In the UPSC Civil Service Prelims and Mains exams, history is a crucial subject. It is separated into three topics for the Prelims exam: Medieval India, Ancient India, and Modern India. World History is also included in the UPSC Mains syllabus for Civil Services Exams.
This section of the General Studies paper covers events from the 18th century. Aspirants need to have a solid understanding of world history to face this section. Candidates will benefit not just in General Studies Paper 1 but also in General Studies Paper 2 if they have a good comprehension of world history.
Read the whole article to know, what is the history syllabus for UPSC and how can one divide their time after understanding the crucial topics in the subject.

Is World History a Part of the UPSC Syllabus?

In General Studies Paper 1, UPSC never asks for minor details from World History. In comparison to Indian chronology, it necessitates a more broad approach. Facts and data should not be overemphasised by aspirants.
They should make an effort to establish an analytical approach to World History. Every incident should be examined for its causes and outcomes by aspirants. The questions in the UPSC Mains exam may not be straightforward.
As a result, UPSC applicants who do not have a good comprehension of the fundamentals of world history may struggle to answer the questions.

World History Syllabus

The events of the 18th century will be covered in World History, including:
#Industrial revolution
#World wars
#Redraw of national boundaries
#Political philosophies such as socialism, communism, capitalism, etc. – their consequences and forms on society.

Also Read: World History Syllabus For UPSC: World History Notes, Syllabus, Book List and Preparation Strategy

Important Topics

#American Revolution
#Russian Revolution
#French Revolution
#Unification of Italy
#Unification of Germany
#Bi-Polar World and Cold War
#Unipolar World
#Disintegration of USSR

UPSC History Optional Subject

Optional: History In UPSC Mains, the subject has two papers (Paper I and Paper II). The subject is a total of 500 and each paper has 250 points. For candidates, the subject is distributed into four parts:
#Ancient India
#Medieval India
#Modern India
#World History

Paper 1

#Sources: Archaeological sources and Literary sources
#Pre and Proto-history
#Indus Valley Civilization
#Megalithic Cultures
#Aryans and Vedic Period
#Period of Mahajanapadas
#Mauryan Empire
#Post – Mauryan Period (Sakas, Kushanas, Indo-Greeks, Western Kshatrapas)
#Early State and Society in Deccan, Eastern India, and South India
#Vardhanas, Guptas, and Vakatakas
#The regional States during the Gupta Era
#Themes in Early Indian Cultural History
#Early Medieval India, 750-1200
#Cultural Traditions in India, 750-1200
#The Thirteenth Century
#The Fourteenth Century
#Culture, Society, and Economy in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries
#The Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century
#Mughal Empire in the Seventeenth Century
#Society and Economy in the Seventeenth and Sixteenth Centuries
#Culture in the Mughal Empire
#The Eighteenth Century

Also Read: World History for UPSC Civil Services Mains: Check-out the Best Guide to Uplift Your Preparation

Paper 2

#European Penetration into India
#British Expansion in India
#Early Structure of the British Raj
#Economic Impact of British Colonial Rule
#Social and Cultural Developments
#Social and Religious Reform movements in Bengal and Other Areas
#Indian Response to British Rule
#Factors leading to the birth of Indian Nationalism
#Rise of Gandhi
#Constitutional Developments in Colonial India between 1858 and 1935
#Other strands in the National Movement
#Politics of Separatism
#Consolidation as a Nation
#Caste and Ethnicity after 1947
#Economic development and political change
#Enlightenment and Modern ideas
#Origins of Modern Politics
#Nation-State System
#Imperialism and Colonialism
#Revolution and Counter-Revolution
#World Wars
#The World after World War II
#Liberation from Colonial Rule
#Decolonization and Underdevelopment
#Unification of Europe
#The disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Rise of the Unipolar World

Important History Topics

#Prehistoric India
#Historic India
#Indus Valley Civilization
#Vedic India
#Buddhism and Related Topics
#Mauryan Empire, Administrative Structure, Rulers and Legacy
#Gupta Empire, Rulers and Legacy
#Invasions from Central Asia
#Kingdoms, States and Dynasties of South India, Their Rulers and Legacy

Also Read: History Optional Strategy: Detailed Explanation of UPSC History Optional Syllabus and Strategy

World History Books

#NCERT Books (NCERT Class XI – Themes In World History is the recommended 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 UPSC Pathshala

UPSC Preparation

NCERT Books are the most important historical sources. To prepare for the UPSC IAS Exam, aspirants should read the subject from NCERT books. Taking notes is a good way to keep track of your study materials and organise them for revision.
Though it is recommended that UPSC candidates take notes, they often find it difficult to choose the right topics to focus on or do not have the time or resources available to do so.
A thorough understanding of the chronology of events in Indian chronology is required when studying it. Aspirants should build knowledge of various aspects of the subject, such as administrative, economic and the cultural impact of historical events, in addition to political events, on this foundation.

Ancient India

Ancient History spans the time period from the beginning to the middle of the eighth century AD. Candidates should concentrate on various periods such as the Stone Age, Palaeolithic Age, Mesolithic Age, Neolithic Age, and Chalcolithic Age. They should be aware of the significant changes that occurred during those times.
The Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the Harappan Civilization, is the next area. Aspirants should concentrate on the people’s way of life during this time. They should look at it from a Socio-Economic-Cultural perspective. Candidates would also be familiar with Harappan sites and their significance. They must concentrate on art, crafts, and seals. During the Indus Valley Civilization, a script and language were used.

Also Read: Ancient History Notes for UPSC: How Do You Cover Ancient History for UPSC Exam?

Medieval India

Medieval history spans the period from the middle of the eighth century to the beginning of the eighteenth century AD. Unlike Ancient and Modern India, Medieval India has a limited number of questions.
Since 2011, UPSC has only asked one to four questions from this category. But, in the name of a new trend, we can’t avoid this part. UPSC is notorious for being unpredictable, and it is likely to do so again this year. Many candidates avoid this section, but you can use it to focus on specific topics.
Religious movements
Rulers and their reign
Art and Architecture

Modern India

The period from the emergence of a foreign power in India until the freedom struggle is covered in modern Indian history. For both the prelims and mains exams, the majority of the questions come from modern Indian history. The topics should be organised in a logical order and in units. The “Modern India” segment can be divided into several parts, which will help you understand how to study the subject for UPSC.
Rise of the foreign power in India
The emergence of East India Company and similar incidents
British takeovers and reactions from Indians
British economic policy
Socio-cultural facets
Freedom struggle and independence


One of the most common and popular subjects is history. It has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. If the candidate is truly interested in the subject, they should choose.
It’s a vast subject, but it’s easier than most. The main notes are one of the most important aspects of studying the subject. Remember to take notes after thoroughly researching a topic.
Do you require additional assistance with your UPSC CSE Mains? So, here’s a BONUS suggestion for the candidates.
Candidates will discover a new world of UPSC when they visit UPSC Pathshala. It includes UPSC-related information, study materials, courses, previous year’s question papers, mock tests, and other resources.

Also Read: Best Strategy for UPSC CSE Mains: Tips to Ace History as UPSC Optional Subject

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Is World History a Part of the UPSC Syllabus? Get to Know the Entire Syllabus for UPSC
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Is World History a Part of the UPSC Syllabus? Get to Know the Entire Syllabus for UPSC
Is world history a part of the upsc syllabus? What is the entire UPSC syllabus? What are the important topics for history? Well, having doubts, then, let’s answer these questions here.
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