)
  7. Cultural materialism (Harris)
  8. Symbolic and interpretive theories (Turner, Schneider and Geertz)
  9. Cognitive theories (Tyler, Conklin)
  10. Post-modernism in anthropology.

7. Culture, Language and Communication : Nature, origin and characteristics of language; verbal and non-verbal communication; social contex of language use.

8. Research methods in Anthropology :

  1. Fieldwork tradition in anthropology
  2. Distinction between technique, method and methodology
  3. Tools of data collection : observation, interview, schedules, questionnaire, case study, genealogy, life-history, oral history, secondary sources of information, participatory methods.
  4. Analysis, interpretation and presentation of data.

9.1 Human Genetics : Methods and Application : Methods for study of genetic principles in manfamily study (pedigree analysis, twin study, foster child, co-twin method, cytogenetic method, chromosomal and karyo-type analysis), biochemical methods, immunological methods, D.N.A. technology and recombinant technologies.
9.2 Mendelian genetics in man-family study, single factor, multifactor, lethal, sub-lethal and polygenic inheritance in man.
9.3 Concept of genetic polymorphism and selection, Mendelian population, Hardy-Weinberg law; causes and changes which bring down frequency-mutation, isolation, migration, selection, inbreeding and genetic drift. Consanguineous and non-consanguineous mating, genetic load, genetic effect of consanguineous and cousin marriages.
9.4 Chromosomes and chromosomal aberrations in man, methodology.

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  1. Numerical and structural aberrations (disorders).
  2. Sex chromosomal aberration- Klinefelter (XXY), Turner (XO), Super female (XXX), intersex and other syndromic disorders.
  3. Autosomal aberrations- Down syndrome, Patau, Edward and Cri-du-chat syndromes.
  4. Genetic imprints in human disease, genetic screening, genetic counseling, human DNA profiling, gene mapping and genome study.

9.5 Race and racism, biological basis of morphological variation of non-metric and characters. Racial criteria, racial traits in relation to heredity and environment; biological basis of racial classification, racial differentiation and race crossing in man.
9.6 Age, sex and population variation as genetic marker :ABO, Rh blood groups, HLA Hp, transferring, Gm, blood enzymes. Physiological characteristics-Hb level, body fat, pulse rate, respiratory functions and sensory perceptions in different cultural and socio-ecomomic groups.
9.7 Concepts and methods of Ecological Anthropology : Bio-cultural Adaptations—Genetic and Non-genetic factors. Man’s physiological responses to environmental stresses: hot desert, cold, high altitude climate.
9.8 Epidemiological Anthropology : Health and disease. Infectious and non-infectious diseases, Nutritional deficiency related diseases.
10. Concept of human growth and Development : Stages of growth—pre-natal, natal, infant, childhood, adolescence, maturity, senescence.
—Factors affecting growth and development genetic, environmental, biochemical, nutritional, cultural and socio-economic.
—Ageing and senescence. Theories and observations
—biological and chronological longevity. Human physique and somatotypes. Methodologies for growth studies.
11.1 Relevance of menarche, menopause and other bioevents to fertility. Fertility patterns and
11.2 Demographic theories-biological, social and cultural.
11.3 Biological and socio-ecological factors influencing fecundity, fertility, natality and mortality.

12. Applications of Anthropology : Anthropology of sports, Nutritional anthropology, Anthroplogy in designing of defence and other equipments, Forensic Anthroplogy, Methods and principles of personal identification and reconstruction, Applied human genetics Paternity diagnosis, genetic counselling and eugenics, DNA technology in diseases and medicine, serogenetics and cytogenetics in reproductive biology.

UPSC Anthropology Syllabus 2023: Paper-II

1.1 Evolution of the Indian Culture and Civilization—Prehistoric (Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and Neolithic-Chalcolithic), Protohistoric (Indus Civilization). Pre-Harappan, Harappan and postHarappan cultures. Contributions of the tribal cultures to Indian civilization.
1.2 Palaeo—Anthropological evidences from India with special reference to Siwaliks and Narmada basin (Ramapithecus, Sivapithecus and Narmada Man).
1.3. Ethno-archaeology in India: The concept of ethno-archaeology; Survivals and Parallels among the hunting, foraging, fishing, pastoral and peasant communities including arts and crafts producing communities.

2. Demographic profile of India—Ethnic and linguistic elements in the Indian population and their distribution. Indian population—factors influencing its structure and growth.


3.1 The structure and nature of traditional Indian social system—Varnashram, Purushartha, Karma, Rina and Rebirth.
3.2 Caste system in India— Structure and characteristics Varna and caste, Theories of origin of caste system, Dominant caste, Caste mobility, Future of caste system, Jajmani system. Tribe-case continuum.
3.3 Sacred Complex and Nature-Man-Spirit Complex.
3.4. Impact of Buddhism, Jainism, Islam and Christianity of Indian society.

