UPSC Civil Services Syllabus of Geography for Mains

UPSC Geography Optional
Written by Dr. SS

UPSC Geography Optional Syllabus is given below. You can take your pdf copy from here. We help in IAS prelims and optional subject preparation to excel in UPSC exam 2018, get all ranging from the mains syllabus to books list and other tips.

To appear in UPSC Civil Services Mains exam, you need to have complete awareness about  UPSC Mains Syllabus and exam pattern. Here, we are covering all.

UPSC Geography Optional Syllabus

UPSC Mains Geography Optional Syllabus

Geography Syllabus of Prelims is common for all IAS aspirants, however, mains syllabus is for those who have taken this subject as their optional choice. Aspirants are free to write the paper in the language chosen by them. Maximum candidates write in Eglish but many write in Hindi, in Marathi as well as in Telugu also. I short, you can opt to write in one language out of all the languages mentioned in schedule 8 of the Constitution. Geography Mains Syllabus is divided into two papers. The first paper is ‘Principle of Geography’ and the second one is ‘Geography of India’.


Physical Geography Syllabus:


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

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Applied Geomorphology : Geohydrology, environment and economic geology.


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


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


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

Environmental Geography:

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

Human Geography:

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

Economic Geography:

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

Population and Settlement Geography:

Growth and distribution of world population; Causes and consequences of migration; demographic attributes,  concepts of over-under-and optimum population; Population theories, world population problems and policies, Population as social capital, Social well-being and quality of life;. Types and patterns of rural settlements; Hierarchy of urban settlements, Environmental issues in rural settlements; Urban morphology:

Concepts of primate city and rank-size rule; Sphere of urban influence;  Functional classification of towns; Satellite towns, Rural – urban fringe; Sustainable development of cities, Problems and remedies of urbanisation.

Regional Planning:

Concept of a reg; Regional imbalances, centresTypes of regions and methods of regionalisation; centres and growth poles; regional development strategies; Planning for sustainable development, environmental issues in regional planning;

Models, Theories and Laws in Human Geography:

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

UPSC Geography Optional Books

Amazon Link on Image of given book. A very good book within a reasonable price for IAS aspirants with Geography optional. Previous years questions are collected topic wise in this book. It will be helpful while covering Geography syllabus to check your preparation level. Check Book here with given linkJust click on the image.

 UPSC Mains Geography  Syllabus


  1. Physical Setting:

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

  1. Resources:

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

  1. Agriculture:

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

  1. Industry:

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

  1. Transport, Communication and Trade:

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

  1. Cultural Setting:

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

  1. Settlements:

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

  1. Regional Development and Planning:

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

  1. Political Aspects:

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

  1. Contemporary Issues:

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

NOTE: As per UPSC Geography Syllabus; one compulsory question of Map will be asked.

Geography optional books referred by Experts from Coaching Institutions.

Given books are recommended to prepare notes as these are mentioned by toppers in their preparation strategy.

Buy here -Best UPSC Geography Optional Paper Books

Book By Savinder Singh is available in Hindi and English.

Bhoutik Bhugol by Savinder Singh

Book By Majid Hussain is also available in both languages.

Majid Hussain :Vastunishth Bharat Evam Vishva Ka Bhugol

Rupa Series is also referred by several successful candidates.

Rupa Pub: Economic and Social Geography Made Simple

Book For Paper-2

INDIA a comprehensive geography by D.R. khullar


To Save your free pdf copy of UPSC Geography Syllabus-Click upsc syllabus

For the syllabus of other optional papers of UPSC Exam, visit the link.

UPSC Geography optional Syllabus is scoring in nature; if covered strategically. Read good books referred by Toppers and experts from known coaching centers.

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Dr. SS

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