The Regional Engineering College, Warangal was the first to be established (in 1959) among the chain of 15 Regional Engineering Colleges in the country.[3] The approval of the Government of India to establish one of the RECs meant for the southern region of Warangal was conveyed to the State Government through its letter no .F 11- 5/ 58- T. 5 dated 30 January 1959. The Government of Andhra Pradesh through G. O. Ms. No. 2440 (Education Department) dated 15 July 1959 constituted the first board of Governors of the Regional Engineering College, Warangal, appointing Dr. D.S. Reddy (then Vice-Chancellor of Osmania University) as the chairman. The foundation stone for the college was laid by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on 10 October 1959 in Kazipet. The classes for the first batch of students in Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering branches commenced on 12 September 1959 in temporary sheds erected in the Balasamudram area of Hanamkonda. Later temporary sheds were also erected in the Industrial Colony of Warangal for conducting lecture classes. Laboratory classes and workshop classes were conducted in the Government Polytechnic, Warangal in the initial stages. The conduction of classes on the premises of the permanent site in Kazipet commenced in January 1963.

The bachelor's programme in Chemical Engineering was initiated in 1964.[4] The following year saw the start of the Metallurgical Engineering programme. In 1971, the college started the undergraduate program in Electronics and Communication Engineering. BTech in Computer Science & Engineering was started in 1983 and MTech in Computer Science & Engineering in 1987.[5] In 2006, the institute started a bachelor's program in Biotechnology.[6]

In 1976, its affiliation was changed from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University to Kakatiya University, with which it remained affiliated until the institute was granted deemed university status in 2002.[7]

In 1994, the institute was selected by the Overseas Development Administration of the UK for exchange programs between the UK and India in the field of information technology. This program ran till 1999. In 2000, the institute started its MBA program.

In 2001, a centre of Software Technology Parks of India was opened in its campus.

In September 2002, the college was renamed as National Institute of Technology and was given deemed university status. NITW was given the status of Institute of National Importance (INI) on 15 August 2007.