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How to Become a D.M. (District Magistrate) - Steps to Become an IAS Officer - Collegedisha

18 May, 2024

How to Become a D.M. (District Magistrate)

A District Magistrate who is often known and abbreviated as DM is the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer who possesses the post of the senior-most executive magistrate of a district in India. A D.M is a chief in charge of the general administration of a  particular district of India. There are around 718 districts in India and all of them are headed by a D.M. The D.M is assisted by various posts that come under the lower level of the administration like the tehsils, blocks, etc. An IAS who has served for at least 6 years including the 2 years of his/her training period, is eligible for becoming a D.M. Therefore, a candidate who is aspiring to become a D.M should be focussed on securing a substantial-top rank in the Civil Service Exam conducted by UPSC as well as becoming an IAS. 

Steps to become D.M: Stages Involved

A candidate who is aspiring to become a DM is required to appear in the IAS exam (i.e., UPSC Exam) and acquire rank among the top 100 students. After the candidate secures a top rank in the UPSC Civil Service Exam, he/she can become an officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). After one or two promotions an IAS officer can become a D.M.

How do I become a D.M? The candidates who intend to become a D.M should successfully complete their graduation degree and then appear in the Civil Services Exam (CSE) conducted by the UPSC.  They are required to secure a good rank among the top 100 candidates to become an IAS officer. After serving the period of 6 years (including the duration of 2 years of the training period), he/she can be eligible for seeking a further promotion as a D.M. of a district of India. 

Overview of the UPSC Exam 

➔ Name of Examination: Civil Services Exam (UPSC Civil/ UPSC CSE) 
➔ Conducting Body: Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
➔ Exam level: National Level 
➔ Stages of Exam: Prelims MainsPersonal interview (Personality Test)
➔ Eligibility: The age limit for CSE Exam lies between 21 years and 32 years (for OBC the maximum age to attempt is 35 years,for SC/ST the maximum age to attempt is 37 years, For Disabled defense service personnel candidates, the maximum age to attempt is 35 years,For the candidates who are ex-servicemen, the maximum age to attempt is 37For the persons with benchmark disability or economically weaker section, the maximum age to attempt is 42 years)  
➔ Number of attempts: General is 6OBC is 9SC/ST is unlimited (up to the age limit)Disabled Defense services personnel is 9Ex-servicemen is 9A person with benchmark disability (economically weaker section) is 9
➔ CSE Prelims 2024: June 27, 2024 (Check Important Dates for CSE 2024 section of the article to get the details regarding the important dates with respect to the exam) 

Can a 12th pass apply for UPSC?

The students who aspire to appear in UPSC and acquire a substantial rank are required to have a graduation degree. Therefore, the answer to "can the 12th pass apply for UPSC" is very evident. The students should focus on completing their graduation first and then apply for UPSC. The details regarding the minimum qualification required for UPSC as well as the information regarding the steps related to how do I become a D.M after 12th are given in the latter part of the article. 

Eligibility Criteria to become DM:

The candidates who are aspiring to become a DM, are required to appear for the Civil Services Exam (CSE) as well as fulfill the condition related to educational qualification, nationality, age, etc. The candidate whose age lies between 21 years to 32 years can appear for the CSE exam. It is also essential for the candidates to have completed their graduation (in any discipline), from a recognized university. Given below are the categorical eligibility criteria for the candidates aspiring to appear in the UPSC Exam on the basis of qualification, nationality, age limit, and a number of attempts.

Minimum Qualification required to become DM:-

It is already mentioned above that the candidate who wants to become a D.M needs to appear for the CSE Exam and try to secure a substantial-top rank (top 100) in order to become an IAS officer. It is after 6 years of service as an IAS officer that the candidate can become eligible for getting promoted as a D.M. As the respective candidates mostly end up finding an answer to what is the qualification required for a D.M. 
Here are some of the points given below which will give you an insight into the qualifications required for a candidate in order to appear in the CSE Exam.

