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The departments and centres of the Institute are responsible for the academic activities which include Teaching, Research and Industrial Consultancy.

The courses of study are organized on semester programs and each semester provides for a minimum of seventy instructional days. The medium of instruction is English. Students are evaluated on a continuous basis throughout the semester. Evaluation is done by the faculty, a consequence of the autonomous status granted to the Institute. Research work is evaluated on the basis of the review thesis by peer examiners both from within the country and abroad. Ordinances in respect of the academic program of study are prepared by the senate, the highest academic body within the Institute.

The rigors of academic study at each level are balanced with a number of other related activities which include co-curricular activities. Special lectures on varied topic of academic relevance are held under the Extra Mural Lecture series.

A number of conferences, symposia and workshops are organized by the faculty which attract participation from scholars all over the world.

The Institute maintains academic friendship with several other educational institutes in the world through faculty exchange programs. The Institute has signed Memoranda Of Understanding (MOUs) with several universities abroad, resulting in co-operative projects and assignments for mutual benefit.

The faculty of the Institute have distinguished themselves through awards for academic activity from national as well as international organizations.

IIT Madras has set a fine example of interaction with the industry in the country, through consultancy services offered by the faculty. Innovative ideas are put to practice in many projects sponsored by other institutions in India.

The academic atmosphere at the Institute is a rare blend of modern day technical skills and the traditional emphasis on imparting knowledge. The faculty as well as the students who have qualified from the Institute have always done the country proud through their outstanding achievements and leadership qualities.