History 01

BA in History

Engaging with India’s myriad pasts to understand ourselves in relationship with the world.

The undergraduate programme in History at Azim Premji University brings together a committed and critical engagement with the myriad pasts of the peoples in the Indian subcontinent alongside a vision of transformative social change via education.

In this endeavour, the History programme marks a pedagogic departure from the typical ways in which the subject is taught in school contexts, where rote learning of historical facts is privileged. 

The History curriculum at Azim Premji University aims to develop amongst students critical and methodologically rigorous ways of understanding and interpreting the past in all its complexities and pluralities. We emphasise that the past, regardless of whether we see it as continuous or as marked by ruptures, is always contentious. And nowhere is this more apparent than in India, where the past is also always present. 

In India, we encounter these varied contested pasts in our everyday lives. The History programme aims to inculcate historical consciousness amongst its students. It prepares students to examine the past in a clear, comprehensive, and critical manner.

Our courses will familiarise students with different periods and themes within Indian history. We train students to examine historical arguments and claims independently to assess their validity. Students are exposed to a range of primary sources, such as inscriptions, texts, architecture, archaeology, and archives. We also teach students to communicate History in diverse contexts and across different platforms, while relating to it based on their own lived experiences.

Who should join us?

At Azim Premji University, join us if you wish to learn both Indian and World History, focusing on several fascinating themes along the way. The programme is open to students from all disciplinary backgrounds. All you need to bring with you is curiosity about the past and a desire to learn for yourself the historian’s tools. 

Why study with us?

We offer Interdisciplinary Openness

Our programmes encourage you to explore and follow your interests. We design our courses to ensure that you can specialise in a subject of your choice while learning various subjects across disciplines.

A Common Curriculum for all students

You will meet all your classmates at the beginning of your course to build all the tools you need for your four years of study. This includes foundational courses, an understanding of India, interdisciplinary studies, and courses in creative expressions.

We provide Academic Assistance

Our consistent academic assistance through language support, peer tutoring, faculty mentorship etc ensures that you meet the programme’s academic requirements.

We ensure Financial Support

We extend need-based financial assistance to students that cover tuition and accommodation expenses.

Programme Structure

Programme Overview

Course Structure

The Common Curriculum will introduce students to the study of the themes and areas that emphasise and build critical and analytical abilities, and sensibilities for dialogue, reflection and cooperative learning. The Common Curriculum has three sub-components organised as below:

Foundations: Build capacity for critical thinking, reasoning and communication.

Understanding India: India’s history, society and possible future.

  • Creative Expressions

    As an essential component of the core curriculum, Creative Expressions courses utilise artistic mediums, sports, and embodied learning to cultivate creativity, foster social cohesion, and build resilience. Encouraging students to take risks in unfamiliar disciplines, these courses nurture curiosity, self-discovery, and overall well-being. Through Creative Expressions, students are empowered to participate with meaningful social connection, fostering a community of active and responsible citizens.

  • Early South Asia upto 4th CE

    Disciplinary Major

    Covers the earliest period of South Asian history, spanning the earliest peopling of the Indian subcontinent all the way till the emergence of complex political structures like city-states and empires.

  • Ancient World (10,000 BCE-500 CE)

    Disciplinary Major

    Introduces students to important historical and archaeological questions in human prehistory and history from a global perspective.

  • Into the Medieval: 4th to 14th century CE

    Disciplinary Major

    Deals with medieval Indian history emphasising major state systems like the Guptas, Cholas, and the Delhi Sultanate and examines developments in lesser-studied regions of the Indian subcontinent.

  • Indian Ocean Worlds, c. 700‑1700

    Disciplinary Major

    Offers a transnational perspective on the history of the Indian subcontinent, exploring its maritime connections with the rest of the world using a long term perspective.

  • Late Medieval India, c. 1400 – 1800

    Disciplinary Major

    Explores structures and processes at work in the late medieval period, covering Mughal influence in the North, etc., and concludes with an examination of the 18th-century ‘transition’ to colonial rule.

