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 society and how to rectify them.

The syllabus will help you to cover your General Studies papers 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 the optional subject Sociology for paper 1:

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 Methods 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:

Chapters Topics
  1. Introducing Indian Society
Perspectives on the study of Indian society # Indology ( GS. Ghurye )

# Structural Functionalism ( M N Srinivas )

# Marxist Sociology ( A R Desai )

Impact of colonial rule on Indian society # Social background of Indian nationalism

# Modernisation of Indian traditions

# Protests and social movements

# Social reforms

  1. Social Structure
Rural and Agrarian Social Structure # Idea of Indian villages and rural studies

# Agrarian social structure-evolution of the land tenure system, land reforms.

Caste System in India # Perspectives on the caste study systems

# Features of the 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

  1. Social Changes in India
Visions of Social Changes 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 Books for UPSC 2021-22

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 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 for Sociology Optional: All You Need to Know to Master UPSC 2021 Optional 

UPSC Sociology Question Paper

Previous year sociology upsc question papers 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 practising. 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. If you need any assistance you can also join UPSCpathshala, where you will have full assistance and will guide you with all the exclusive notes and practice papers.

Also Read: UPSC Previous Paper a Tool for Better Results: Check it Out Here


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. There are various optional subjects for UPSC but 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.

Subscribe to UPSC pathshala. Join the sociology course, it covers both the paper 1 & 2 in detail, personal question asking session, practice tests and many more just away from your one click. You can learn from anywhere & anytime. Don’t let your learning stop. You also join the UPSC pathshala for other optional subjects for UPSC as well. Grab your opportunity. Click on the link below and get a free demo. All the best!

So how are you preparing for your UPSC exam and which optional subject did you opt for? Share with us. Comment in the below section.

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Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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