Established on October 1, 1933 as University Department of Chemical Technology (popularly called UDCT) of the University of Bombay (now Mumbai), with the noble intention of advancing India's knowledge reserves in chemical science and technology, the Institute has grown to become a premier (deemed) university devoted to education, training, research and industrial collaboration in chemical engineering, chemical technology, applied chemistry, pharmacy, biotechnology and bio-processing. The then UDCT grew in stature over the years and was granted partial autonomy by the University of Mumbai in 1985, which was taken to the next echelon under the concept of autonomy propagated by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Due to its size and spread of activities, it was converted into University Institute of Chemical Technology (UICT) on 26th January, 2002 and under the TEQIP of the World Bank it was granted full autonomy in 2004. Upon strong recommendation of the UGC through a peer review process, the autonomous institute status was finally converted in to a Deemed-to-be-University by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Govt. of India, on 12 September 2008. Seven convocations have so far taken place in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Based on its stellar performance over the years, the Government of Maharashtra granted it the Elite Status and Centre of Excellence in the State Assembly on April 20, 2012. This is a singular distinction accorded to any institute in the entire country and speaks volumes about the achievements of the ICT.