The Department of Precision Instrument of Tsinghua University was derived from School of Mechanical Engineering of Tsinghua University. Founded in 1932, there were Division of Motive Power Engineering, Division of Machine Manufacturing Engineering and Division of Aircraft and Automobile Engineering (renamed as Division of Aviation Engineering in 1934) at the beginning of its foundation. Due to the limit of conditions, the Division of Engineering of Machine Manufacturing wasn’t truly established until 1936.
In the wave of department adjustment in 1952, both Department of Mechanical Engineering of Peking University and Yenching University were incorporated into Department of Mechanical Engineering of Tsinghua University and the latter was divided into Department of Machine Manufacturing and Department of Motive Power Machine. There were four majors under Department of Machine Manufacturing at that time, that is, Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering, Metal-cutting Machine Tool and Instrument, FoundryMachinery and Engineering as well as Pressure of Metal Processing and Processing Machinery. In 1956, Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering as well as Metal-cutting Machine Tool and Instrument were incorporated into Mechanical Manufacturing Technology as well as Metal-cutting Machine Tool and Instrument. In 1958, Precision Instrument Manufacturing was added to the Department of Machine Manufacturing.
In 1960, Department of Machine Manufacturing was divided into Department of Precision Instrument and Machine Manufacturing and Department of Metallurgy. There were three majors under the Department of Precision Instrument and Machine Manufacturing at that time, that is, Metal-cutting Machine Tool and Automation (renamed as Mechanical Manufacturing Technology and Equipment in 1963), Precision Instrument and Optical Instrument.
Department of Precision Instrument and Machine Manufacturing was renamed as Department of Precision Instrument in 1971 and the major of Precision Instrument renamed again as Gyroscope Navigation and Automatic Control. In the wave of specialty adjustment of key engineering colleges affiliated to the Ministry of the Education in 1979, there were three majors under Department of Precision Instrument at that time, which are, Mechanical Manufacturing Technology, Equipment and Automation, Optical Instrument, as well as Gyroscope Instrument and Navigation Automatic Control.
In 1984, the Department of Precision Instrument was renamed as the current Department of Precision Instrument and Mechanology with three majors，namely Machinery Design and Manufacture, Optical Instrument and Precision Instrument. In 1989, Optical Instrument and Precision Instrument merged as Precision Instruments (renamed as Measurement and Control Technology and Instruments in 1995). The Industrial Engineering was added to the Department of Precision Instrument in 1997 (the Department of Industrial Engineering was established in 2001).
The first national key laboratory (National Key Laboratory of Tribology) of Tsinghua University was established in 1988, joint National Key Laboratory of Precision Measurement Technology and Instruments with Tianjin University was established in 1995,Optical Memory National Engineering Research Center （OMNERC）was established in 1996 and CIMS National Engineering Research Center was co-established with Department of Automation and Department of Mechanical Engineering in 1999.
Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems Engineering was added to Department of Precision Instrument in 2004 and its unified enrollment shall be conducted according to the standard of “Manufacturing Automation and Measurement and Control Technology”. The first two years are for basic platform courses and the cultivation in third year was divided into three specialized directions: “Mechanical Engineering and Automation”, “Measurement and Control Technology and Instruments” and “Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems Engineering”.
In 2012, Department of Precision Instruments and Mechanology recruited students by majors of “Mechanical Engineering and Automation (Department of Precision Instrument)” and “Measurement and Control Technology and Instruments”.
In order to promote the development of the disciplines of instrument and optics, Tsinghua University decided to found the Department of Precision Instrument based on the instrumental science and technology of precision instrument and mechanology and discipline of optical engineering in December 2012.