UGC NET Syllabus for Environmental Sciences

UGC NET Syllabus for Environmental Sciences, Code No: 89

Environmental Sciences: Environmental science is a multidisciplinary academic field that integrates physical, biological and information sciences (including but not limited to ecology, physics, chemistry, zoology, mineralogy, oceanology, limnology, soil science, geology, atmospheric science, geography and geodesy) to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems. Environmental science provides an integrated, quantitative, and interdisciplinary approach to the study of environmental systems. Related areas of study include environmental studies and environmental engineering. Environmental studies incorporates more of the social sciences for understanding human relationships, perceptions and policies towards the environment. Environmental engineering focuses on design and technology for improving environmental quality in every aspect. Environmental scientists work on subjects like the understanding of earth processes, evaluating alternative energy systems, pollution control and mitigation, natural resource management, and the effects of global climate change. Environmental issues almost always include an interaction of physical, chemical, and biological processes. Environmental scientists bring a systems approach to the analysis of environmental problems. Key elements of an effective environmental scientist include the ability to relate space, and time relationships as well as quantitative analysis.

Question Pattern: There will be two question papers - UGC NET Examination in Environmental Sciences, Paper II and Paper III. Paper II will have 100 marks in total whereas Paper III will have 150 marks in total. Paper II will cover fifty (50) objective type questions, whereas the Paper III will have seventy five (75) objective type questions, each question carrying two (2) marks. All questions are compulsory in both the papers. The objective type questions will include multiple choices, matching type, true / false and assertion-reasoning type.

Paper II & Paper III (Part A & Part B) Syllabus

Unit – I

Definition, principles and scope of Environmental Science.

Earth, Man and Environment. Ecosystems, Pathways in Ecosystems.

Physico-chemical and Biological factors in the Environment.

Geographical classification and zones.

Structure and composition of atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere. Mass and Energy transfer across the various interfaces, material balance. First and Second law of thermodynamics, heat transfer processes. Scale of Meteorology, pressure, temperature, precipitation, humidity, radiation and wind. Atmospheric stability, inversions and mixing heights, windroses.

Natural resources, conservation and sustainable development.

Unit – II

Fundamentals of Environmental Chemistry : Stochiometry, Gibb’s energy, Chemical potential, chemical equilibria, acid base reactions, solubility product, solubility of gases in water, the carbonate system, unsaturated and saturated hydrocarbons, radionuclides.

Chemical composition of Air: Classification of elements, chemical speciation. Particles, ions and radicals in the atmosphere. Chemical processes for formation of inorganic and organic particulate matter. Thermochemical and photochemical reactions in the atmosphere. Oxygen and ozone chemistry, Chemistry of air pollutants, Photochemical smog.

Water Chemistry: Chemistry of water, concept of DO, BOD, COD, sedimentation, coagulation, filtration, Redox potential.

Soil Chemistry: Inorganic and organic components of soil, Nitrogen pathways and NPK in soils.

Toxic Chemicals in the environment – Air, Water : Pesticides in water. Biochemical aspects of Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury, Carbon Monoxide, Os and PAN Pesticides, Insecticides, MIC, carcinogens in the air.

Principles of Analytical Methods: Titrimetry, Gravimetry, Colourimetry, Spectrophotometry, Chromatography, Gas Chromatography, Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry, GLC, HPLC, Electrophoresis. X – ray fluorescence, X – ray diffraction, Flame photometry.

Unit – III

Definition, Principles and scope of ecology, Human ecology and Human settlement, Evolution, Origin of life and speciation.


Structure and functions, Abiotic and Biotic components, energy flows, Food chains, Food web, Ecological pyramids, types and diversity.

Ecological Succession, Population, Community ecology and Parasitism, Prey – predator relationships.

Common flora and fauna in India:

Aquatic: Phytoplankton, Zooplankton and Macrophytes.

Terrestrial: Forests

Endangered and Threatened Species:

Biodiversity and its conservation: Definition, ‘Hotspot’s of Biodiversity, Strategies for Biodiversity conservation. National Parks and Sanctuaries. Gene pool.

Microflora of Atmosphere: Air Sampling techniques. Identification of aeroallergens. Air – borne diseases and allergies.

Environmental Biotechnology: Fermentation Technology, Vermiculture technology, Biofertilizer technology.

Unit – IV

Environmental Geosciences: Fundamental concepts.

The earth systems and Biosphere: Conservation of matter in various geospheres – lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. Energy budget of the earth. Earth’s thermal environment and seasons. Ecosystems flow of energy and matter. Coexistence in communities-food webs., Earths’major ecosystems terrestrial and aquatic. General relationship between landscape, biomes and climate. Climates of India, Indian Monsoon, El Nino, Droughts. Tropical cyclones and Western Disturbances.

Earth’s Processes and Geological Hazards: Earths processes; concept of residence, time and rates of natural cycles. Catastrophic geological hazards. Study of floods, landslides, earthquakes, volcanism and avalanche. Prediction and perception of the hazards and adjustments to hazardous activities.

Mineral Resources and Environment: Resources and Reserves, Minerals.and Population. Oceans as new areas for exploration of mineral resources. Ocean ore and recycling of resources. Environmental impact of exploitation, processing and smelting of minerals.

Water Resources and Environment: Global Water Balance. Ice sheets and fluctuations of sea levels. Origin and composition of seawater. Hydpological cycle. Factors influencing the surface water. Types of water. Resources of oceans. Ocean pollution by toxic wastes. Human use of surface and groundwaters. Groundwater pollution.

