In this article, we provide the list of Geography Optional Books for the UPSC examination. Geography as a subject assumes a significant part in all UPSC IAS examinations. It assumes great significance in both Prelims and Mains examination in the IAS Exam. It is a vast subject dealing with the spatial association between individuals, places, and the earth and it broadly covers all spheres. If the approach to the subject is right, this is the most scoring optional that also helps in general studies paper. Many candidates have cracked UPSC Mains examination by opting for geography as their optional subject.

UPSC IAS aspirants who have opted for Geography as their optional subject may also check UPSC Geography Strategy in the linked article.

First things first, what to read, before giving you a long list of books, I need to clarify a few things:-

  1. I’ll not prescribe any notes by any reputed teachers. I would like to suggest reading directly from books instead of mugging up NOTES. Books give you a better perspective of things which notes cannot.
  2. I have no clue about any GURUS out in the market. Few may be good but definitely not all. Criticizing them is for another answer but here I wish to clarify something. NOBODY, remember NOBODY will be able to COMPLETE THE SYLLABUS. Geography is not the subject that could be completed in four or five months. So if you are that person who is religiously mugging up your Guru notes then step out from them for a second. Take up the syllabus and compare it. Next, take up previous year questions and see how relevant the notes are. Don’t fall into the trap if you find everything. it’s just he has added it in your batch to make you believe everything comes from his notes.
  3. if someone is saying EVERYTHING IS FROM HIS NOTES OR TEST SERIES, remember something, the person is cheating you. You are following the advice of the wrong person.
  4. UPSC has given only two directives for optional. They are the syllabus and previous year question papers. if you are smart enough to understand and analyze the subject, you’ll clear the exam in the first attempt. Else, the vicious cycle goes on and on and on.

Now Coming to the reading list 🙂

Let me tell you, an overview of geography optional syllabus. Geography optional syllabus is divided into two part i.e. Paper 1 and paper 2. Each paper is of 250 marks with a total of 500 marks.

Paper 1: (250 Marks)

Paper 1 is divided into two-part i.e. Part-A (1 to 5 chapters) and Part-B (6 to 10 chapters)

Paper 2: (250 Marks)

Paper 2 is also divided into two-part i.e. Part-A (1 to 5 chapters) and Part-B (6 to 10 chapters)

Books For Geography Optional

Here is the complete paper-wise booklist of Geography optional for UPSC.

Paper-1 (Part A)

1. NCERT Class 6 – 12 and G.C. Leong (for landform’s diagram)

2. Geomorphology by Savindra Singh

3. Physical geography by Savindra Singh

4. Climatology Savinder Singh and DS Lal (selective reading)

5. Oceanography Savinder Singh

6. Rupa Made Simple for (Biogeography and Environment)

7. Noaa website (for Oceanography)

Paper-1 (Part B)

1. Models in Geography by Majid Husain
2. Evolution of geographical thought by Majid Husain

3. Human geography by Majid Husain


1. India: A comprehensive geography by D.R. Khullar
2. India Year Book
3. Economic Survey (for data and statistics)
4. NITI Aayog & Ministry – website
5. Oxford Student Atlas
6. Yojana magazine
7. Down to earth magazine
8. Kurukshetra magazine
Most important government website: e-PGPathshala
Here is the URL of the website:
Another website:

*All these books are Reference books (i.e. Don’t try to read cover to cover)


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How many months does it take to complete the entire optional paper?
I’ve done my UG in this discipline.