UPSC CSE Geography Optional Syllabus 2021
By On June 5th, 2021
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UPSC CSE Geography Optional Syllabus for Paper-I (Principle of Geography)

Physical 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 Land scape 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 fronto; Temperate and tropical cyclones; Types
    and distribution of precipitation; Weather and Climate; Koppen’s Thornthwaite’s and
    Trewar Tha’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, Degrada-tion 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 centers.
  • Environmental Geography : Principle 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.

Human Geography 

  • 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
    secularization; 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:
    typology of agricultural regions; Agricultural inputs and productivity; Food and nutritions
    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
    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 regionalisation;
    Growth centres 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. Heart-land and
    Rimland theories; Laws of international boundaries and frontiers.
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UPSC CSE Geography Optional Syllabus for Paper-II (Geography of India)
1. Physical Setting : Space relationship of India with neighbouring 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 social-forestry; Green
revolution and its socio-economic and ecological implications; Significance of dry farming;
Livestock resources and white revolution; Aqua-culture; Sericulture, Agriculture and
poultry; Agricultural regionalisation; Agro-climatic zones; Agro-ecological regions.
4. Industry : Evolution of industries; Locational factors of cotton, jute, textile, iron and steel,
aluminium, fertiliser, paper, chemical and pharmaceutical, automobile, cottage and
ago-based industries; Industrial houses and complexes including public sector underkings;
Industrial regionalisation; New industrial policy; Multinationals and liberalisation; Special
Economic Zones; Tourism including ecotourism.
5. Transport, Communication and Trade : Road, railway, waterway, airway and pipeline
net works 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, interaregional 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 asssociated problems; Town planning;
Problems of urbanisation 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 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.
NOTE : Candidates will be required to answer one compulsory map question pertinent
to subjects covered by this paper.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) On UPSC CSE Optional Syllabus 

Question- What is the UPSC’s Annual Programme (Calendar) of Examinations/RTs (Recruitment Tests)?
Answer – The UPSC publishes an Annual Programme (Calendar) of all the Structured Examinations/RTs conducted by it at least 6 months in advance (i.e. in June) for the Examinations/RTs to be conducted during the next calendar year. The Programme is uploaded on the UPSC’s website as also published in the leading news papers of the country. The date of issue of Examination Notice for each Examination is also mentioned in this Annual Programme.

Question- What happens if a candidate submits multiple online applications?
Answer – While a candidate should avoid submitting more than one online application, in case of doing so, the data provided in the last application (highest RID Number), that is successfully submitted online, is accepted by the Commission. All previous applications are ignored as these are amalgamated with the last completed & finally submitted application. If an applicant (who has already submitted an application successfully) wants to
make amendments in the application, then he has to submit a fresh application on or before the last date of submission of application of the Examination. Therefore, it must be ensured that fee is submitted against the
last online application only, which should also be complete in all respects including its final submission. Fee paid against one RID shall not be adjusted against any other RID number

Question- What action is taken by the Commission in case of submission of false information by the candidates?
Answer – A candidate found to be furnishing false information to the Commission or suppressing information, adopting various unfair means in the Examination like impersonation, cheating, etc., is liable to be disqualified
and/or debarred from writing UPSC Examinations as decided by the Commission. A detailed stipulation in this regard is incorporated in the Rules of Examination/ Examination Notices.

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