UPSC History Syllabus- History Syllabus for UPSC Prelims & Mains, Optional Syllabus PDF

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : January 7th, 2023

UPSC History Syllabus is included in Prelims, GS Paper 1 of the UPSC Mains exam, and as History Optional subject. There are 48 optional subjects in the UPSC Mains exam, and history is highly preferred due to its relevancy in UPSC Mains and Prelims exams. The UPSC History Syllabus is widely divided into modern, ancient Indian history, medieval, and world history is included in UPSC history optional syllabus, which makes it vast.

The candidates must be well versed with the complete details of the topics to be able to perform extraordinarily well in the upcoming exam. The UPSC History Syllabus has to be covered strategically to get the optimum benefit from preparation. Download the latest History optional syllabus PDF and History Syllabus for UPSC Prelims PDF using the link mentioned below. 

UPSC History Syllabus - Download PDF

Table of Content

UPSC History Syllabus

UPSC History Syllabus is a part of all the stages of the UPSC exam, and the questions will be asked in UPSC prelims and Mains. Additionally, candidates can also opt for it as an optional subject. Every year 10-15 questions are asked in GS paper 1 from the history syllabus for UPSC. It is an easy subject if a candidate is updated with the dates, places, and events. Unlike other GS papers, it doesn’t contain any concepts or theories. 

  • Prelims History Syllabus includes ancient, medieval, and modern UPSC history syllabus topics.
  • UPSC Mains History Syllabus consists of a history syllabus in GS Paper 1. 
  • UPSC History Optional Syllabus includes all ancient, medieval, and modern Indian History Syllabus along with the world history syllabus. 

UPSC History Optional Syllabus 

It is recommended to understand the History Optional Syllabus for UPSC completely before beginning the preparation. As the paper carries 500 marks, it brings a great opportunity for the candidates to score well to enhance their chances of qualifying for the mains exam. Below we have covered the complete History optional syllabus. The candidates can practice the UPSC history optional question paper in order to get acquainted with the concepts and fundamentals of the exam. The History syllabus carries enormous importance for all the phases of the exam.

Just like other optional subjects, there are two papers in the UPSC History syllabus, Paper 1 and Paper 2. Each paper holds 250 marks, which makes it a total of 500 marks. Simply the UPSC history optional syllabus can be divided into four parts as mentioned below. 

History Optional Syllabus Overview


History Optional Syllabus Paper 1

>Ancient History Syllabus for UPSC

>Medieval History Syllabus for UPSC

UPSC History Optional Syllabus Paper 2

>Modern History Syllabus for UPSC

>World History Syllabus for UPSC

History Optional Syllabus Paper 1 

There are 24 topics covered in paper-1 of the UPSC history optional syllabus and those topics are further divided into sub-topics. The candidates can decipher the level of questions asked in UPSC mains by referring to the previous year questions of UPSC mains. The knowledge of the core concepts and fundamentals will assist the candidates in solving the questions with accuracy and precision.

History Optional Syllabus

UPSC History Optional Syllabus

History Optional Syllabus for UPSC

History Syllabus for UPSC

UPSC History Syllabus

UPSC History Optional Syllabus Paper 2

In Paper 2 of the UPSC History Syllabus, there will be 27 main topics, and those are segmented into various sub-topics. Referring to the apt and accurate history books for UPSC will aid the candidates in uplifting their level of preparation and get hold of the fundamentals and core concepts.

History Optional Syllabus

UPSC History Optional SyllabusHistory Optional Syllabus for UPSC

UPSC History Syllabus

World History Syllabus for UPSC

As its name implies, the world history syllabus for UPSC contains topics from world history events such as the world war, Europe unification, and more. These UPSC history syllabus topics are essential for the UPSC Mains and Prelims exam. Topics included under the world history syllabus for UPSC have been listed below-

  • Enlightenment and Modern ideas:
  • Origins of Modern Politics 
  • Industrialization 
  • 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
  • Disintegration of Soviet Union and the Rise of the Unipolar World

