NTA UGC NET Exam Environmental Sciences Syllabus and Books to Refer | Environmental Sciences Exam

 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES                                                                             Subject Code: 89

This syllabus contains ten units:

  • Unit-I: Fundamentals of Environmental Sciences
  • Unit-II: Environmental Chemistry
  • Unit-III: Environmental Biology
  • Unit-IV: Environmental Geosciences
  • Unit-V: Energy and Environment
  • Unit-VI: Environmental Pollution and Control
  • Unit-VII: Solid and Hazardous Waste Management
  • Unit-VIII: Environmental Assessment, Management and Legislation
  • Unit-IX: Statistical Approaches and Modelling in Environmental Sciences
  • Unit-X: Contemporary Environmental Issues

UGC NET Exam Environmental Sciences Syllabus and Books to Refer

🎯Unit-I: Fundamentals of Environmental Sciences

  • Definition, Principles and Scope of Environmental Science.
  • Structure and composition ofatmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere.
  • Laws of thermodynamics, heat transfer processes, mass and energy transfer across various interfaces, material balance.
  • Meteorological parameters - pressure, temperature, precipitation, humidity, mixing ratio, saturation mixing ratio, radiation and wind velocity, adiabatic lapse rate, environmental lapse rate. Wind roses.
  • Interaction between Earth, Man and Environment. Biogeographic provinces of the world and agro-climatic zones of India. Concept of sustainable development.
  • Natural resources and their assessment. Remote Sensing and GIS: Principles of remote sensing and GIS. Digital image processing and ground truthing.Application of remote sensing and GIS in land cover/land use planning and management (urban sprawling, vegetation study, forestry, natural resource), waste management and climate change.
  • Environmental education and awareness. Environmental ethics.
📚Books to Refer : 

🎯Unit-II: Environmental Chemistry

  • Fundamentals of Environmental Chemistry: Classification of elements, Stoichiometry, Gibbs’ energy, chemical potential, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibria, solubility of gases in water, the carbonate system,unsaturated and saturated hydrocarbons, radioisotopes.
  • Composition of air. Particles, ions and radicals in the atmosphere. Chemicalspeciation. Chemical processes in the formation of inorganic and organicparticulate matters, thermochemical and photochemical reactions in the atmosphere, Oxygen and Ozone chemistry. Photochemical smog.
  • Hydrological cycle. Water as a universal solvent. Concept of DO, BOD and COD. Sedimentation, coagulation, flocculation, filtration, pH and Redox potential (Eh).
  • Inorganic and organic components of soils. Biogeochemical cycles – nitrogen, carbon, phosphorus and sulphur.
  • Toxic chemicals: Pesticides and their classification and effects. Biochemical aspects of heavy metals (Hg, Cd, Pb, Cr) and metalloids (As, Se). CO, O3, PAN, VOC and POP. Carcinogens in the air.
  • Principles of analytical methods: Titrimetry, Gravimetry, Bomb Calorimetry, Chromatography (Paper Chromatography, TLC, GC and HPLC), Flame photometry, Spectrophotometry (UV-VIS, AAS, ICP-AES, ICP-MS), Electrophoresis, XRF, XRD, NMR, FTIR, GC-MS, SEM, TEM.
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🎯Unit-III: Environmental Biology

  • Ecology as an inter-disciplinary science. Origin of life and speciation. Human Ecology and Settlement.
  • Ecosystem Structure and functions: Structures - Biotic and Abiotic components. Functions - Energy flow in ecosystems, energy flow models, food chains and food webs. Biogeochemical cycles, Ecological succession. Species diversity, Concept of ecotone, edge effects, ecological habitats and niche. Ecosystem stability and factors affecting stability. Ecosystem services. 
  • Basis of Ecosystem classification. Types of Ecosystem: Desert (hot and cold), forest, rangeland, wetlands, lotic, lentic, estuarine (mangrove), Oceanic.
  • Biomes: Concept, classification and distribution. Characteristics of different biomes: Tundra, Taiga, Grassland, Deciduous forest biome, Highland Icy Alpine Biome, Chapparal, Savanna, Tropical Rain forest.
  • Population ecology: Characteristics of population, concept of carrying capacity, population growth and regulations. Population fluctuations, dispersion and metapopulation. Concept of ‘r’ and ‘k’ species. Keystone species.
  • Community ecology: Definition, community concept, types and interaction - predation, herbivory, parasitism and allelopathy. Biological invasions.
  • Biodiversity and its conservation: Definition, types, importance of biodiversity and threats to biodiversity. Concept and basis of identification of ‘Hotspots’; hotspots in India. Measures of biodiversity. Strategies for biodiversity conservation: insitu, ex situ and in vitro conservation. National parks, Sanctuaries, Protected areas and Sacred groves in India. Concepts of gene pool, biopiracy and bio-prospecting. Concept of restoration ecology.
  • Extinct, Rare, Endangered and Threatened flora and fauna of India. Concept of Industrial Ecology.
  • Toxicology and Microbiology: Absorption, distribution and excretion of toxic agents, acute and chronic toxicity, concept of bioassay, threshold limit value, margin of safety, therapeutic index, biotransformation. Major water borne diseases and air borne microbes.
  • Environmental Biotechnology: Bioremediation – definition, types and role of plants and microbes for in situ and ex situ remediation. Bioindicators, Biofertilizers, Biofuels and Biosensors.
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🎯Unit-IV: Environmental Geosciences

  • Origin of earth. Primary geochemical differentiation and formation of core, mantle, crust, atmosphere and hydrosphere. Concept of minerals and rocks. Formation of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Controls on formation of landforms - tectonic including plate tectonic and climatic. Concept of steady state and equilibrium, Energy budget of the earth. Earth’s thermal environment and seasons. Coriolis force, pressure gradient force, frictional force, geo-strophic wind field, gradient wind. Climates of India, western disturbances, Indian monsoon, droughts, El Nino, La Nina. Concept of  residence time and rates of natural cycles. Geophysical fields.
  • Weathering including weathering reactions, erosion, transportation anddeposition of sediments. Soil forming minerals and process of soil formation,Identification and characterization of clay minerals, Soil physical and chemical properties, soil types and climate control on soil formation, Cationexchange capacity and mineralogical controls.
  • Geochemical classification of elements, abundance of elements in bulk earth, crust, hydrosphere and biosphere. Partitioning of elements during surficial geologic processes, Geochemical recycling of elements. Paleoclimate.
  • Distribution of water in earth, hydrology and hydrogeology, major basins and groundwater provinces of India, Darcy’s law and its validity, groundwater fluctuations, hydraulic conductivity, groundwater tracers, land subsidence, effects of excessive use of groundwater, groundwater quality.Pollution of groundwater resources, Ghyben-Herzberg relation between fresh-saline water.
  • Natural resource exploration and exploitation and related environmental concerns. Historical perspective and conservation of non-renewable resources.
  • Natural Hazards: Catastrophic geological hazards - floods, landslides, earthquakes, volcanism, avalanche, tsunami and cloud bursts. Prediction of hazards and mitigation of their impacts.
📚Books to Refer : 

🎯Unit-V: Energy and Environment

  • Sun as source of energy; solar radiation and its spectral characteristics.Fossil fuels: classification, composition, physico-chemical characteristicsand energy content of coal, petroleum and natural gas. Shale oil, Coal bed Methane, Gas hydrates. Gross-calorific value and net-calorific value.
  • Principles of generation of hydro-power, tidal energy, ocean thermal energy conversion, wind power, geothermal energy, solar energy (solar collectors, photo-voltaic modules, solar ponds).
  • Nuclear energy - fission and fusion, Nuclear fuels, Nuclear reactor – principles and types.
  • Bioenergy: methods to produce energy from biomass.
  • Environmental implications of energy use; energy use pattern in India and the world, emissions of CO2 in developed and developing countries including India, radiative forcing and global warming. Impacts of large scale exploitation of solar, wind, hydro and nuclear energy sources.
📚Books to Refer : 

