“Anthropology is the most humanistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities.” Alfred L.Kroeber

Anthropology can be a subject that is optional. It’s a favourite with UPSC candidates because it is thought to be a scoring subject and, in addition, its syllabus is smaller now, following certain portions were removed. It is also beneficial to science students since it is an ideal blend of social science and sciences. It contains certain aspects of anatomy and biology. It also covers social issues within it. As an administrator, having a understanding of anthropology can be beneficial.


There are two papers that you can choose from You are aware.

Optional Paper 1 & Optional Paper 2

Both papers are worth 250 marks, making 500 marks in total.

Syllabus of Anthropology in UPSC Mains:


Paper I

  1. Anthropology – Meaning, etc.
  2. Relations with other disciplines
  3. Branches of Anthropology
  4. Human Evolution
  5. Primates
  6. Phylogenetic status, hominids, Neanderthal man, homo sapiens etc.
  7. Life’s biological foundations – DNA, Cell and Mutation
  8. Prehistoric Archaeology
  9. Culture
  10. Society, Marriage, Family, Kinship
  11. Economic organization
  12. Social Control and Political Organization
  13. Religion
  14. Theories of the human body
  15. Communication, language, and culture
  16. Methodologies of research
  17. Human Genetics
  18. Race, racism
  19. Epidemiological Anthropology
  20. Human development and growth fertility
  21. Theories of Demographics
  22. Applications of Anthropology

Paper II

  1. Evolution of the Indian Culture and Civilization
  2. The demographic profile for India
  3. Traditional Indian social system, caste, etc.
  4. Growth and expansion of the field of anthropology in India
  5. Indian Village Minorities in religion and language and socio-cultural shifts in Indian society
  6. Tribals
  7. Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes

Get the full Syllabus of Anthropology for UPSC here.


  • If you’re an anthropologist.
  • Students from any other science background may also opt for this field since the science elements in Anthropology can be made easier to comprehend.
  • If you’re a person with an desire to learn more about this subject it is a good idea to go to this course.
  • The subject covers both social and biological subjects. The topics that are biology-related like those in physical anthropology are scored because they aren’t subjective.
  • An understanding of the field of anthropology will also aid you with your Ethics Essay paper.
  • A large number of excellent study materials are accessible for the Anthropology IAS test.


  • Know the basic concepts of each subject. They can help you connect with the most important topics in the field of anthropology.
  • Be sure to link topics when you are researching and writing answers. Try to develop connections between the subjects. Be aware of the commonalities among concepts (for instance synthetic theory, race theory, although they appear to be separate, are in fact closely related concepts).
  • Be aware of the theories in anthropology because it is crucial to have an understanding of concepts in social anthropology like the concept of marriage, family as well as kinship, political organization and more.
  • Apply the concepts to current issues that impact people and that are featured frequently in the news. Concerns and issues pertaining to tribal groups are extremely important. Make connections between current issues and current actualities, especially in the Indian context with theoretical ideas.
  • Diagrams to practice the physical anthropology component because they can fetch higher marks and can help you understand concepts more clearly.
  • Always take good notes as you’re preparing, as it can help you to remember more information and allows for better revision.
  • Always refer back to previous year’s exam papers as you prepare to ensure that you have an idea of the kind of questions to be asked and the key topics to research.

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