  • Empires and Imperialism

    Disciplinary Major

    Explores the historical forces that led, in the 18th-19th centuries, to the creation of European imperial colonies all around the globe.

  • Colonial India

    Disciplinary Major

    Explores the political, economic, and cultural changes in British colonial India from 1750 to 1920, emphasising the impact on various aspects of South Asian life.

  • India in Transition: 1930 – 1970

    Disciplinary Major

    Covers key decades in modern India’s history – from 1920 to 1970 focussing on mass movements, political economy of development and imaginaries of nation building.

  • History and the Idea of India

    Disciplinary Major

    Orients students to the development of History as an academic discipline, specifically in the context of India, reflecting critically on History’s methods, as well as its philosophical underpinnings and political commitment.

Students must be prepared for the world of work at the end of the programme should they choose to enter it. We aim to provide the required skills and competencies for this through a Minor, featuring courses in an Occupational or Interdisciplinary theme.

These sets of courses are aimed to provide conceptual understanding, skills, and tools that will allow students to contribute through work and further study.

Students can opt for a minor in any one of the indicative areas listed below:

  • Education
  • Media and Journalism
  • Data and Democracy
  • Sports and Fitness
  • Climate Studies
  • Arts

The selection of these indicative areas is based on the availability of courses and our evaluation of the student’s interests and academic needs. For each cohort, a final list of available courses will be announced at the end of their second semester.

Students can craft their own educational experience by selecting courses in the following ways:

  • Students will have the option to take additional courses in their Disciplinary Major.
  • Interdisciplinary Minor that will enable them for their further higher studies or career pathways.

These courses could also be selected to enhance and broaden their

  • Language skills and Quantitative reasoning capacities/​programming skills.
  • Understanding of themes outside their Major subject.

Classroom Practices

In the first two years of coursework, classroom pedagogy will be mainly rooted in lectures and discussions, but with the active encouragement of student participation and collaboration. As students come to their third and fourth-year courses, they will begin undertaking small, independent research projects on a theme of their choice. Through this, as well as other on-site engagements carried on outside the classroom, students learn the practice of doing history, which is a central curricular objective of the four year undergraduate programme in History at Azim Premji University.

Selected Honours Projects

  • Madura Mission: The Gender Question, Rohith Sony, mentored by Varuni Bhatia.
  • Identity, Experience and Violence: The Intersection of Gender, Caste and Crime in India, Thammireddy Gamya, mentored by Amit Kumar.
  • Understanding Periyar’s Idea In The Contemporary Through The Village Of Chekkadikuppam, Yazhini A. S., mentored by Karuna Dietrich-Wielenga.
  • The Intervention of Law in Religion: An analysis through the Sabarimala case, Neha Karri, mentored by Varuni Bhatia.
  • Mangalore: A Case Study of the Indian Ocean Trade Network, Dhruv Kasthuri, mentored by Subir Dey.

Our Graduates

  • Working in the social sector.
  • Many are pursuing higher education in a range of disciplines including History, Law, and Journalism.
  • Teaching in schools.
  • Pursuing doctoral programmes (PhD) abroad.

Explore career options after studying History

Our faculty member, Jaya Menon, shares unique career paths and possibilities in archaeology here. Beyond conventional careers, our focus continues to broaden the realm of public history; whether it’s writing, leading heritage walks, or contributing to digital archives, discover the under bubbling and lucrative career opportunities that one can pursue and history accessible to a broader audience through public history and public archaeology.

There is an active History club on campus that organises a range of activities, including movie screenings, talks, game nights, and more. Some recent sessions include:

● Stone tool workshop with Vinayak

● Interaction with popular historian, Anirudh Kanisetti

● Pop-up exhibition by the Museum of Art and Photography (MAP)

● Talk on maps and history by Bhavani Raman

● Field trips in and around Bengaluru: Bhoganandeeshwara temple, Nandi Hills; Tipu’s Palace, Bengaluru; Indian Music Experience Museum



All Programme faculty →


Get in Touch