  • The candidate aspiring to appear for CSE Exam must hold a degree from a government-recognized university or have an equivalent qualification. 
  • The candidates who are in the final year of their graduation or are waiting for their results can also appear for the UPSC CSE Exam. These candidates must have proof of their degree course whether they have passed or are appearing in the respective exam. This proof should be submitted along with the UPSC CSE application form.
  • The candidates who have professional as well as technical qualifications, and it is recognized by the government as equivalent to professional and technical degrees can also appear in the UPSC CSE Exam. 
  • The candidates who are pursuing their medical education and have passed the final year of the MBBS Exam but have not yet completed their internship can also appear in the CSE Exam. It is important for these candidates to present proof of their degree as well as the internship they are undergoing, along with the application form. 


 The candidate appearing in the CSE exam for the post of IAS and IPS is required to be a citizen of India. But for other services, the candidates are required to be either 

(a)- a citizen of India 

(b)- or a subject of Bhutan 

(c)- or a subject of Nepal 

(d)- or a Tibetan refugee (who came to India before 1st January 1962, with an intention to settle permanently in India)

(e)- or a person of Indian Origin (PIO) who had migrated from Burma, Pakistan, East African countries of Kenya, Sri Lanka,  the united republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Vietnam, etc. 

  • The candidates who belong to the criteria b, c, d, e, are required to present a certificate of eligibility which is issued by the government of India. 
  • The candidate who belongs to the category b, c, and d cannot be appointed for the Indian Foreign Service (IFS).

Age & Attempts to become DM:

Generally, the candidates who want to appear for the CSE Exam are required to make their attempt between the age of 21 to 32 years and make 6 attempts within the respective age limit. But the criteria for eligibility according to the age limit as well as the number of attempts varies with respect to the different categories. Here is a table given below which will give you a clear insight on the age limit and the number of attempts for an aspiring candidate with respect to the category (general, OBC, SC/ST, etc.) they belong to.

Category Maximum age limit Number of attempts









Unlimited attempts

Disabled defence service personnel





A person with benchmark disability (Economically weaker section) 



Procedures of the UPSC Exam:

The CSE exam is conducted in 3 levels:-

  • Prelims
  • Mains
  • Personal Interview

Important dates for Civil Services Exam 2024

UPSC releases notification for informing the aspiring candidates about the important dates related to the events of the Civil services Exam (CSE) like the starting date of Application, closing date of application, preliminary exam date, mains exam date, etc. The candidates should check the official notification from time to time, around the tentative dates mentioned in order to stay updated with the details of the UPSC CSE exam.

 Here is a table consisting of the details regarding the tentative dates of the CSE exam.  

Dates (Tentative) 

Release of notification 

10th February 2024

Closing of application 

2nd March 2024

UPSC IAS Pre Exam Date

June 27, 2024 

UPSC IAS Main Exam DateSubject 

September 2024 

UPSC Exam Pattern:

UPSC Civil Services Examination is divided into 3 stages i.e Prelims, Main, and Interview. Every stage of examination is very different in terms of its syllabus and exam patterns and approach. So having proper details about exam pattern become very important for each and every student.  Below is the given prelims exam pattern.

UPSC Preliminary Exam Pattern

The table is given below consists of the details with respect to the CSE 2024 exam pattern.

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern No. of Questions Negative Marking Total Marks Duration of Exam Medium/Language Cut-off

General studies I


-0.66 marks for every incorrect answer (1/3rd of the maximum score per question, will be deducted)


2 hours 


The cut off varies every year

General Studies II 


-0.66 marks for every incorrect answer (1/3rd of the maximum score per question, will be deducted)


2 hours


The qualifying criteria basically lie with 66 marks 

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern:

The table is given below consists of the details regarding the paper pattern as well as the marks distribution of the CSE mains exam.

Papers Subjects Marks
Paper-I Essay (the candidates can write it in the preferred medium) 250
Paper-II General Studies I (Indian heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the world and Society) 250
Paper-III General Studies II (Governance, Constitution, Social Justice, polity and International Relations) 250
Paper-IV General Studies III (Technology, Biodiversity, Economic Development, Security, Environment and Disaster Management) 250
Paper-V General Studies IV (Ethics, Aptitude, and Integrity) 250
Paper-VI Optional Subject (Paper 1) 250
Paper-VII Optional Subject (Paper 2) 250
  Total 1750

UPSC Exam Syllabus:

UPSC Exam Prelims Syllabus:

The UPSC prelims syllabus consists of two papers where the first is General studies and the other is CSAT (civil Service aptitude Test). There are 200 objective-type questions in both papers and the time duration provided for each paper is 2 hours. In order to qualify for the Civil services mains, the candidate is required to apparel in both papers.

