Optional subject syllabus For UPSC

optional subject syllabus

Optional subject syllabus For UPSC

Optional subject syllabus For UPSC will be as may be expected of a graduate possessing an honours degree of any recognized University or an examination recognized by IAS as equivalent, to that degree. For example, if an examinee has chosen Geography as the optional subject, then he or she is presumed to have enough knowledge with the entire Syllabus about that subject equal to that of a bachelor’s degree in geography.

List Of Optional subject syllabus For UPSC

AGRICULTURE Optional subject syllabus

Ecology and its relevance to man, natural resources, their sustainable management and conservationPhysical and social environment as factors of crop distribution and production
Agroecology, cropping pattern as indicators of environmentsEnvironmental pollution and associated hazards to crops, animals and humans
Climate change – international conventions and global initiativesGreenhouse effect and global warming
Advance tools for ecosystem analysis – Remote sensing (RS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).Cropping patterns in different agro-climatic zones of the country
Impact of high-yielding and short-duration varieties on shifts in cropping patternsConcepts of various cropping and farming systems
Organic and Precision farmingPackage of practices for production of important cereals, pulses, oilseeds, fibres, sugar, commercial and fodder crops.
Important features and scope of various types of forestry plantations such as social forestry, agroforestry, and natural forests Propagation of forest plantAgroforestry and value addition. Conservation of forest flora and faun
Weeds, their characteristics, dissemination and association with various crops; their multiplications; cultural, biological, and chemical control of weedSoil- physical, chemical and biological properties
Processes and factors of soil formationSoils of India, Mineral and organic constituents of soils and their role in maintaining soil productivity
Essential plant nutrients and other beneficial elements in soils and plantsPrinciples of soil fertility, soil testing and fertilizer recommendations, integrated nutrient management
Losses of nitrogen in the soil, nitrogen-use efficiency in submerged rice soils, nitrogen fixation in soilsEfficient phosphorus and potassium use
Problem soils and their reclamationSoil factors affecting greenhouse gas emission


Structure and reproduction/multiplication of viruses, viroids, bacteria, fungi and mycoplasma
Applications of microbiology in agriculture, industry, medicine and in control of soil and water pollution; Prion and Prion hypothesis
Important crop diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, mycoplasma, fungi and nematodes; Modes of infection and dissemination; Molecular basis of infection and disease resistance/defence; Physiology of parasitism and control measures
Gymnosperms: Concept of Progymnosperms. Classification and distribution of gymnosperms
Salient features of Cycadales, Ginkgoales, Coniferales and Gnetales, their structure and reproduction
A general account of Cycadofilicales, Bennettitales and Cordiaitailes; Geological time scale; Type of fossils and their study techniques
Angiosperms: Systematics, anatomy, embryology, palynology and phylogeny
Taxonomic hierarchy; International Code of Botanical Nomenclature; Numerical taxonomy and chemotaxonomy; Evidence from anatomy, embryology and palynology
Origin and evolution of angiosperms; Comparative account of various systems of classification of angiosperms; Study of angiosperms families, Magnoliaceae, Ranunculaceae, Brassicaceae, Rosaceae, Fabaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Malvaceae, Dipterocarpaceae, Apiaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Verbenaceae, Solanaceae, Rubiaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Asteraceae, Poaceae, Arecaceae, Liliaceae, Musaceae and Orchidaceae
Stomata and their types; Glandular and non-glandular trichomes; Unusual secondary growth; Anatomy of C3 and C4 plants; Xylem and phloem differentiation; Wood anatomy
Development of male and female gametophytes, pollination, fertilization; Endosperm-its development and function. Patterns of embryo development; Polyembroyony, apomixes; Applications of palynology; Experimental embryology including pollen storage and test-tube fertilization.
Table 2


Atomic Structure: Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle Schrodinger wave equation (time-independent);
Interpretation of wave function, particle in a dimensional box, quantum numbers, hydrogen atom wave functions; Shapes of sp and d orbitals.
Ionic bond, characteristics of ionic compounds, lattice energy, Born-Haber cycle
covalent bond and its general characteristics, polarities of bonds in molecules and their dipole moments; Valence bond theory, the concept of resonance and resonance energy; Molecular orbital theory (LCAO method); bonding H2 +, H2 He2 + to Ne2 NO, CO, HF, CN
Comparison of valence bond and molecular orbital theories, bond order, bond strength and bond length.
Crystal systems; Designation of crystal faces, lattice structures and unit cell; Bragg’s law;
X-ray diffraction by crystals; Close packing, radius ratio rules, calculation of some limiting radius ratio values; Structures of NaCl, ZnS, CsCl, CaF2; Stoichiometric and nonstoichiometric defects, impurity defects, semi-conductors.
Equation of state for real gases, intermolecular interactions, and critical phenomena
liquefaction of gases; Maxwell’s distribution of speeds, intermolecular collisions, collisions on the wall and effusion; Thermal conductivity and viscosity of ideal gases.
Kelvin equation; Surface tension and surface energy, wetting and contact angle, interfacial tension and capillary
Work, heat and internal energy; first law of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics; entropy as a state function, entropy changes in various processes, entropy-reversibility and irreversibility, Free energy functions;
Thermodynamic equation of state; Maxwell relations; Temperature, volume and pressure dependence of U, H, A, G, Cp and Cv, and; J-T effect and inversion temperature; criteria for equilibrium, the relation between equilibrium constant and thermodynamic quantities; Nernst heat theorem, the introductory idea of the third law of thermodynamics.
Table 3

GEOLOGY Syllabus

The Solar System, meteorites, origin and interior of the earth and age of the earth; Volcanoes-causes and products, Volcanic belts.
Earthquakes-causes, effects, seismic of the zone of India; Island arcs, trenches and mid-ocean ridges; Continental drift; Seafloor spreading, plate tectonics.
Basic concepts of geomorphology. Weathering and soil formations; Landforms, slopes and drainage.
Geomorphic cycles and their interpretation.
Morphology and its relation to structures and lithology; Coastal geomorphology; Applications of geomorphology in mineral prospecting, civil engineering; hydrology and environmental studies; Geomorphology of Indian sub-continent.
Aerial photographs and their interpretation-merits and limitations; The Electromagnetic spectrum. Orbiting Satellites and Sensor Systems.
Indian Remote Sensing Satellites.
Satellite data products; Applications of remote sensing in geology; The Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS)—its applications.
Principles of geologic mapping and map reading, projection diagrams, Stress and strain ellipsoid and stress-strain relationships of elastic, plastic and viscous materials; Strain markers in deformed rocks.
The behaviour of minerals and rocks under deformation conditions.
Folds and faults classification and mechanics; Structural analysis of folds, foliations, lineations, joints and faults, unconformities; Time-relationship between crystallization and deformation.
Species-definition and nomenclature; Megafossils and Microfossils. Modes of preservation of fossils; Different kinds of microfossils; Application of microfossils in correlation, petroleum exploration, paleoclimatic and paleoceanographic studies; Evolutionary trend in Hominidae, Equidae and Proboscidea.
Gondwana flora and fauna and its importance; Index fossils and their significance.
Classification of stratigraphic sequences: lithostratigraphic, biostratigraphic, chronostratigraphic and magnetostratigraphic and their interrelationships; Distribution and classification of Precambrian rocks of India; Study of stratigraphic distribution and lithology of Phanerozoic rocks of India with reference to fauna, flora and economic importance.
Major boundary problems—Cambrian/ Precambrian, Permian/Triassic, Cretaceous/Tertiary and Pliocene/Pleistocene; Study of climatic conditions, palaeogeography and igneous activity in the Indian sub-continent in the geological past. Tectonic framework of India. Evolution of the Himalayas.
Table 4

GEOGRAPHY Optional subject syllabus

geomorphic cycles and Landscape development; Denudation chronology; Channel morphology; Erosion surfaces; Slope development; Applied Geomorphology Geomorphology, economic geology and environment.
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 fronts; 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.
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.
The genesis of soils; Classification and distribution of soils; Soil profile; Soil erosion, Degradation and conservation; Factors influencing world distribution of plants and animals; Problems of deforestation and conservation measures; Social forestry, agroforestry Wild life; Major gene pool centres.
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.
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 secularisation; Cultural regions of the world; Human development index.
World economic development: measurement and problems; World resources and their distribution; Energy crisis; the limits to growth; World agriculture: a typology of agricultural regions; Agricultural inputs and productivity; Food and nutrition problems; Food security; famine: causes, effects and remedies; World industries: location patterns and problems; Patterns of world trade.
Growth and distribution of world population; Demographic attributes; Causes and consequences of migration; Concepts of the 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


There are many courses which a student has to first qualify from the prelims and mains stage of the examination. It takes two consecutive years to complete this Syllabus, students should cover the Optional subject syllabus For UPSC intricately being double sure that they do not miss out on any paper or any topic. This will ensure a score in the mains as well as the prelims. Students can also refer to an analysis of the previous papers in their paper analysis section.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *