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Sociology Optional Syllabus for UPSC

Sociology Optional Syllabus for UPSC

Due to its concise syllabus, simplicity of learning, and accessibility of quality materials, sociology is one of the most popular optional subjects among UPSC applicants.

When compared to other optional topics, the UPSC Sociology Syllabus is viewed as being more condensed, transparent, and intelligible. Candidates who select sociology as one of their elective subjects should thoroughly research the UPSC Sociology Syllabus and be familiar with the topics it will cover. It is advised to read through the entire sociology optional curriculum for UPSC and the topics to be covered within each part for efficient test preparation.

There are two papers in the sociology syllabus: Paper 1 and Paper 2. Paper 2 of the sociology course examines our own (Indian) society while Paper 1 focuses on the Fundamentals of Sociology.

Benefits of taking Sociology as an Optional Subject:

Additionally, sociology optional has become so popular because of several factors, including 

  • consistency. The top scorers have consistently scored well on this topic throughout time.
  • Potential Score. It has a high scoring potential because, with some writing practice, one may easily achieve 300+ points.
  • Connection to the employment role. The potential for the application of the subject's theoretical understanding is enormous. The aspirant is exposed to societal norms and practices, which makes it easier for him to comprehend and assess policy decisions. It entails a thorough study of human civilization, which is quite pertinent to the professional role.

Read Also: BSTC Exam Syllabus

Sociology Syllabus for UPSC Mains Exam:

The two parts of the UPSC Sociology Optional Exam are Paper 1 on the foundations of sociology and Paper 2 on Indian Society: Structure & Changes. Each paper is worth 250 points, for a total of 500 points for the Sociology course. This post may be helpful to UPSC aspirants who have been thinking about choosing Sociology as their UPSC Optional Subject for the UPSC CSE because we have covered the whole UPSC syllabus for optional Papers 1 and 2 here (Civil Service Examination).

Sociology Syllabus - Paper 1

The UPSC Sociology Syllabus for Paper 1 includes a thorough discussion of the Fundamentals of Sociology. The majority of the Sociology optional is made up of significant social institutions. Paper-I. The UPSC Sociology Optional Syllabus for Paper 1 covers the following units:

  1. Sociology - The Discipline
  2. Sociology as Science
  3. Research Methods and Analysis
  4. Sociological Thinkers
  5. Stratification and Mobility
  6. Works and Economic Life
  7. Politics and Society
  8. Religion and Society
  9. Systems of Kinship
  10. Social Change in Modern Society



1. Sociology - The Discipline:

  • Europe's modernity, social transformations, and the birth of sociology.
  • The subject's scope and a comparison to other social sciences.
  • Common sense and sociology.

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, the means of production, alienation, and class conflict.
  • Division of labor, social fact, suicide, religion, and society according to Emile Durkheim.
  • Max Weber: The spirit of capitalism, protestant ethics, authority, ideal types, and bureaucracy.
  • Social system, pattern variables, Talcott Parsons.
  • Robert K. Merton: Reference groups, conformity, deviance, latent and visible functions
  • Mead - Identity and self.

5. Stratification and Mobility:

  • Concepts like hierarchy, exclusion, deprivation, poverty, and equality.
  • Structural functionalist, Marxist, and Weberian theories of social stratification.
  • Dimensions: Social class, status groupings, gender, ethnicity, and race stratification.
  • Social mobility: kinds of mobility, sources of mobility, and causes of mobility in open and closed systems.

6. Works and Economic Life:

  • The social arrangement of work in many societies, including slave, feudal, industrial, and capitalist societies
  • Formal and informal organization of work.
  • Labor and society.

7. Politics and Society:

  • power theories from sociology.
  • political parties, the bureaucracy, pressure groups, and the power elite.
  • citizenship, nation, state, democracy, civic society, and ideology
  • Social movements, protest, agitation, coercion, and revolution.

8. Religion and Society:

  • religious sociological theories.
  • Religious activities include sects, cults, animism, monism, and pluralism.
  • Religion in contemporary society: fundamentalism, secularisation, religious revivalism, and religion and science.

9. Systems of Kinship:

  • Family, household, and marriage.
  • Types and forms of family.
  • Lineage and descent.
  • Patriarchy and sexual division of labor.
  • 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.

