The Department of Sociology was established by the University of Delhi in 1959 as a constituent of the Delhi School of Economics. To begin with, the Department trained students for two courses: M.A. and Ph.D. In 1966 a two-year course for the M.Litt. degree was introduced. This has been replaced since 1976 by an M.Phil. degree course of a year's duration. In 1968, the Department was recognised as a Centre of Advanced Study (CAS) in Sociology by the University Grants Commission (UGC). The department receives a renewable five-year grant from the UGC under the CAS scheme. The UGC also provided a five-year grant under its ASHISS (Assistance for Strengthening of the Infrastructure of the Humanities and Social Sciences) program for departmental infrastructure as well as research on State and Society. At present the strength of the faculty includes eight Professors, ten Readers, one Lecturer, and two Research Associates. In addition, there are eleven members in the office staff.
The Department has a coordinated programme of teaching and research covering a variety of fields, including some developed for the first time in the country. Studies have been published or prepared on community power structures, local-level politics, trade unions, co-operatives, textual and contextual studies of Hinduism, religious symbolism, family and kinship, and social and religious movements. Studies have also been conducted in the fields of stratification, gender, environment, the sociology of development, historical sociology, urban sociology, and medical sociology. The sociology of masculinity, demography, popular culture, education, migration, the sociology of violence and documentary practices of the state are some of the new areas that faculty members are working on at present.
The Department has been visited by a large number of distinguished scholars from India and abroad, who have delivered lectures and given seminars, some of them as Visiting Professors and Fellows. The faculty of the Department has also been associated with many institutions in India and elsewhere as Visiting Professors and Fellows, and as participants in seminars and conferences. The Department draws students from different parts of India and universities abroad for all its courses.