UPSC Geography Syllabus

Having a good knowledge of Geography is not only helpful in IAS preliminary exam, but also aspirants can choose it as one of the optional subjects in the Main exam. The UPSC Geography syllabus 2023 for main exam consists of topics based on physical geography, human geography, and environmental geography. If a candidate has studied Geography at graduation level then preparing for this paper might be a bit easier for him. To start the preparation the aspirant must be well versed with the Civil Service Geography Syllabus 2023. In this post, we are providing the latest UPSC Syllabus for Geography (Optional Subject).

IAS Geography Syllabus 2023

The Geography subject has two papers and each of them carries 250 marks each.  In paper 1, the topics are included from physical Geography and Human Geography. On the other hand, Paper 2 consists of topics from Geography of India. The detailed syllabi for both the papers are as follows:

Civil Service Exam Geography Syllabus (Paper- 1)

Principles of Geography
Physical Geography:

  1. Geomorphology:

Concepts of geomorphic cycles and Land scape development, Denudation chronology, Channel morphology, Erosion surfaces, Slope development, Applied Geomorphology, Geomorphology, economic geology and environment, 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.

  1. Climatology

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, etc.

  1. 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.

  1. Biogeography

Genesis of soils, Classification and distribution of soils, Soil profile, Soil erosion, Degradation 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.

  1. 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, etc.

Human Geography

  1. Perspectives in Human Geography

Areal differentiation, Regional synthesis, Dichotomy and dualism, Environmentalism, Quantitative revolution and locational analysis, Radical, behavioral, human and welfare approaches, Languages, religions and secularization, Cultural regions of the world, and Human development indix.

  1. 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, etc.

  1. 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, etc.

  1. 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.

  1. 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, etc.

UPSC Main Exam Syllabus for Geography (Paper – 2)

Geography of India

  1. Physical Setting

Space relationship of India with neighboring countries, Structure & relief, Drainage system & 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.

  1. Resources

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

  1. 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, etc.

  1. Industry

Evolution of industries, locational factors of cotton, jute, textile, iron and steel, aluminum, fertilizer, paper, chemical and pharmaceutical, automobile, cottage and ago-based industries, etc.

  1. 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, etc.

  1. 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, etc.

  1. 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 associated problems, Town planning, Problems of urbanisation and remedies.

  1. 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, area, desert, drought-prone, hill tribal area development, Multi-level planning, Regional planning and development of island territories.

  1. Political Aspects

Geographical basis of Indian federalism, State re-organization, 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.

  1. Contemporary Issues

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, 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


UPSC Geography Syllabus Download PDF

UPSC Syllabus

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