Geography Syllabus for UPSC Prelims: Physical, Human & Other Details

Geography weighs up in the prelims and Mains.

The geography syllabus included in the prelims is incorporated in the Indian geography along with world geography.

This brings in the physical, Economic and Social Geography of India and the world.

The geography section in the prelims syllabus gives the actual vigor of Indian Geography and World Geography and most of the questions are related straight or implicitly in a roundabout way with geography.

The questions demanded in prelims are from the physical, social and economic geography of India and the world.


Now we are assigning the geography syllabus for UPSC prelims in a comprehensive way which will abet the candidates who are practicing for UPSC IAS Prelims 2019.

Physical Geography

  1. i) Geomorphology Origin of the earth; Geological Time Scale; Interior of the earth; Types and characteristics of rocks; Folding and Faulting; Volcanoes; Earthquakes; Weathering; Landforms caused by fluvial, aeolian and glacial actions. ii) Climatology Structure and composition of the atmosphere; Temperature; Pressure belts and Wind systems; Clouds and rainfall types; Cyclones and anticyclones; Major climatic types. iii) Oceanography Ocean relief; Temperature; Salinity; Ocean deposits; Ocean currents, El Nino and La Nino; Waves and tides. iv) Biogeography Origin and types of soils; Major biomes of the world; Ecosystem and food chain; Environmental degradation and conservation.


Human Geography i) Man and Environment Relationship Growth and development of Human Geography; Concepts of Determinism and Possibilism. ii) Population Races of mankind and tribes; growth and distribution of world population; migration; population problems of developed and developing countries. iii) Economic Activities Food gathering and hunting; pastoral herding; fishing and forestry; Types of agriculture-shifting, subsistence, commercial and plantation; Mining, Power; Manufacturing -locational factors of textile, iron, and steel, sugar and fertilizer industries; Tertiary activities-trade, transport, communication, and services. iv) Settlements Origin, types, and patterns of rural settlements; Processes of urbanization; morphology and functional classification of towns; million-cities and megacities.


Geography of the World i) Major Natural Regions: Characteristics, economic base, and human adaptation. ii) Regional Geography of Developed Countries: Canada, U.S.A., Western Europe, Russia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. iii) Regional Geography of Developing Countries: S.E. Asia, S.W. Asia, China, Southern Africa and Brazil. iv) Regional Geography of South Asia.


Geography of India (Indian Geography syllabus for IAS Prelims)

  1. i) Physical Setting Landforms, drainage, climate, soils and natural vegetation. ii) Economic Base Minerals & energy resources, aquatic resources, forest resources; irrigation, agriculture, and industries; trade and commerce. iii) Population Growth, distribution, and density; demographic characteristics. iv) Environmental problems, developmental issues, and regional planning.

Section-E Geographical Thought 

  1. i) Ancient Period: Contributions of Indians, Greeks, Romans, and Arabs. ii) Pre-Modern Period: Contribution of Verenius, Kant, Humboldt, and Ritter. iii) Modern Period: Dichotomy of determinism and possibilism; contributions of Ratzel, Semple, Huntington and La Blache. iv) Recent Period: Quantitative Revolution; Radicalism, Behaviorism, and Humanism.


Techniques of Geographical Analysis i) Maps: Scale and types use. ii) Diagrams: Types and uses iii) Projections: Types, characteristics and uses. iv) Remote sensing and geographical information system (GIS)Aerial photographs and imagery, GIS. Questions about the location of important places, landforms, and geographical features in India and the world appeared in the previous UPSC prelims exam papers. Candidates are advised to refer previous years IAS prelims question prepare to understand the nature of questions asked and to prepare accordingly and questions are of easy to moderate level.