Sociology is one of the most chosen optional subjects for the UPSC examination. Aspirants coming from humanities or science backgrounds find this UPSC Sociology optional syllabus very suitable for themselves. One of the main reasons behind choosing this subject is the wide availability of sociology optional books and sample question papers.

The sociology optional syllabus for UPSC is divided into two parts as Paper-I and Paper-II. Let’s get a detailed knowledge of it. You will learn various factors and aspects about the Sociology optional syllabus 2022. Keep reading this article ahead.

Also Read: UPSC Sociology Optional Question Paper: How to Prepare for UPSC 2021-22 Sociology Paper?

Sociology Optional Subject

This subject is significant for scoring better in the CSE. The topics in this subject have the potential to overlap the general knowledge concepts, therefore, the candidates should prepare for the papers simultaneously for better understanding and preparation. This subject will not only bring the knowledge to you for the examination but also enrich your mind for the future. You should prepare for this subject with adequate time and concentration.

Moreover, you should solve more questions from previous years’ UPSC question papers to get perfect vigilance over the questions. It enables you to answer precisely in the exam. You should learn from mock tests to be able to crack the UPSC Sociology exam. Concentration and effective preparation will make you the best candidate for the test.

Sociology Optional Syllabus for UPSC CSE 2022

UPSC Optional Subject Sociology Syllabus for the Paper I

Fundamentals of Sociology

#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.

(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 labour, social fact, suicide, religion, and society.

(c)   Max Weber- Social action, ideal types, authority, bureaucracy, the 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 groups.

(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 theory.

(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.

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

Also Read: Which Optional Subject is Easy for UPSC? Choose the Most Suitable UPSC Optional Subject! 

#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, fundamentalism.

#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.

#10. 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.

UPSC Optional Subject Sociology Syllabus for the Paper-II

Indian Society: Structure and Change

  1. Introducing Indian Society:

(i) Perspectives on the study of Indian society:

(a)  Indology (GS. Ghurye).

(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.

  1. Social Structure:

(i) Rural and Agrarian Social Structure:

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

(b)  Agrarian social structure – the evolution of land tenure system, land reforms.

(ii)  Caste System:

(a)  Perspectives on the study of caste systems: GS 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 sexual division of labour.

(vi) Religion and Society:

(a)  Religious communities in India.

(b)  Problems of religious minorities.

Also Read: Which Optionals Give Maximum Selections Every Year? Statistical Results for UPSC Optionals

  1. 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.

(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.

(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 movement.

(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.

Also Read: Is Sociology a Good Optional for UPSC? How Scoring is Sociology in IAS?

UPSC Preparation

If you are aspiring to be an IAS officer or want to crack the UPSC exam, you must be updated with the syllabus and relevant aspects for the optional subjects. The optional subjects should be selected by high diligence and wisdom as they can either make or break your dream. You are asked questions from the optional subject during the time of the interview as well.

You must be aware of the happenings occurring in the world related to your subject. If you have even a slight interest in Sociology, you should read this article to equip yourself with the syllabus updates and other relevant and important aspects. Let’s gather the information about this subject to score better and prepare ourselves with much quality knowledge.

Check Out the Sociology Optional

Are you a sincere and diligent UPSC candidate? Do you want to succeed in your recent attempt? Do you have doubts about the UPSC optional subject? Well, if any of these is true, you are at the right place. The optional subject for UPSC is indeed important for the exam. This is the most magnificent part as you have to excel in the optional subject to become a civil servant and achieve your desires.

The CSE optional paper is 250 marks with a total of 500 marks. You are required to score satisfactory marks to clear the Mains exam. Sociology as an optional subject in UPSC Mains. It is a popular choice among aspirants as an IAS officer has to deal with many facets of society and knowledge of sociology is helpful in their work. You will learn immensely from this subject to deal with the situations in your career.

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


There are many sociology optional books and study material available online as well as offline that can help any aspirant prepare well. You should select the best option for having the best preparation for your exam. The knowledge of this subject and relevant points will enable you to be worthy enough for this prestigious examination. Sociology optional question papers are also easily available thus making it even easier for the aspirants to prepare the paper.

For better UPSC preparation and accurate guidance, aspirants can go for top online UPSC Pathshala classes where they can get a personal mentor to help and guide them. This will not only help them prepare well but will also save their time as they don’t have to run behind collecting study materials because they can get everything ready in one place thus making their preparation journey a lot smoother. Don’t waste your time on the wrong platforms, rather choose the best one for yourself. Best wishes!!

Content Protection by
Sociology Optional Syllabus for UPSC 2022: Check Out the Updated Information for the CSE
Article Name
Sociology Optional Syllabus for UPSC 2022: Check Out the Updated Information for the CSE
If you want to excel in this wonderful examination, you must prepare the optional subject well. Click here to acknowledge all the knowledge about the Sociology optional syllabus 2022.
Publisher Name
UPSC Pathshala
Publisher Logo

About the Author


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.

View All Articles