Modern History Syllabus for UPSC

The modern history UPSC History Syllabus covers the history of the world beginning after the middle ages. Attaining knowledge of the core concepts and fundamentals of these subjects will assist the candidate in preparing for history in an effective and efficient manner. The word “modern” refers to the beginning of the industrial revolution. Topics included under the modern history syllabus for UPSC are:

  • 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 1935i
  • Other strands in the National Movement.
  • Politics of Separatism
  • Consolidation as a Nation
  • Caste and Ethnicity after 1947
  • Economic development and political change

Medieval History Syllabus for UPSC

The medieval history section of the UPSC History Syllabus contains topics of the events that took place in the “middle ages”. The major history topics for UPSC under this syllabus include the following-

  • Early Medieval History of India, 750‐1200
  • Cultural Traditions in India, 750‐1200:
  • The Thirteenth Century
  • The Fourteenth Century:
  • Society, Culture and Economy in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries
  • The Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century‐Political Developments and Economy
  • The Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century‐ Society and culture
  • Akbar
  • Mughal Empire in the Seventeenth Century:
  • Economy and society, in the 16th and 17th Centuries:
  • Culture during Mughal Empire
  • The Eighteenth Century

Ancient History Syllabus for UPSC

Ancient History is an eminent segment of the UPSC history syllabus. The questions pertaining to this topic can be asked in the prelims and mains exam. The knowledge of the topics will aid the candidates in analyzing the chronology of the event. The level of difficulty of the questions varies in accordance with the level of preparation of the candidates. It is essential for the aspirants to know the difference between ancient medieval and modern history in order to answer the questions in the exam aptly. The ancient history UPSC History Syllabus contains the history of ancient civilizations such as:

  • Sources
  • Pre‐history and Proto‐history
  • Indus Valley Civilization
  • Megalithic Cultures
  • Aryans and Vedic Period
  • Period of Mahajanapadas
  • Mauryan Empire 
  • Post‐Mauryan Period (Indo‐Greeks, Sakas, Kushanas, Western Kshatrapas)
  • Early State and Society in Eastern India, Deccan and South India
  • Guptas, Vakatakas and Vardhanas
  • Regional States during Gupta Era
  • Themes in Early Indian Cultural History

UPSC History Syllabus for Prelims

The History Syllabus for UPSC Prelims includes topics ranging from the Indus valley civilization to the Quit India movement. It is important to note that questions asked from the history prelims syllabus are objective MCQ-type questions. The questions asked in UPSC prelims are simpler in comparison to mains. As the questions are asked in both phases of the selection process, the candidates must be having an in-depth knowledge of the concepts. Following are some of the important topics from the Indian History Syllabus for UPSC Prelims.

  • Prehistoric cultures in India
  • Indus Valley Civilization
  • Vedic literature, society, religion, 
  • Buddhism and Jainism
  • The Mauryan Empire
  • Ashoka 
  • Post-Mauryan India
  • The Satavahanas 
  • Indo-Greeks, Parthians, Kushans, Kanishka-Contacts, Sakas with the outer world.
  • Different Religion
  • The Guptas and their descendants.
  • Literature Science, Arts, Economy, and society -Modification in the political organization of empire.

UPSC History Syllabus - Optional vs Mains

The history syllabus for UPSC mains is included in the GS-1, and it includes modern history, world history and Art and Culture. On the other hand, history is available as an optional subject among the 48 optional. The UPSC history optional syllabus contains a wide range of topics that we have mentioned above. So the candidates who have chosen history as their optional subject for UPSC would get the extra advantage as the questions from the history subject will be asked in both UPSC prelims and mains exam.

Read More-

How to Prepare UPSC History Syllabus?

Candidates need to take a strategic approach to complete the UPSC history optional syllabus on time. As we have mentioned above the history syllabus is vast, and the following strategy would ensure that you finish the history syllabus for UPSC constructively. An apt and accurate UPSC preparation strategy will enable the candidates in preparing effectively and efficiently for the upcoming exam. Check here the preparation tips curated by the experts to head your directions in the right way.

