A Service-Object Pair (SOP) Class is defined by the union of an IOD and a DIMSE Service Group. The SOP Class definition contains the rules and semantics which may restrict the use of the services in the DIMSE Service Group and/or the Attributes of the IOD.

The selection of SOP Classes is used by Application Entities to establish an agreed set of capabilities to support their interaction. This negotiation is performed at association establishment time as described in PS 3.7. An extended negotiation allows Application Entities to further agree on specific options within a SOP Class.

Note: The SOP Class as defined in the DICOM Information Model is equivalent in ISO/OSI terminology to the Managed Object Class. Readers familiar with object oriented terminology will recognize the SOP Class operations (and notifications) as comprising the methods of an object class.


DICOM defines two types of SOP Classes, Normalized and Composite. Normalized SOP Classes are defined as the union of a Normalized IOD and a set of DIMSE-N Services. Composite SOP Classes are defined as the union of a Composite IOD and a set of DIMSE-C Services.

Note: SOP Class Specifications play a central role for defining DICOM conformance requirements. It allows DICOM Application Entities to select a well-defined application level subset of the DICOM V3.0 Standard to which they may claim conformance. See PS 3.2.