A simple method for the determination of stiffness matrices for the family of C0 continuous tetrahedral elements is presented. For all the elements of a given order, irrespective of their sizes and material properties just two basic matrices of numbers are obtained once and for all globally and stored as data to programmes. These are then manipulated in a simple manner to yield stiffness matrices of the elements taking into account their sizes and material properties. Numerical integration is totally avoided. At the end of the paper a short FORTRAN listing for the generation of the stiffness matrices of linear strain tetrahedra (easily modified to other order elements) as well as the basic matrices appropriate to constant, linear and quadratic strain tetrahedra are appended for immediate use. © 1983.