Sociology Syllabus- Paper 2

The Sociology Syllabus Paper 2 contains a total of 15 units, which are organized into 3 major sections:

1. Introducing Indian Society, which is the smallest unit, requires students to study the fundamentals of Indian sociology. It analyzes the effects of British control on our civilization. It includes a significant share of crucial philosophers.

2. Social Structure: The Sociology Optional Paper 2 syllabus covers six sections in this section, which cover the caste system, agrarian social structure, tribal groups, different classes, kinship & family system, and religion.

3. Social Changes in India- There are 7 units in this section, each described in more depth below.

(i) Visions of Social Change in India

(ii) Rural and Agrarian Transformation in India

(iii) Industrialization and Urbanisation in India

(iv) Politics and Society

(v) Social Movements in Modern India

(vi) Population Dynamics

(vii) Challenges of Social Transformation


A. Introducing Indian Society:

(i) Approaches to studying Indian society:

  • Indology (GS. Ghurye).
  • Structural functionalism (M N Srinivas).
  • Marxist sociology (A R Desai).

(ii) Colonial rule's effects on Indian society

  • The Social background of Indian nationalism.
  • Modernization of Indian tradition
  • Protests and movements during the colonial period.
  • Social reforms.

B. Social Structure:

(i) Rural and Agrarian Social Structure:

  • Indian village concept and village studies
  • Agrarian social structure, including land reforms and the development of the land tenure system.

(ii) Caste System:

  • Caste system perspectives from GS Ghurye, M N Srinivas, Louis Dumont, and Andre Beteille.
  • Features of the caste system.
  • Untouchability - forms, and perspectives.

(iii) Tribal communities in India:

  • Definitional problems.
  • Geographical spread.
  • Colonial policies and tribes.
  • Issues of integration and autonomy.

(iv) Social Classes in India:

  • Agrarian class structure.
  • Industrial class structure.
  • Middle classes in India.

(v) 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 labor.

(vi) Religion and Society:

  • Religious communities in India
  • Problems of religious minorities.

C. Social Changes in India:

(i) Visions of Social Change in India:

  • idea of development planning and mixed economy.
  • Constitution, law, and social change.
  • Education and social change.

(ii) Rural and Agrarian transformation in India:

  • programs for rural development, community development initiatives, cooperatives, and initiatives to combat poverty.
  • Social change with the green revolution.
  • Modifications in Indian agriculture's production methods.
  • issues with rural labour, slavery, and migration.

(iii) Industrialization and Urbanisation in India:

  • Evolution of modern industry in India.
  • Growth of urban settlements in India.
  • Working class: structure, growth, class mobilization.
  • Informal sector, child labour.
  • Slums and deprivation in urban areas.

(iv) Politics and Society:

  • Nation, democracy and citizenship.
  • Political parties, pressure groups , social and political elite.
  • Regionalism and decentralization of power.
  • Secularization

(v) Social Movements in Modern India:

  • Peasants and farmers movements.
  • Women’s movement.
  • Backward classes & Dalit movement.
  • Environmental movements.
  • Ethnicity and Identity movements.

(vi) Population Dynamics:

  • Size, expansion, makeup, and distribution of the population.
  • births, deaths, and migration are factors in population growth.
  • Family planning and population policy.
  • Emerging problems include ageing, sex disparities, infant and child mortality, and reproductive health.

(vii) Challenges of Social Transformation:

  • Development crisis: sustainability, environmental issues, and displacement.
  • Deprivation, inequality, and poverty
  • women's sex violence
  • Caste disputes.
  • ethnic strife, communalism, and revivalism in religion.
  • Education disparities and illiteracy


Booklist for Sociology Optional Syllabus Paper 1:

  • Anthony Giddens' Sociology Introduction.
  • George Ritzer's sociological theory.
  • Haralambos and Holborn's Sociology: Themes and Perspectives
  • John Scott's A Dictionary of Sociology.
  • Francis Abraham and John Henry Morgan's sociological ideas.
  • O. P. Gauba's An Introduction to Political Theory.

Booklist for Sociology Optional Syllabus Paper 2:

  • Social Change in Modern India by M N Srinivas.
  • Caste: Its Twentieth-Century Avatar Veena Das's Indian Sociology Handbook by M N Srinivas
  • Indian Society: Themes and Social Issues by Nadeem Hasnain
  • Yogendra Singh's modernization of Indian tradition.
  • Authors S.L. Doshi and P.C. Jain's Rural Sociology.
  • A R Desai's Social Background of Indian Nationalism.


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