UPSC Geography Syllabus (UPSC Mains Optional Syllabus)

By | February 1, 2020

Geography Syllabus

Geography Syllabus-Choosing geography as an optional has many benefit and some of them are mentioned below-

  • Geography syllabus is scientific in nature so both the medium aspirants can take it as optional for ias mains.
  • Large part of geography syllabus is also covered in prelims paper one and in general studies paper so you have to study geography syllabus even if you do not take it as optional, so better to choose it optional.
  • Geography syllabus is more about knowing our surroundings which fascinate many people so it is interesting to read geography subject as an optional.
  • The Track record of geography subject is very good in scoring table , you can get good marks in ias mains if prepared well.
  • The geography syllabus is little wide, which can help you to improve your score in prelims and GS paper too.

So lets have full details topic wise for the geography syllabus for ias mains optional exam which is based on UPSC official notification. For latest notification , you can visit official website of UPSC from here. Official Website Of UPSC.

Geography Syllabus Paper-01

1. Geomorphology-

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


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; Hydrological cycle; Global climatic change and role and response of man in climatic changes, Applied climatology and Urban climate.Air masses and frontogenesis, Temperate and tropical cyclones; Types and distribution of precipitation; Weather and Climate; Koppen’s, Thornthwaite’s and Trewartha’s classification of world climates;


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

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

5.Environmental Geography-

Principle of 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;Environmental education and legislation. Biodiversity and sustainable development; Environmental policy; Environmental hazards and remedial measures;

Geography Syllabus-Human Geography

1. Perspectives in Human Geography-

Areal differentiation; human and welfare approaches; Languages, religions and secularisation; Cultural regions of the world; Human development index. regional synthesis; Dichotomy and dualism; Environmentalism; Quantitative revolution and locational analysis; radical, behavioural,

2.Economic Geography-

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

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

4.Regional Planning-

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

5.Models, Theories and Laws in Human Geography-

Systems analysis in Human geography; Malthusian, Marxian and demographic transition models; Weber’s model of industrial location; Ostov’s model of stages of growth. Heartland and Rimland theories; Central Place theories of Christaller and Losch;Perroux and Boudeville; Von Thunen’s model of agricultural location; Laws of international boundaries and frontiers.

Geography Syllabus Paper-02

Geography Of India

1. Physical Setting-

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

2. Resources-

Land, surface and groundwater, energy, minerals, biotic and marine resources; Forest and wildlife resources and their conservation; Energy crisis.

3. Agriculture-

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

4. Industry-

Evolution of industries; Locational factors of cotton, jute, textile, iron and steel, aluminium, fertilizer, paper, chemical and pharmaceutical, automobile, cottage and agro-based industries;New industrial policies; Multinationals and liberalization; Special Economic Zones; Tourism including eco – tourism. Industrial houses and complexes including public sector undertakings; Industrial regionalisation.

5. Transport, Communication and Trade-

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.Road, railway, waterway, airway and pipeline networks and their complementary roles in regional development.

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; migration (inter-regional, intra- regional and international) and associated problems; Population problems and policies; Health indicators.Demographic attributes: sex-ratio, age structure, literacy rate, work-force, dependency ratio, longevity.

7. Settlements-

Types, patterns and morphology of rural settlements; Urban developments; Morphology of Indian cities; Functional classification of Indian cities; Problems of urbanization and remedies.Conurbations and metropolitan regions; urban sprawl; Slums and associated problems; town planning.

8. Regional Development and Planning-

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

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

10. Contemporary Issues-

Issues relating to environmental pollution; Changes in patterns of land use; Principles of environmental impact assessment and environmental management; Population explosion and food security; Ecological issues: Environmental hazards: landslides, earthquakes, Tsunamis, floods and droughts, epidemics; Regional disparities in economic development; Concept of sustainable growth and development; Environmental awareness; Linkage of rivers; Globalisation and Indian economy.+

Environmental degradation; Deforestation, desertification and soil erosion; Problems of agrarian and industrial unrest.

These are the exact content of the geography syllabus based on the upsc notification published before UPSC exam. you can read books based on these topics to cover entire geography syllabus for upsc mains exam.

Read here to get geography syllabus books for UPSC mains exam, Geography books for UPSC optional subject from here. Click- UPSC Geography Optional Book


2 thoughts on “UPSC Geography Syllabus (UPSC Mains Optional Syllabus)

  1. Pingback: Complete Guide On IAS, IPS & IRS Exam.

  2. Pingback: Complete Guide On IAS, IPS & IRS Exam.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *