College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering came from the Chemistry Department founded in 1946 in the then National Lanzhou University. A solid foundation was laid for the department in the early time by the pioneering work of a group of well-known scholars returning from abroad (Zhang Huaipu, Yuan Hanqing, Chang Linding, Ge Fuxiang, Fang Cheng, Zuo Zongqi, Chen Shiwei, Wang Luowen, etc). In the 1950s and early 60s, more experts either retuning from abroad or coming from other parts of China, such as Cheng Pu, Wei Jingquan, Liu Youcheng, Zhu Ziqing, Huang Wenkui, Chen Yaozu, greatly strengthened the faculty in both chemistry teaching and research.

In 1954, the Chemistry Department started its postgraduate program. From 1957, however, the development of the department was severely affected by a series of political movements across the whole country. But many faculty members in the department continued their teaching and research work, thus making extraordinary contributions to the quick recovery and fast development of the disciplines of chemistry in Lanzhou University.

After 1976, the Chemistry Department enjoyed a glorious period. With the support from government funding agencies, the Research Institute of Organic Chemistry (1978), the Center of Instrumental Analysis (1982) and the State Key Laboratory of Applied Organic Chemistry (1986) were successively established. In July, 1998, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering was founded from the Chemistry Department.

Current research fields include Organic chemistry, Inorganic chemistry, Analytical chemistry, Physical chemistry and Polymer science, etc.

Organic chemistry: Organic chemistry is the national key discipline. It is gearing up reinforce frontier and interdisciplinary areas while maintaining its traditional characteristics and advantages. Currently the following 4 research areas are especially emphasized: organic synthesis methodology, total synthesis of natural products, bioorganic chemistry and organic material chemistry.

Inorganic chemistry: Its characteristics lie in rare earths chemistry, including coordination chemistry of rare earths, separation chemistry of rare earths, bioinorganic chemistry of rare earths and nanomaterial chemistry.

Analytical chemistry: It focuses on the crucial issues relevant to bioanalytical chemistry, including separation on micro-nano scale, HPLC, electrochemical analysis, novel nanoprobes and chemoinformatics.

Physical chemistry: This discipline includes catalytic chemistry, electrochemistry, computational chemistry, energy chemistry, functional nanomaterials, photochemistry and photophysics, solution and colloid chemistry.

Polymer chemistry and physics: It promotes the interdisciplinary fields between polymer science and material science, life science, agriculture and forestry, and environmental science. The main research areas include high performance polymers and functional polymer engineering.

After more than 70 years of development with the persistent efforts of several generations, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering now has an outstanding teaching and research team. The chemistry discipline belongs to the key construction disciplines of national “985 Project” and “211 Project”. In September, 2017, chemistry was selected in the “double first class” construction disciplines list of China. The college enjoys the reputation of nurturing students who made significant impacts upon graduation and made excellent research achievements. It has now become a fundamental base in the western China for scientific research and for the training of high-level talents for the chemical industry.