Geography Optional Syllabus- Download Geography Syllabus for UPSC 2023

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : January 31st, 2023

Geography optional syllabus is divided into various micro topics, such as Indian Geography, World Geography, Physical Geography, and Human Geography. The geography syllabus for UPSC is a part of the general studies paper in Prelims, GS Paper 1 in UPSC Mains, and is an optional subject. That is why it is one of the most popular optional subjects in the mains examination. The candidates can get access to the geography syllabus for UPSC to get the complete details of the essential topics and concerned topics.

The topics covered in geography optional syllabus PDF and syllabus for Prelims & Mains establish the relevance of humans’ existence, elements that are conducive and that are not conducive to human life. Hence, covering the geography syllabus for UPSC would benefit the candidates and make them better positioned to learn the elements required for life.

Table of Content

What is Geography Syllabus for UPSC?

So, candidates who have opted for geography as their optional will get the advantage of covering the geography section of both UPSC Prelims and Mains exams simultaneously. In the table, let’s see the structure of the geography syllabus for UPSC below.

UPSC Geography Syllabus
UPSC Geography Syllabus for Prelims

Indian Geography, World Geography, Physical Geography and Human Geography

Geography UPSC Mains Syllabus

Distribution of Key natural resources, Geophysical Phenomena, Sailent Features of the World’s Physical Geography

Geography Optional Syllabus for UPSC

Physical Geography, Human Geography, Geography of India, and World Geography

The UPSC geography optional syllabus has two papers: Paper 1 and Paper 2. Like every optional subject, each paper contains 250 marks and a total of 500 marks. As we have mentioned above geography syllabus is also a part of the General Studies of UPSC prelims, and GS paper 1 of UPSC mains. 

Geography Optional Syllabus 

The scoring ability and the ration nature of the UPSC geography optional syllabus is frequently chosen by the candidates from Arts and Science streams. You can comprehend the structure of the geography optional in the UPSC exam.

Geography Syllabus for UPSC 

Topics

Marks

UPSC Geography Optional Syllabus Paper 1

Physical Geography and Human Geography

250

UPSC Geography Optional Syllabus Paper 2

Geography of India

250

UPSC Geography Optional Syllabus PDF

The candidates can download Geography syllabus from the official site. However, to simplify this process, we have facilitated the direct link below. The Geo Optional Syllabus for Paper 1 and Paper 2, along with all important topics, are included. 

Geography Optional Syllabus for UPSC

The syllabus will enable the candidates in preparing for the syllabus and assist them in leading toward the formulation of an effective and efficient preparation strategy. Candidates preparing for the IAS Exam in Hindi can also download the UPSC Geography Optional Syllabus PDF In Hindi

Geography Optional Syllabus for UPSC Paper 1

Paper of 1 of the UPSC geography optional syllabus includes Physical Geography and Human Geography. Paper 1 contributes a total of 250 marks. The geography optional books for UPSC can be referred to by the candidates for getting a deeper knowledge of the concepts and fundamentals.

Geography Optional Syllabus 

Geography Optional Syllabus for UPSC

Geography Optional Syllabus Paper 2

UPSC Geography Optional Syllabus Paper 2 discusses India's Geography, which is further divided into sub-topics. To score highest marks in geography optional knowledge of the core concepts is essential. The detailed knowledge of the Geography syllabus for UPSC has been elaborated here-

UPSC Geography Optional SyllabusUPSC Geography Syllabus

Important Topics in Geography Optional Syllabus

UPSC Geography Optional Syllabus Paper 1 is Principles of Geography, which can be divided into physical and human geography. The UPSC preparation strategy determines the success of the candidates. So. it is highly essential for them to mold an effective and efficient preparation strategy for the exam.

