Combined Defence Services (CDS) Exam

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.

Application Forms Now Available

Click to view CDS II 2018 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:

Attribute Indian Military Academy Indian Naval Academy Air Force Academy Officers Training Academy
Age 19-24 Years 19-22 Years 19-23 Years 19-25 Years
Marital Status Unmarried Unmarried Unmarried Married / Unmarried
Gender Male Male Male Male/ Female
Educational Qualification Degree from a recognised University B.E/ B.Tech or B.Sc (with Physics & Maths) from a recognised university or institution B.E/ B.Tech or B.Sc (with Physics and/or Maths) from a recognised university or institution Degree 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.

Number of Vacancies available through November 2018 exam: 463 posts

Name of Course Number of Posts
Indian Military Academy 150
Indian Naval Academy 45
Air Force Academy 32
Officers Training Academy(Men) 225
Officers Training Academy 11

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