Civil engineering paper-I

  1. Engineering Mechanics, Strength of Materials and Structural Analysis:

1.1 Engineering Mechanics: Units and Dimensions, SI Units, Vectors, Concept of Force, Concept of particle and rigid body. Concurrent, Non-Concurrent and parallel forces in a plane, moment of force, free body diagram, conditions of equilibrium, Principle of virtual work, equivalent force system. First and Second Moment of the area, Mass moment of Inertia. Static Friction. Kinematics and Kinetics: Kinematics in Cartesian Co-ordinates, motion under uniform and non-uniform acceleration, motion under gravity. Kinetics of particle: Momentum and Energy principles, the collision of elastic bodies, rotation of rigid bodies.

1.2 Strength of Materials: Simple Stress and Strain, Elastic constants, axially loaded compression members, Shear force and bending moment, the theory of simple bending, Shear Stress distribution across cross sections, Beams of uniform strength. Deflection of beams: Macaulay’s method, Mohr’s Moment area method, Conjugate beam method, unit load method. Torsion of Shafts, Elastic stability of columns, Euler’s Rankine’s and Secant formulae.

1.3 Structural Analysis: Castiglianio’s theorems I and II, unit load method of consistent deformation applied to beams and pin jointed trusses. Slope deflection, moment distribution, Rolling loads and Influences lines: Influences lines for Shear Force and Bending moment at a section of the beam. Criteria for maximum shear force and Bending Moment in beams traversed by a system of moving loads. Influences lines for simply supported plane pin jointed trusses. Arches: Three hinged, two hinged and fixed arches, rib shortening and temperature effects. Matrix methods of analysis: Force method and displacement method of analysis of indeterminate beams and rigid frames. Plastic Analysis of beams and frames: Theory of plastic bending, plastic analysis, statical method, Mechanism method. Unsymmetrical bending: Moment of inertia, a product of inertia, the position of Neutral Axis and Principle axes, calculation of bending stresses.

  1. Design of Structures: Steel, Concrete and Masonry Structures:

2.1 Structural Steel Design: Structural Steel: Factors of safety and load factors. Riveted, bolted and welded joints and connections. Design of tension and compression member, beams of built up section, riveted and welded plate girders, gantry girders, stancheons with battens and lacings.

2.2 Design of Concrete and Masonry Structures: Concept of mix design. Reinforced Concrete: Working Stress and Limit State method of design– Recommendations of I.S. codes Design of one way and two way slabs, stair-case slabs, simple and continuous beams of rectangular, T and L sections. Compression members under direct load with or without eccentricity, Cantilever and Counter fort type retaining walls. Water tanks: Design requirements for Rectangular and circular tanks resting on ground. Prestressed concrete: Methods and systems of prestressing, anchorages, Analysis and design of sections for flexure based on working stress, loss of prestress. Design of brick masonry as per I.S. Codes

  1. Fluid Mechanics, Open Channel Flow and Hydraulic Machines:

3.1 Fluid Mechanics: Fluid properties and their role in fluid motion, fluid statics including forces acting on plane and curved surfaces. Kinematics and Dynamics of Fluid flow: Velocity and accelerations, stream lines, equation of continuity, irrotational and rotational flow, velocity potential and stream functions. Continuity, momentum and energy equation, Navier-Stokes equation, Euler’s equation of motion, application to fluid flow problems, pipe flow, sluice gates, weirs.

3.2  Dimensional Analysis and Similitude:   Buckingham’s Pi-theorem, dimensionless parameters.  

3.3  Laminar Flow: Laminar flow between parallel, stationary and moving plates, flow through tube.

3.4 Boundary layer: Laminar and turbulent boundary layer on a flat plate, laminar sub layer, smooth and rough boundaries, drag and lift. Turbulent flow through pipes: Characteristics of turbulent flow, velocity distribution and variation of pipe friction factor, hydraulic grade line and total energy line.

3.5 Open channel flow: Uniform and non-uniform flows, momentum and energy correction factors, specific energy and specific force, critical depth, rapidly varied flow, hydraulic jump, gradually varied flow, classification of surface profiles, control section, step method of integration of varied flow equation.

3.6 Hydraulic Machines and Hydropower: Hydraulic turbines, types classification, Choice of turbines, performance parameters, controls, characteristics, specific speed. Principles of hydropower development.

