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Sociology Syllabus

One of the reasons why sociology is a popular optional is because of its short syllabus. There are 2 sociology papers - Paper 1 is Fundamentals of Sociology. It deals with concepts related to society developed mainly by western scholars. Paper 2 deals with the study of Indian society.
Download the complete UPSC sociology optional syllabus in PDF.

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Sociology Classroom Course

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Sociology Optional UPSC


Sociology optional is one of the most popular optional subjects in the UPSC Civil Services Examination. Many students with sociology optional typically clear the IAS exam year after year. Syllabus is limited and the concepts can be grasped with a person who has no academic background in the subject.

At IAS Gurukul, located in Delhi, we attempt to provide one of the best Sociology optional coaching classes in India. Sociology at IAS Gurukul is taught by Pranay Aggarwal, who (with his years of experience teaching sociology to CSE aspirants) is regarded as one of the leading sociology optional teachers and UPSC preparation faculty in India.

Sociology Optional Course: Key Features

Sociology courses at IAS Gurukul offer students several advantages, such as coverage of the complete syllabus, focus on conceptual clarity, personal interaction to clarify doubts and mentoring, daily revision, emphasis on answer writing, UPSC pattern Mock Tests series, updated Study Material, Daily Doubts Clearing, Personal Attention to every student, Online Backup of missed classes, highlighting of linkages with current affairs, latest studies & reports to fetch more marks in the exam and Lifelong Association & Support.

Students at IAS Gurukul are encouraged to think for themselves, develop powers of critical analysis, and focus on clarifying their concepts and to continuously engage in debate and discussion. Learning at IAS Gurukul therefore is a continuous affair for the faculty as well as the students. Classes are decidedly and deliberately interactive which, in our assessment and experience, produces better results.

Sociology optional Online and Offline Classes

Sociology regular classroom batches at IAS Gurukul have limited seats. Large numbers of students who are unable to secure a seat or cannot travel to Delhi for classes opt for our Sociology Online course which is also hugely popular amongst the UPSC aspirants and is availed by students across the country.

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About Us

IAS Gurukul is India’s leading institute for sociology optional preparation for the civil services examination. In 2020, 65 of our registered students have been selected by UPSC in the Civil Services Exam (Final Selections). 180 of our registered students cleared the CSE Mains in 2019.

Pranay Aggarwal is the Sociology faculty at IAS Gurukul. He has mentored thousands of civil services aspirants, several of whom have been successful. He has qualified the UGC NET examination for Assistant Professorship in Sociology, conducted by the CBSE for the Ministry of HRD, Government of India.

He has studied till the Masters level and has completed a course in Classical Sociological Theory from the University of Amsterdam and a course in International Women's Health and Human Rights from Stanford University (USA).

He is a member of the UNESCO-established International Sociological Association and a member of its Research Committee RC04 on Sociology of Education.

  • ✓ Small Syllabus: Covered well fully in 3.5 months
  • ✓ Consistent results: 130+ selections in CSE Every Year since 2011
  • ✓ High Scoring: Realistically possible to score 300+
  • ✓ Easy to understand
  • ✓ No prior background required
  • ✓ Overlaps with GS and Essay papers
  • ✓ Limited books to be read
  • ✓ Interesting subject matter

Preparation Strategy for Sociology Optional

    It is suggested that one’s preparation strategy should be simple, time bound and ensure coverage of the full syllabus of the sociology papers. Some important pointers to keep in mind while preparing for sociology optional are shared below. Make them a part of your sociology preparation strategy:
  1. Restrict yourself to a limited number of sources such as class notes and few standard books.
  2. Focus on conceptual clarity- whether by attending classes, online lectures or referring to books.
  3. Adhere to a timeline to complete the optional - Devote sufficient time to optional preparation but no more. Do not fritter away the advantage of choosing a short syllabus optional subject by stretching your preparation to more than the required time.
  4. Doubts clearing- Always clear your doubts with your mentor. Do not hesitate.
  5. Regular answer writing- Start writing answers alongside your preparation. Do not leave it for later. The more answer writing you do, better and more confident you will be at it.
  6. Multiple revisions- Attempt at least 2 full revisions of the whole syllabus before the actual exam.

Subject related FAQs

Approx. 3.5 to 4 months.
6 in Paper 1 and 3 in Paper 2.
Yes. Sociology is a very generic subject and is not technical. It does not require any prior expertise or knowledge. The subject is very relatable. You can understand it well even when you begin with a layman’s understanding of society. In fact, 95% UPSC aspirants with sociology optional do not have an academic background in it. The same holds true for those who eventually clear the exam.
For Paper 1- refer Essential Sociology by Seema & Nitin Sangwan and Sociology Themes and Perspectives by Haralambos & Holborn (selectively). Use these along with your class notes. For Paper 2- refer Essential Sociology by Seema & Nitin Sangwan and Sociology of Indian Society by CN Shankar Rao. Use these along with your class notes.
Since 2011, every year more than 130 students with Sociology Optional are selected by UPSC in the Civil Services. Data is available on the UPSC website till CSE 2017, which is as follows:
Civil Services Exam Year No. of Final Selections with Sociology optional
CSE 2011 177
CSE 2012 230
CSE 2013 150
CSE 2014 193
CSE 2015 173
CSE 2016 132
CSE 2017 137

Course related FAQs

Simply, ask! You can clarify your doubts with Sir in class or outside classroom, in person or on phone. Call him on 9310436695 to ask your doubts.
Yes, answer writing is a part of every course offered by IAS Gurukul. You will be regularly given Test Assignments to continuously evaluate your preparation of each syllabus topic.
Yes. Your answer submissions will be evaluated, awarded marks and comments given wherever required to improve the content and answer presentation.
Yes, you can. You are welcome to meet or call Sir to clarify any doubts at any stage of your preparation.
Yes. While the class notes are comprehensive, you are advised to refer some standard books alongside the course.
Call Hari Bhandari on 99996 93744 for course- related queries and Pranay Aggarwal Sir on 93104 36695 for academic doubts.



