Best Sociology Optional Booklist for UPSC IAS/h1>

Sociology Optional for UPSC IAS

Sociology Optional for Civil Services Mains Examination

Choosing an Optional Subject for Mains Examination

Choosing an optional subject for Mains Examination is a strategic decision a candidate has to make in the overall scheme of Mains Examination. Given the high weightage (nearly 30%: (500/1750)) of the optional subject in the Mains Examination, it plays a crucial part in deciding the ranking of the candidate.

Keeping this view a candidate advised to make an informed choice carefully based on the following factors: GAAC Principle

  • General interest in the subject.
  • Access to expert guidance for coverage of the syllabus in a time-bound manner (about 4-5 months).
  • Access to study material.
  • Comfort level of the individual candidate.

General Information on Sociology as an Optional subject

Going by the past trends, Sociology has been a hot favorite among the student community for several years with more than 1600 students with Sociology optional appearing in the Mains Examination on an average every year in the last 5 or more years. (Source of data: Past years Annual Reports of Union Public Services Commission) The success rate of students with Sociology optional is also seen to be high with more than 2 in top 10 and more than 10 in top hundred in the rank list in the past years.

Few checks before deciding

  • Go through the Sociology syllabus for mains examination thoroughly.
  • Go through the past 5 years question papers thoroughly.

Choosing Sociology

Once the above checks are passed, depending on the general interest and comfort level the subject incites, the candidate may decide to opt for Sociology based on Access to expert guidance and study material (remember GAAC Principle).

Nature of Sociology in Civil Services Examination

The syllabus for Sociology is well laid out with 10 chapters in each of the two papers. The core areas in the syllabus may be roughly classified under following heads:

  • Sociology as a discipline.
  • Important currents in sociological thought.
  • Social institutions.
  • Social Realities.
  • Social change.

Paper 2 of the syllabus deals with Indian Sociology and roughly the same classification applies in addition to Social problems and solutions thereof.


Broadly the approach to prepare Sociology may be outlined as follows:

  • Understanding of traditional core concepts.
  • Exposure to emerging areas in the discipline.
  • Careful observation of social realities (current events) through the Sociological lens.
  • Assimilation of concepts, traditional and emerging, and current events.

Coverage of the syllabus keeping in view of the aforesaid approach is quintessential for success in Sociology optional subject.

While there are number books available for various parts of the syllabus, it is important to note that there is ‘no one book’ which covers the entire syllabus. Besides societies are rapidly changing in the modern globalised interconnected world with the aid of fast-changing technology. ] As a result books are faced with the challenge of keeping apace with emerging social realities in the rapidly changing societies.

Illustration:Various questions in the 2018 mains examination were based on the emerging issues like ‘Me too’ Movement, Triple Talaq, Social media, migration, US Visa issue, farmer indebtedness and related suicides etc. These topics may not be covered in academic books on Sociology

Classroom Programme for Sociology

The Sociology Classroom Programme at Vajirao and Reddy Institute has become a household name among the student community. Under the expert guidance of Dr. Subash Mohapatra, students are benefitted through years with good scores. The 30-years teaching experience Dr. Mohapatra brings in add immense value to student’s preparation.

The Course is carefully designed focusing on comprehensive coverage of syllabus with impetus on current happenings and careful assimilation there of. The Test-Series that the institute conducts every year holds the distinction of being completely in line with the Civil Services Mains Exam trends.

Guidelines for Preparation

One base source:The student is advised to have one and only one source as the base source, preferably class notes (This is the cardinal principle for success in optional).

Standard sources only as reference:Standard sources like IGNOU BA material, Haralambos and Holborn – Sociology Themes and Perspectives, Anthony Giddens, Indian Society and Culture by Subhas Mohapatra and other books may be used strictly as reference only.

Consolidation:Once the syllabus is covered, consolidating is important to establish linkages between various parts in the syllabus. (Classroom programme makes this easier).

Assimilating with Current Events:Keep a keen eye on observing current events from Sociological lens. Regular reading of newspapers and relating it to the respective part of the syllabus is a must. (Especially applicable in Paper 2).

Revision:Revision is the key in order to reproduce the content prepared successfully.

Test Yourself: With successful preparation of the Optional, the candidate may take regular tests in order to check if one has aligned her/his preparation with the requirements of the exam.

All the best for the preparation!