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Type.GetGenericParameterConstraints Method

Returns an array of Type objects that represent the constraints on the current generic type parameter.

Namespace:  System
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

public virtual Type[] GetGenericParameterConstraints()

Return Value

Type: System.Type[]
An array of Type objects that represent the constraints on the current generic type parameter.


The current Type object is not a generic type parameter. That is, the IsGenericParameter property returns false.

Each constraint on a generic type parameter is expressed as a Type object. Use the IsClass property to determine whether a constraint is the base class constraint; if the property returns false, the constraint is an interface constraint. If a type parameter has no class constraint and no interface constraints, an empty array is returned.

For a list of the invariant conditions for terms used in generic reflection, see the IsGenericType property remarks.

The following code example defines a generic type Test with two type parameters that have different constraints. When the program executes, the constraints are examined using the GenericParameterAttributes property and the GetGenericParameterConstraints method.

using System;
using System.Reflection;

// Define a sample interface to use as an interface constraint.
public interface ITest {}

// Define a base type to use as a base class constraint.
public class Base {}

// Define the generic type to examine. The first generic type parameter,
// T, derives from the class Base and implements ITest. This demonstrates
// a base class constraint and an interface constraint. The second generic 
// type parameter, U, must be a reference type (class) and must have a 
// default constructor (new()). This demonstrates special constraints.
public class Test<T,U> 
    where T : Base, ITest 
    where U : class, new() {}

// Define a type that derives from Base and implements ITest. This type
// satisfies the constraints on T in class Test.
public class Derived : Base, ITest {}

public class Example
    public static void Main()
        // To get the generic type definition, omit the type
        // arguments but retain the comma to indicate the number
        // of type arguments. 
        Type def = typeof(Test<,>);
        Console.WriteLine("\r\nExamining generic type {0}", def);

        // Get the type parameters of the generic type definition,
        // and display them.
        Type[] defparams = def.GetGenericArguments();
        foreach (Type tp in defparams)
            Console.WriteLine("\r\nType parameter: {0}", tp.Name);

            // List the base class and interface constraints. The
            // constraints are returned in no particular order. If 
            // there are no class or interface constraints, an empty
            // array is returned.
            Type[] tpConstraints = tp.GetGenericParameterConstraints();
            foreach (Type tpc in tpConstraints)
                Console.WriteLine("\t{0}", tpc);

    // List the variance and special constraint flags. 
    private static string ListGenericParameterAttributes(Type t)
        string retval;
        GenericParameterAttributes gpa = t.GenericParameterAttributes;
        GenericParameterAttributes variance = gpa & 

        // Select the variance flags.
        if (variance == GenericParameterAttributes.None)
            retval = "No variance flag;";
            if ((variance & GenericParameterAttributes.Covariant) != 0)
                retval = "Covariant;";
                retval = "Contravariant;";

        // Select 
        GenericParameterAttributes constraints = gpa & 

        if (constraints == GenericParameterAttributes.None)
            retval += " No special constraints";
            if ((constraints & GenericParameterAttributes.ReferenceTypeConstraint) != 0)
                retval += " ReferenceTypeConstraint";
            if ((constraints & GenericParameterAttributes.NotNullableValueTypeConstraint) != 0)
                retval += " NotNullableValueTypeConstraint";
            if ((constraints & GenericParameterAttributes.DefaultConstructorConstraint) != 0)
                retval += " DefaultConstructorConstraint";

        return retval;
/* This example produces the following output:

Examining generic type Test`2[T,U]

Type parameter: T
        No variance flag; no special constraints.

Type parameter: U
        No variance flag; ReferenceTypeConstraint DefaultConstructorConstraint

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

Portable Class Library

Supported in: Portable Class Library

Windows 7, Windows Vista SP1 or later, Windows XP SP3, Windows XP SP2 x64 Edition, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core supported with SP1 or later), Windows Server 2003 SP2

The .NET Framework does not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

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