Course 3C Program in Archaeology and Materials

Course 3C serves students who have a specific interest in archaeology and archaeological science. It aims to afford students a broad exposure to fields that contribute fundamental theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of ancient and historic societies. Primary fields include anthropological archaeology, geology, and materials science and engineering. The program enriches knowledge of past- and present-day non-industrial societies by making the natural and engineering sciences part of the archaeological toolkit. Course 3C is administered by faculty and staff within CMRAE, the Center for Materials Research in Archaeology & Ethnology.

Participation by undergraduates in laboratory work is a key part of the curriculum. Many of the subjects include a laboratory component and students may also participate in UROP and summer fieldwork. In addition to Departmental facilities, students work within the Undergraduate Archaeology and Materials Laboratory, and the CMRAE facilities.

Course 3C focuses on the following:

  • Understanding ancient societies through study of the structure and properties of archaeological materials
  • Peoples' interaction with materials
  • Objects that such interactions produced
  • Environmental setting within which the materials were used
  • Broad exposure to fields that contribute fundamental theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of ancient and historic societies
  • Archaeology
  • Materials Science & Engineering
  • Geology

Curriculum in Archaeology & Materials for Students

General Institute Requirements (GIRs)

Laboratory Requirement (can be satisfied by 3.014 or 12.119 in the Departmental Program), 1 Subject
Restricted Electives in Science and Technology (REST) Requirement (can be satisfied by 3.012, 3.021J, or 12.001 in the Departmental Program), 2 Subjects
Science Requirement, 6 Subjects
Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Requirement (can be satisfied by 3.986, 3.987, 3.985J, 21A.100 and 3.982 or 3.983 or 3.988 in the Departmental Program), 8 Subjects
Total GIR Subjects Required for S.B. Degree, 17 Subjects

Communication Requirement

The program includes a Communication Requirement of 4 subjects: 2 subjects designated as Communication Intensive in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CI-H) and 2 subjects designated as Communication Intensive in the Major (CI-M).


Departmental Program Units

Subject names below are followed by credit units, and by prerequisites or corequisites. See the MIT Bulletin or the MIT Open Course Ware site for further information on the Course III offerings.

Required subjects, 152–162 units

  • 3.012 Fundamentals of Materials Science, 15, REST
  • 3.014 Materials Laboratory, 12, LAB, CI-M
  • 3.016 Mathematical Methods for Materials Scientists and Engineers, 8, 18.02
    OR 18.03, Differential Equations, 12, 18.02, REST
    OR 18.034, Differential Equations, 12, 18.02, REST
  • 3.021J Introduction to Modeling and Simulation, 12, 3.016 OR 18.03*, REST
    OR 1.00 Intro. to Computers and Engineering Problem Solving, 12, 18.01, REST
    OR 6.001, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, 15, REST
    OR 3.016 Mathematical Methods for Materials Scientists and Engineers, 12, 18.02
  • 3.022 Microstructural Evolution in Materials, 12, 3.012
  • 3.032 Mechanical Properties of Materials, 12, 3.016*
    OR 3.044 Materials Processing, 12, 3.022, 3.016*
  • 3.Th.U Thesis, 9–12 units per student's choice, CI-M
  • 3.985J Archaeological Science, 9, HASS, 3.091*
  • 3.986 The Human Past: Introduction to Archaeology, 12, HASS-D
  • 3.987 Human Origins and Evolution, 9, HASS
  • 3.990 Sem. in Archaeological Method & Theory,6,3.986,3.985J, 21A.100 12.001 Introduction to Geology, 12, REST
  • 12.110 Sedimentary Geology, 12, 12.001
    OR 12.119 Analytical Techniques for studying Environmental and Geologic
    Samples, 12, LAB
  • 21A.100 Introduction to Anthropology, 12, HASS-D

Restricted Electives, 21–24 units

One subject from the following list. Substitution of similar subjects may be permitted by petition.

  • 3.07 Introduction to Ceramics, 12, 3.012
  • 3.14 Physical Metallurgy, 12, 3.012, 3.022, 3.032
  • 3.051J Materials for Biomedical Applications, 12, 3.091*, 7.012*, 3.012
  • 3.052 Nanomechanics of Materials and Biomaterials, 12, 3.032

One subject from the following list:

  • 3.982 The Ancient Andean World, 9, HASS
  • 3.983 Ancient Mesoamerican Civilization, 9, HASS
  • 3.984 Materials in Ancient Societies, 12
  • 3.988 Africa – Past and Present, 9, HASS

Departmental Program units that also satisfy the GIRs (90)

Unrestricted Electives, 97 units
Total Units beyond the GIRs Required for S.B. Degree, 180–193
No subject can be counted both as part of the 17-subject GIRs and as part of the units required beyond the GIRs. Every subject in the student’s departmental program will count towards one or the other, but not both.

*Alternative prerequisites are listed in the subject description

The NanoLab and LAM have been part of DMSE’s space at MIT since Building 8 was constructed. Originally, they were used for pyrometallurgy and were two stories tall.