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GATE 2023 Environmental Science & Engineering Syllabus PDF | Download PDF

Updated: Jul 4

In this blog, we have provided the detailed syllabus for the GATE 2023 Environmental Science and Engineering paper. GATE ES was introduced in GATE 2021 and became quite popular among students. The main topics of this paper include water & wastewater management, waste management, env chemistry and so on as we will see further in this blog. You can also download the syllabus PDF in this blog, so stay till the end.



The GATE exam in general is useful for admissions to post-graduate courses in premium institutes and PSU recruitments. GATE 2023 exam will be conducted by IIT Kanpur probably in the first and second week of February. All details regarding GATE 2023 is already covered in our previous blog.


Syllabus Overview


Broadly speaking, the Environmental science and engineering paper consist of the following subjects.

  • Section 1: Mathematics Foundation

  • Section 2: Environmental Chemistry

  • Section 3: Environmental Microbiology

  • Section 4: Water Resources and Environmental Hydraulics

  • Section 5: Water & Wastewater Treatment and Management

  • Section 6: Air and Noise Pollution

  • Section 7: Solid and Hazardous Waste Management

  • Section 8: Global and Regional Environmental Issues

  • Section 9: Environmental Management and Sustainable Development

The aptitude syllabus is the same for every paper. It covers 15 marks out of the total 100 marks.


Aptitude Syllabus


Verbal Aptitude


  • Basic English grammar: tenses, articles, adjectives, prepositions, conjunctions, verb-noun agreement, and other parts of speech

  • Basic vocabulary: words, idioms, and phrases in context Reading and comprehension Narrative sequencing


Quantitative Aptitude


  • Data interpretation: data graphs (bar graphs, pie charts, and other graphs representing data), 2- and 3-dimensional plots, maps, and tables

  • Numerical computation and estimation: ratios, percentages, powers, exponents and logarithms, permutations and combinations, and series Mensuration and geometry Elementary statistics and probability


Analytical Aptitude


  • Logic: deduction and induction, Analogy, Numerical relations and reasoning


Spatial Aptitude


  • Transformation of shapes: translation, rotation, scaling, mirroring, assembling, and grouping

  • Paper folding, cutting, and patterns in 2 and 3 dimensions


Detailed Syllabus


Overall syllabus just gives an idea about what are all the subjects present. But it is important to know topics and sub-topics within each subject to get a clear idea of the task at hand. And the same is provided below.


Section 1: Mathematics Foundation Linear Algebra


Determinants and matrices, systems of linear equations, Eigenvalues and eigenvectors.


Calculus: Functions, Limit, Continuity, Differentiability, Local maxima and minima, Taylor series, Tests for convergence, Definite and indefinite integrals, Application of definite integral to obtain area and volume, Partial and total derivatives.

Differential Equations: Linear and non-linear first-order ordinary differential equations (ODE), Higher order linear ODEs with constant coefficients, Cauchy’s and Euler’s equations, Laplace transform and its application in solving linear ODEs.

Probability and Statistics: Descriptive statistics, Measurement of central tendency, Dispersion, Skewness and kurtosis, Probability concepts, Conditional probability, Bayes theorem, Risk and reliability, Probability distributions, Correlation, Single and multiple regression models, Hypothesis testing (t-test, F-test, chi-square test).


Section 2: Environmental Chemistry


Fundamentals of Environmental Chemistry: Covalent and ionic bonding; Chemical equations, concentration and activity; Structure and chemistry of organic molecules; Radioactivity of elements; Chemical equilibria; Thermodynamics and kinetics of chemical reactions.


Principles of water chemistry: Water quality parameters and their measurement; Acid-base equilibria; Buffer solution; Carbonate system; Solubility of gases in water; Complexation, precipitation, and redox reactions; Inorganic and organic contaminants in water and their speciation. Soil chemistry; Organic matter, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, cation exchange capacity, base saturation, and sodium absorption ratio.


Atmospheric Chemistry: Composition of the atmosphere; Reactivity of trace substances in the atmosphere; Urban atmosphere—smog and particulate pollution; Chemistry of ozone formation; Chemistry of stratosphere.


Section 3: Environmental Microbiology


Prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms; Characteristics of diverse groups of microorganisms; Classification of microorganisms; Microbial diversity; Plant-microbe and soil-microbe interactions; Role of microorganisms in wastewater treatment, bioremediation and biogeochemical cycling.


Cell chemistry and cell biology: Structure of proteins, nucleic acid (DNA & RNA), lipids and polysaccharides; Bonds in biomolecules; Stereoisomerism in biomolecules; Structure of cell;

Structure and function of the cytoplasmic membrane, cell wall, outer membrane, glycocalyx, chromosomes, endospores, storage products, mitochondria and chloroplasts.


Microbial metabolism: Anabolism and catabolism; Phosphorylation; Glycolysis; TCA cycle; Electron transport chain; Fermentation; Anaerobic respiration; Energy balances; Enzymes and Enzyme kinetics. Growth and control of microorganisms: Bacterial nutrition and growth; Specific growth rate and doubling time; Monod’s model; Types of culture media; Batch and continuous culture; Effects of environmental factors on growth; Control of microbes using physical and chemical methods. Microbiology and health: Pathogens and modes of transmission; Indicator organisms; Quantification of coliforms using MPN and membrane filtration techniques.


Section 4: Water Resources and Environmental Hydraulics


Global Water Resources: Structure, properties and distribution of water; Water quality; Threats to water resources; Water conservation.

