Sociology is one of the subjects that the UPSC offers to candidates to choose as an optional subject. There are two exam papers for this, Optional Paper I and Optional Paper II.

Sociology is a very popular subject among candidates. It suits any student who has a science or humanities background. The subject is considered to be scoring if you prepare in the correct manner. This article will talk about the syllabus of optional subject Sociology for UPSC and recommend Sociology Optional books along with strategies.

Syllabus of Optional Subject Sociology for UPSC

The Syllabus of Optional Subject Sociology for UPSC talks about society and the issues faced in the society and how to rectify them.

The syllabus will help you do cover your General Studies paper 2 and 3 too, along with your Essay Paper.

Optional Papers are for 250 marks, thus making it a total of 500 marks for 2 papers, and sociology is said to be a high-scoring subject.

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

Syllabus of Optional Subject Sociology for UPSC Paper 1

The syllabus for optional subject Sociology for paper 1 is

Chapters  Topics 
Sociology- the Discipline
  • Modernity and social change in Europe and the emergence of Sociology
  • Width of the subject and comparison with other branches
  • Sociology and common sense
Sociology as Science
  • Science, scientific method, and critique
  • Major theoretical strands of research methodology
  • Positive and critic
  • Fact value and objectivity
  • Non-positivist methodologies
Research Method and Analysis
  • Qualitative and quantitative methods
  • Techniques of data collection
  • Variables, sampling, hypothesis, reliability and validity
Sociological Thinkers
  • Karl Marx
  • Emile Durkheim
  • Max Weber
  • Talcott Parsons
  • Robert K. Merton
  • Mead
Stratification and Mobility
  • Concepts
  • Theories of social stratification
  • Dimensions
  • Social mobility
Works and Economic Life
  • Social Distribution of work in different societies.
  • Formal and informal organization of work
  • Labour and society
Politics and Society
  • Nation, state, citizen, democracy, civil society, ideology
  • Bureaucracy, power elite, pressure groups and political parties
  • Sociological theories of power
  • Protest, agitation, social movements
Religion and Society
  • Types of religious practices
  • Sociology theories of religion
  • Religion in modern society
System of Kinship
  • Family, household, marriage
  • Types and forms of Family
  • Lineage and descent
  • Patriarchy and sexual division of labour
  • Contemporary Trends
Social Change in Modern Society
  • Agents of social change
  • Sociological theories of social change
  • Education and social change
  • Development and Dependency
  • Science, technology and social change

Syllabus of Optional Subject Sociology for UPSC Paper 2

The syllabus for optional subject sociology of paper 2 is :

Chapters Topics 
Introducing Indian Society
  1. Perspectives on the study of Indian society:
  1. Indology
  2. Structural functionalism
  3. Marxist sociology

2. Impact of colonial rule on Indian society:

  1. Social background of Indian nationalism
  2. Modernisation of Indian traditions
  3. Protests and social movements
  4. Social reforms


Social Structure
  • Rural and Agrarian structure
  • Idea of Indian villages and rural studies
  • Agrarian social structure
Caste System in India
  • Perspectives on the caste study systems
  • Features of caste system
  • Untouchability-forms and perspectives
Tribal Communities in India
  • Definitional problems
  • Geographical spread
  • Colonial policies and tribes
  • Issues of integration and autonomy
Social Classes in India
  • Agrarian class
  • Industrial class
  • Middle class in India
Systems of Kinship in India
  • Lineage and descent system
  • Types of kinship
  • Family and marriage in India
  • Household dimensions of family
  • Patriarchy and elements and sexual division of labour
Religion and Society
  • Religious communities of India
  • Problems of religious minorities
  • Social changes in India
Visions of Social Change in India
  • Idea of development and planning
  • Constitution and law change
  • Education and social change
Rural and Agrarian Transformations in India
  • Programs of rural development, community development, poverty alleviation schemes
  • Green revolution and social change
  • Changing modes of production in India
  • Problems of rural labour, migration, bondage
Industrialisation and Urbanisation in India
  • Evolution of modern industry
  • Growth of urban settlements
  • Working class structure, growth, and mobilization
  • Informal sector and child labour
  • Slums and deprivation in urban areas
Politics and Society
  • Nation, democracy and citizenship
  • Political parties and social groups
  • Regionalism and decentralisation of government
  • secularization
Social Movements in Modern India
  • Peasants and farmers movements
  • Women’s movements
  • Backward classes movements
  • Environmental movements
  • Ethnicity and identity movements
Population Dynamics
  • Population size, growth and distribution
  • Components of population growth
  • Population policy and family planning
  • Issues in population dynamics
Challenges of Social Transformation
  • Crisis of developments
  • Poverty, deprivation, and inequalities
  • Violence against women
  • Caste conflicts
  • Ethnic conflicts
  • Illiteracy and disparities in education

Sociology Optional Books

Sociology as an optional subject is very high scoring, and thus it is recommended to use good books that cover the topics well and help you understand the concepts at ease.

The books that are recommended are:

  • Sociology Theory by George Ritzer
  • Social Background of of Indian Nationalism by AR Desai
  • Persistence and Change in Tribal India by MV Rao
  • Social Change in India by M.N. Srinivas
  • NCERT books for Sociology

Also Read: Books that Will Boost Your Sociology Score

Sociology Previous Year Exam Question Paper

The sociology previous year exam question paper will be a very important tool for you when you study. They will help you understand how questions are framed and how much weight-age each topic has. You can also expect your sociology optional question paper to be in the same pattern. Practice them as much as possible.

You can find the previous year’s question papers online.  Download them and keep practicing. You can also go to the official UPSC website and look for the previous year’s general studies paper, as that too will contain questions from your optional subject Sociology.

Also Read: UPSC Previous Paper a Tool for Better Results


If you are choosing Sociology as a subject and want to know the portion, then this article talks about the portion for both the optional papers. Sociology is a subject that works well for both science and humanities background students. Choosing the right optional subject is important. So make a wise decision whilst you do this.

Sociology is considered high scoring but that should not mean you take it easy. Work hard for it and your results will follow. All the best!

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Sociology Optional Question Paper: How to Prepare for UPSC 2021 Sociology Paper
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Sociology Optional Question Paper: How to Prepare for UPSC 2021 Sociology Paper
Do you want to know the Sociology portion for optional papers for UPSC 2021? Want a previous year exam question paper for sociology? Click on the article to find your answers.
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