UPSC Mains Exam Syllabus - Geography Optional
PAPER - I
Principles of Geography Physical Geography:
1. Geomorphology: Factors controlling
landform development; endogenetic and exogenetic forces; Origin and evolution of
the earth’s crust; Fundamentals of geomagnetism; Physical conditions of the
earth’s interior; Geosynclines; Continental drift; Isostasy; Plate tectonics;
Recent views on mountain building; Vulcanicity; Earthquakes and Tsunamis;
Concepts of geomorphic cycles and Landscape development ; Denudation chronology;
Channel morphology; Erosion surfaces; Slope development ; Applied Geomorphology
: Geohydrology, 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 genesis, Temperate and tropical cyclones;
Types and distribution of precipitation; Weather and Climate; Koppen’s,
Thornthwaite’s and Trewartha’s classification of world climates; 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;
sealevel changes; law of the sea and marine
4. 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.
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; Biodiversity and
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
- 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 nutrition problems; Food security; famine: causes, effects and remedies;
World industries: locational 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:
Concepts 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
- 5. Models, Theories and Laws in
Human Geography: Systems 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
PAPER – II
GEOGRAPHY OF INDIA
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
socialforestry; Green revolution and its socioeconomic and ecological
implications; Significance of dry farming; Livestock resources and white
revolution; aqua - culture; sericulture, apiculture and poultry; agricultural
zones; agro- ecological regions.
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; Industrial houses and complexes including
public sector undertakings; Industrial regionalisation; New industrial policies;
Multinationals and liberalization; Special Economic Zones; Tourism including eco
5. 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.
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, intra- regional 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 associated
problems; town planning; Problems of urbanization 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 relating to
environmental pollution; Changes in patterns of land use; Principles of
environmental impact assessment and environmental management; Population
food security; Environmental degradation; Deforestation, desertification and
soil erosion; Problems of agrarian and industrial unrest; Regional disparities
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.