Some of its academic programs are offered as joint degrees or in partnership with foreign universities:
The Ignacio A. Santos School of Medicine (Escuela de Medicina Ignacio A. Santos, aka: EMIS) is the medical school division of the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM). Established in 1978 in Monterrey, Mexico.
The School of Medicine was founded to satisfy the country's need for high quality medical training and innovation in biomedical research. Currently, there are approximately 500 students enrolled in the M.D. program and about 105 postgraduate students. Aside from the medical doctor program, the School of Medicine also offers a joint M.D.-Ph.D. program with Houston Methodist Hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas A&M Health Science Center, and other Bachelors in Nursing, Nutrition Sciences and Biomedical Engineering. The graduate medical education department offers several medical residency and fellowship programs. The general director of the TecSalud organization is Guillermo Torre M.D. PhD, a cardiologist who trained under Michael E. DeBakey MD at Baylor College of Medicine.
Although some of the founding members of its faculty were prominent researchers (first rector León Ávalos y Vez had formed a National Commission on Science and served as director-general of the School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering of the National Polytechnic Institute) formal research activities at the Tech did not start until 1951, when its Institute of Industrial Research was founded in close collaboration with the Southwest Research Institute of San Antonio, Texas —one of the oldest and largest independent, nonprofit, applied research and development organizations in the United States.
Notwithstanding some reputable achievements, throughout most of the 20th century its research activities —normally financed independently or under private sponsorship— were rather scarce in comparison to public universities such as the National Autonomous University of Mexico or the National Polytechnic Institute, whose budgets make up to 30% of the federal spending in higher education and, as such, are heavily financed by the government through the federal budget.
Despite its inherent difficulties to secure research funds in a developing country where private sponsorship barely accounts for 1.1% of the national spending on science, a new institutional mission in 2005 made social and scientific research in Mexico's strategic areas one of its top priorities for the next decade. As a result, new corporate endowments and funds were committed, new research programs were created (including the first research program financed by Google in Latin America) and important labs and infrastructure have been built, such as the US$ 43 million Femsa Biotechnology Center, the Water Center for Latin America and the Caribbean (financed by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Femsa Foundation), the Motorola Research and Development Center on Home & Networks Mobility, its MXN $24 million Center for Advanced Design at the Guadalajara Campus and, in association with the Mainz Institute of Microtechnology of Germany (IMM), the first center of chemical micro process engineering in Latin America.
Additionally, the Institute developed a researcher-friendly patent scheme that aims to attract talented researchers and reduce the national brain drain. The scheme, in which the researcher may receive up to 30% of the patent licensing income, works in combination with its internal MXN$ 100,000 Rómulo Garza Prize and its national MXN$ 200,000 Luis Elizondo Prize and has allowed it to become the leading patent applicant among Mexican universities since 2006.
Student life, traditions and activities vary among campuses. Generally speaking, student involvement is encouraged by the local campus through an office of student affairs and the Department of Leadership and Student Formation (LiFE), which supervises most of the student groups, sports teams, regional associations and its student federation (FETEC).
The Institute goes great lengths to provide scholarships to those in need, awarding partial financial assistance to 49% of its student population. However, with tuition fees of almost MXN $200,000 per academic year (among the highest in Latin America according to Forbes magazine) most of its student community comes from upper and upper-middle class and the overall atmosphere is arguably politically and socially conservative. For example, opposite-sex visits are forbidden in dormitories unless it is in common areas and some high school staff in the Mexico City Campus has publicly admonished students for questioning conservative politicians during school visits (although no disciplinary action was ever taken).
The number of international students vary notably among campuses. As of December 2017[update], 4,714 foreign students were studying in one of its campuses while 10,618 Tech students were taking courses in a foreign university.
Tec has a good record in college athletics, picking up over 18% of the medals at the 2007 national collegiate competition (Universiada) and one of its campuses won every American Football Collegiate Championship in Mexico (ONEFA) from 1998 to 2008. Such accomplishments were possible through the institute's investments in sports facilities and personnel and a well-funded and comprehensive athletic scholarships program, which attracted a significant number of promising athletes but prompted allegations of talent drain by some of its rivals. Before the 2009 season the Institute decided to part ways with the organization and create a new league; however, the league didn't materialize after other breakaway universities decided to remain in the ONEFA. The Institute asked to return to the organization, but the ONEFA Board decided that the request should be formally presented in its next ordinary meeting, after the 2009 season, which its four teams ended up playing between themselves in a Tech-only championship. For the 2010 season, the Institute decided not to participate in the ONEFA championship and, instead, asked the CONADEIP, a national athletic association of private educational institutions, to create an American football championship.
Although there are local adaptations, since 1945 the system-wide sports mascot is the ram (borrego salvaje), traditionally embodied in a male bighorn sheep. A somewhat popular urban legend states that the mascot was chosen by the American football team on its way to a match, after spotting a male sheep on the road. According to the official sources, however, the mascot was chosen during an official contest held by students in the mid-1940s.
From December 2006 to January 2009 both the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the Mexican Secretary of Economy (former Kelloggs' CEO Carlos Gutiérrez and Gerardo Ruiz Mateos) were Tech alumni. Other businesspeople include Cemex' CEO Lorenzo Zambrano, FEMSA's CEO José Antonio Fernández, Grupo Salinas' CEO Ricardo Salinas Pliego Max Appedole film producer, activist and Casa Cuervo's CEO Juan Beckman.
In science and technology, Alexander Balankin, former lecturer at the Mexico City Campus, has received the 2005 UNESCO Science Prize for his works on Fractal Mechanics; Ernesto Enkerlin received UNESCO's 2005 Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation for his involvement in sustainability and two alumni have been members of the United States President's Information Technology Advisory Committee: Pedro Celis (Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft) and Héctor García Molina, former Director of Stanford University's Computer Science Department, 1999 ACM SIGMOD Innovations Award and highest h-index in Computer Science.
At least two late presidential candidates and democracy activists, Luis Donaldo Colosio and Manuel Clouthier, were former graduates. Over a dozen Mexican governors and cabinet members have attended classes at the Tech, including former Secretary of Commerce and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiator Herminio Blanco. In cultural affairs, Gabriel Zaid has distinguished himself as one of the leading Mexican intellectuals of the 20th century and in sports Fernando Platas and Víctor Estrada have both won Olympics medals, while former coach of Mexico's national football team, Miguel Mejía Barón, is in charge of the Football Department at Puebla.
As for staff and faculty, at least two rectors or directors of different universities have been lecturers or members of the staff at the Tech. Luis Ernesto Derbez, a former Foreign Minister, is currently the Rector of the University of the Americas, Puebla. Enrique Cabrero Mendoza is the current head of The National Council for Science and Technology and a former rector of CIDE. In addition, the Ex-Rector Rafael Rangel Sostmann is member of the External Advisory Council of the World Bank Institute.