4. Emergence, growth and development in India—Contributions of the 18th, 19th and early 20th Century scholar-administrators. Contributions of Indian anthropologists to tribal and caste studies.

5.1 Indian Village—Significane of village study in India; Indian village as a social system; Traditional and changing patterns of settlement and inter-caste relations; Agrarian relations in Indian villages; Impact of globalization on Indian villages.
5.2 Linguistic and religious minorities and their social, political and economic status.
5.3 Indigenous and exogenous processes of socio-cultural change in Indian society: Sanskritization, Westernization, Modernization; Inter play of little and great traditions; Panchayati Raj and social change; Media and Social change.
6.1 Tribal situation in India—Bio-genetic variability, linguistic and socio-economic characteristics of the tribal populations and their distribution.
6.2 Problems of the tribal Communities—Land alienation, poverty, indebtedness, low literacy, poor educational facilities, unemployment, under- employment, health and nutrition.
6.3 Developmental projects and their impact on tribal displacement and problems of rehabilitation. Development of forest policy and tribals. Impact of urbanisation and industrialization on tribal populations.
7.1 Problems of exploitation and deprivation of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. Constitutional safeguards for Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes.
7.2 Social change and contemporary tribal societies : Impact of modern democratic institutions, development programmes and welfare measures on tribals and weaker sections.
7.3 The concept of ethnicity; Ethnic conflicts and political developments; Unrest among tribal communities; Regionalism and demand for autonomy; Pseudo-tribalism. Social change among the tribes during colonial and post-Independent India.
8.1 Impact of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and other religions on tribal societies.
8.2 Tribe and nation state—a comparative study of tribal communities in India and other countries.
9.1 History of administration of tribal areas, tribal policies, plans, programmes of tribal development and their implementation. The concept of PTGs (Primitive Tribal Groups), their distribution, special programmes for their development. Role of N.G.O.s in tribal development.
9.2 Role of anthropology in tribal and rural development.
9.3 Contributions of anthropology to the understanding of regionalism, communalism and ethnic and political movements.

UPSC Anthropology Syllabus in Hindi 2023: Paper-I

UPSC Anthropology Syllabus in Hindi 2023: Paper-II

UPSC Anthropology Optional Syllabus PDF

UPSC Anthropology Syllabus in Hindi 2023 PDFDownload Here
UPSC Anthropology Syllabus in Hindi 2023 PDFDownload Here


Can I complete Anthropology in 2 months? ›

Its syllabus is relatively short. It can be completed in 4 months time if the right strategy and study material are followed.

What is the syllabus for Anthropology optional in UPSC? ›

The UPSC Anthropology syllabus for IAS Exam focuses on the candidates' ability to understand the subject as science and apply the knowledge to problems faced by the people. The topics included in this subject are related to human evolution, social structures, cultural evolution and development.

Is Anthropology hard for UPSC? ›

Anthropology is thought of as an easy subject for graduates of science. The subject is peppered with concepts of science. This makes the subject easier to grasp for science students. The reading material for this subject is also easily available.

Which Anthropology notes is best for UPSC? ›

Books for Anthropology Optional - UPSC CSE
  • Physical anthropology by P. ...
  • Anthropology by Ember and Ember.
  • An Introduction to Social Anthropology by D.N.Majumdar & T. N. Madan.
  • An Introduction to Anthropological thought ( Theories) - by Makhan Jha.
  • Indian Anthropology by Nadeem Hasnain.
  • Indian Anthropology by R. N. Sharma.

Who is the best teacher for UPSC anthropology? ›

Huma Hassan has extensive expertise in Optional Anthropology IAS Coaching. The Plutus IAS faculty member Dr. Huma Hassan is rated as the best mentor for the UPSC exam's Anthropology optional.

Does anthropology overlap with GS? ›

Social Issues- Gs Paper I- is completely covered in Anthropology. Science and Technology of GS Paper III Especially the Biotechnology Part is Covered in Physical Anthropology.

Which is the easiest optional in UPSC? ›

Easiest Optional Subjects Based on Least Syllabus

Philosophy subject has the least syllabus of all the UPSC optional subjects. Other options like Anthropology, Sociology and Public administration are also considered to have less syllabus when compared to the rest.

Which is the smallest optional in UPSC? ›

Which UPSC Optional Subject has smallest syllabus? Philosophy has the shortest syllabus out of all of the optional subjects for the UPSC examination which is the reason it is a popular choice amongst UPSC aspirants.

