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Combined Defence Services (CDS) Exam

cds eligibility

If you are young, courageous, patriotic and harbour a patriotic sentiment for India, then a career in the defense services would be a very good option for you! You can join the nation’s defence services after qualifying the Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination.

The Combined Defence Services Examination is conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) New Delhi twice every year in the months of February (CDS I) and November (CDS II) for recruitment to the officer cadre of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

The finally selected candidates are sent to one of the following institutes for training:

(a) Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun
(b) Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala
(c) Air Force Academy, Begumpet, Hyderabad
(d) Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai

Candidates selected in the Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy get permanent commission, however cadets passing out of Officers Training Academy get short service commission for 10 years. After 10 years of service. these SSC officers can either leave the service, ask for extension of four more years or ask for Permanent Commission (PC). Those seeking extension or PC are assessed by a board of officers and granted extension/PC, if found suitable.

Women candidates can apply only to the Officers Training Academy (OTA.) Male candidates can apply to all the four academies. You need to mention your preferences for the academy while filling up the application form.

Click to view CDS II 2019-2020 important dates

Eligibility Criteria

Nationality: Interested candidates must be citizens of India, Bhutan, Nepal or they may be:

  • a refugee from Tibet who has come to India before 1962
  • an Indian origin person migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam

 Other criteria to be fulfilled:

AttributeIndian Military AcademyIndian Naval AcademyAir Force AcademyOfficers Training Academy
Age19-24 Years19-22 Years19-23 Years19-25 Years
Marital StatusUnmarriedUnmarriedUnmarriedMarried / Unmarried
GenderMaleMaleMaleMale/ Female
Educational QualificationDegree from a recognised UniversityB.E/ B.Tech or B.Sc (with Physics & Maths) from a recognised university or institutionB.E/ B.Tech or B.Sc (with Physics and/or Maths) from a recognised university or institutionDegree from a recognised University

Note: If you hold a valid “Commercial Pilot License” issued by DGCA, then your upper age limit is relaxed to 26 years for Air Force Academy.

Candidates appearing in the degree or equivalent examination are also eligible to compete for the Combined Defence Service (CDS) but would be required to submit the proof of passing the requisite qualifying examination by the date specified in the Commission’s Notification for the Examination.

Physical Standards – Candidates must be physically fit according to the Regulations specified in the UPSC’s Notification for Examination.

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