  • Make your foundation strong- NCERTs of classes VII-XII are a must while dealing with the history syllabus for UPSC. after completing these books, you can further develop your understanding by reading other books.
  • Cover the syllabus wisely- it is essential to finish the events in the UPSC History Syllabus sequentially. Stick with a systematic approach when preparing because the syllabus is vast. If you are done with the history syllabus of UPSC Mains, then it would give you an extra advantage for sure as some portion of the optional syllabus can be found there.
  • Glance through UPSC previous year questions- Checking the previous year's questions from the history syllabus for UPSC would help you to understand the exam pattern, and question structure, and you can figure out an effective strategy. The candidates can decipher the level of questions asked in the mains, the candidates are advised to practice the History previous year questions for UPSC mains.
  • Mock Tests- After being done with the UPSC History Syllabus, it is about time to take your preparation to the next level with mock tests. Attempt as many UPSC mock test as possible to analyze your mistakes and assess your preparation. 

Best Books for UPSC History Syllabus

Below we have provided a booklist according to the UPSC History Syllabus. These books will surely help you to enhance your preparation, and score good numbers in exams. Referring to an apt UPSC study material will enhance the level of preparation for the candidates and lead them on the path of achieving success.

  • NCERTs (Class VIII to XII)
  • NIOS/IGNOU Notes
  • History of Modern India by Bipan Chandra
  • India's Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • India's Ancient Past by R. S. Sharma
  • History of Medieval India: From 647 A.D. to the Mughal Conquest by Satish Chandra
  • Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania

List of UPSC Optional Subjects Syllabus

UPSC Agriculture Syllabus

UPSC Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Syllabus

UPSC Anthropology Syllabus

UPSC Botany Syllabus

UPSC Chemistry Syllabus

UPSC Civil Engineering Syllabus

UPSC Commerce and Accountancy Syllabus

UPSC Economics Syllabus

Comments

write a comment

FAQs on History Optional Syllabus & Prelims History Syllabus

  • The UPSC History Syllabus is a part of both the UPSC prelims and UPSC mains syllabus. Also, history is a part of the optional subject in the UPSC mains exam and covers a wide range of topics in Ancient History, Medieval History Syllabus for UPSC, Modern History Syllabus, and World History.

    DownloadUPSC History Syllabus in Hindi

  • With a good strategy, and systematic approach you can cover the history syllabus for UPSC in 6 months. We have mentioned an effective strategy above in this post which you can follow. It will also help you while covering the history section in the UPSC mains syllabus.

  • NCERT books are enough while covering the UPSC prelims syllabus. However, when it comes to the UPSC history optional syllabus, candidates need to be dependent on advanced history books.

    Also ReadWhat is History and How Many Types of History are There?

  • The candidates must be in possession of complete knowledge of the core concepts and fundamentals to be able to answer the questions in the stipulated timeline. The history syllabus for UPSC can be divided into four major parts such as- 

    • Ancient History Syllabus for UPSC
    • Medieval History Syllabus for UPSC
    • Modern History Syllabus for UPSC
    • World History Syllabus for UPSC
  • The world history section is covered in the UPSC mains syllabus, whereas it is not mentioned in the prelims history syllabus for UPSC. Additionally, the questions asked in the prelims exam will be MCQs, on the other hand, questions in the mains exam will be descriptive in nature.

    Read More-

  • Yes, world history is a part of the UPSC History Syllabus, and this section talks about topics related to world history. The UPSC history optional syllabus also shows a huge section of world history.

  • No, the ancient history can also be found in the UPSC mains syllabus apart from the UPSC prelims history syllabus. So having a good grip over ancient history will be highly beneficial in both preliminary and mains exams.

    Also ReadWhat are the Four Periods of History?