🎯Unit-VI: Environmental Pollution and Control

  • Air Pollution: Sources and types of Pollutants - Natural and anthropogenic sources, primary and secondary pollutants. Criteria air pollutants. Sampling and monitoring of air pollutants (gaseous and particulates); period, frequency and duration of sampling. Principles and instruments for measurements of (i) ambient air pollutants concentration and (ii) stack emissions. Indian National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Impact of air pollutants on human health, plants and materials. Acid rain. Dispersion of air pollutants. Mixing height/depth, lapse rates, Gaussian plume model, line source model and area source model. Control devices for particulate matter: Principle and working of: settling chamber, centrifugal collectors, wet collectors, fabric filters and electrostatic precipitator. Control of gaseous pollutants through adsorption, absorption, condensation and combustion including catalytic combustion. Indoor air pollution, Vehicular emissions and Urban air quality.
  • Noise Pollution: Sources, weighting networks, measurement of noise indices (Leq, L10, L90, L50, LDN, TNI). Noise dose and Noise Pollution standards. Noise control and abatement measures: Active and Passive methods. Vibrations and their measurements. Impact of noise and vibrations on human health.
  • Water Pollution: Types and sources of water pollution. Impact on humans, plants and animals. Measurement of water quality parameters: sampling and analysis for pH, EC, turbidity, TDS, hardness, chlorides, salinity, DO, BOD, COD, nitrates, phosphates, sulphates, heavy metals and organic contaminants. Microbiological analysis – MPN. Indian standards for drinking water (IS:10500, 2012). Drinking water treatment: Coagulation and flocculation, Sedimentation and Filtration, Disinfection and Softening. Wastewater Treatment: Primary, Secondary and Advanced treatment methods. Common effluent treatment plant. 
  • Soil Pollution: Physico-chemical and biological properties of soil (texture, structure,inorganic and organic components). Analysis of soil quality. Soil Pollution control. Industrial effluents and their interactions with soil components. Soil micro-organisms and their functions - degradation of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
  • Thermal, Marine Pollution and Radioactive: Sources of Thermal Pollution, Heat Islands, causes and consequences. Sources and impact of Marine Pollution. Methods of Abatement of Marine Pollution. Coastal management. Radioactive pollution – sources, biological effects of ionizing radiations, radiation exposure and radiation standards, radiation protection.
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🎯Unit-VII: Solid and Hazardous Waste Management

  • Solid Waste - types and sources. Solid waste characteristics, generation rates, solid waste components, proximate and ultimate analyses of solid wastes.
  • Solid waste collection and transportation: container systems - hauled and stationary, layout of collection routes, transfer stations and transportation.
  • Solid waste processing and recovery – Recycling, recovery of materials for  recycling and direct manufacture of solid waste products. Electrical energy generation from solid waste (Fuel pellets, Refuse derived fuels), composting and vermicomposting, biomethanation of solid waste. Disposal of solid wastes – sanitary land filling and its management, incineration of solid waste.
  • Hazardous waste – Types, characteristics and health impacts. Hazardous waste management: Treatment Methods – neutralization, oxidation reduction, precipitation, solidification, stabilization, incineration and final disposal.
  • e-waste: classification, methods of handling and disposal.
  • Fly ash: sources, composition and utilisation.
  • Plastic waste: sources, consequences and management.
📚Books to Refer : 

🎯Unit-VIII: Environmental Assessment, Management and Legislation

  • Aims and objectives of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP). EIA Guidelines. Impact Assessment Methodologies. Procedure for reviewing EIA of developmental projects. Life-cycle analysis, costbenefit analysis. Guidelines for Environmental Audit. Environmental Planning as a part of EIA and Environmental Audit. Environmental Management System Standards (ISO14000 series). EIA Notification, 2006 and amendments from time to time. Eco-labeling schemes.

