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A Premier Centre for Technological Education

Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Posted: 30th October 2015 08:19

Formally inaugurated in 1959, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras is a premier centre for technological education, applied research and industrial consultancy in the country.  The institute boasts of 16 departments, nearly 100 laboratories and several advanced research centres.  It is a residential institute with a self-contained campus that is located on a beautiful wooded area of about 250 hectares.

IITM has a long history of international collaboration, and was set up with technical assistance from the German government.  IITM believes that it must continue to interact more closely with other technological institutions, both inside and outside the country.  Exchange-programmes are one such means via which its faculty and students work together with eminent academicians and scholars from around the world.

Campus and Facilities

The campus is located in the heart of Chennai, a historic and diverse city known to be one of the biggest industrial and commercial centres of South India.  The city is a major centre for music, art and culture, and is renowned for its classical dance shows and festivals.  Chennai also has numerous avenues to explore and pursue various sports, which include horse racing, rowing, golf, rugby and cricket.

Well connected to all shopping and tourist destinations, IITM is located 10 km from the Chennai Airport, and 12 km from the Chennai Central Railway station, with public transport facilities available from each of its gates.

Spread over 250 hectares of lush green forest, the campus has 18 hostels, of which three are exclusively for women.  Dining facilities are provided in two centralised halls.  It houses two bank branches (SBI, Canara Bank), a fully-equipped hospital, shopping centres, food shops, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, and cricket, football, hockey and badminton stadiums.  High-speed internet is available across the campus.


Research is a primary focus of the Institute, and IIT Madras equips its faculty and students with the best possible facilities to take on the most challenging research problems. 

The IITM Research Park, modelled on the lines of research parks at Stanford and MIT, is a “knowledge and innovation ecosystem” that lends support to R&D at the institute.  The Research Park provides incubational support in terms of space, mentorship and technological support to IITM start-ups.  The 11 acre park is located adjacent to the local railway station, and boasts of facilities including 160,000 sq-ft of office space, incubation modules, shops, restaurants and cyber cafes.

Besides this, the campus itself houses nearly 100 labs across its 16 departments where faculty and students collaborate.  The IITM Space lab, for instance, is currently working on a satellite project.  IIT Madras provides support in terms of infrastructure, technical advice, mentorship, and administrative co-ordination. 

Academics and Faculty

Rated among the top 70 universities in the world by QS World University Rankings by Subject, IIT Madras is renowned for its strong focus on the values of analytical rigour and logical thinking.  To highlight some of the latest achievements, faculty and research scholars have published more than 1000 papers in refereed journals over the course of the year 2012-13, and the 550-strong faculty pool is known for its keeping up with the latest academic trends and teaching methodologies.

The students are offered courses on a semester basis, and each semester provides for a minimum of 70 instructional days.  The medium of instruction is English, and the students are evaluated on a continuous basis by the faculty.  Final year undergraduate students are usually required to carry out a project, which is evaluated by peer examiners.  These theses are the starting point for many path-breaking research projects.  Finally, the Institute is not limited to enriching technical prowess alone; the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Department of Management Studies are on par with other universities engaged in these fields. 

Office of International Relations (OIR) and iPals

With a strong view at globalising and synergistically integrating IIT Madras with as many academic institutions, industries, entrepreneurs and research labs across the world, the Office of International Relations was set up in 2007 to fully support the efforts of an international community of students.  It was elevated to Dean’s Office of International & Alumni Relations in 2012.

Its main aims are cross-cultural programming, and trying to create a new vista of diverse and stimulating, globally-connected experiences at IITM.  By supporting exchange programs, the OIR office seeks to provide new opportunities and expand the horizons of both Indian students aspiring to go abroad, as well as international students who wish to experience an Indian education at such a premiere institute.  Thanks to the OIR office, at any given time, over 70-80 foreign students reside on campus and 20-30 students away on ‘study aboard’ programs, with this number growing steadily.

IPALS (International Peer Advising Leaders) was formed to help incoming foreign students integrate with the student body more easily, providing a supportive and friendly social platform to help them assimilate to a whole new, astonishing culture.  The IPALS initiative is meant to make to make sure that their stay at IITM is as enjoyable and amazing as possible: ‘buddy programs’ and other such fun activities help break down cultural barriers, enriching their experience of India, and making sure that their stay is as memorable and incredible as possible.

The Student Community at IIT Madras

The student clubs at IIT Madras ensure that there’s something for every kind of interest.  The Literary and Social Activities, informally called LitSoc, cover a large gamut of events, from dramatics and dance to scrabble and crosswords.  Hostels compete year round on different activities to win the LitSoc shield.  There is a similar format event for the different sports played at IITM, called the Schroeter Cup.  This covers events as diverse as hockey and water polo to chess and table tennis.  Student cultural clubs include the Music Club, Fine Arts Club, Choreo (dance) Club and Thespian Club, amongst others.

For those students interested in the technology side of things, the TechSoc or Technical and Social Events, are also organised year round, with inter-hostel competitions.  The heart of innovation on campus, the CFI or Center for Innovation, is an alumni-funded student-run facility housing several clubs including the Auto Club, Aeronautics Club, Electronics Club and 3D Printing club.

For the committed and passionate, IIT Madras offers the chance to compete with the best from other universities across India with student-run festivals – Shaastra, the technology festival, and Saarang, the cultural festival.  From organising to taking part, the whole process is fun, and the spirit of the fests sweeps the college up every January.  There are innumerable other everyday activities, lectures, workshops and fun things that make IIT Madras a great place to be a student. 

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