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Sociology Optional Strategy for UPSC Mains

Sociology optional is one of the optional subjects in UPSC exam and nowadays there is increasing trend among the students in selecting this subject. Sociology as a subject helps in covering some of the topics of other UPSC 2018 subjects as well such as General studies and essay etc.

Sociology optional



  • Short syllabus
  • Students of any background can complete the syllabus in short time
  • Has correlation with General studies and essay papers
  • With proper answer writing practice high scores can be achieved
  • Subject matter is generally known to most


PREPARATION STRATEGY for Sociology optional

Regarding preparation strategy, for studying the whole syllabus divide it into smaller parts. Start preparing paper one with Michael Haralambos to clear up basics and then follow NCERT 11th and 12th  books. Once finished, move to IGNOUS’s (Indira Gandhi National Open University) notes of  B.A. and M.A. 

Prepare below topics thoroughly:-

  • August Comte ( Father of socio)
  • Max Weber ( Bureaucracy and capitalism)
  • Karl Marx ( Pointer of communism)
  • Herbert Spencer ( Relationship between physical science and sociology)
  • Emile Durkheim ( Religion and suicide)


Second paper includes thinkers from Indian background and after effects of sociology on India and it also includes the contribution of Indian and Western sociologists. Paper two is confusing and dynamic, so one must study as many resources as possible.



  • Improve answer writing skills. For this you need to be well verse with the complete syllabus and should be able to present it properly.
  • Learn the syllabus topics and sub topics and try to link them. After completing each topic refer previous years question papers and try to solve them.
  • In sociology knowledge is the most important thing and can be achieved by detailed study.
  • In paper two try to link theory and examples while writing the answer.
  • In General study type question MNREGA one needs to relate it to the topic of syllabus for e.g. MNREGA is linked with rural transformation, poverty, woman upliftment, social change, etc
  • For writing sociology answers one should keep below points in their mind:-


  • Thinkers and their ideas
  • Coherent arrangement and expression
  • Using contemporary topics in answer



Below are the important books for sociology Preparation :-

Paper one

  • NCERT 11th and 12th sociology books
  • IGNOUS’s notes ( especially for thinkers)
  • Haralambos
  • Capitalisation and modern social theory – Giddens, Anthony
  • T. B. Sociology – A guide of problem and literature


Paper two

  • NCERT 11th and 12th sociology books
  • IGNOUS’s notes ( especially for thinkers and topics on Indian system)
  • Modernization of Indian tradition – Singh
  • Social tradition in India – Singh