Thinking of choosing Sociology as an optional subject for the UPSC Civil Services Exam. But is Sociology a good optional for UPSC? How scoring is Sociology subject? If these questions are coming into your mind,  then you are in the right place. Read this article till the end of all about the subject.

How Scoring is Sociology in IAS?

Sociology is considered a scoring subject due to its simplicity. This subject is also known as the most “Non-Technical Subject”. Many candidates prefer to choose this subject because of its relatively short syllabus. An average learner can complete the whole syllabus within four months.

The background of the candidate does not matter. Candidates from any background can opt for this subject and find it easy to study. In fact, this can be an interesting subject which one will enjoy studying.

The success ratio of this subject has also been good. The Society for this subject are less ao you don’t have to refer much like you have to do for other subjects.

Also Read: How to Score 300+ In Sociology: The Best Optional for UPSC

Sociology Optional Syllabus



1. Sociology – The Discipline:

(a) Modernity and social changes in Europe and the emergence of Sociology.

(b) Scope of the subject and comparison with other social sciences.

Government strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply.

(c) Sociology and common sense.

2. Sociology as Science:

(a) Science, scientific method, and critique.

(b) Major theoretical strands of research methodology.

(c) Positivism and its critique.

(d) Fact value and objectivity.

( e) Non-positivist methodologies.

3. Research Methods and Analysis:

(a) Qualitative and quantitative methods.

(b) Techniques of data collection.

(c ) Variables, sampling, hypothesis, reliability, and validity.

4. Sociological Thinkers:

(a) Karl Marx – Historical materialism, mode of production, alienation, class struggle.

(b) Emile Durkheim – Division of labor, social fact, suicide, religion, and society.

(c) Max Weber – Social action, ideal types, authority, bureaucracy, protestant ethic and the

spirit of capitalism.

(d) Talcott Parsons – Social system, pattern variables.

(e) Robert K. Merton – Latent and manifest functions, conformity and deviance, reference


(f) Mead – Self and identity.

5. Stratification and Mobility :

(a) Concepts – equality, inequality, hierarchy, exclusion, poverty, and deprivation.

(b) Theories of social stratification – Structural functionalist theory, Marxist theory, Weberian


(c) Dimensions – Social stratification of class, status groups, gender, ethnicity and race.

(d) Social mobility – open and closed systems, types of mobility, sources and causes of mobility.

6. Works and Economic Life :

(a) Social organization of work in different types of society – slave society, feudal society,

industrial capitalist society.

(b) Formal and informal organization of work.

(c) Labour and society.

7. Politics and Society:

(a) Sociological theories of power.

(b) Power elite, bureaucracy, pressure groups, and political parties.

(c) Nation, state, citizenship, democracy, civil society, ideology.

Government strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply.

(d) Protest, agitation, social movements, collective action, revolution.

8. Religion and Society :

(a) Sociological theories of religion.

(b) Types of religious practices: animism, monism, pluralism, sects, cults.

(c) Religion in modern society: religion and science, secularization, religious revivalism,


9. Systems of Kinship:

(a) Family, household, marriage.

(b) Types and forms of family.

(c) Lineage and descent.

(d) Patriarchy and the sexual division of labour.

(e) Contemporary trends.

  1. Social Change in Modern Society :

(a) Sociological theories of social change.

(b) Development and dependency.

(c) Agents of social change.

(d) Education and social change.

(e) Science, technology, and social change.

Also Read : Best Books for Science and Technology for UPSC: UPSC Study Material for Prelims

Sociology Syllabus for PAPER-II

Indian soceity: structure and change

  1. Introducing Indian Society :

(i) Perspectives on the Study of Indian Society :

(a) Indology (G.S. Ghure).

(b) Structural functionalism (M. N. Srinivas).

(c) Marxist sociology (A. R. Desai).

(ii) Impact of colonial rule on Indian society :

(a) Social background of Indian nationalism.

(b) Modernization of Indian tradition.

(c) Protests and movements during the colonial period.