The main intention of the General studies test is to assess the candidates with respect to their knowledge about various subjects like Indian Economy, Indian Polity, Science & Technology, International relations, etc. The CSAT Paper is also inclined towards testing the candidate on account of questions related to reading and analytical questions, Reading comprehension, decision-making questions, etc.

The candidate aspiring to appear in the exam or the respective applicants appearing in the exam must know that the primary motive of the UPSC preliminary round is just to check the eligibility of the candidate for the subsequent stages of the exam and the marks scored in the preliminary round will not be added in the subsequent stages of the selection process.

The table given below will help you get an insight into the CSE prelims syllabus.

UPSC Exam Syllabus for Paper-1 & Paper-2:

General Studies Paper - 1 General Studies Paper - 2
  • The current and recent events of national as well as international importance
  • Indian and World Geography (physical, Social, Economic Geography of the world and India) 
  • History of India and the Indian National Movement
  • Economic and Social Development (Sustainable Development, Inclusion, poverty, Social Sector Initiatives, demographics, etc.)
  • Indian polity and Governance (Panchayati raj, Political system, constitution, Right issues, public policy, etc.) 
  • General Science
  • General issues on biodiversity, environmental ecology, and biodiversity that do not require subject specialization
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Comprehension
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • General Mental Ability
  • Decision making and Problem-solving 
  • Bais Numeracy (Numbers as well as their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) 
  • English Language Comprehension Skill (up to class Xth level) 
  • Data Interpretation (Tables, Data sufficiency, graphs, charts, etc. up to class Xth level) 

UPSC Exam Mains Syllabus:

UPSC Exam General Studies I:

  • Indian culture that covers the salient feature of Art forms, Literature, and Architecture (from ancient to modern times)
  • The Freedom struggle (Various stages and important contributors and contributions from the different parts of the country) 
  • Modern Indian History (Significant Events, Important personalities, issues during the middle of the eighteenth century till the present time)
  • Post-independence consolidation as well as rearrangement and organization within the country. 
  • World History ( Forms, events, and effects on the society from the 18th century due to events like the Industrial Revolution, colonization, Political philosophies like Capitalism, socialism, etc.)
  • Role and Organisation of women, poverty and developmental issues, population, and other associated issues, the problems, and remedies of urbanization, etc.
  • Salient aspects of diversity in India as well as Indian societies 
  • Social Empowerment, communalism, socialism, etc.
  • Effects of Globalization on Indian Society
  • Distribution of key natural resources across the world including the Indian subcontinent and South Asia, 
  • Factors responsible for primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in several parts of the world including India
  • Salient features of the world’s physical geography
  • Various Geophysical phenomena like Tsunami, earthquakes, volcanic activity, cyclones, etc. 

UPSC Exam General Studies II:

The various topics covered in the syllabus of UPSC general studies II come under the diverse aspects of Governance, Social Justice, International relations, polity, and constitution. Here are some of the topics given below which can be referred to by the candidates in order to get acquainted with the respective syllabus.

Topics Subtopics
Constitution of India
  • Historical background of the Indian constitution
  • Basic Structure
  • Salient Features
  • Evolution of the constitution
  • Significant provisions
  • Amendments
  • Issues and challenges related to the federal structure
  • Functions and responsibilities of the union and states
  • Issues as well as power with respect to the federal structure
  • Devolution of powers and finances and powers up to the local government level
  •  Challenges faced in the devolution of power
  • Various organs of government and separation of power between them
  • Dispute redressal mechanism and Institutions
  • Comparison of India’s constitutional schemes with other countries
  • Appointment to different government posts
  • Statutory, regulatory, and several quasi-judicial bodies
  • Power, responsibilities as well as the function of various constitutional bodies
  • Government policies and interventions for upliftment and development of various sectors
  • Essential aspects of governance, transparency as well as accountability
  • Development processes and development of industries
  • Role of Civil services in a democracy
  • E-governance (applications, models, limitations and potential, etc.)
Governance & Polity
  • Parliament and State legislatures (Structures, Functioning, powers and privileges, the conduct of business, etc.)
  • Pressure groups
  • Salient features of people representation’s act
  • Formal and Informal associations and their role in the polity
  • Executive and Judiciary (Structure, organization, functioning, etc.)
International Relations
  • India and its neighborhood
  • The relation between India and its neighboring countries
  • Effects of policies and politics of developed as well as developing countries on India’s interest
  • Bilateral, regional, and global groupings as well as agreements involving India or affecting India’s interest
  • Indian Diaspora
Social Justice
  • Welfare schemes for the vulnerable sections of the population (center and state)
  • Mechanism, institutions, and laws constituted for the upliftment and betterment of the lower and vulnerable sections of the society
  • Issues related to poverty and hunger
  • Issues with respect to the development and management of the social sector

UPSC Exam General Studies III:

Subjects Topics
Economics Economic development in India
Biodiversity Types of Biodiversity
Biodiversity and Environment
Science & Technology Rare earth elements
Defense Technology
Space Technology
Artificial Intelligence
GM Crops
Disaster Management Disaster management in India
National Disaster Management plan 2016
Security Internal security challenges in India

UPSC Exam General studies IV:

Here are the various topics given below that can be referred to by the students as per the syllabus of UPSC General Studies IV.

  • Human Values
  • Ethics and Human Interface
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Aptitude
  • Attitude
  • Contributions of Moral thinkers as well as philosophers of India and the world
  • Ethical issues in international relations and funding corporate governance
  • Public or civil service values or ethics in public service administration
  • Probity in Governance (the concept of public service, Information and Philosophical basis of government and probity)
  • Codes of ethics and citizen’s charter
UPSC Optional Subject Paper I and Optional Subject Paper II:

The candidates can choose their subject for UPSC Optional paper I and Optional paper II from the various subjects. Given below is a list of those subjects:

  • Chemistry
  • Anthropology
  • Botany
  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry and veterinary science
  • Electrical engineering
  • Commerce and accountancy
  • Civil Engineering
  • Economics
  • Geology
  • Indian History
  • Geography
  • Mathematics
  • Management
  • Law
  • Medical science
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Physics
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Public administration
  • Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Sociology
  • Zoology
Role of DM (District Magistrate):
  • Conducts Criminal Court of Executive Magistrate
  • Maintenance of Law and Order
  • Police Coordination and Smooth functioning
  • Child Labour or Bonded Labour-related matters.
  • Granting of Arms and Ammunition
  • Crisis Management during Riots, etc.
  • Disaster Management
  • Appoint a panel of members for appointment in the Public Prosecutor's office with a consultation with the Session Judge.
  • Authorizing parole orders for criminals
  • Inspection of Police Stations and prison
  • Hearing cases that come under the Criminal Procedure Code
  • Certification of Execution orders for criminals
  • Supervision of magistrate (Subordinate executive). 
Salary of a DM (District Magistrate) in India:

The table given below consists of the details regarding the pay grade and pay scale of the various IAS officers.

Pay Leve Basic pay (INR) Service required (minimum number of years) Post 



1-4 years

Sub-divisional Magistrate/ Undersecretary/ Assistant commissioner



5-8 years

Additional District Magistrate/ Deputy Secretary/ Under Secretary 



9-12 years

District Magistrate/ Joint Secretary/ Deputy Secretary 



13-16 years

District Magistrate/ Special Secretary cum Director/ Director 



16-24 years

Divisional commissioner/ Secretary cum commissioner/ Joint Secretary 



25-30 years

Divisional Commissioner/ Principal Secretary/ Additional Secretary 





Additional Chief secretary 





Chief Secretary/ Secretary 



37+ years


Cabinet Secretary of India 

Which Degree is Best for IAS?

The minimum qualification required for being eligible in the IAS Exam is that the students should have a degree in their UG Course in any stream. According to the data of the stream that has acquired maximum success with respect to securing a considerable top rank in the UPSC Exam, Humanities has shown substantial results and has been mostly preferred by the respective students as well. But irrespective of the subjects and stream, cracking the UPSC Civils is about utmost passion, profound knowledge, and firm determination. Therefore, aspiring students should try to work on this aspect.

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