Geography Optional Syllabus for UPSC 2023

Geography Optional Syllabus for UPSC

UPSC candidates can read or download Geography Optional Syllabus for UPSC from here. UPSC mains exam syllabus is divided in 2 papers.




Physical Geography : 

1. GEOMORPHOLOGY : Factors controlling landform development; endogenetic and exogenetic  forces; Origin and evolution of the earth’s crusts; Fundamentals of geomagnetism; Physical conditions of  the earth’s interior; Geosynclines; Continental drift; Isostasy; Plate tectonics; Recent views on mountain  building; Volcanicity; Earthquakes and Tsunamis; Concepts of geomorphic cycles and Land scape  development; Denudation chronology; Channel morphology; Erosion surfaces; Slope development; Applied  Geomorphology; Geomorphology, economic geology and environment.  

2. Climatology : Temperature and pressure belts of the world; Heat budget of the earth; Atmospheric  circulation; Atmospheric stability and instability. Planetary and local winds; Monsoons and jet streams; Air masses and fronto; Temperate and tropical cyclones; Types and distribution of precipitation; Weather  and Climate; Koppen’s Thornthwaite’s and Trewar Tha’s classification of world climate; Hydrological cycle;  Global climatic change, and role and response of man in climatic changes Applied climatology and Urban  climate. 

3. Oceanography : Bottom topography of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans; Temperature and  salinity of the oceans; Heat and salt budgets, Ocean deposits; Waves, currents and tides; Marine  resources; biotic, mineral and energy resources; Coral reefs coral bleaching; Sea-level changes; Law of the  sea and marine pollution. 

4. Biogeography : Genesis of soils; Classification and distribution of soils; Soil profile; Soil erosion,  Degrada-tion and conservation; Factors influencing world distribution of plants and animals; Problems of  deforestation and conservation measures; Social forestry, agro-forestry; Wild life; Major gene pool centres. 

5. Environmental Geography : Principle ecology; Human ecological adaptations; Influence of man on  ecology and environment; Global and regional ecological changes and imbalances; Ecosystem their  management and conservation; Environmental degradation, management and conservation; Biodiversity  and sustainable development; Environmental policy; Environmental hazards and remedial measures;  Environmental education and legislation. 

Human Geography : 

1. Perspectives in Human Geography : Areal differentiation; Regional synthesis; Dichotomy and  dualism; Environmentalism; Quantitative revolution and locational analysis; Radical, behavioural, human  and welfare approaches; Languages, religions and secularisation; Cultural regions of the world; Human  development indix. 

2. Economic Geography : World economic development: measurement and problems; World  resources and their distribution; Energy crisis; the limits to growth; World agriculture: typology of  agricultural regions; Agricultural inputs and productivity; Food and nutritions problems; Food security;  famine: causes, effects and remedies; World industries: location patterns and problems; Patterns of world  trade. 

3. Population and Settlement Geography : Growth and distribution of world population;  Demographic attributes; Causes and consequences of migration; Concepts of over-under-and  optimum population; Population theories, world population problems and policies, Social well-being and  quality of life; Population as social capital.  

 Types and patterns of rural settlements; Environmental issues in rural settlements; Hierarchy of  urban settlements; Urban morphology; Concept of primate city and rank-size rule; Functional  classification of towns; Sphere of urban influence; Rural-urban fringe; Satellite towns; Problems and  remedies of urbanization; Sustainable development of cities. 

4. regional Planning : Concept of a region; Types of regions and methods of regionalisation; Growth centres and growth poles; Regional imbalances; Regional development strategies; Environmental issues in  regional planning; Planning for sustainable development. 

5. Models, Theories and Laws in Human Geography : System analysis in Human geography;  Malthusian, Marxian and demographic transition models; Central Place theories of Christaller and Losch;  Perroux and Boudeville; Von Thunen’s model of agricultural location; Weber’s model of industrial location;  Ostov’s model of stages of growth. Heart-land and Rimland theories; Laws of international boundaries  and frontiers. 



1. Physical Setting : Space relationship of India with neighboring countries; Structure and relief;  Drainage system and watersheds; Physiographic regions; Mechanism of Indian monsoons and rainfall  patterns; Tropical cyclones and western disturbances; Floods and droughts; Climatic regions; Natural  vegetation, Soil types and their distributions.  

2. Resources : Land, surface and ground water, energy, minerals, biotic and marine resources,  Forest and wild life resources and their conservation; Energy crisis.

3. Agriculture : Infrastructure: irrigation, seeds, fertilizers, power; Institutional factors; land  holdings, land tenure and land reforms; Cropping pattern, agricultural productivity, agricultural intensity,  crop combination, land capability; Agro and social-forestry; Green revolution and its socio-economic and  ecological implications; Significance of dry farming; Livestock resources and white revolution; Aqua culture; Sericulture, Agriculture and poultry; Agricultural regionalisation; Agro-climatic zones; Agro ecological regions. 

4. Industry : Evolution of industries; Locational factors of cotton, jute, textile, iron and steel,  aluminium, fertiliser, paper, chemical and pharmaceutical, automobile, cottage and ago-based industries;  Industrial houses and complexes including public sector underkings; Industrial regionalisation; New  industrial policy; Multinationals and liberalisation; Special Economic Zones; Tourism including  ecotourism.

5. Transport, Communication and Trade : Road, railway, waterway, airway and pipeline net works  and their complementary roles in regional development; Growing importance of ports on national and  foreign trade; Trade balance; Trade Policy;Export processing zones; Developments in communication and  information technology and their impacts on economy and society; Indian space programme. 

6. Cultural Setting : Historical Perspective of Indian Society; Racial linguistic and ethnic diversities;  religious minorities; Major tribes, tribal areas and their problems; Cultural regions; Growth, distribution  and density of population; Demographic attributes: sex-ratio, age structure, literacy rate, work-force,  dependency ratio, longevity; migration (inter-regional, interaregional and international) and associated  problems; Population problems and policies; Health indicators. 

7. Settlements : Types, patterns and morphology of rural settlements; Urban developments;  Morphology of Indian cities; Functional classification of Indian cities; Conurbations and metropolitan  regions; Urban sprawl; Slums and asssociated problems; Town planning; Problems of urbanisation and  remedies. 

8. Regional Development and Planning: Experience of regional planning in India; Five Year Plans; Integrated rural development programmes; Panchayati Raj and decentralised planning; Command area  development; Watershed management; Planning for backward area, desert, drought-prone, hill tribal  area development; Multi-level planning; Regional planning and development of island territories.

9. Political Aspects : Geographical basis of Indian federalism; State reorganisation; Emergence of  new states; Regional consciousness and inter-state issues; International boundary of India and related  issues; Cross-border terrorism; India’s role in world affairs; Geopolitics of South Asia and Indian Ocean  realm. 

10. Contemporary Issues : Ecological issues: Environmental hazards: landslides, earthquakes,  Tsunamis, floods and droughts, epidemics; Issues related to environmental pollution; Changes in patterns  of land use; Principles of environmental impact assessment and environmental management; Population  explosion and food security; Environmental degradation; Deforestation, desertification and soil erosion; 

Problems of agrarian and industrial unrest; Regional disparities in economic development; Concept of  sustainable growth and development; Environmental awareness; Linkage of rivers; Globalisation and  Indian economy. 

NOTE : Candidates will be required to answer one compulsory map question pertinent to subjects  covered by this paper.

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