UPSC GEOGRAPHY OPTIONAL SYLLABUS

For a UPSC CSE aspirant, the optional subject is also an important subject. In the UPSC mains exam, optional marks have two papers, Paper 1 and Paper 2. Each paper is of 250 marks which makes a total of 500 marks. The UPSC optional subject list contains 48 subjects in total, one of which is Geography.

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SYLLABUS FOR PAPER I

  1. Physical Geography:
  • Geomorphology: 
    • Factors controlling landform development
    • Exogenetic and Endogenetic forces
    • Origin and evolution of the earth’s crust
    • Physical conditions of the earth’s interior
    • Fundamentals of geomagnetism
    • Continental drift
    • Geosynclines
    • Isostasy
    • Plate tectonics
    • Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Vulcanicity
    • Recent views on mountain building
    • Concepts of geomorphic cycles and Landscape development
    • Channel morphology
    • Denudation chronology
    • Erosion surfaces
    • Slope development
    • Applied Geomorphology: Geohydrology, economic geology, and environment.
  • Climatology: 
    • Temperature and pressure belts of the world
    • Heat budget of the earth
    • Atmospheric stability, instability, and circulation
    • Monsoons and jet streams
    • Planetary and local winds
    • Air masses and front
    • Types and distribution of precipitation
    • Tropical and temperate cyclones
    • Weather and Climate
    • Koppen’s, Thornthwaite’s and Trewartha’s classification of world climates
    • Hydrological cycle
    • Global climatic change and role and the response of man in climatic changes
    • Applied climatology, and Urban climate.
  • Oceanography: 
    • Bottom topography of the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans
    • Temperature and salinity of the oceans
    • Waves, currents, and tides
    • Heat and salt budgets, Ocean deposits
    • Marine resources: mineral, biotic, and energy resources
    • Coral reefs, coral bleaching
    • Sea-level changes
    • Law of the sea and marine pollution
  • Biogeography: 
    • SOIL: Genesis, classification, distribution, soil profile, and soil erosion, degradation, and conservation
    • Factors influencing world distribution of animals, and plants
    • Problems of deforestation and conservation measures
    • FORESTRY: Social, Agro, Wildlife
    • Major gene pool centers
  • Environmental Geography: 
    • Principle of ecology and 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, conservation, policy, hazards, and remedial measures, education, and legislation.
    • Biodiversity and sustainable development

2. Human Geography

  • Perspectives in Human Geography: 
    • Areal differentiation
    • Dichotomy and dualism
    • Regional synthesis
    • Quantitative revolution and locational analysis
    • Environmentalism
    • Radical, behavioral, human, and welfare approaches
    • Cultural regions of the world
    • Languages, religions, and secularization
    • Human development index
  • Economic Geography:
    • World economic development: measurement and problems
    • World resources and their distribution
    • The limits to growth
    • Energy crisis
    • World agriculture: a 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
  • Population and Settlement Geography: 
    • Growth and distribution of world population
    • Causes and consequences of migration
    • Demographic attributes
    • Concept of the over-under-and optimum population
    • Population: theories, world population problems, and policies, Social well-being, the population as social capital, and quality of life.
    • Types and patterns, environmental issues of rural settlements
    • Hierarchy of urban settlements
    • Urban morphology: Concepts of primate city and rank-size rule
    • Sphere of urban influence
    • Rural-urban fringe
    • Functional classification of towns
    • 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, and development strategies, environmental issues in regional planning
    • Planning for sustainable development.
  • 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

SYLLABUS FOR PAPER II

NOTE: Candidates will be required to answer one compulsory map question pertinent to subjects covered by this paper.

  • Physical Setting: 
    • Space relationship of India with neighboring countries
    • Structure and relief
    • Physiographic regions
    • The drainage system and watersheds
    • Mechanism of Indian monsoons and rainfall patterns, Tropical cyclones, and western disturbances
    • Climatic regions
    • Floods and droughts
    • Natural vegetation
    • Soil types and their distributions
  • Resources: 
    • Forest and wildlife resources and their conservation
    • Land, surface and groundwater, energy, minerals, biotic and marine resources
    • Energy crisis
  •  Agriculture: 
    • Institutional factors: landholdings, land tenure, and land reforms
    • Infrastructure: irrigation, seeds, fertilizers, power
    • Cropping pattern, agricultural intensity, agricultural productivity, 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
    • Sericulture, Aquaculture, Apiculture, and Poultry
    • Agricultural regionalization
    • Agro-climatic zones
    • Agroecological regions
  • Industry:
    • Evolution of industries: Locational factors of cotton, textile, jute, iron and steel, aluminum, paper, fertilizers, chemical and pharmaceutical, automobile, cottage, and agro-based industries
    • Industrial houses and complexes including public sector undertakings
    • New industrial policies
    • Industrial regionalization
    • Multinationals and liberalization
    • Special Economic Zones
    • Tourism including eco-tourism
  • Transport, Communication, and Trade: 
    • Road, railway, airway, waterways, and pipeline networks and their complementary roles in regional development
    • The growing importance of ports on national and foreign trade
    • Developments in communication and information technology and their impacts on the economy and society
    • Trade: balance and policy
    • Export processing zones
    • Indian space program
  • 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, problem, policy, and density of population
    • Demographic attributes: sex-ratio, age structure, work-force, literacy rate, dependency ratio, longevity
    • Migration (inter-regional, intraregional and international) and associated problems
    • Health indicators
  • Settlements:
    • Types, patterns, and morphology of rural settlements
    • Urban developments, sprawls, problems, and remedies.
    • Functional classification of Indian cities
    • Morphology of Indian cities
    • Conurbations and metropolitan regions
    • Slums and associated problems
    • Town planning
  • Regional Development and Planning:
    • Experience in regional planning in India
    • Integrated rural development programs
    • Panchayati Raj and decentralized planning
    • Five Year Plans
    • Command area development
    • Planning for the backward area, desert, drought-prone, hill, tribal area development
    • Watershed management
    • Multi-level planning
    • Regional planning and development of island territories
  • Political Aspects:
    • Geographical basis of Indian federalism
    • The emergence of new states
    • State reorganization
    • Regional consciousness and interstate issues
    • The international boundary of India and related issues
    • India’s role in world affairs
    • Cross border terrorism
    • Geopolitics of South Asia and Indian Ocean realm
  • Contemporary Issues: 
    • Ecological issues: landslides, earthquakes, Tsunamis, floods and droughts, epidemics
    • Changes in patterns of land use
    • Issues relating to environmental pollution
    • Principles of environmental impact assessment and environmental management
    • Environmental degradation
    • Environmental awareness
    • Deforestation, desertification, and soil erosion
    • Population explosion and food security
    • Problems of agrarian and industrial unrest
    • Regional disparities in economic development
    • Concept of sustainable growth and development
    • Linkage of rivers
    • Globalization and the Indian economy

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