Is There World History in UPSC?

If you’re a UPSC aspirant, you might have wondered whether world history is included in the UPSC syllabus. The Civil Services Examination (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is known to be one of the toughest exams in India.

Aspirants need to prepare extensively for all subjects included in the exam. In this article, we will discuss whether world history is a part of UPSC syllabus and its significance in CSE preparation.

Is World History Included in UPSC?

To answer this question, let’s take a look at the UPSC syllabus. The UPSC syllabus is divided into two parts – Preliminary Exam and Mains Exam.

The Preliminary Exam has two papers: General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II (CSAT). The General Studies Paper I includes topics like Indian Polity, Indian Economy, Geography of India and the World, Environment and Ecology, Science and Technology, Current Affairs etc. However, it does not include World History explicitly.

On the other hand, the Mains Exam has nine papers which include Essay, four General Studies papers (I to IV), two Optional papers (Paper I and II), and one Language paper. The General Studies Paper I includes topics like Indian Heritage and Culture, Modern Indian History, Post-Independence Consolidation and Reorganization within the Country etc. Here too we do not find any mention of World History as a separate subject.

However, it doesn’t mean that world history is completely irrelevant for UPSC preparation.

The Significance of World History in UPSC Preparation

Although world history is not mentioned explicitly in the UPSC syllabus, it plays an important role in shaping your understanding of various subjects that are part of the syllabus.

For instance, if you’re preparing for Modern Indian History which is an integral part of General Studies Paper I, you need to have a basic understanding of the events that happened across the world during that time period. This is because many of the events in India during that time were influenced by global events and policies. Similarly, an understanding of world history can help you understand international relations and diplomacy which is a part of General Studies Paper II.

Moreover, questions related to world history can also be asked in the Essay paper which is a mandatory paper in the Mains Exam. The Essay paper includes topics that range from philosophical to political, from ethical to social etc. An understanding of world history can help you in writing better essays as it provides a broader perspective on issues.

How to Prepare for World History?

Now that we know the significance of world history in UPSC preparation, let’s discuss how to prepare for it.

Firstly, start with NCERT books. NCERT books are known for their simplicity and clarity of concepts. For world history, start with Class XI and XII textbooks.

Secondly, read books written by renowned historians like Will Durant, Arnold Toynbee, H.G.Wells etc.

Thirdly, watch documentaries and movies related to world history. This not only makes learning fun but also helps you remember information better.

Lastly, practice answer writing related to world history topics. This will help you in retaining information and also in improving your writing skills.


To sum up, although world history is not explicitly mentioned in the UPSC syllabus, it plays an important role in shaping your understanding of various subjects like Modern Indian History and International Relations which are part of the syllabus. Hence, aspirants should not ignore this subject while preparing for UPSC exams.