Surface Water Resources: Hydrological cycle and water balance - precipitation, infiltration, evapotranspiration, runoff; Flow hydrographs; Unit hydrographs; Stage-discharge relationship; Reservoir capacity; Reservoir and channel routing; Surface run-off models; Surface water management; Rainwater harvesting and storage.

Groundwater Resources: Geologic formations as aquifers; Vadose and saturated zones; Confined and unconfined aquifers and their parameters - porosity, permeability, transmissivity and storage coefficient; Darcy’s law and applications; Steady-state well hydraulics.


Environmental Hydraulics: Concepts of mechanics; Properties of fluids; Pressure measurement; Hydrostatic force on surfaces; Buoyancy and flotation; Laminar and turbulent flow; Flow through pipes; Pipe networks; Boundary layer theory; Forces on immersed bodies; Flow measurement in channels and pipes; Kinematics of flow; Continuity, momentum and energy equations;


Channel hydraulics - specific energy, critical flow, hydraulic jump, rapid and gradually varied flow; Design of lined and unlined channels.


Section 5: Water & Wastewater Treatment and Management


Water and wastewater quality parameters; Eutrophication and thermal stratification in lakes; River pollution - Oxygen sag curve.

Water treatment methods - screening, sedimentation with and without coagulation, filtration, desalination, disinfection; Water distribution and storage Point and non-point sources of wastewater; Population forecasting methods; Design of sewer and stormwater sewers; Sewer appurtenances; Preliminary, primary, secondary and tertiary sewage treatment; Sludge generation, processing and disposal methods; Sewage farming. Sources and characteristics of industrial effluents; Concept of Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP); Wastewater recycling and zero liquid discharge.


Kinetics and reactor design: Mass and energy balance, Order and rate of reactions, Batch reactors, completely mixed flow reactors, plug flow reactors.


Section 6: Air and Noise Pollution


Structure of the atmosphere; Natural and anthropogenic sources of pollution; Atmospheric sources, sinks, transport; Indoor air pollution; Effects on health and environment;

Air pollution: gases and particulate matter; Air quality standards; Primary and secondary pollutants; Criteria pollutants, ambient and source standards, air quality indices, visibility.


Particulate pollutants: measurement and control methods; Control of particulate air pollutants using gravitational settling chambers, cyclone separators, wet collectors, fabric filters (Bag-house filter), electrostatic precipitators (ESP).

Gaseous Pollutants: Measurement and control methods;

Control of gaseous contaminants: absorption, adsorption, condensation and combustion; Control of sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons; Vapour-liquid and vapour-solid equilibria; Diffusion, Fick’s law and interfacial mass transfer. Automotive emission controls, fuel quality, diesel particulate filters, catalytic converters.


Air quality management: Point, line and area sources; Inventory; Influence of meteorology - wind rose diagrams, stability, mixing height, topography, dispersion modelling, monitoring.


Noise pollution: Sources; Health effects; Standards; Measurement and control methods.


Section 7: Solid and Hazardous Waste Management


Integrated solid waste management; Waste hierarchy; Rules and regulations for solid waste management in India.


Municipal solid waste management: Sources, generation, characteristics, collection and transportation, waste processing and disposal (including reuse options, biological methods, energy recovery processes and landfilling).

Hazardous waste management: Characteristics, generation, fate of materials in the environment, treatment and disposal. Soil contamination and leaching of contaminants into groundwater.

Management of biomedical waste, plastic waste and E-waste: Sources, generation and characteristics; Waste management practices including storage, collection and transfer.


Section 8: Global and Regional Environmental Issues


Global effects of air pollution – Greenhouse gases, global warming, climate change, urban heat islands, acid rain, ozone hole. Ecology and various ecosystems; Biodiversity; Factors influencing an increase in population, energy consumption, and environmental degradation.


Section 9: Environmental Management and Sustainable Development


Environmental Management Systems; ISO14000 series; Environmental auditing:

Environmental Impact Assessment; Life cycle assessment; Human health risk assessment


Environmental Law and Policy – Objectives; Polluter pays principle, Precautionary principle; The Water and Air Acts with amendments; The Environment (Protection) Act (EPA) 1986; National Green Tribunal Act, 2010; National Environment Policy; Principles of International Law and International treaties.


Energy and Environment: Energy sources – overview of resources and reserves; Renewable and non-renewable energy sources; Energy-Environment nexus.


Sustainable Development: Definition and concepts of sustainable development; Sustainable development goals; Hurdles to sustainability; Environment and economics


GATE 2023 Environmental Science & Engineering Subject-Wise Weightage


It is important to know the syllabus but it is even more important to know about the subject-wise weightage. This subject-wise weightage fairly remains the same for each year. The details of GATE Environmental Science & Engineering Subject-Wise Weightage is already covered, but below given are a glimpse of the same.



The weightage of subjects is covered in detail in our GATE Environmental Science & Engineering Subject-Wise Weightage blog, check them out.


GATE 2022 ES Paper Analysis


Going through GATE 2022 ES Paper Analysis could give an idea of how the paper is divided subject-wise. GATE 2022 ES Paper Analysis is already covered completely, but here we have provided a graph showing the subject-wise weightage.



For in-depth analysis, check out GATE 2022 ES Paper Analysis.


Who can write GATE ES as the second paper?


GATE 2021 introduced the option to write two GATE papers in the same year and the same will be continued for all the upcoming GATE exams. But there are certain paper combinations to follow, which we have covered in our GATE 2023 blog. Here we provide the detail of which papers are eligible as the first paper for writing ES as the second paper.


  • Agricultural Engineering (AG)

  • Civil Engineering (CE)

  • Geomatics Engineering (GE)


Download GATE ES Syllabus