Sociology Optional Syllabus for UPSC

Sociology has become a popular subject due to the multiple benefits it carries like ease of understanding, no academic background needed, and overlap with the GS Papers and it enhances the ability of the candidate to understand the various phenomenon and issues that affect the society.

Sociology is the best Optional for UPSC, as it contains some very interesting topics like Marxism, power, labor, civil society, nation, religion, family, and patriarchy. It makes a candidate think from a wider horizon and have a practical approach towards various issues helping in overall development of the personality thus helping in personality tests.

Optional consists of two Papers of 250 marks each, that is 500, and many candidates score 300+. One must be thorough with each and every word of the syllabus before starting. And thus having the right guidance is very important, one can study from Sociology Optional by Aditya Mongra Sir.




  1. Sociology – The Discipline:
    (a) Modernity and social changes in Europe and 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, protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism.
    (d) Talcolt 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.
  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

(b) Types of religious practices: animism, monism, pluralism, sects, cults.
(c) Religion in modern society: religion and science, secularization, religious revivalism, fundamentalism.

  1. Systems of Kinship:
    (a) Family, household, marriage.
    (b) Types and forms of family.
    (c) Lineage and descent
    (d) Patriarchy and sexual division of labour
    (e) Contemporary trends.
  2. 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.



A. 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 –
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 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.

  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 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.

Any serious aspirant would understand that the syllabus of both the papers have a little different nature and require a different approach, Paper A is more static while Paper 2 deals with contemporary issues. Aditya Mongra sir isbest Sociology Optional teacher in Delhias he helps students develop conceptual clarity and thus guides them to tackle each kind of question effectively.


How Do You Prepare For The Sociology Optional?


FAQs on Sociology Optional for UPSC Exam

  • Is sociology good optional for UPSC?

Yes, Sociology is a very good choice for your UPSC preparation because-

  • Topics are easy to understand.
  • No academic background is needed.
  • Overlap with the GS Papers.
  • Helps in writing a multi dimensional essay.
  • How much time it takes to cover sociology?

It depends on effective planning. One must begin with understanding the syllabus and then  deciding the source and guidance. An unplanned preparation may cost you many months without good results. You can join Sociology Optional by Aditya Mongra Sir, here the entire Sociology Optional Syllabus is completed in 3-4 months with special focus on Sociology answer writing as well.

  • Which is the best sociology optional coaching in Delhi?

Sociology Optional by Aditya Mongra Sir is the best coaching in Delhi. Sir is very experienced in the domain of UPSC, has given hundreds of selections. He takes a very practical approach to the classroom which makes sociology easy even for the new students, his dedication towards the students makes him the best Sociology Optional Teacher.

  • Where to get Sociology Optional notes?

If you cannot come to the coaching, then purchasing some good notes will help you immensely. You should go for the Sociology Optional Postal Course by Aditya Mongra Sir. The notes are prepared by sir himself, each topic has been covered that too in a very simple and decent language so that students can understand topics easily.

  • Is it important to join the Sociology Optional Test Series?

A test series is very helpful for three reasons. Firstly it helps in structured revision of the syllabus, secondly they help you in time bound practice of writing answers and third it helps you understand your weak areas which you can work upon before final exams. One can join the Sociology test series of Aditya Mongra Sir, they provide individual feedback that too by sir himself.