Course 3-C Program in Archaeology and Materials

Course 3-C 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 3-C 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 3-C 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 3.020 or 12.119 in the Departmental Program), 1 Subject
Restricted Electives in Science and Technology (REST) Requirement (can be satisfied by 3.010 and 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 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. The MIT Course Catalog also has current information for the 3C degree chart.

Required subjects, 152–162 units

  • 3.010 Structure of Materials, 15, REST
  • 3.020 Thermodynamics of Materials, 12, LAB, CI-M
  • 3.016 Computational Methods for Materials Scientists and Engineers, 12
    OR 18.03, Differential Equations, 12
  • 3.021J Introduction to Modeling and Simulation, 12, REST
    OR 1.00 Engineering Computation and Data Science, 12, REST
    OR 6.01, Introduction to EECS via Robotics, 12
  • 3.030 Microstructural Evolution in Materials, 12, 3.012
  • 3.013 Mechanics 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
  • 3.THU Undergraduate Thesis
  • 12.001 Introduction to Geology, 12
  • 12.119 Analytical Techniques for studying Environmental and Geologic
    Samples, 12
  • 21A.00 Introduction to Anthropology: Comparing Human Cultures, 12, HASS-S

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
  • 3.052 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

Departmental Program units that also satisfy the GIRs (81)

Unrestricted Electives, 69-81 units
Total Units beyond the GIRs Required for S.B. Degree, 180
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