Appraisal of the Past – Studying History at DU

The University of Delhi under the Faculty of Social Sciences offers undergraduate courses in B.A. History (Honours). Postgraduate courses are also offered under M.A. History.

Core Papers

For the three-year undergraduate B.A. History (Honours) course, there are 15 Core Papers over a period of three years, with two core papers in the first and second semesters each, three core papers in the third and fourth semesters each, and again 2 each in the fifth and sixth semesters. The core papers cover an extensive period in the History of India (Ancient, Medieval and Modern periods), as well as on Social and Cultural Formations in Ancient (1st Semester) and Medieval (2nd Semester) World; Rise of the Modern West, and a History of Modern Europe. Students learn to evaluate primary and secondary sources using critical analysis, comparative methods, and using different approaches of historiography.

Discipline Specific Courses (DSE)

The four Discipline Specific Courses  which are introduced in the Fifth and Sixth semesters includes a choice between Papers on History of USA, or that of USSR, or History of Africa, or a study of Gender in Indian History upto 1500. The DSE-II papers of the 5th semester includes a choice between History of Modern China or History of South Asia upto the 16th century or Global Environmental Perspectives. In the 6th semester, students again study two DSE papers which includes a choice between History of USA, or USSR, or Latin America, or Gender in Indian History c.1500-1950, and History of Modern Japan and Korea, or Modern Southeast Asia, or Making of Contemporary India.

Skill Enhancement Papers (SEC)

In addition to this, there are two Skill Enhancement Papers in the Third and Fourth Semesters (one each). There is a choice between a paper on Understanding Heritage or Archives and Museums in the Third semester and a choice between Indian Art and Architecture or Understanding Popular Culture in the Fourth Semester. These papers are designed to inculcate additional skills in the students that will help in a professional career in history.

Generic Elective Papers (GE)

For non-Honours students, there are several GE papers (1 each in the first four semesters). There are choices between History of Delhi or Science and Technology (First Semester), Issues in Contemporary World or Cultural Diversity in India (Second Semester), Perspectives on Environmental History or Making of Contemporary India (Third Semester), and lastly Religion and Religiosity or Inequality and Difference (Fourth Semester).

Skills learnt

Learning history develops various skills in students including critical analysis, an awareness for importance of historical evidence while evaluating an event, as well as the ability to combine various inter-disciplinary approaches to study the past. Good writing skills, an affinity for research work, and the ability to sort ‘fact’ from ‘propaganda’ comes with this course too.

Sabina Kazmi, Assistant Professor of History at St. Stephen’s College says, “History like the other social sciences, remains an extremely relevant subject to study in this day and age as it fosters intellectual independence and promotes a better understanding of diversity. History students are trained to acquire knowledge for themselves.” Navneet Khubber, a first year student at Miranda House says, “History is important because as opposed to popular notions, history is very scientific, analytical and helps you think better.”

Career options

An undergraduate course in history allows students to pursue History for higher studies. Careers in museum studies, archaeology, anthropology, law, journalism, and teaching are lucrative for History Honours students. Heritage conservation and archives preservation, as well as working in think tanks as policy researchers are also some areas where such a degree is useful.

Colleges that offer B.A. History (Honours)

44 colleges in Delhi University offer this course, including St. Stephen’s, Miranda House, Lady Shri Ram College, Hindu College, Hansraj College, Ramjas College and Kirori Mal College. All admissions are merit-based on the basis of cut-offs of different colleges, except in St. Stephen’s which also includes a Written Test and an Interview along with a meting the requisite percentage.

Trend of Previous Cut-offs

The cut-offs for General Students have been considerably high for B.A. History Honours although lesser than other popular courses such as B.A. English Honours. The highest cut-off in the previous year (2017-18) was 97% in Ramjas College in the First Cut-Off, which witnessed a dip from the 2016-17 as well as 2015-16, which had the highest First-Cut off  of 97.75% (Both of Hindu College).

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Sara Sohail

A soon-to-be third year Commerce student at Jesus and Mary College. Can be found browsing quizzes on Slideshare or re-reading the Harry Potter series for the nth time. To discuss the insipidness of life or if in need of any assistance, drop a "hi" at vijeatab@dubeat.com. (fun facts and interesting leads are always appreciated)

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