UPSC ESE/IES Exam 2021 – Notification, Date, Eligibility, Syllabus, Exam Pattern, Salary

An IES officer is an engineer who works under the Central Government in the Indian Engineering Service (IES). An IES officer is a Class I or Group A public servant. As an IES officer, you’ll be responsible for managing engineering related technical functions throughout the country. While the exact nature of work depends on your particular branch of engineering and the cadre or department you’re recruited in, IES officers have to oversee the sectors like the Indian Railways, Power and Utilities, Defense and Army, and Telecommunications.

To become an IES officer, you firstly need to pass the Engineering Service Examinations. Upon successfully clearing the ESE, you are appointed as an Assistant Executive Engineer or Assistant Director in your respective branch, service or department.

UPSC ESE/IES Exam 2021


Eligibility Criteria

In order to give the ESE, you will first need to satisfy the eligibility criteria in terms of age, education and nationality. These criteria are outlined in the official notifications published by UPSC on their website.

Eligibility Criteria Parameters
Nationality A candidate must be:

  1.  a citizen of India,
  2.  a subject of Nepal,
  3.  a subject of Bhutan,
  4. a Tibetan refugee who came to India before 1st January 1962 intending to permanently settle in India, or
  5. a PIO  who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam intending to permanently reside in India.
Education A candidate must have:

  1. a degree in Engineering or
  2. passed Sections A and B of the Institution Examinations of the Institution of Engineers (India) or
  3. have obtained a degree/diploma in Engineering from such foreign University/College/Institution or
  4. have passed Graduate Membership Examination of the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (India) or
  5. have passed Associate Membership Examination Parts II and III/Sections A and B of the Aeronautical Society of India or
  6. passed Graduate Membership Examination of the Institution of Electronics and Radio Engineers, London held after November 1959
  7. Provided that a candidate for the post of Indian Naval Armament Service (Electronics Engineering Posts) and Indian Radio Regulatory Service Group ‘A’ may possess any of the above qualifications or the qualification mentioned below namely:‐
    1. For Indian Naval Armament Service (Electronics Engg. Posts) ‐ M.Sc. degree or it’s equivalent with Wireless
    2. Communication Electronics, Radio Physics or Radio Engineering as a special subject.
    3. For Indian Radio Regulatory Service Group ‘A’– M.Sc. degree or its equivalent with Wireless Communication Electronics, Radio Physics or Radio Engineering as a subject or Master’s Degree in Science with Physics and Radio Communication or Electronics or Telecommunication as a special subject.
Age A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have crossed the age of 30 years on 1st January 2020. A candidate must have been born not earlier than 2nd January 1990 and not later than 1st January 1999.

A relaxation on the maximum age limit is provided for any prospective candidate is provided in the notifications by UPSC. These age relaxations include but aren’t limited to:

  1. SC/ST Candidates
  2. OBC (non-creamy layer) candidates
  3. Ex-servicemen including ECOs, SSCOs
  4. Deaf, mute or orthopedically disabled
  5. Govt. servants employed in certain departments and services

Application Process

If you meet all the eligibility criteria then you can apple for the ESE through UPSC’s official website. The online application forms will be available after 4th April 2021 until 27th April 2021.

For your ease, we have briefly outlined the registration process:

  1. Visit UPSC’s official website,
  2. Use the link on the right side of the webpage, “Apply Online”
  3. Use the link, “Online Application for Various Examinations”
  4. Look for the Engineering Service Examination or ESE form
  5. After carefully reading the instructions, Part-I of the form is to be filled up with your details
  6. Again, after reading the instructions, upload the documents like photograph and signature in Part-II of the form.
  7. Pay the Rs. 200 application fee and save the receipt
  8. Submit the online form and then download/print it for future requirements

Application Fees

You need to pay Rs. 200 in order to successfully submit the examination application forms. The fees can be submitted by depositing cash in any SBI branch or by net banking through SBI, or by paying through any Visa/Rupay/Mastercard credit card or debit card.

In case you withdraw your application, your fees won’t be refunded.

Female candidates, along with SC, ST and physically handicapped candidates, are exempt from paying the application fees.

Exam Pattern

The ESE examination is conducted in three phases, Preliminary, Mains and Personality Test. Only those candidates who pass the Preliminary Exam are called for sitting the Main Exam. Both the exams are conducted offline and in the English language.

In Preliminary Exams, there are two paper, one testing your general aptitude and the other testing your knowledge of engineering. The questions are MCQ variety and in total, it is a 5-hour examination.

You should be aware that there is negative marking in the Preliminary exams. For each incorrect answer, 1/3rd of the questions marks are deducted (0.66 marks). However, there is no penalty for not attempting a question.

