The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the Civil Services Examination (CSE) annually in three stages, namely the Prelims, Mains, and Interview. The exam is commonly referred to as the IAS Exam and it has a defined exam pattern and syllabus.
One of the important subjects in the CSE is Geography, which holds a significant place in all three stages of the examination, including the Prelims and Mains.
This article aims to provide comprehensive information on UPSC Geography and its syllabus for the IAS Prelims, Mains, and Optionals.
Geography for UPSC
- UPSC Geography is a subject that requires consistent revision of three sections: Indian Geography, Human Geography, and World Geography.
- The UPSC has not provided a detailed syllabus for Geography in the Prelims, however, it is stated that the subject consists of social, physical, and economic geography.
- IAS aspirants should be aware that NCERTs play an important role in the UPSC Prelims exam. Hence, NCERT Geography Notes for UPSC can be referred to for preparation.
UPSC Geography Books
- Certificate Physical and Human Geography by GC Leong
- Human Geography by Majid Hussain
- NCERT Geography Books for IAS
UPSC Geography Syllabus for IAS Prelims
I. Physical Geography
- Geomorphology and Oceanography
II. Human Geography
- Population and Settlement Geography
- Economic Geography
- Political Geography
- Agricultural Geography
III. Indian Geography
- Physical aspects
- Agricultural Geography
- Industrial Geography
- Transport and Communication
- Regional Development
- Natural Resources and their distribution
UPSC Geography Syllabus for IAS Mains
Geography is a part of the UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-I, which also includes History and Art & Culture. The following is the syllabus for Geography as specified by the UPSC for the Civil Services Examination.
I. Distribution of Natural Resources
- Overview of key natural resources across the world, including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent
- Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world, including India
II. Geophysical Phenomena
- Volcanic activity
III. Changes in Geographical Features
- Salient features of the world’s physical geography
- Location and changes in geographical features such as water-bodies, polar ice caps, flora, and fauna
- Effects of such changes
Geography Optional Syllabus
The Geography Optional syllabus focuses on the practical application of geographical knowledge, rather than on rote learning of facts and figures. The examination is designed to assess the candidate’s understanding of the basic concepts and techniques in geography, as well as their ability to analyze and interpret geographical data.
Geography as an optional subject in Civil Services Examination has gained popularity in recent years due to its interdisciplinary approach and its ability to provide a holistic view of various issues and challenges faced by our planet. The syllabus for Geography Optional covers a wide range of topics from Physical Geography, Human Geography, Economic Geography, Environmental Geography, and Disaster Management.
- Physical Geography covers the study of landforms, climatology, oceanography, and biogeography. The focus is on understanding the physical attributes of the earth and their influence on human lives.
- Human Geography deals with the study of human settlements, migration, demographic changes, and urbanization. It provides a comprehensive understanding of how human activities have shaped the earth and how they are affected by various physical and cultural factors.
- Economic Geography encompasses the study of resources, industries, trade, and transportation. It helps to understand the interplay between economic development and geographical factors.
- Environmental Geography focuses on the study of environmental issues such as global warming, deforestation, soil erosion, and natural disasters. It aims to create awareness about the impact of human activities on the environment and to find solutions to mitigate the adverse effects.
- Disaster Management is a crucial aspect of Geography and deals with the study of various natural and man-made disasters, their causes, and the measures to mitigate their impact.
- Indian Geography deals with the study of India’s physical and human geography, including its landforms, climate, water resources, vegetation, population, and economic activities. It provides an in-depth understanding of India’s unique geographical features and how they have influenced its history, culture, and development.
Syllabus of Geography Paper – I (PRINCIPLES OF GEOGRAPHY)
- 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 Landscape development; Denudation chronology; Channel morphology; Erosion surfaces; Slope development; Applied Geomorphology; Geomorphology, economic geology, and environment.
- 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 fronts; Temperate and tropical cyclones; Types and distribution of precipitation; Weather and Climate; Koppen’s Thornthwaite’s and Trewartha’s classification of world climate; Hydrological cycle; Global climatic change, and role and response of man in climatic changes Applied climatology and Urban climate.
- 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.
- 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; Wildlife; Major gene pool centers.
- 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; Biodiversity and sustainable development; Environmental policy; Environmental hazards and remedial measures; Environmental education and legislation.
- 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 secularisation; Cultural regions of the world; Human development index.
- Economic Geography: World economic development: measurement and problems; World resources and their distribution; Energy crisis; the limits to growth; World agriculture: a typology of agricultural regions; Agricultural inputs and productivity; Food and nutrition problems; Food security; famine: causes, effects, and remedies; World industries: location patterns and problems; Patterns of world trade.
- Population and Settlement Geography: Growth and distribution of world population; Demographic attributes; Causes and consequences of migration; Concepts of the 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.
- Regional Planning: Concept of a region; Types of regions and methods of regionalization; Growth centers and growth poles; Regional imbalances; regional development strategies; environmental issues in regional planning; Planning for sustainable development.
- 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. Heartland and Rimland theories; Laws of international boundaries and frontiers.
Syllabus of Geography Paper – II (GEOGRAPHY OF INDIA)
- 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.
- Resources: Land, surface and ground water, energy, minerals, biotic and marine resources, Forest and wildlife resources and their conservation; Energy crisis.
- 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; Aquaculture; Sericulture, Agriculture and poultry; Agricultural regionalisation; Agro-climatic zones; Agroecological regions.
- Industry: Evolution of industries; Locational factors of cotton, jute, textile, iron and steel, aluminum, fertiliser, paper, chemical and pharmaceutical, automobile, cottage, and ago-based industries; Industrial houses and complexes including public sector undertakings; Industrial regionalisation; New industrial policy; Multinationals and liberalisation; Special Economic Zones; Tourism including ecotourism.
- Transport, Communication, and Trade: Road, railway, waterway, airway, and pipeline networks 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.
- 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, intraregional and international) and associated problems; Population problems and policies; Health indicators.
- 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.
- 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.
- Political Aspects: Geographical basis of Indian federalism; State reorganization; 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.
- 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.
Geography Optional syllabus offers a diverse range of topics that cater to a wide range of interests and provides a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of our planet and its various challenges. It is an excellent subject for those interested in gaining a holistic view of the world around us, including India’s unique geographical features and challenges.
For UPSC Prelims Resources, Click here
For Daily Updates and Study Material:
Join our Telegram Channel – Edukemy for IAS
- 1. Learn through Videos – here
- 2. Be Exam Ready by Practicing Daily MCQs – here
- 3. Daily Newsletter – Get all your Current Affairs Covered – here
- 4. Mains Answer Writing Practice – here
Visit our YouTube Channel – here