  1. Geotechnical Engineering:

Soil Type and structure – gradation and particle size distribution – consistency limits. Water in soil – capillary and structural – effective stress and pore water pressure – permeability concept – field and laboratory determination of permeability – Seepage pressure – quicksand conditions – Shear strength determination – Mohr-Coulomb concept. Compaction of soil – Laboratory and field tests. Compressibility and consolidation concept – consolidation theory – consolidation settlement analysis. Earth pressure theory and analysis for retaining walls, Application for sheet piles and Braced excavation. Bearing capacity of soil – approaches for analysis – Field tests – settlement analysis – stability of slope of earth walk. Subsurface exploration of soils – methods Foundation – Type and selection criteria for the foundation of structures – Design criteria for foundation – Analysis of the distribution of stress for footings and pile – pile group action-pile load test. Ground improvement techniques

Civil engineering Paper II  Syllabus:

1.Construction Technology, Equipment, Planning and Management:

1.1 Construction Technology: Engineering Materials: Physical properties of construction materials with respect to their use in construction – Stones, Bricks and Tiles; Lime, Cement, different types of Mortars and Concrete. Specific use of ferro cement, fibre reinforced C.C, High strength concrete. Timber, properties and defects – common preservation treatments. Use and selection of materials for specific use like Low Cost Housing, Mass Housing, High Rise Buildings.

1.2 Construction: Masonry principles using Brick, stone, Blocks – construction detailing and strength characteristics. Types of plastering, pointing, flooring, roofing and construction features. Common repairs in buildings. Principles of functional planning of building for residents and specific use – Building code provisions. Basic principles of detailed and approximate estimating – specification writing and rate analysis – principles of valuation of real property. Machinery for earthwork, concreting and their specific uses – Factors affecting selection of equipments – operating cost of Equipments.

1.3 Construction Planning and Management: Construction activity – schedules- organization for construction industry – Quality assurance principles. Use of Basic principles of network – analysis in form of CPM and PERT – their use in construction monitoring, Cost optimization and resource allocation. Basic principles of Economic analysis and methods. Project profitability – Basic principles of Boot approach to financial planning – simple toll fixation criterions.

  1. Surveying and Transportation Engineering :

2.1 Surveying: Common methods and instruments for distance and angle measurement for CE work – their use in plane table, traverse survey, leveling work, triangulation, contouring and topographical map. Basic principles of photogrammetry and remote sensing.

2.2 Railway Engineering: Permanent way – components, types and their functions – Functions and Design constituents of turn and crossings – Necessity of geometric design of track – Design of station and yards.

2.3 Highway Engineering: Principles of Highway alignments – classification and geometrical design elements and standards for Roads. Pavement structure for flexible and rigid pavements – Design principles and methodology of pavements. Typical construction methods and standards of materials for stabilized soil, WBM, Bituminous works and CC roads. Surface and sub-surface drainage arrangements for roads – culvert structures. Pavement distresses and strengthening by overlays. Traffic surveys and their applications in traffic planning – Typical design features for channelized, intersection, rotary etc – signal designs – standard Traffic signs and markings.

  1. Hydrology, Water Resources and Engineering:

3.1 Hydrology: Hydrological cycle, precipitation, evaporation, transpiration, infiltration, overland flow, hydrograph, flood frequency analysis, flood routing through a reservoir, channel flow routing-Muskingum method.

3.2 Groundwater flow: Specific yield, storage coefficient, coefficient of permeability, confined and unconfined aquifers, aquifers, aquitards, radial flow into a well under confined and unconfined conditions.

3.3 Water Resources Engineering: Ground and surface water resource, single and multipurpose projects, storage capacity of reservoirs, reservoir losses, reservoir sedimentation.

3.4 Irrigation Engineering:

(i)  Water requirements of crops: consumptive use, duty and delta, irrigation methods and their efficiencies.

(ii) Canals: Distribution systems for canal irrigation, canal capacity, canal losses, alignment of main and distribution canals, most efficient section, lined canals, their design, regime theory, critical shear stress, bed load.

(iii) Waterlogging: causes and control, salinity.

(iv) Canal structures: Design of, head regulators, canal falls, aqueducts, metering flumes and canal outlets.

(v) Diversion headwork: Principles and design of weirs of permeable and impermeable foundation, Khosla’s theory, energy dissipation.

(vi) Storage works: Types of dams, design, principles of rigid gravity, stability analysis. (vii) Spillways: Spillway types, energy dissipation.

(viii)River training: Objectives of river training, methods of river training.

