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As one of the finest institutions for technical education and research, IIT Madras has a tradition of academic excellence and innovation. The academic atmosphere at the Institute is a rare blend of modern day technical skills and the traditional emphasis on imparting knowledge. Faculty as well as the students from the Institute have always done the country proud through their outstanding achievements and leadership qualities. Students get exposed to the highest quality of engineering education and research as well as an environment that instills in them a high calibre to achieve in whatever field they choose. The faculty of the institute have distinguished themselves through awards for academic activity from national as well as international organizations. A number of conferences, symposia and workshops are organized by the faculty which attract participation from scholars all over the world.
The institute has sixteen academic departments and some specialized research centres that carry out the various academic activities which includes 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 institute maintains academic friendship with several other educational institutes in the world through faculty and student exchange programs. The Institute has signed Memoranda Of Understanding (MOU) with several universities abroad, resulting in co-operative projects and assignments for mutual benefit. Select students get to spend a full semester in the partner institutions like NTU and NUS as well as through the German program, DAAD.
The academic curriculum requires the students to opt for various elective courses within their department. This gives them a broader perspective of the various research fields in their chosen branch. Also, students can take up electives and/or audit courses from departments other than their core area of specialization. For this end, the institute has a Minor Stream program included in the curriculum wherein students can take up courses in Humanities, Management Sciences or other engineering and scientific disciplines.
The rigours of academic study at each level are balanced with a number co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. Special lectures on varied topics of academic relevance are held under the Extra Mural Lecture series. The enterprising spirit of the students is brought to the fore in the world-famous annual technical festival of IIT Madras, the ISO-certified Shaastra, which has become synonymous with engineering excellence and innovation. IITM's annual cultural festival, Saarang is well known for its popularity across the country. Many departments also have their own technical festivals to foster the spirit of engineering. There are also various academic hobby clubs like Robotics, Physics, Astronomy for students to pursue what interests them.
IIT Madras has set a fine example of interaction with the industry, through consultancy services offered by the faculty. Innovative ideas are put to practice in many projects sponsored by other institutions. Also many firms have partnership agreements with the institute for joint research and development.
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. The institute follows the Cumulative Grade Point Average system. The CGPA is on a scale of 0 to 10. Each course carries a certain number of credits (usually ranging from 1 to 4) and the following letter grades are awarded to the students for each course on completion..
The CGPA is computed as the cumulative credit-weighted average of the grade points: