History is an important subject in UPSC Civil Service Prelims and Mains exam. For the Prelims examination, History is divided into three- Ancient India, Medieval India, and Modern History. For UPSC Civil Services Mains Examination, World history is also there in the UPSC Mains syllabus.

The events from the 18th century are included in this portion of the General Studies paper. To tackle this portion, aspirants should have a thorough knowledge of World History. If the candidates have a thorough understanding of World history, it will help candidates not only in General Studies Paper 1 but also in General Studies Paper 2.

World History Syllabus for UPSC

  • Industrial revolution
  • Colonization
  • Decolonization
  • World wars
  • Redraw of national boundaries
  • Political philosophies such as capitalism, socialism, communism, etc. – their forms and consequences on society.

Important Topics and Questions to Pay Attention to for World History UPSC

  • American Revolution
  • Russian Revolution
  • French Revolution
  • Imperialism
  • Nazism
  • Fascism
  • Unification of Italy
  • Unification of Germany
  • Bi-Polar World and Cold War
  • Uni-Polar World
  • Disintegration of USSR
  • How the philosophies of the French Revolution changed the course of World History?
  • The emergence of the USA as a superpower.
  • Performance Evaluation of the United Nations since its inception.
  • Opium War
  • October Revolution
  • The colonization of Asia and Africa was not a smooth journey.
  • NAM lost its importance in the modern world.

Also Read: World History Notes For UPSC to Boost Your Preparation

Recommended Book List for World History Preparation

  • NCERT Books for History (History: NCERT Class XI – Themes In World History is the recommended World History NCERT for UPSC)
  • Mastering Modern World History – Norman Lowe
  • History of Modern World – BV Rao
  • History of Modern World – Jain and Mathur
  • Online Study Materials of your choice

Also Read: Best Books and Material for World History UPSC

Strategy for World History Preparation

Minute details from World History are not expected in UPSC Mains, and a more generalistic approach is advised for this section when compared to Indian History. Don’t focus too much on facts and figures, but try to develop an analytic frame of mind focused on causes and results. Questions may not be direct, but without understanding the basics, aspirants might not get a clear picture of many situations. World History is a newly added section for UPSC Civil Services Mains. But, interestingly, only events from the 18th century are included in the syllabus for GS Paper ie. events from and around AD 1700. A thorough understanding of world history will help candidates not only in GS Paper 1 but also for the International Affairs Section in GS Paper 2 and also in the Essay Paper.


The UPSC has mentioned the world history syllabus very briefly. Therefore, most of the questions in the main examination seem to be asked from outside the syllabus. Due to this reason, we have to redraw the syllabus very intelligently. For that, we can take direct help from the world history syllabus of the history optional. Here no need to go depth into these topics but just an overall understanding of these topics will help you to answer the GS world history part. Thus this part of the syllabus is considered a pretty tricky part because the candidate really does not know what to expect. You should just do your best with the concepts and be aware of related current affairs.

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World History Syllabus For UPSC: World History Notes, Syllabus, Book List and Preparation Strategy
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World History Syllabus For UPSC: World History Notes, Syllabus, Book List and Preparation Strategy
How to study for the world history section of your UPSC syllabus? Learn to find out the world history syllabus, notes, books to refer to, and the preparation strategy to choose.
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UPSC Pathshala
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