Landuse Planning: The landuse plan. Soil surveys in relation to landuse planning. Methods of site selection and evaluation.

Environmental Geochemistry: Concept of major, trace and REE. Classification of trace elements, Mobility of trace elements, Geochemical cycles. Biogeochemica! factors in environmental health. Human use, trace elements and health. Possible effects of imbalance of some trace elements. Diseases induced by human use of

Principles of Remote sensing and its application of Environmental Sciences. Application of GIS in Environmental Management.

Unit – V

Sun as source of energy; solar radiation and its spectral characteristics; Fossil fuels-classification, composition, physico – chemical characteristics and energy content of coal, petroleum and natural gas. Principles of generation of hydroelectric power, tidal, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, wind, geothermal energy; solar collectors, photovoltaics, solar ponds; nuclear energy – fission and fusion; magnetohydrodynamic power, bio-energy-energy from biomass and biogas, anaerobic digestion; energy use pattern in different parts of the world.

Environmental implication of energy use; C02 emissions, global warming; air and thermal pollution; radioactive waste and radioactivity from nuclear reactors; impacts of large-scale exploitation of Solar, Wind, Hydro and Ocean energy.

Unit – VI

Air: Natural and anthropogenic sources of pollution. Primary and Secondary pollutants. Transport and diffusion of pollutants. Gas laws governing the behaviour of pollutants in the atmosphere. Methods of monitoring and control of air pollution SOz, NOx, CO, SPM. Effects of pollutants on human beings, plants, animals, materials and on climate. Acid Rain. Air Quality Standards.

Water: Types, sources and consequences of water pollution. Physico – chemical and Bacteriological sampling and analysis of water quality. Standards, sewage and waste water treatment and recycling. Water quality standard.

Soil: Physico – chemical as bacteriological sampling as analysis of soil quality. Soil Pollution Control. Industrial waste effluents and heavy metals, their interactions with soil components. Soil micro – organisms and their functions, degradation of different insecticides, fungicides and weedicides in soil. Different kinds of synthetic fertilizers  ( NP & K ) and their interactions with different components of soil.

Noise: Sources of noise pollution, measurement of noise and Indices, effect of meteorological parameters on noise propagation. Noise exposure levels and standards. Noise control and abatement measures. Impact of noise on human health.

Marine : Sources of marine pollution and control. Criteria employed for disposal of pollutants in marine system-coastal management.

Radioactive and Thermal Pollution.

Unit – VII

Introduction to environmental impact analysis.

Environmental impact Statement and Environmental Management Plan.

EIA guidelines 1994, Notification of Government of India.

Impact Assessment Methodologies.

Generalized approach to impact analysis.

Procedure for reviewing Environmental impact analysis and statement. Guidelines for Environmental audit.

Introduction to Environmental planning.

Base line information and predictions (land, water, atmosphere, energy, etc.).

Restoration and rehabilitation technologies.

Landuse policy for India.

Urban planning for India.

Rural planning and landuse pattern.

Concept and strategies of sustainable development.

Cost-Benefit analysis.

Environmental priorities in India and sustainable development.

Unit – VIII

Sources and generation of solid wastes, their characterization, chemical composition and classification. Different methods of disposal and management of solid wastes (Hospital Wastes and Hazardous Wastes) Recycling of waste material. Waste minimization technologies.

Hazardous Wastes Management and Handling Rules, 1989, Resource Management, Disaster Management and Risk analysis.

Environment protection-issues and problems, International and National efforts for Environment Protection, Provision of Constitution of India regarding Environment (Article 48A and 58A).

Environmental Policy Resolution, Legislation, Public Policy Strategies in Pollution Control, Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 amended 1991, Forest Conservation Act, 1980, Indian Forests Act ( Revised ) 1982, Air ( Prevention and Control of Pollution ) Act, 1981 as amended by Amendment Act, 1987 and Rule 1982, Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, The Water ( Prevention and Control of Pollution ) Act, 1974 as amended up to 1988 and Rules 1975, The Environment ( Protection ) Act, 1986 and Rules 1986.

Scheme of labelling of environmentally friendly products (Ecomark), Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 and Rules 1991.

Unit – IX

Basic elements and tools of statistical analysis; Probability, sampling, measurement and distribution of attributes; Distribution-Normal, t and x* Poisson and Binomial; Arithmetic, Geometric and Harmonic means; moments; matrices, simultaneous linear equations; tests of hypothesis and

Introduction to environmental system analysis; Approaches to development of models; linear simple and multiple regression models, validation and forecasting. Models of population growth and interactions – Lotka – Volterra model, Leslie’s matrix model, point source stream pollution model, box model, Gaussian plume model.

Unit – X

Environmental Education and Awareness. Environmental Ethics and Global imperatives.

Global Environmental problems-ozone depletion, global warming and climatic change.

Current Environmental issue in India.

Context : Narmada Dam, Tehri Dam, Almetti Dam, Soil Erosion, Formation and reclamation of Usar, Alkaline and Saline Soil.

Waste lands and their reclamation.

Desertification and its control.

Vehicular pollution and urban air quality.

Depletion of Nature resources.

Biodiversity conservation and Agenda – 21.

Waste disposal, recycling and power generation, Fly ash utilization. Water Crises-Conservation of water. Environmental Hazards.

Eutrophication and restoration of Indian lakes. Rain water harvesting. Wet lands conservation.

Epidemiological issues (e.g., Goitre, Fluorosis, Arsenic).