Anthropology Books for UPSC

With a drastic cut in the UPSC Anthropology syllabus, it has emerged to be one of the safest optional that a UPSC IAS Exam aspirant can opt for. The syllabus is much more streamlined, and if attention is given to details of Anthropology Optional, the civil services exam will become easier to crack. 

In this article, we give you a list from which to choose the best book for anthropology for IAS.

Candidates with Biology as a subject in graduation or even Doctors have the upper hand when it comes to Anthropology as an optional subject. Nonetheless, any aspirant with the keen interest in learning this subject can fare well in this optional. The key step is to primarily read and understand the Anthropology syllabus of UPSC Mains exam as it is essential to gauge one’s interest before proceeding with the optional preparation.

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BYJU’S has provided with UPSC Anthropology Syllabus which candidates can download after visiting the linked article, and that can provide you with some clarity for UPSC IAS exam. 

IAS Anthropology Books for Civil Services Exam 

Anthropology consists of 2 papers. Each paper is of 250 marks. 

The Anthropology optional books are few in numbers, and candidates can choose one or two books from the list provided. Following one book would suffice; however, aspirants can refer to other books to get information on the topics that are not covered in the book chosen. Candidates preparing for UPSC 2023 civil services examination can refer to the linked article. 

Listed below are the books for anthropology optional UPSC:

Anthropology Optional Books

Anthropology books for UPSC optional:

  • Physical Anthropology – P Nath 
  • Fossil Evidence – S Das
  • Social Anthropology – DN Majumdar & T N Madan
  • Indian Anthropology – Nadeem Hasnain
  • Anthropology Theories – Makhan Jha

UPSC Anthropology Booklist: –Download PDF Here

IAS aspirants are also suggested to get the right Anthropology Optional Strategy to avoid making mistakes while preparing for UPSC IAS exam. 

Anthropology Optional Strategy

As said that “Essence of strategy is choosing what not to do,” we provide you with few tips to prepare for the optional subject of Anthropology for UPSC:

  • With a good understanding of Anthropology, an aspirant can fare well in Essay paper as well.
  • Coaching has quite a limited role here. Anthropology optional preparation can be done without intensive coaching as long as an aspirant is willing to put in smart work and study according to the syllabus. One can rely on good sources, printed notes from good institutes and regular practice.
  • The sources mentioned above need not be completed cover to cover. It is important to be selective based on the topics mentioned in the syllabus. It is advised to select one source as a base and then extract certain information, examples, diagrams and case studies regarding that topic from other relevant books in case the content for that particular topic needs to be enriched.
  • An early start with a systematic and focused approach can assist in the successful completion of the syllabus.
  • For both the papers, it is advised to make short and precise notes which can aid in further revision later on. The physical Anthropology part of paper one can be very scoring, hence attempt as many questions from this area.
  • Owing to the dynamic nature of paper 2, it is suggested to keep a close watch on the current happenings in newspapers related to the Anthropology optional syllabus. Include any recent developments such as governmental programs into the answers, especially for paper two.
  • To get an extra edge in terms of scoring, it is very crucial to focus on the presentation of answers. Along with adhering to the basic rules of answer writing like a crisp introduction and compelling conclusion, concentrate on various detailing features like side headings, an inclusion of flow charts, diagrams, maps etc. This brings some authenticity to your answer and makes your answer more readable and presentable. The conclusion should be optimistic and contemporary.
  • Diagrams are catchier and thus provide an edge over others. It saves an examiner’s time and provides more information. Diagrams with relevant information can be more appealing.

Few relevant articles about Anthropology Syllabus for UPSC and IAS exam are given in the table below:

IAS Anthropology Coaching UPSC Exam Pattern
UPSC Notification UPSC Syllabus
Is Anthropology a Good Optional for IAS Exam NCERT Books for UPSC
Simple and Best Ways for Anthropology Preparation UPSC Strategy Articles
Sociology or Anthropology Optional? Tips on Answer Writing for UPSC Mains


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