Is Sociology a Good Optional for UPSC?

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The UPSC aspirant gets to choose the optional subject in the second stage of the examination which is the Mains exam. But with the liberty of choosing the optional subject on your own comes a big dilemma, which subject would be the good optional subject to choose? This choice by default has to be very clear and confident because the optional subject you choose will directly affect your total marks gained in the UPSC Mains paper.

For the students or candidates who belong to a technical background technical subjects like management, engineering, physics, etc. would be a good choice. But for the students who come from a non-technical background or don’t wish to opt for technical subjects the best-considered subject is sociology. You will get to know the UPSC Sociology syllabus in this article, and also what parameters should be kept in mind while choosing a good option for UPSC.

List of Optional Subjects in UPSC

Following is the list of the optional subject provided by the UPSC-CSE Mains examination of IAS Syllabus


Agriculture Civil engineering Geology Mechanical engineering Psychology
Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences Commerce and accountancy History Medical Sciences Public administration
Anthropology Economics Law Philosophy Sociology
Botany Electrical engineering Management Physics Statistics
Chemistry Geography Mathematics Political Science and International Relations Zoology


Why is Sociology a Good Optional Subject for UPSC?

Students widely consider Sociology optional as a good option. There are many reasons for choosing a sociology subject as optional for UPSC.

  • No background required:

There is no specific requirement of having an academic background in sociology. There are no technical points being discussed in the Sociology subject and hence it can be easily prepared by students having any educational background. There is not any requirement of having any pre-existing knowledge for opting for a sociology subject.

  • Short Syllabus:

Due to its short and concise syllabus, the sociology optional subject has fewer time constraints than other optional subjects like International Relations, History,  Geography, and Indian Polity.

  • Scoring Subject:

UPSC IAS exam results are determined by the score obtained in the optional subject. It is quite common to see that the students choosing sociology as optional can easily score marks between 270 to 310, and this is indeed an important aspect of the clearance.

  • Useful in Essay Writing:

An important aspect of sociology optional is that it helps the students with essays as well. An essay is dynamic and requires a strong understanding of several Indian as well as Global aspects. When you choose sociology as an optional subject then you automatically connect to the points related to case studies, sociological studies, data analysis, etc.

  • Useful in Interviews:

Taking sociology optional will help you to sit confidently in the interview of UPSC-CSE as you will be able to provide impressive answers mostly related to the social issues that affect the government and how they impact the society. Furthermore, it makes it possible to analyze a topic from a variety of perspectives and helps you to develop a good analysis.

  • Easy to Understand

If you prepare well for 3 to 5 months then you can Excel sociology very quickly. There are many good books and notes available for the toppers as well as the aspirants which you can follow to complete the course within the period of 3 to 5 months. After that, you can spend a lot of your significant time revising the topics.

  • Useful in GS Paper 1 &2

Also choosing sociology as the optional subject will help you to appear for GS papers 1 and 2 as the topics like religion, social movements, kinship, etc are common once in both papers. As a result, you can cover two topics simultaneously in one session and it will take a short time to cover these topics.

So to conclude sociology optional is, therefore, a good option to choose if one wants to score well in the UPSC exam.


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