The modern Faculty of Chemistry, an institution of the Belgrade University, developed from "Licej" (Lyceum) (1838-1863) and "Velika škola" (Advanced School) (1863-1905). "Licej" had two classes at first: Philosophical and Legal. In 1853 a new class was formed at "Licej" - it was a scientific-technical class which, among other branches of science, started studying chemistry. The first chemistry professor was Mihailo Rašković (1827-1872). In 1853 he started teaching inorganic and organic chemistry and chemical technology and conducting practice work in the chemistry laboratory which he had set up earlier the same year. If professorship, regular tuition, a laboratory and a modest library can be regarded as the minimum which defines a department, then the year 1853 can be considered as the year when the Department of Chemistry was founded - the antecedent of the modern Faculty of Chemistry.
The chemical laboratory of "Licej" was placed in the basement of "Knjeginja Ljubica's Konak", where "Licej" was situated till 1863. That year "Licej" became "Velika škola" (Advanced School) with three faculties (the Faculty of Philosophy, the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Technology) and moved to Captain Miša's Edifice (the building of the Rectorate on Studentski Trg today). "Velika škola" (Advanced School) existed till 1905 when it became the University. During the three decades chemistry studies underwent various reorganizational changes which were the results of the changes within the inner structure of "Velika škola". Chemistry and chemical technology studies were organized at the Faculty of Technology during the first period, although the students of the other two faculties studied these disciplines as well. The Department of Chemistry, situated in a small building within the yard of Captain Miša's Edifice, had a lecture hall, a study room and large chemistry laboratory with 12 workplaces. After the 1873 Reform, the Faculty of Philosophy was divided into two departments: The Department of History and Philology and the Department of Science and Mathematics which had chemistry as one of its parts. Since 1880 chemistry was only studied at the Department of Science and Mathematics of the Faculty of Philosophy. Another reform in 1896 divided the Faculty of Philosophy into four departments, one of which was the Department of Science and Chemistry and which was in charge of the chemistry studies. The further development of the Faculty of Philosophy soon led to another division into 11 groups in 1900 and one of those groups was of both physics and chemistry. For a short period of time it was called the Group of Physics and Chemistry of the Department of Science and Mathematics.
In 1872 Sima M. Lozanić (1847-1935) succeeded Professor Rašković, and he was a Chemistry Professor at "Velika škola" and the University for over half a century. He was also the rector of "Velika škola", the chairman of the University Committee and the rector of the University, the chairman of Serbian Science Academy for two mandates, and he held some other important official positions.
Apart from his considerable contribution to various chemistry fields (he is still a highly quoted author in chemistry books) his major achievement is the development of chemistry and chemistry teaching in Serbia. Owing to his reputation and position at "Velika škola", and later at the University, S. M. Lozanić was in the position to use each reform to improve chemistry teaching and scientific work at the University, which made it possible for chemistry in Serbia to keep pace with the chemistry studies at other European universities. It was possible mostly owing to his course books on inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, chemical technology and analytical chemistry which were not only at European level, but even more advanced in some areas. Thus, Lozanić's course book in inorganic chemistry was the first European university course book to mention Mendeleev's Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements and one of the first to contain a chapter on thermochemistry. In his organic chemistry course books compounds are represented using structural formulae and the classification is done according to the functional groups.
In 1905 "Velika škola" was reorganized into a university in the tradition of other European universities. The reorganized Faculty of Philosophy had 15 groups, one of which being the Chemistry Group, and the chemical laboratory grew into the Chemical Institution of the University, which later, in 1924, became the Chemical Institute. In 1927, the Faculty of Philosophy was further divided into 27 groups, two of which were the Chemistry Group and the Practical Chemistry Group.
A new Chemical Institute building was built after the First World War in the same place where the old chemical laboratory had been - in the back part of Captain Miša's Edifice. It had three laboratories for students with 24 workplaces, a lecture hall with 240 seats, two studies for professors and two studies for assistants, a library and a several small specialized laboratories. Although it was more modest than the one which S. M. Lozanić had planned before the war and which was supposed to be built and organized in the tradition of the contemporary chemical institutes in Germany, it contributed significantly to the development of chemistry teaching at the University of Belgrade.
After the Second World War the teaching activities at the Faculty of Philosophy were resumed in the autumn of 1945. Soon after, in 1947 the Department of Science and Mathematics at the Faculty of Philosophy became the Faculty of Science and Mathematics. The fact that it was a separate faculty at that point, as well as its moving into a new building at 16 Studentski trg made it possible for the Faculty to further develop, in terms of organization, in the direction it had been developing with the previous reforms of "Velika škola" and the Faculty of Philosophy. In the early 1970s the Faculty of Science and Mathematics was divided into relatively independent departments which grew into corresponding faculties in the late 80s. With this process, chemistry was included in the Department of Chemistry and Physical-Chemical Studies which consisted of two institutes - the Chemistry Institute and Physical-Chemical Institute. There were five chairs (of inorganic, organic and analytical chemistry, chemistry of natural products and applied chemistry). In this way the chairs were given the responsibility of organizing educational and scientific work. Short time after the departments have grown into the faculties, the Physical Chemistry Institute became a separate faculty - the Faculty of Physical Chemistry and the Chemistry Institute (the Chemistry Department) became the modern Faculty of Chemistry.
S. M. Lozanić was the only chemistry teacher at "Velika škola". He taught inorganic and organic chemistry at University. When new courses were introduced into chemistry studies at University, new teachers came as well. Before the war they were: Miloje Stojiljković, who taught physical chemistry since 1903, Milivoje Lozanić, who taught stereochemistry and analytical chemistry since 1908, and Milorad Jovičić, who taught physiological chemistry from 1907-1909.
The first chemistry assistant was appointed in 1921, after the First World War. It was Vukić Mićović (1896-1981) who was later elected as a docent in 1931 and as an associate professor in 1938.
S. M. Lozanić retired in 1924, and his son, M. S. Lozanić (1878-1963), who had been elected as a docent of chemistry at the University of Belgrade in 1908, took over the inorganic and organic chemistry teaching.
Right after the Second World War the teaching staff at the Chemistry Institute consisted of two lecturers and one assistant: full professor Milivoje Lozanić, associate professor Vukić Mićović and assistant Sergije Lebedev. The very next year two associate professors were elected, Djordje Stefanović (1904-1986) and Svetozar Jovanović (1895-1951). The foundation of the Faculty of Science and Mathematics and its later relocation into the new building influenced to a great extent the development of the Chemical Institute and the increase in the number of lecturers and assistants.
Four professors of the Faculty of Chemistry are members of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.