The RWTH Aachen was founded in 1870 as the "Royal Rhinelandian-Westphalian Polytechnic School" in Aachen. From this time it was possible to study chemistry in the department entitled "Technical College for Chemical Technology and Metallurgy". Three lectureships were then planned for chemistry: Hans Heinrich Landoldt, previously a Professor in Berlin, had already been appointed as the head of the chemistry section in 1869. Johann Karl Friedrich Stahlschmidt, previously of the Trades Academy of Berlin, followed in 1870 as the "Full Lecturer for Technical Chemistry and Metallic Construction", and in the same year Alexander Claßen as the "Extraordinary Lecturer for Pure Chemistry". Landoldt's professorship was separated into two chairs (later named as such) on his departure from Aachen in 1880, occupied by August Michaelis (from 1883 "Organic Chemistry") and Alexander Claßen (from 1883 "Unorganic Chemistry"). Claßen, one of the founders of analytical electrochemistry, was additionally in 1897 named "Professor of Electrochemistry". Finally, in the year 1906 physical chemistry was similarly furnished with a chair of "Theoretical Metallurgy and Physical Chemistry", which was occupied by Rudolf Schenck. In the institutes developed from these beginnings, such famous researchers and teachers as the world-renowned organic chemist Ludwig Claisen (a follower of Michaelis) and subsequently Julius Bredt, the inorganic chemist Alfred Benrath (a follower of Claßen), the chemical physicist Rudolf Ruer (a follower of Schenk), and the technical chemist Oskar Rau (a follower of Stahlschmidt) and subsequently Walter Fuchs were all active as chairs. Since the 1950s seven further chairs have followed those created before the middle of the 20th Century (those founded in the time of National Socialism were partially motivated by political restructuring).

In the year 1899 the RWTH (from now on a "Technische Hochschule") gained the right to award Ph.D. degrees, and thus university status. Until the year 1940 chemistry was not united with mathematics and physics in a single faculty, but instead found itself associated with mining and metallurgy. This historical situation still is evident to this day, and has resulted in a structural situation relatively unusual for a university. For example, in 1934 the chairs for physical chemistry and theoretical metallurgy were formally separated, and as a consequence henceforth a separate chair of physical chemistry was established. From 1940, however, chemistry existed as a monolithic department (instead of three separate ones)as part of the "Faculty of Natural Sciences and related subjects", which in turn was renamed in 1961 as the "Faculty of General Science", in 1965 the "Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences", and from 21 May 1999 as the "Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences". From 1965 the third subject area in this faculty, namely that for economic and cultural sciences separated, and the departments of chemistry and biology joined with the department of mathematics and physics. The current structure of the faculty has been in place since 1986. From this time, the Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences consists of five departments, namely mathematics, physics, computer science, chemistry and biology.