(d) Social reforms.

B. Social Structure

(i) Rural and Agrarian Social Structure:

(a) The idea of Indian village and village studies.

(b) Agrarian social structure—

evolution of land tenure system, land reforms.

Government strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply.

(ii) Caste System:

(a) Perspectives on the study of caste systems: G. S. Ghurye, M. N. Srinivas, Louis Dumont, Andre Beteille.

(b) Features of the caste system.

(c) Untouchability-forms and perspectives

(iii) Tribal Communities in India:

(a) Definitional problems.

(b) Geographical spread.

(c) Colonial policies and tribes.

(d) Issues of integration and autonomy.

(iv) Social Classes in India:

(a) Agrarian class structure.

(b) Industrial class structure.

(c) Middle classes in India.

(v) Systems of Kinship in India:

(a) Lineage and descent in India.

(b) Types of kinship systems.

(c) Family and marriage in India.

(d) Household dimensions of the family.

(e) Patriarchy, entitlements, and the sexual division of labor.

(vi) Religion and Society :

(a) Religious communities in India.

(b) Problems of religious minorities.

C. Social Changes in India

(i) Visions of Social Change in India:

(a) Idea of development planning and mixed economy.

(b) Constitution, law, and social change.

(c) Education and social change.

Also Read: Check this if You are Studying Sociology for UPSC

(ii) Rural and Agrarian Transformation in India

(a) Programmes of rural development, Community Development Programme, cooperatives,

poverty alleviation schemes.

(b) Green revolution and social change.

(c) Changing modes of production in Indian agriculture.

(d) Problems of rural labour, bondage, migration.

Government strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply.

(iii) Industrialization and Urbanisation in India

(a) Evolution of the modern industry in India.

(b) Growth of urban settlements in India.

(c) Working class: structure, growth, class mobilization.

(d) Informal sector, child labour.

(e) Slums and deprivation in urban areas.

(iv) Politics and Society :

(a) Nation, democracy, and citizenship.

(b) Political parties, pressure groups, social and political elite.

(c) Regionalism and decentralization of power.

(d) Secularization.

(v) Social Movements in Modern India :

(a) Peasants and farmers movements.

(b) Women’s movement.

(c) Backward classes & Dalit movements.

(d) Environmental movements.

(e) Ethnicity and Identity movements.

(vi) Population Dynamics :

(a) Population size, growth, composition, and distribution.

(b) Components of population growth: birth, death, migration.

(c) Population Policy and family planning.

(d) Emerging issues: ageing, sex ratios, child and infant mortality, reproductive health.

(vii) Challenges of Social Transformation

(a) Crisis of development: displacement, environmental problems, and sustainability.

(b) Poverty, deprivation, and inequalities.

(c) Violence against women.

(d) Caste conflicts.

(e) Ethnic conflicts, communalism, religious revivalism.

(f) Illiteracy and disparities in education

UPSC Sociology Books

For Paper-I

  • Sociology – Anthony Giddens
  • Sociological Theory – Ritzer George
  • Sociology – Haralambos & Holborn
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Sociology
  • Sociological Thought – M Francis Abraham and John Henry Morgan
  • Political Theory – O P Gauba

For Paper-II

  • Social Change in India – M N Srinivas
  • Caste Its Twentieth Century Avatar – M N Srinivas
  • Handbook of Indian Sociology – Veena Das
  • Indian Society and Culture – Nadeem Hasnain
  • Modernization of Indian Tradition – Yogendra Singh
  • Persistence and Change in Tribal India – M.V. Rao
  • Rural Sociology – S L Doshi
  • Social Background of Indian Nationalism – A R Desai

Also Read: Sociology Optional Question Paper: How to Prepare for UPSC 2021 Sociology Paper


Sociology is a subject and which has a relatively smaller syllabus than other subjects. It is also the least technical subject. Candidates from any background can find it easy to study. The sources to refer to it are also very limited. The success ratio of Sociology is also very high.

That is why you should consider choosing Sociology optional.

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