UPSC CSE Eligibility Criteria - Academic Qualification and Age Limit

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UPSC CSE Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the UPSC exam, candidates must meet some basic minimum eligibility criteria. These have been stipulated by the Commission and are published in the annual notification for the CSE Exam. Eligibility Factors include nationality, education and age.

Generally speaking, candidates applying for UPSC CSE must hold a Bachelors degree (Graduation) of any University/deemed to be University by UGC or any university recognised by the Government of India. He must fall in the age bracket of more than 21 years of age and less than 32 years if applying as a general candidates. There are also some other eligibility criteria explained under.

Nationality-based Eligibility

To be eligible for appearing in UPSC CSE exam, these are certain citizenship criteria that must be fulfilled by the candidate.

To be recruited to the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) or Indian Police Services (IPS) services, the candidate must necessarily hold Indian citizenship. No other categories of citizenship will be eligible for these 2 posts.

For services apart from IAS/IPS, candidate must hold any of the following citizenship status:

  • Indian Citizen
  • Nepalese/Bhutanese subject
  • Tibetan refugee who came to India before 1st Jan 1962 (with intention of permanently settling)
  • A person of Indian origin (PoI) who has migrated to India from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam (with the intention of permanently settling)


  • Candidate belonging to categories Nepal, Bhutan, Tibetan refugee and PoI candidates from countries mentioned above must be issued an eligibility certificate from Gov. of India that proves their status. Candidates who need to produce certificate of eligibility will be admitted to UPSC Exam but their appointment letter will only be given after submission of required GoI certificates.
  • Nepalese, Bhutanese subjects or Tibetan refugee candidates will not be eligible for appointment to Indian Foreign Services (IFS).

Age-based Eligibility

General: Minimum Age – 21 years | Maximum Age – 32 years

UPSC predetermines an age limit for candidates who will appear in the UPSC Civil Services Exam. For general candidates, a candidate must have completed at least 21 years of age and the upper age limit is fixed at 32 years of age. For UPSC 2018 eligibility, the candidate must be born not earlier than August 02, 1985 and not later than August 01, 1996.

Some relaxations have been given to candidates belonging to certain reserved categories as mentioned below:

  • Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe category candidates will be given maximum age relaxation of 5 years.
  • Other Backward Classes (OBC) category candidates shall be given age relaxation of upto 3 years.
  • Candidates domiciled in the state of Jammu and Kashmir during the period of January 01, 1981 to December 31, 1990 will be be eligible to age relaxation of upto 5 years.
  • 3 years age relaxation will be applicable in the case of Defence Services Personnel who have been disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country/in a disturbed area and released as a consequence.
  • Candidates belonging to ex-servicemen category, (including Commissioned officers and ECOs/SSCOs), who have rendered Military services for at least five years as on August 01, 2018 and have been released will be entitled to 5 years age relaxation.
  • on completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due to be completed within one year from August 01, 2018) OR
  • on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service OR
  • on invalidment

Attempts-based Eligibility

Category Max. Number of Attempts
General 6
SC / ST Unlimited
PH Unlimited
J & K Domicile Depending on the categories viz. Gen, OBC, SC/ST, PH [Cumulative relaxation applicable]
Disabled Defence Services Personnel* conditional

Educational Qualification Eligibility

UPSC has set a minimum educational qualification eligibility criteria for the candidates who wish to get recruited to the services. The candidate must hold a graduation, ie., Bachelors degree of any recognised University. This includes a University which has been incorporated by Act of ParliamentUniversity declared as a Deemed University by University Grants Commission (UGC)/Recognised Open University etc.

  • Candidates who are in their final year of graduation OR have appeared for their Degree examination and are waiting for their University result declaration are also eligible to appear for UPSC CSE provided that they are able to procure the required certification in stipulated time [i.e. by the time of IAS Mains Exam of that year]
  • Even those candidates with professional/technical qualifications equivalent to professional/technical degrees (government recognised) are also eligible to take the IAS exam.
  • MBBS candidates who are currently pursuing their internship are also eligible for the mains exam provided they produce a certificate from their concerned institution/university stating that they have passed the final examination.