History for UPSC CSE | Strategy to Prepare History
Syllabus for UPSC

History is included in the General Studies Paper I in the UPSC Main and General Studies Paper in UPSC CSE Prelims. About 17-22% of questions in Prelims are asked from History. Questions on important landmarks can be asked in the interview, as well. Further, history is one of the extremely vast subjects when it comes to the syllabus. Hence, the history syllabus for UPSC must be strategically covered so as to ensure you reap maximum benefits from your preparation.

History Syllabus For UPSC | Micro topics For History

Indian Heritage & Culture

Indian Art Forms

Indian Paintings

Classical Dance Forms

Folk Dance Forms

Classical Music




Martial Arts


Ancient Indian Literature

Classical Sanskrit Literature

Literature in Pali and Prakrit

Early Dravidian Literature

Medieval Literature

Women Poets of Bhakti

Trends in Medieval Literature

Modern Indian Literature


Harappan Architecture

Temple Architecture

Cave Architecture

Indo-Islamic Architecture

Medieval Architecture

Modern Architecture

Contribution of Buddhism & Jainism to the Development of Indian Architecture

Rock-Cut Architecture

Colonial Architecture & the Modern Period

Modern Indian History

Middle of the Eighteenth Centurytillthe Present

Socio-economic Condition of the People

European Penetration of India

British Conquest of India

Socio-economic Condition of the People

European Penetration of India

British Conquest of India

The Freedom Struggle

The Revolt of 1857

Growth of Nationalism in India (1858–1905)

Political, Economic & Administrative Unification of the Country

Role of Western Education

Role of the Press

Rediscovery of India’s Past

Early Political Movements

Formation of INC

Era of Moderates

Growth of Militant Nationalism & Revolutionary Activities (1905–18)

Swadeshi & Boycott Movement

Surat Split

International Influence

Morley-Minto Reforms

Growth of Communalism

Beginning of Mass Nationalism (1919–39)

Mahatma Gandhi – His Ideas & Leadership

Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms

Rowlatt Act, Satyagraha, and Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

Non-Cooperation & Khilafat Movements

Swarajists & No-Changers

Emergence of New Forces – Socialistic Ideas, Youth & Trade Unionism

Revolutionary Activities

Simon Commission & Nehru Report

Civil Disobedience Movement

Round Table Conferences

Communal Award & Poona Pact

Participation in Elections to Central Legislature (1934) & Provincial Assemblies (1937)

Government of India Act, 1935

Towards Freedom & Partition (1939–47)

National Movement during World War II

August Offer

Individual Satyagraha

Growth of Communalism

Peasant Movements

State People’s Struggle

Cripps Mission

Quit India Movement

Wavell Plan

INA & Subhash Chandra Bose

Cabinet Mission

Nationalist Upsurge Post-World War II

Independence with Partition

Post-Independence Consolidation

Nation Building

Partition and its Aftermath

Integration of Princely States

Reorganization of States

Issue of Official Language

Tribal Consolidation

Regional Aspirations

Foreign Policy

Non-Aligned Movement

PanchsheelWars with Pakistan & China

Nuclear Policy


Planned Development

Green Revolution
Operation Flood &Cooperatives

Agrarian & Land Reforms

Industrial Reforms

LPG Reforms


The Era of One-Party Dominance

The Emergence of Opposition Parties

Emergency: Crisis of Democratic Order

Rise of Regional Parties

Coalition Era


Popular Movements


Indian Women since Independence


History of the World

Industrial Revolution


Discovery of Sea Routes



European Nations Settle North America

Rise of the Slave Trade

American War of Independence

French Revolution

Nationalism in Europe

Rise of Capitalism, Colonialism, and Imperialism

World War I

Causes of the War

Scope & Course of the War

Russian Revolution

End of the War, and Peace Treaties

Consequences of the War

League of Nations

World Between the Two Wars

Europe After the War – Fascism & Nazism

The Great Depression

Emergence of the Soviet Union

Nationalist Movements in Asia & Africa

The US as a Strong Power

World War II

Fascist Aggression & Response of Western Democracies

Outbreak of the War

Theatres of the War

US Entry into the War

Global Nature of the War

The Holocaust

Resistance Movements

After-effects of the War

Decolonization & Redrawing of National Boundaries

Europe after World War II

The Cold War

Rise of Asia & Africa

Developments in West Asia & North Africa

Spread of Communism

The Korean War

The Vietnam War

The Cuban Crisis

The Collapse of the Soviet Union

Concept, Types,and Social Impact of Political Philosophies




Strategy to Prepare History Syllabus for UPSC

Since a large part of the syllabus overlaps between Prelims and Main, it is advisable to cover the history syllabus for UPSC holistically. The following strategy may be helpful for you to prepare a history subject:

  • #1 Build a solid foundation

    Read NCERTs of Classes VIII to XII to build a strong foundation in History. You can further develop your understanding by reading NIOS/IGNOU notes. The information provided in small boxes in the NCERTs must also be read as direct questions are asked from those snippets in Prelims.

  • #2 Glance through the PYQs

    This will help you get an idea of the type of questions that are asked. It will also guide you in fine-tuning your preparation strategy, and making it more effective. Further, you will be able to look for question-based information from the pool of information.

  • #3 Cover the topic syllabus-wise

    In History, it is important to learn the events sequentially; so, cover them syllabus-wise. Stick to the syllabus, especially in this subject. Even while reading the reference books, it is important to read just those chapters that are relevant to the UPSC CSE syllabus. History syllabus for UPSC is extremely vast, hence, must be covered strictly according to the syllabus provided for the Mains exam.

  • #4 Mock tests

    Write as many mock tests as you can while covering this subject as much as possible. Practice answer-writing for Main, and get your answers evaluated by your mentor to assess your preparation and analyze your mistakes. Keep repeating the process!

Recommended booklist to cover History syllabus for UPSC

The recommended booklist to cover history syllabus for UPSC CSE Prelims and Main are:

  • NCERTs (Class VIII to XII)

  • NIOS/IGNOU Notes

  • India's Ancient Past by R. S. Sharma

  • History of Medieval India: From 647 A.D. to the Mughal Conquest by Satish Chandra

  • History of Modern India by Bipan Chandra

  • India's Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra

  • Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania

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