Part 1: Physical Geography Syllabus for UPSC

  1. Geomorphology
  2. Climatology
  3. Oceanography
  4. Biogeography
  5. Environmental Geography

Part II: Human Geography

  1. Perspectives in Human Geography
  2. Economic Geography
  3. Population and Settlement Geography
  4. Regional Planning
  5. Models, Theories and Laws in Human Geography

Geography Optional Paper 2: Indian Geography Syllabus 

  1. Physical Setting
  2. Resources
  3. Agriculture
  4. Industry
  5. Transport, Communication and Trade
  6. Cultural Setting
  7. Settlements
  8. Regional Development and Planning
  9. Political Aspects
  10. Contemporary Issues

UPSC Geography Syllabus for Prelims

As you can see in the above table, most topics of the UPSC Geography optional syllabus overlap with the UPSC prelims syllabus. This is why most candidates prepare for their UPSC prelims and the Geography syllabus for UPSC. Preparing for geography in the prelims makes it easier for the mains syllabus completion. Most of the questions from the UPSC geography optional syllabus will be asked in the prelims exam. According to the recent UPSC exam analysis, the difficulty level of geography in the prelims exam will vary from moderate to tough. Below we have mentioned the complete geography syllabus for UPSC prelims and sub-topics covered in it.

  • Physical Geography - Geomorphology, Oceanography, and Climatology
  • Indian Geography - Physical geography of India, River systems, Climate, Agriculture of India, Natural vegetation and fauna, Minerals and Industries 
  • World Geography- Major natural regions, Regional geography of developed and developing countries
  • Human Geography- Man & environment and their interrelationship and the growth and development, Population, tribes, migration, Economic activities – agriculture, manufacturing, industries, tertiary activities, Urbanization.

Geography Syllabus for UPSC Mains

The topics covered in the CSE General Studies-Paper-I Indian and World Geography are the distribution of key natural resources, geophysical phenomena, and salient features of the world’s physical geography. Candidates who have chosen geography as their optional can cover these topics under the UPSC geography optional syllabus and must check out the complete UPSC mains syllabus.

How to Prepare UPSC Geography Syllabus?

Before gearing up the preparation for the geography UPSC syllabus, candidates must take a strategic approach. Questions from geography will be asked in all stages of the UPSC exam, so it is crucial to have a solid preparation and study it holistically. Here is a strategy to cover the geography syllabus for UPSC efficiently.

  • Read NCERTs- candidates should start by covering the geography NCERTs from class VIII to XII. These NCERTs for UPSC cover most of the geography syllabus and help you build a strong foundation.
  • Basic Books- Besides reading NCERTs, candidates also need basic UPSC books to complete the Geography Topics for UPSC. These basic books include Geography of India by Majid Husain and Certificate Physical and Human Geography by GC Leong.
  • Previous year’s Question paper- Glancing through the UPSC previous year’s paper would help you understand the exam's difficulty level and identify the crucial topics that need to be revised.
  • Current Affairs- along with the books, candidates should focus on the trending topics as it is also a part of the geography syllabus for UPSC.
  • Choose the best atlas for UPSC as it is a substantial part of the preparation of the geography syllabus.

Important Topics for Geography Syllabus for UPSC

Important topics and concepts are frequently asked in the exam and aspirants must gain a deeper knowledge of the fundamentals, and core concepts. The important topics for the Geography optional syllabus that can be asked in the exam are as listed here-

  • Geomorphology
  • Climatology
  • Oceanography
  • Biogeography
  • Environmental Geography
  • Perspectives of Human Geography
  • Economic Geography
  • Population and Settlement Geography
  • Regional Planning
  • Models, Theories, and Laws in Human Geography
  • Physical Setting
  • Agriculture

Best Books for Geography Syllabus for UPSC

The following are the best books to complete the geography syllabus for UPSC. The selection of an apt book and UPSC study material for covering the Geography syllabus will simplify the concepts and assist the candidates in memorizing the same.

  • India: A Comprehensive Geography by D R Khullar
  • Human Geography by Majid Husain
  • Models in Geography by Majid Husain
  • Physical Geography by Savindra Singh
  • Geographical Thought by R D Dixit
  • Fundamentals of Geographical Thought by Sudeepta Adhikari
  • Cities, Urbanisation & Urban Systems (Settlement Geography) by K Siddhartha
Other Optional Subjects Syllabus 
UPSC Agriculture SyllabusUPSC Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Syllabus
UPSC Anthropology SyllabusUPSC Botany Syllabus
UPSC Chemistry SyllabusUPSC Civil Engineering Syllabus
UPSC Commerce and Accountancy SyllabusUPSC Economics Syllabus
UPSC Electrical Engineering SyllabusUPSC English Literature Syllabus
UPSC CSAT SyllabusUPSC Geology Syllabus
UPSC Hindi Literature SyllabusUPSC History Syllabus
UPSC Law SyllabusUPSC Management Syllabus
UPSC Maths Optional SyllabusUPSC Mechanical Engineering Syllabus
UPSC Medical Science SyllabusUPSC Philosophy Syllabus
UPSC Physics SyllabusUPSC Political Science and International Relations (PSIR) Optional Syllabus
UPSC Psychology SyllabusUPSC Public Administration Syllabus
UPSC Science and Technology SyllabusUPSC Sociology Optional Syllabus
UPSC Statistics SyllabusUPSC Zoology Syllabus

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FAQs on Geography Optional Syllabus

  • Geography is a part of all stages of the UPSC exam i.e. Prelims and Mains. It is also a part of the UPSC optional subject list. The geography syllabus for UPSC includes topics like world geography, Indian geography, physical geography, human geography, etc. The difficulty level of the questions asked from the geography syllabus in Mains exam will be higher than that of Prelims.

  • Geography is also included in the UPSC prelims syllabus, and a large part of the UPSC geography optional syllabus overlaps with the general studies paper in prelims. It covers Indian Geography, World Geography, Physical Geography, and Human Geography.

  • The world geography section of the Geography Optional Syllabus for UPSC takes students on a journey to explore the physical and human geography of various regions in the world. Students will learn about each region's history and examine the world's political, economic, and cultural characteristics. The aspirants are recommended to practice UPSC prelims geography questions to get an in-depth knowledge of the types of topics asked in the exam.

  • Yes, the optional paper of the UPSC exams demands in-depth knowledge of that particular subject. Due to this, the vastness of the UPSC geography optional syllabus can be justified. It includes Indian geography, Physical Geography, and Human geography. But the geography section in the UPSC syllabus for both Prelims and Mains can be easily covered.

  • There are tons of books available in the market, especially for the geography syllabus for UPSC. some of the best books from that collection are as listed here. The aspirants must make NCERT notes for UPSC to retain the concepts and revise those at the time of exam.

    • NCERTs-VIII-XII
    • Human Geography by Majid Husain
    • India: A Comprehensive Geography by D R Khullar
    • Models in Geography by Majid Husain
  • As we all know, the Geography syllabus for UPSC is vast in nature. Covering it within 6 months would be a tough task. It will require dedication, focus, and hard work. Candidates should strengthen their foundation with NCERTs, read newspapers, attempt UPSC mock test, and glance through the previous year’s question paper to complete the geography syllabus for UPSC efficiently.

  • Questions from geography will be asked at all stages of the UPSC exam. So the topics covered under the geography syllabus for UPSC in prelims, mains, and optional are Indian Geography, Physical Geography, Human Geography, World Geography, etc.

  • One of the most recommended books for the Indian Geography Syllabus are by Savindra Singh and Majid Husain. The candidates can start preparation for UPSC from zero level, and crack the exam if they select apt books for covering the syllabus.

  • Yes, applicants must prepare mapping properly for UPSC Geography Optional Syllabus as they are required to answer one compulsory map question in the Mains Exam. They can practice with the political map of India and they can even draw a rough sketch of the maps to emphasize and highlight the points in the upcoming exam.

  • The most recommended atlas to cover Geography UPSC Syllabus is Oxford Atlas for India and the Orient Blackswan. The aspirants can practice atlas for UPSC and get the knowledge of the world to be able to answer the questions accurately in UPSC mains.