  1. Environmental Engineering:

4.1 Water Supply: Predicting demand for water, impurities of water and their significance, physical, chemical and bacteriological analysis, waterborne diseases, standards for potable water.

4.2 Intake of water: Water treatment: principles of coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation; slow-; rapid-, pressure-, filters; chlorination, softening, removal of taste, odour and salinity.

4.3 Sewerage systems: Domestic and industrial wastes, storm sewage–separate and combined systems, flow through sewers, design of sewers.

4.4 Sewage characterization: BOD, COD, solids, dissolved oxygen, nitrogen and TOC. Standards of disposal in normal watercourse and on land.

4.5 Sewage treatment: Working principles, units, chambers, sedimentation tanks, trickling filters, oxidation ponds, activated sludge process, septic tank, disposal of sludge, recycling of wastewater.

4.6 Solid waste: Collection and disposal in rural and urban contexts, management of long-term ill effects.

  1. Environmental pollution:

Sustainable development. Radioactive wastes and disposal. Environmental impact assessment for thermal power plants, mines, river valley projects. Air pollution. Pollution control acts.

Paper 2:

Syllabus Reference Books Strategy & Analysis
Construction, Construction Technology & CPM Building Construction by Arora & Bindra, CPM by UK Srivastava Questions are diverse & mostly predictable. Refer previous years’ IFoS & CSE papers & study accordingly. Prepare your own notes & it’ll help you revise faster. Questions from Engineering Economics are popping out of nowhere. UK Srivastava has covered it beautifully. Also I feel in this humongous theoretical section, one should study with photographic memory. Memorize diagrams & not data. Let the answers flow from your perfect diagrams.
Surveying BC Punmia (Laxmi Publications) Please do Photogrammetry without fail. If you want to skip this topic you can, but do photogrammetry without fail. Remember basic things here like levelling & PT survey
Railway Engineering Saxena & Arora (Dhanpat Rai publications) I did most of this part from NPTEL videos however I’d recommend NPTEL videos only for ‘Points & Crossings’ part of Rail Engineering. Questions are mostly simple & attemptable. However be ready for bouncers like 2014 CE questions.
Highway Engineering Justo Khanna & NPTEL softcopies of same course. Since syllabus is huge, don’t spend much time on any particular section. Solve numericals from Justo Khanna. Do signal designs well.
Hydrology SK Garg (Primary source), Ven-Te-Chow (optional) Over the years, direct questions on UH, no. of rainfall gauges have reduced. Focus is more on complicated topics as far as numerical are concerned.

However theory questions are much on the lines & predictable

Irrigation Engineering SK Garg Syllabus is crisp & previous years’ questions can help immensely. Do theory well
Environmental Engineering SK Garg This topic I feel needs most number of revision. There are less formulae so do them well. UPSC has knack of asking unconventional formulae from this topic (Eg. 2013 CE question on plume).
Make notes & revise them multiple times

Strictly follow the syllabus

Keep an eye on previous years’ papers.

Questions these days are a step ahead of what we generally study. I mean you’ll find questions in exam from mostly skipped topics.




  • Engineering subject so with thorough  preparation you can score very good marks in this, no such surety for humanities topics like pub ad, pol sci, etc.
  • Allows you to appear in Engineering services exam, GATE (for PSU jobs), pursue further studies – lots of back up options remain available
  • You can even try the Engineering Services exam if you prepare for civil engineering.
  • Only civil engineering background in their graduation can opt for this subject.optional recommended only for civil engineers.


  • The syllabus is vast.
  • It would be very difficult to actually cover the whole syllabus.
  • There is no overlap with general studies in this subject.
  • UPSC can ask dynamic questions and these can be difficult to answer unless you have a deep knowledge of the subject.
  • There will be score equalisation done to make it at par with art subject scores. I.e if you have solved a 10 marks question upto perfection, then at max 6 or 7 marks shall be given which is the case in social subjects.

How to prepare:

  • Memorise the Syllabus.
  • Stick to limited reference books
  • Before starting preparation, go through previous year qps
  • One should know the basic concept of Civil engineering to tackle Paper II.
  • Prepare basic concepts first ,make notes related to that.
  • Make short notes, flowchart and diagram while  preparing. These short notes will help in revision time.
  • Updates regarding  the up-to-date data taken from Government reports annual report regarding Civil Engineering.
  • There would be plenty of diagrams for you to score.
  • The essential part of UPSC IAS Exam preparation is solving at least 10 of the previous year UPSC Mains questions papers.

Previous Year Question Papers: