IAS Mains Examination Geography Syllabus | Civil Services Mains Exam Geography Syllabus


Principles of Geography


Physical Geography
i) Geomorphology : Factors controlling landform development; endogenetic and exogenetic forces; origin and evolution of the earth’s crust; physical conditions of the earth’s interior; geosynclines; continental drift; isostasy; sea-floor spreading; plate tectonics; mountain building; volcanicity; earthquakes; concepts of geomorphic cycles; landforms associated with fluvial, arid, glacial, coastal and karst cycle; groundwater; Applied Geomorphology.
ii) Climatology : Temperature and pressure belts of the world; heat budget of the earth; atmospheric circulation; planetary and local winds; monsoons and jet streams; air masses and fronts; temperate and tropical cyclones; types and distribution of precipitation; Koppen’s and Thornthwaite’s classification of world climate; hydrological cycle; climatic change.
iii) Oceanography : Bottom topography of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans; temperature and salinity of the oceans; ocean deposits; ocean currents and tides; marine resources–biotic, mineral and energy resources; coral reefs; sea-level changes.
iv) Biogeography : Genesis of soils; classification and distribution of soils; soil profile; soil erosion and conservation; factors influencing world distribution of plants and animals; problems of deforestation and conservation measures; social forestry, agro-forestry.
v) Environmental Geography : Human ecological adaptations; transformation of nature by man; environmental degradation and conservawtin; ecosystems and their management; global ecological imbalances–problems of pollution, global warming, reduction in bio-diversity and depletion of forests.


Human Geography
i) Perspectives in Human Geography : A real differentiation; regional synthesis; dichotomy and dualism; environmentalism; quantitative revolution and locational analysis; radical, behavioural, human and welfare approaches; cultural regions of the world human and welfare approaches; cultural regions of the world; human development indicators.

ii) Economic Geography : World economic develpment–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 nutrition problems; famine–causes, effects and remedies; world industries–location patterns and problems; patterns of world trade.
iii) Population and Settlement Geography : Growth and distribution of world population; demographic atrributes; causes and consequencies of migration; concepts of over–, under– and optimum population; world population problems.
Types and patterns of rural settlements; hierarchy of urban settlements; concept of primate city and rank-size rule; functional classificatipn of towns; sphere of urban influence; rural-urban fringe; satellite town; problems of urbanisation.
iv) Regional Planning : Concept of a region; types of regions and methods of regionalisation; growth centres and growth poles; regional imbalances; environmental issues in regional planning; planning for sustainable development.
v) 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; Von Thunen’s model of agricultural location; Weber’s model of industrial location; Rostov’s model of stages of growth. Heart-land and Rimland theories; laws of international boundaries and frontiers.

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


Geography of India


i) Physical Setting : Space relationship of India with neighbouring countries; structure and relief; drainage system and watersheds; physiographic regions; mechanism of Indian monsoons; tropical cyclones and western distrubances; floods and droughts; climatic regions; natural vegetation, soil types and their distributions.
ii) Resources : Land, surface and groundwater, energy, minerals, and biotic resources, their distribution, utilisation and conservation; energy crisis.
iii) Agriculture : Infrastructure–irrigation, seeds, fertilizers, power; institutional factors–land holdings, land tenure and land reforms; 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; blue revolution; agricultural regionalisation; agro-climatic zones.
iv) Industry : Evolution of industries; locational factors of cotton, jute, iron and steel, fertiliser, paper, drugs and pharmaceutical, automobile and cottage indusries; industrial complexes and industrial regionalisaiton; new industrial policy; multinationals and liberalisation.
v) Transport, Communication and Trade : Road, railway, waterway, airway and pipeline networks and their complementary roles in regional development; growing importance of ports on national and foreign trade, trade balance; free trade and export promotion zones; developments in communication technology and its impact on economy and society.


i) Cultural Setting : Racial and ethnic diversities; major tribes, tribal areas and their problems; role of langague, religion and tradition in the formation of cultural regions; growth, distribution and density of population; demographic attributes–sex-ratio, age structure, literacy rate, work-force, dependency ratio and longevity; migration (inter-regional, intra-regional and international) and associated problems, population problems and policies.
ii) Settlements : Types, patterns and morphology of rural settlements; urban development; census definition of urban areas; morphology of Indian cities; functional classification of Indian cities; conurbations and metropolitan regions; urban sprawl; slums and associated problems; town planning; problems of urbanisaiton.
iii) 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 and tribal area development; multi-level planning; geography and regional planning.
iv) Political Aspects : Geographical basis of Indian federalism; state reorganisation; regional consciousness and national integration; international boundary of India and related issues; disputes on sharing of water resources; India and geopolitics of the Indian Ocean.
v) Contemporary Issues : Environmental hazards–landslides, earthquakes, 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; problems of agrarian and industrial unrest; regional disparities in economic development; concept of sustainable growth and development.

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

If you have questions, please ask below


  1. m.krishna chaitanya says:

    Hai, sir i completed b.tech with 60%i would like to do ias on geography and history.but idont knw how to proceed can u give some instructions .

  2. R Pramit Singh says:

    hello sir i m persuing for IAS with subject geography & history. will you plz guide me for preparation and also the books with a basic concepts of subject. because these both subject are extremely new for me.
    thnx sir
    have a nic time

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