  • Risk Assessment - Hazard identification, Hazard accounting, Scenarios of exposure, Risk characterization and Risk management. 
  • Overview of Environmental Laws in India: Constitutional provisions inIndia (Article 48A and 51A). Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 amendments 1991, Forest Conservation Act, 1980, Indian Forest Act, Revised 1982, Biological Diversity Act, 2002, Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 amended 1988 and Rules 1975, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 amended 1987 and Rules 1982, Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 and Rules 1986, Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, The Hazardous and Other Waste (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016, The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, The Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016, The Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, The e-waste (Management) Rules 2016, The Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016, The Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical (Amendment) Rules, 2000, The Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2010 with Amendments, The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 and Rules 1991, Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ) 1991 amended from time to time. National Forest Policy, 1988, National Water Policy, 2002, National Environmental Policy, 2006.
  • Environmental Conventions and Agreements: Stockholm Conference on Human Environment 1972, Montreal Protocol, 1987, Conference of Parties (COPs), Basel Convention (1989, 1992), Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (1971), Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro, 1992, Agenda-21, Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Convention on Biodiversity (1992), UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, 1997, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Earth Summit at Johannesburg, 2002, RIO+20, UN Summit on Millennium Development Goals, 2000, Copenhagen Summit, 2009. IPCC, UNEP, IGBP.
📚Books to Refer : 

🎯Unit-IX: Statistical Approaches and Modelling in Environmental Sciences

  • Attributes and Variables: types of variables, scales of measurement, measurement of Central tendency and Dispersion, Standard error, Moments – measure of Skewness and Kurtosis, Basic concept of probability theory, Sampling theory, Distributions - Normal, log-normal, Binomial, Poisson, t2 and F-distribution. Correlation, Regression, tests of hypothesis (t-test, 2 test ANOVA: one-way and two-way); significance and confidence limits.
  • Approaches to development of environmental models; linear, simple and multiple regression models, validation and forecasting. Models of population growth and interactions: Lotka-Voltera model, Leslie’s matrix model.
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🎯Unit-X: Contemporary Environmental Issues

  • Global Environmental Issues – Biodiversity loss, Climate change, Ozone layer depletion. Sea level rise. International efforts for environmental protection.
  • National Action Plan on Climate Change (Eight National missions – National Solar Mission, National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency,National Mission on Sustainable Habitat, National Water Mission, NationalMission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, National Mission for a ‘Green India’, National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture, National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change).
  • Current Environmental Issues in India: Environmental issues related to water resource projects - Narmada dam, Tehri dam, Almatti dam, Cauvery and Mahanadi, Hydro-power projects in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal and North-Eastern States.
  • Water conservation-development of watersheds, Rain water harvesting and ground water recharge.
  • National river conservation plan – Namami Gange and Yamuna Action Plan.
  • Eutrophication and restoration of lakes. Conservation of wetlands, Ramsar sites in India.
  • Soil erosion, reclamation of degraded land, desertification and its control.
  • Climate change - adaptability, energy security, food security and sustainability.
  • Forest Conservation – Chipko movement, Appiko movement, Silent Valley movement and Gandhamardhan movement. People Biodiversity register.
  • Wild life conservation projects: Project tiger, Project Elephant, Crocodile
  • Conservation, GOI-UNDP Sea Turtle project, Indo-Rhino vision.
  • Carbon sequestration and carbon credits.
  • Waste Management – Swachha Bharat Abhiyan.
  • Sustainable Habitat: Green Building, GRIHA Rating Norms.
  • Vehicular emission norms in India.
  • Epidemiological Issues: Fluorosis, Arsenocosis, Goitre, Dengue.
  • Environmental Disasters: Minnamata Disaster, Love Canal Disaster, Bhopal Gas Disaster, 1984, Chernobyl Disaster, 1986, Fukusima Daiichi nuclear disaster, 2011.
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