  • Books that would help the candidates to complete UPSC history optional syllabus for the upcoming UPSC exam are

    • NCERTs (Class VIII to XII)
    • NIOS/IGNOU Notes
    • History of Modern India by Bipan Chandra
    • India's Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
    • India's Ancient Past by R. S. Sharma
    • History of Medieval India: From 647 A.D. to the Mughal Conquest by Satish Chandra
    • Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
  • The candidates who want to pick History as an optional subject, must be well-versed and acquainted with the main topics and core concepts of the exam. The difficulty level of the optional syllabus depends on the preparatory framework of the candidates, it is usually of moderate level of difficulty. The main subjects of the UPSC history optional syllabus are-

    • Ancient History Syllabus for UPSC
    • Medieval History Syllabus for UPSC
    • Modern History Syllabus for UPSC
    • World History Syllabus for UPSC
  • The modern history syllabus for UPSC comprises the history pertaining to the beginning of the world following the middle ages. The subjects of history date back to the start of the industrial revolution. The modern History questions of UPSC prelims will also present a crystal clear idea of the exam pattern and questions.

    The main subject of the modern history syllabus includes British expansion in India, Early structure of the British Raj, social and cultural development, Rise of Gandhi, Politics of Separatism etc. The candidates can prepare effectively and efficiently for these topics to be able to perform exceptionally well in the upcoming exam. The candidate can check the Modern History previous year questions of UPSC mains for uplifting their level of preparation.

  • The medieval history syllabus for UPSC illustrates the occurrence of the events in the middle ages. The candidates must be acquainted and well-versed with the core concepts and fundamentals of the medieval history syllabus. The candidates can solve medieval history questions of UPSC prelims for getting an idea of the important segments of the syllabus. The main topics of the exam comprise cultural traditions in India, the early medieval history of India, Akbar, the thirteenth and fourteenth century, the Mughal Empire etc.

    Read More-

  • The candidates must be in possession of an in-depth knowledge of the ancient History syllabus for UPSC, to bring forth an efficient strategy for solving the questions in the stipulated time period. The main topics of the Ancient History syllabus comprise the Indus Valley Civilization, Vedic Period, Period of Mahajanapadas, Mauryan Empire, Guptas, Vakatakas, Regional states during Gupta Empire etc. The aspirants can check the Ancient History questions of UPSC prelims for preparing effectively for the exam.

  • The candidates must be in possession of complete details of the UPSC history syllabus and bring forth a methodical and efficient preparation strategy. The aspirants are advised to make notes from NCERT and enhance their understanding of the concepts. You must take reference from the UPSC previous year papers to decode the essential topics and decipher the level of difficulty for the same. Practicing the mock tests will enable the candidates in enhancing their level of preparation.

  • The candidates must be aware of the essential and pivotal topics of the exam in order to frame an apt and accurate strategy for the exam. The UPSC history syllabus for mains comprises questions of a higher level of difficulty in contrast to the questions asked in the UPSC prelims. The important topics of the UPSC history syllabus involve the topics from modern, ancient, medieval and Indian history for the UPSC exam. The difficulty level of the UPSC history syllabus varies in accordance with the phases of the exam.

    CheckMistakes To Avoid During UPSC Preparation

  • The UPSC syllabus for all subjects and all phases are decided by the official authorities of the Union Public Service Commission. The authorities design the syllabus keeping in consideration the level of difficulty in accordance with the phase of the recruitment process. The detailed knowledge of the UPSC syllabus will enable the candidates in preparing effectively and efficiently for the upcoming exam.

  • The number of hours that the candidates need to dedicate depends on the level of their preparation, and caliber. The beginners who have the least knowledge of the subject will have to dedicate more time, in contrast to the candidates who have pursued History as a subject in their bachelor’s or master's. The candidates are advised to go through the UPSC previous year question papers to acknowledge the level of difficulty and their knowledge of the subject. The candidates then can structure the timetable for UPSC preparation and must study history for 1-3 hours every day.

  • The candidates can cover the UPSC history syllabus in 3 months, subject on their level of preparation, dedication, and tenacity. If they have an in-depth knowledge of the topics prior, it will be easier for them to complete the syllabus early. However, in case you are a beginner, you will have to study more in order to complete the syllabus in the stipulated time period. The schedule and time table of the candidates must be structured in an order to complete the syllabus effectively within the timeline.

    Read More-

Follow us for latest updates