5 reasons Anthropology is a good optional subject for UPSC & IAS

There are 25 optional subjects in the civil Service examination out of which you have to choose any one for the optional paper in the mains exam.

Recently there are many popular optional subjects came into the light,

 Out of the many, anthropology is one such optional subject which many UPSC toppers have opted for and has become popular because of a lot of reasons which we will discuss in this article.

So if you are confused regarding which optional subject you should choose or whether you should go with anthropology as an optional subject or not, you do not need to worry about it any more.

So in this article let’s take a look at whether anthropology is a good optional subject for UPSC and IAS exams or not in detail.

So let’s jump right in.

5 Reasons why anthropology is a good optional subject for UPSC?

1.    Less syllabus

One of the most important reasons why Anthropology is considered to be a good optional subject for UPSC exams is that it contains less syllabus as compared to other optional subjects like history and geography which are popular.

It is one such optional subject in UPSC exams where many popular topics were removed from the syllabus like Development Anthropology, Ethnicity, Reproductive Biology, Twins etc. which made the syllabus very short when we compare it with

 other optional subjects like history and economics because of that the aspirants who choose this optional can complete the revision in less time and 

They can focus on other important subjects like general studies for the mains exam.

At the same time because of less syllabus and portions you may also have to purchase less books & material in order to prepare for this exam.

2.    Scoring subject

Another big reason to choose Anthropology as your optional subject is because it is considered to be a scoring subject and the questions asked in Anthropology optional subject are usually direct questions.

Because this subject is related to science so you need to answer the questions to the point, straightforward and 

There is no room for opinion unlike other optional subjects like history which means you can write the answers to the point without testing the writing skills you have.

Because it is also a scoring subject, the success rate of this subject is quite high compared to other optional subjects and more number of aspirants are choosing this subject every year.

As a matter of fact the success rate of the subject is 10% and on average if you prepare properly you can expect to score more than 300 plus marks in the subject 

At the same time there are a few questions which get repeated every year in this optional subject compared to other subjects.

But I want to make it very clear that you should do good amount of research and hard work in order to understand the concept and

 get knowledge in this subject, don’t be in a delusion that this Optional subject can be a piece of cake for you because it has less syllabus compared to other optionals.

3.    Interesting & static subject 

Another important reason why you should choose anthropology as an optional subject is because it is an interesting subject.

In this optional subject you will learn about a lot of things including history, Prehistoric cultures and Biology etc.

If you are someone who likes to read and gain new knowledge then it can be interesting for you and feel less bored.

You will get to see and draw a lot of diagrams and flowcharts.

And moreover this subject is also a static subject which means that you only have to read a set of questions, not even concepts, in order to pass the examination.

Because this subject is science oriented which is why many engineering graduate students choose this subject as their optional one.

4.    Useful in GS papers 

Another big reason to choose this optional subject is that it can have some overlapping and usefulness in general studies paper 1.

Because it is also useful in general studies papers which also contain 250 marks, this can save you a lot of time and energy during the preparation because you already have done the preparation for the optional subject.

5.    Focus on concepts 

Another big reason why you should consider Anthropology as an optional subject is because it is focused on understanding the concepts.

Because of this reason you don’t have to mug up or cram any formulas, theorems like you would do with other science subjects like maths, physics, chemistry.

Even after reading all of the 5 reasons if you still do not have any interest in the subject then I would recommend not to go with anthropology but choose the subject where you have the interest and enthusiasm on because

 At the end of the day your interest will help you stay disciplined with doing the revision for the subject everyday and you need to study and do research to write answers effectively for this exam paper.

With that said let’s conclude the blog.


Because of all these important reasons I believe Anthropology can be a good optional subject for UPSC exams.

Please comment down what you think about anthropology as an optional subject.

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