  • No, the UPSC syllabus does not alter every year, however, it is at the discretion of the official authorities of the UPSC. The UPSC Geography syllabus has been designed to assess the candidates on the basis of their knowledge of the relevant concepts. The candidates can bring forth an effective and efficient strategy for the exam in order to gain insights into the relevant details. The candidates can prepare Geography for UPSC by completing the syllabus within the stipulated timeline.

  • The geography syllabus for UPSC is prescribed by the official authorities of the Union Public Service Commission. The syllabus assesses the candidates on the basis of their knowledge of the relevant concepts. The candidates can gain detailed knowledge of the segments of the syllabus to be able to uplift and enhance their preparation strategy. The Union Public Service Commission formulates the UPSC Geography syllabus to track the knowledge of the candidates.

  • The aspirants can prepare efficiently for the Geography optional syllabus by referring to the recommended and suggested books by the experts. The candidates must be in possession of in-depth knowledge of the syllabus and UPSC exam pattern in order to answer the questions accurately. The elaborate and illustrative knowledge of the syllabus will lead the candidates toward achieving the desired result and aspired position.

  • The number of hours and the duration of the preparation strategy are to be determined by the candidates. This wholly depends on the knowledge possessed by the candidates, and their grasping power. The candidates must refer to the UPSC previous year papers, to gain knowledge of the types of questions asked in the exam. You can decode the difficulty level and prepare for the exam accordingly. You must structure a well-carved timetable for UPSC preparation.

  • The time required by the candidates to complete the syllabus in the requisite timespan depends on the caliber and cognizance possessed by the candidates. You can complete the syllabus in 3 months if you put in dedicated and determined efforts to complete the syllabus. Mark the essential topics of the Geography syllabus for UPSC and accelerate on the path of proficiency.

    Read MoreNCERT Geography Class 11

  • The UPSC mains syllabus for geography includes portions of Indian Geography and world geography. The main parts include the features of the world geography. The candidates must prepare well for the mains syllabus as it poses immense competition. It is of prime importance for the candidates to prepare well for the upcoming exam and move ahead to the path of success.

  • The optional geography syllabus and the prelims syllabus of the exam share a large number of similarities. The difficulty level of the prelims exam for the geography syllabus for UPSC is between medium to tough. The main portions of the Geography syllabus for UPSC that can be asked in the exam are physical geography, Indian geography, World geography, physical geography and human geography. The aspirants are advised to formulate a suitable timetable for the exam to boost the preparation strategy.

  • The aspirants are advised to refer to all the recommended books for the exam along with NCERTs. You must prepare notes from NCERT that will assist you in revising the concepts at the last moment. Do not miss out to practice the mock test and practice previous year geography mains papers and samples for learning the concepts effectively for the UPSC geography syllabus.

  • You must gain knowledge of the core concept for the geography syllabus for UPSC. You can refer to the mnemonics for UPSC exam for learning the concept. You must prepare notes to revise at the last moment. Reading newspapers can help the candidates in substantiating their answers. You can also interconnect the related topics and attain proficiency in the subject.

  • Skipping NCERTs is not advisable for candidates. These books are considered to be of utmost essentiality for learning the basic concept of the subjects. You can pick the recommended books to further elaborate the concepts and gain a complete comprehension of the topics. Do not miss out on practicing the previous year papers and trace the level of preparation.

  • The candidates can refer to the recommended UPSC books, NCERTs to prepare well for the upcoming exam. Some of the books taken by the toppers include Human Geography by Majid Hussain, Models in Geography by Majid Hussain, Physical Geography by Savindra Singh, Geographical thought by R.D Dixit etc.

  • The easiest way to cover the geography syllabus for UPSC varies with the caliber and level of understanding of the candidates. You can read NCERTs can help you in enhancing the core concepts and fundamentals. Practice previous year papers and study Current Affairs regularly. You can get knowledge of the related concepts by studying well for the exam.

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