Preliminary Exam

Subject Marks Duration No. of Questions
PAPER-I – General Studies and Engineering Aptitude 200 2 hours 100
PAPER-II – Civil/Mechanical/Electrical/Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering 300 3 hours 150
Total 500 5 hours 250

If you clear the Preliminary exam, then you are called for the Main exam. Just like the Preliminary exam, there are two papers in the Main exam. However, the questions are subjective type questions and there is no penalty for incorrect answers any longer.

Main Exam

Subject Marks Duration No, of Questions
PAPER-I – Civil/Mechanical/Electrical/Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering 300 3 hours 8
PAPER-II – Civil/Mechanical/Electrical/Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering 300 3 hours 8
Total 600 6 hours 16


USPC sets the syllabus of the ESE so that only the best candidates with the best pool of engineering knowledge get selected into this prestigious service. You should always clearly look through the syllabus in order to have a clear cut studying plan to successfully pass the exams.

You can also find papers of previous years on UPSC’s website so that you can prepare after going through the syllabus.

The syllabus for both Preliminary and Main exams is as follows depicted in the tables below.

Preliminary Exams

Subject Syllabus
PAPER-I – General Studies and Engineering Aptitude
  1. Current  Events  of  national  & international  importance
  2. Engineering Aptitude – Reasoning & Analytical ability
  3. Engineerial Mathematics & Numerical Analysis
  4. General  Principles  of  Design,  Drawing
  5. Standards & Quality  practices
  6. Energy and Environment: Conservation, Environmental Pollution, Climate  Change
  7. Basics of Project Management
  8. Basics of Material Science and Engineering
  9. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) tools – networking, e-governance and education.
  10. Ethics and Values in Engineering
  11. Knowledge of relevant topics in engineering
PAPER-II – Civil/Mechanical/Electrical/Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering
  1. Same as that of Mains

Mains Exam

Subject Syllabus
Civil Engineering
  1. Building Materials
  2. Construction Practice, Planning and Management
  3. Design of Steel Structures
  4. Design of Concrete and Masonry structures
  5. Environmental Engineering
  6. Flow of Fluids, Hydraulic Machines & Hydro Power
  7. Geotechnical Engineering & Foundation Engineering
  8. Hydrology & Water Resources Engineering
  9. Surveying & Geology
  10. Solid Mechanics
  11. Structural Analysis
  12. Transportation Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
  1. Design of Machine Elements
  2. Engineering Mechanics
  3. Engineering Materials
  4. Fluid Mechanics
  5. IC Engines, Refrigeration and Air conditioning
  6. Mechanisms and Machines
  7. Manufacturing, Industrial and Maintenance Engineering
  8. Mechatronics and Robotics
  9. Power Plant Engineering
  10. Renewable Sources of Energy
  11. Thermodynamics and Heat transfer
  12. Turbo Machinery
Electrical Engineering
  1. Analog and Digital Electronics
  2. Basic Electronics Engineering
  3. Control Systems
  4. Computer Fundamentals
  5. Electrical Machines
  6. Engineering Mathematics
  7. Electrical Materials
  8. Electric Circuits and Fields
  9. Electrical and Electronic Measurements
  10. Power Systems
  11. Power Electronics and Drives
  12. Systems and Signal Processing
Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering
  1. Analog and Digital Communication Systems
  2. Analog and Digital Circuits
  3. Advanced Electronics Topics
  4. Advanced Communication Topics
  5. Basic Electronics Engineering
  6. Basic Electrical Engineering
  7. Control Systems
  8. Computer Organization and Architecture
  9. Electro Magnetics
  10. Electronic Measurements and Instrumentation
  11. Materials Science
  12. Network Theory



As an IES officer is a Class I or Grade Officer, they have a very respectable and appreciable salary. Just upon joining, the minimum basic salary of an IES officer is Rs. 39,100.

When calculating the gross salary by adding in Dearness Allowance, HRA, Transport Allowance, the amount comes out to be around Rs. 65,000. This amount is being calculated with the minimum basic salary in the pay grade so the upper range of salary is much, much higher than this.

An IES officer’s job is a respectable and lucrative one. While not as flashy as an IAS officer, there are plenty of opportunities for an ambitious and talented individual to make their name.

Famous IES officers like E. Sreedharan, the chairman, and director of Delhi Metro, and Narender Singh Kapany, the inventor of Fibre-optics come to mind.

Finally Some Important Dates for ESE.

Important Dates

Events Dates
IES Notification for 2021 4th April 2021
Online Applications for ESE open 4th April 2021
Last date for ESE application 27th April 2021
Preliminary Examinations July 18th, 2021
Preliminary Examinations’ Result September 2021
Main Examinations October 2021
Main Examinations’ Result November 2021
Call for Interview December 2021
Final Selection January 2022

Keep in mind that these dates are subject to change. Always keep an eye on the latest IES and ESE notifications from UPSC official website and at

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