The son of Dr. Otto Kohlschütter (1807–1853), he studied medicine at the University of Leipzig. In 1862 he earned his doctorate with an influential dissertation on "sleep depth" titled Messungen der Festigkeit des Schlafes. With help from Theodor Weber (1829–1914), he was able to remain in Leipzig as an assistant at the university polyclinic. Later he received his habilitation at the University of Halle, becoming a privat-docent of internal medicine and subsequently a lecturer in balneology .
He participated in the Franco-Prussian War, and in 1875 became an associate professor at the University of Halle. Although he never attained the title of "full professor" during his career, he remained at Halle as a lecturer. Meanwhile he worked at a private medical practice and was devoted to many social and political concerns. In 1892 he was appointed Councillor (Gemeinderat) in Halle. He died in 1905 at Bad Salzschlirf.