The optional subject of the UPSC exam is worth 500 marks out of a total. So selecting the correct option is critical if you want to be included in the final UPSC selection list. For many years, sociology has been a safer and more popular optional subject in civil service examinations.

Many candidates have passed the UPSC CSE with sociology as an optional subject. It can score between 315 and 350 points in the UPSC mains exam. It is also useful during the UPSC CSE interview and post-selection fieldwork. Read on to learn about the strategy to prepare for Sociology Optional for UPSC.

Strategy to Prepare for Sociology Optional For UPSC

Because of its broad scope, Sociology Optional is a popular choice among UPSC applicants. However, there are a number of theories that can be quite difficult to grasp without expert assistance. As a result, it is critical to seek external help if you can not have a mentor or supervisor who can lead you through the subject.

How to Prepare for Sociology Optional?

Analyse The Syllabus Carefully

First and foremost, it is critical to properly mind-map the syllabus. Go over the full syllabus once or twice to make sure you understand the subjects you need to tackle from each section.

Start with NCERTs

Sociology is presented in Class XIth. As a result, the NCERTs for Class XIth and XIIth will be highly useful for gaining a fundamental comprehension of the subject. Read through the NCERTs once or twice to grasp the fundamental principles of the subject.

Previous Year Papers

Examine past year’s papers to get a sense of the types of questions that will be asked in the curriculum. After that, go over toppers’ answer scripts to learn how to write answers.

Full-Length Tests

Writing full-length examinations is critical for mastering time management. You should practice answering all of the questions in the allotted three hours. As a result, ensure that you create full-length tests in a simulated context.

Why to Choose Sociology Optional?

Sociology optional assists in the UPSC CSE interview- knowledge of societal concerns, diverse social challenges, and their impact on governance would allow you to offer impressive replies during the interview. It can also enable you to make good analyses and varied points of view on any topic.

UPSC Sociology Syllabus

Check out the syllabus for UPSC Mains Sociology:


#1. Sociology – The Discipline

Modernity and social changes in Europe and the emergence of sociology.

Scope of the subject and comparison with other social sciences.

Sociology and common sense.

#2. Sociology as Science

Science, scientific method and critique.

Major theoretical strands of research methodology.

Positivism and its critique.

Fact value and objectivity.

Non- positivist methodologies.

#3. Research Methods and Analysis

Qualitative and quantitative methods.

Techniques of data collection.

Variables, sampling, hypothesis, reliability and validity.

#4. Sociological Thinkers

Karl Marx- Historical materialism, mode of production, alienation, class struggle.

Emile Durkheim- Division of labour, social fact, suicide, religion and society.

Max Weber- Social action, ideal types, authority, bureaucracy, protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism.

Talcott Parsons-   Social system, pattern variables.

Robert K. Merton- Latent and manifest functions, conformity and  deviance, reference groups

Mead   – Self and identity.

#5.  Stratification and Mobility

Concepts- equality, inequality, hierarchy, exclusion, poverty and  deprivation

Theories of social stratification- Structural functionalist theory, Marxist theory, Weberian theory.

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

Social mobility- open and closed systems, types of mobility, sources and causes of mobility.

#6. Works and Economic Life

Social organization of work in different types of society- slave society,  feudal society, industrial /capitalist society.

Formal and informal organisation of work

Labour and society.

#7. Politics and Society

Sociological theories of power

Power elite, bureaucracy, pressure groups, and political parties.

Nation, state, citizenship, democracy, civil society, ideology.

Protest, agitation, social movements, collective action, revolution.

#8. Religion and Society

Sociological theories of religion.

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

Religion in modern society: religion and science, secularisation, religious revivalism, fundamentalism.

#9. Systems of Kinship

Family, household, marriage.

Types and forms of family.

Lineage and descent

Patriarchy and sexual division of labour

Contemporary trends.

#10. Social Change in Modern Society

Sociological theories of social change.

Development and dependency.

Agents of social change.

Education and social change.

Science, technology and social change.


#A. 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.

Modernization of Indian tradition.

Protests and movements during the colonial period.

Social reforms

#B. Social Structure

Rural and Agrarian Social Structure:

The idea of Indian village and village studies-

Agrarian social structure –

evolution of land tenure system,  land reforms.

Caste System:

Social Classes in India:

Agrarian class structure.

Industrial class structure.

Middle classes in India.

Systems of Kinship in India:

Lineage and descent in India.

Types of kinship systems.

Family and marriage in India.

Household dimensions of the family.

Patriarchy, entitlements and sexual division of labour.

Religion and Society:

Religious communities in India.

Problems of religious minorities.

#C. Social Changes in India

Visions of Social Change in India:

The idea of development planning and mixed economy.

Constitution, law and social change.

Education and social change.

Industrialization and Urbanisation in India:

Evolution of modern industry in India.

Growth of urban settlements in India.

Working-class: structure, growth, class mobilisation.

The informal sector, child labour

Slums and deprivation in urban areas.

Politics and Society:

Nation, democracy and citizenship.

Political parties, pressure groups , social and political elite.


IAS candidates will find that the elements in Sociology for UPSC overlap significantly with those in General Studies, hence they should prepare for both tests concurrently. To pass the UPSC Sociology exam, applicants need to tackle more questions from previous years’ UPSC papers as well as practice tests.

For UPSC exam preparation tips and tricks, visit UPSC Pathshala

Content Protection by
Strategy to Prepare for Sociology Optional For UPSC: Why to Choose Sociology Optional?
Article Name
Strategy to Prepare for Sociology Optional For UPSC: Why to Choose Sociology Optional?
Looking for an effective strategy to prepare for Sociology Optional for UPSC? If yes, this post is just for you. Learn how to prepare for Sociology optional with us.
Publisher Name
UPSC Pathshala
Publisher Logo

About the Author

Madhurjya Chowdhury

Madhurjya Chowdhury, a web content writer in Ufaber EduTech has a very strong passion for writing and alluring the readers. You can find him writing articles for the betterment of exam aspirants and children. With immense interest in research-based content writing and copywriting, he likes to reach out to more and more people with his creative writing style. On the other side, he is an Electronics and Communication Engineer from LPU, Jalandhar. In his leisure time, he likes to play badminton or read about space discoveries. Apart from this, he is a pro gamer on PC, PS and Mobile gaming platforms.

View All Articles