Is anthropology a good optional for IAS? ›

Anthropology is one of the popular UPSC optional subjects among the Civil Services aspirants. The reason for its popularity range from the easily accessible resources for preparation to a lighter and easily understandable syllabus. Both of which stands true to the claim.

Which is the toughest optional in UPSC? ›

Geography is the toughest optional in UPSC.

It makes the paper very dynamic and hugely advances its scope.

What is the success rate of anthropology in UPSC? ›

UPSC Optional Subjects Success Rate 2017
No.Optional SubjectSuccess Rate
21 more rows
Jul 3, 2021

What is the average score for anthropology? ›

Anthropology is considered very safe subject. The average score has always been >60%.

Which country is best for studying Anthropology? ›

According to the latest QS ranking created by TopUniversities, the following are the best Anthropology schools in the world:
  • University of Cambridge, the UK.
  • University of Oxford, the UK.
  • Harvard University, the US.
  • University of California, Berkeley (UCB), the US.
  • The Australian National University, Australia.
Nov 17, 2022

How to start reading Anthropology for UPSC? ›

Preparation Tips for Anthropology Optional of IAS (UPSC CSE) Mains
  1. Focus on the Important Topics. Anthropology has various important topics in both Paper 1 and Paper 2. ...
  2. Study Online Resources Extensively. ...
  3. Practice Diagram Questions. ...
  4. Practice Previous Year Question Papers. ...
  5. Make Notes and Practice Answer Writing.

Which book to be read for Anthropology UPSC? ›

As per the anthropology syllabus in the UPSC exam, the Best Anthropology Books are History of Anthropology, Thought by Gaya Pandey & Vijay S Upadhyay, Tribal India – Nadeem Hasnain, Anthropology Simplified- Vivek Bhasme. Apart from these mentioned books, candidates can also follow other resources.

How is Vajiram and Ravi for Anthropology? ›

Vajiram and Ravi brings to you Enrich-Anthropology Programme, which is a tailor-made course for the students who are done with their basic reading of the optional and are looking to maximize their score through better understanding of the concepts linking with the contemporary discourse within the discipline.

Is sociology better than Anthropology in UPSC? ›

Take a look at the following table: If you look at the success rates, both the years show contrasting values. But yes, if you look at the number of candidates opting for an optional, sociology is up the ladder compared to anthropology.

Which coaching has highest success rate in UPSC? ›

In India, Raj Malhotra IAS Coaching Center is Top Most IAS Coaching in India for UPSC CSE Examination Preparation. In Best IAS Coaching in India 2021 Raj Malhotra IAS Coaching in India is at Rank 4. Best IAS Prelims Coaching in India. Best UPSC mains Coaching in India for Civil Services Examination Preparation.

Do questions repeat in anthropology? ›

Scoring subject

Simultaneously, there are some questions that get repeated each year in this optional subject compared to other subjects.

Can I do anthropology optional without coaching? ›

Role of Coaching

Coaching has a limited role to play. Anthropology can be done without coaching classes too, but real hard work as smart study has to be done by the aspirants. Some portion of the Anthropology syllabus can be left untouched as probably of asking questions from them is very less.

Which optional covers most GS? ›

Public administration covers almost 60% of the GS papers. It is one of the popular Optional Subjects. Its popularity stems from the nature of the Public Administration syllabus and its implementation in the civil services.

Which field students crack UPSC most? ›

"Engineering students crack the UPSC exam because of the practical pedagogical methods they experience in their four-year engineering studies. This provides them with a better analytical aptitude as compared to Arts graduates," says JK Dadoo, former IAS officer who was in the services for more than 35 years.

Which optional get highest marks? ›

Based on the general trend, the subjects which have the potential to help you score about 330 marks in optional exams (with your immense dedication, ofcourse) are Mathematics, Anthropology, Sociology, any Literature, Public Administration and Geography.

Which optional got highest marks in UPSC? ›

The highest marks in UPSC optional ever was 191, scored by Kanishak Kataria in the 2018 UPSC exam.
UPSC Toppers List Year Wise with Marks.
UPSC Toppers Name, RankPradeep Singh, 1
OptionalPublic Administration
14 more columns
Nov 10, 2022

Which is the most chosen optional subject in UPSC? ›

The IAS Topper Kanishak Kataria chose Mathematics as his optional subject in CSE 2018.
Popularity of UPSC Optional Subject – 2015-17.
Optional SubjectPublic Administration
24 more columns

Which optional is easy to score? ›

Answer: Sociology, Geography, and Public Administration are easy subjects to score. Many candidates have scored more than 400 marks in these optional subjects as per the previous year's result.

Is optional removed from UPSC 2024? ›

No, the Optional Subjects are still a part of the UPSC Mains exam.