Shrestha Anupam, IAS, All India Rank 19, Civil Services Exam 2019

To the students of IAS Gurukul, i wish you a very bright future ahead. Pranay Sir’s strategy definitely works in the examination.
Answer writing is a very important part of this examination, for sociology specially because it is a writing intensive optional. You need to get into the groove for answer writing..so that you answers can be to the point.. Interaction is also a very important aspect because every student learns at his own pace, every student has different requirements. (He can't help you) unless you convey to the teacher what exactly are you expecting of him, what exactly are the points where you are getting stuck.
I would say that interaction and answer writing are both very important part of your preparation. My best wishes are with you.


Ruchi Bindal, IAS, All India Rank 39, Civil Services Exam 2019

I wish the students of IAS Gurukul all the best for the upcoming exam and i hope you come out with flying colours. Have faith in yourself, have faith in the teacher. The teacher is there after a lot of experience. You must be here probably for a couple of years; the teacher holds the experience of a lot of years. So listen to the teacher’s experience. There is interaction in the class. You should actively participate in the interaction. Because discussion is something that can go a long way. Second is weekly or daily answer writing practice - do it for a month or two, you yourself will see the difference.


Harshit Kumar, IAS, All India Rank 150, Civil Services Exam 2019

IAS Gurukul is a very reputed coaching institute for sociology. Sir has taught for a lot of years now and has been giving consistent results throughout. What I would recommend is you listen to whatever he is teaching, you ask your doubts and make sure you write a lot of tests. Each test should be given with the mindset that you are attempting the real paper and attempt all the 250 marks. You should write very regularly. In optional you should write very very regularly so that you are in touch of the concepts. You should attend all your classes very regularly.


Jasmeet Sandhu, IAS, All India Rank 3, Civil Services Exam 2015

You require good mentors, you require good vision and direction. Right? I have had Pranay Aggarwal Sir as an overall mentor. I have utilized his understanding in Test Series and other approaches. under overall mentorship of Pranaya Aggarwal Sir, focusing on test series and writing answers and getting them evaluated, you can greatly benefit. Coaching and Teachers like Pranay Sir have given me an overall mentorship. I have stayed in constant touch with my teachers. That overall constant touch has motivated me over the years. That will help you also to clear the exam.


Amrita Banerjee, Indian Foreign Service, All Indian Rank 110, Civil Services Exam 2015

I know pranay sir and his team, they are doing commendable work as upsc mentors. I have also come to ias gurukul..Pranay Sir gives individual and personalized attention to each student. There is continuous motivation by top mentors. Pranay sir is there and he is a very warm and approachable person. So you can anytime walk upto his room and clarify your doubts.. If you have personalized attention it always makes a difference.


Sharnga Pani, Sr. Deputy Collector, SDM Office, Muzaffarpur District, Bihar

I joined sociology classroom course of Pranay Aggarwal Sir in 2015. I will recommend his classes to those taking up sociology optional. I greatly benefited from his guidance. He provides a very supportive environment. My optional marks played an important role in helping me clear the exam and enter the public service. After 5 years of my coaching, I am still in touch with Sir.


Gundala Reddy Raghavendra, IPS, All India Rank 180, Civil Services Exam 2018

There are a lot many coaching institutions here and there. But the beauty in Pranay Aggarwal Sir’s class is that the batch size is very limited, personal mentoring and self correction…So try to utilize the classes as well as personal mentoring of Pranay Aggarwal Sir. I am sure about his classes. Definitely, it is going to help you to get good rank and good services. Yes, I will strongly recommend those who have science background like me to take sociology optional in IAS Gurukul. ..and I take this opportunity to thank Pranay Aggarwal Sir for helping me. He is the person who personally mentored me and he did not hesitate to help me till last few days of my journey. Thank you, Pranay Aggarwal Sir.


Rohan Apurv Sinha, IAS Gurukul's Online Sociology Course Student, 2020

Hands down the best sociology optional teacher you would get. He makes you think and not just teach, which is very important for this subject. Best thing is he is available anytime...just call him or ping him, he'll be there and not just for sociology but for whole preparation.


Akhila, IAS Gurukul's Online Sociology Course Student, 2020

I took the online classes. I must say it's really worth of it. It's a 5 🌟 from my side. Sir's dedication and commitment towards the class is 10 on 10.


Abhinav Pareek, IAS Gurukul's Online Sociology Course Student, 2020

Sociology is a subject of diverse opinions and Sir surely knows that. Sir has professionally captured all the colours on the spectrum of sociology. He has holistically covered all the topics, his Class never feels like a burden. He is able to offer a fresh perspective on those topics as well which are intuitively known to us in our daily social lives, which is very useful from the exam point of view. I'm glad I studied from sir.


Dr. Lovely Chaudhary, IAS Gurukul's Online Sociology Course Student, 2020

Being a medical student, I was very unsure whether my choice of sociology as an optional subject for UPSC was good, but the first class itself cleared my doubt of the same. Pranay Sir has made studying sociology a cakewalk. Thank you so much for making it so easy Sir. And also, a huge thanks to the technical team for their very timely responses.


Manika Upadhyaya, IAS Gurukul student in 2018

My experience at IAS Gurukul was marvelous as I enjoyed as well as learnt a lot about Society in a short span of time. Pranay Sir's way of teaching is very unique. He explains a topic really well, provides questions after covering every few topics and dictates notes wherever he finds necessary. Overall his pedagogy is interactive and interdisciplinary.