How many people took Anthropology as optional? ›

Success Rate of Optional Subjects in IAS Mains
Optional SubjectNo. of Candidates AppearedSuccess Rate Percentage
Public Administration116510.2
Sanskrit Lit.707.1
40 more rows

Does anthropology have a future in India? ›

Anthropologists can start their career in different sectors, like colleges, universities, government agencies, NGOs, business, health and human services. These graduates can also get jobs at private businesses, community organisations, museums, independent research institutes, service organisations, media.

Is Anthropology in high demand? ›

There is a growing demand for anthropologists, too. The field is projected to expand 6% by 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and anthropologists earned a median of $61,910 in 2021.

How many books are required for anthropology UPSC? ›

Following one book would suffice; however, aspirants can refer to other books to get information on the topics that are not covered in the book chosen. Candidates preparing for UPSC 2023 civil services examination can refer to the linked article.

How much math is used in anthropology? ›

The Biology/Anthropology BS requires that you take Calculus I as a major requirement. If you have done or will do any of the following, then you will likely not need to take the MPA: Earn college credit in a Calculus course with a grade of C- or better. Score a 2, 3, 4, or 5 on the AP Calculus exam.

Is studying anthropology hard? ›

Studying culture can be, well, tricky; people are just so darn creative. Cultural forms vary depending on place, generation, and a myriad other contexts. Most of anthropology therefore is not a hard science because its subjects are not hard.

How long does it take to get a anthropology degree? ›

While degree programs vary, bachelor's degrees in anthropology tend to take about four years. Some students with undergraduate degrees decide to continue on to graduate school, while others venture out with their BA in anthropology to find jobs.

How long do you have to study anthropology? ›

Most anthropology courses last for three or four years at undergraduate level and one or two years at master's level, depending on the country of study. Expect PhD studies to last between three and six years.

How long does it take to be an anthropologist? ›

Almost all anthropologists hold a doctoral degree in anthropology. In more rare cases, those with a bachelor's or master's degree in anthropology are able to secure administrative or research positions. Most individuals, however, must undergo the eight years of study required to obtain a doctorate in anthropology.

Is anthropology in high demand? ›

There is a growing demand for anthropologists, too. The field is projected to expand 6% by 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and anthropologists earned a median of $61,910 in 2021.

Is anthropology well paid? ›

Putting in the extra studies is worth it, as anthropologists working for the federal government earn an average salary of nearly $80,000. Anthropologists ranked #5 in Best Science Jobs by US News & World Report, based on qualities including salary, job market, future growth, stress, and work life balance.

Can I get a job with an anthropology degree? ›

Students with an undergraduate degree in anthropology commonly follow any of four main career paths: positions in government, academia, business or community service organizations. Of course, many graduates of anthropology programs choose to become an archaeologist, paleontologist, ethnologist or primatologist.

How can I study anthropology in UPSC? ›

Preparation Tips for Anthropology Optional of IAS (UPSC CSE) Mains
  1. Focus on the Important Topics. Anthropology has various important topics in both Paper 1 and Paper 2. ...
  2. Study Online Resources Extensively. ...
  3. Practice Diagram Questions. ...
  4. Practice Previous Year Question Papers. ...
  5. Make Notes and Practice Answer Writing.

Who is the most famous anthropologist? ›

Although born in Germany, Franz Boas is considered the Father of American Anthropology. He established the country's first anthropology department, at Columbia University where he taught both Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead — and played an instrumental role in creating the American Anthropological Association.

Is there a future for anthropology? ›

Anthropology has a future and a very pertinent role to play, if we are sensitive to and aware of the new developments in the fields of medicine, biology and ecology which are undergoing dramatic changes. Most definitely these fields will need an anthropological dimension to be added.

Is there a demand for anthropologists? ›

Employment of anthropologists and archeologists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 800 openings for anthropologists and archeologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Do you need a PHD to be a anthropologist? ›

A doctorate is recommended for full professional status as an anthropologist, although work in museums, physical anthropology labs and field archaeology is often possible with a Master's degree. In fact, the majority of top anthropology graduate programs do not even offer the master's degree as an option.

What are the disadvantages of being an anthropologist? ›

A potential drawback of being an anthropologist is that it requires a lot of education and training. If you're interested in entering the workforce right away, this can be a disadvantage for this career.

Is sociology easier than anthropology? ›

How is anthropology better? It is the better choice for science students especially those with a biology background. It is also scoring owing to its scientific nature. It has a very short syllabus (shorter than sociology).

Is there any math in anthropology? ›

The Anthropology - Biocultural Concentration and Anthropology/Biology BA do not require a math course as a major requirement. However, students completing this major are required to take chemistry courses that have math prerequisites.


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