The district dates back to the Oberamt Tübingen in the state of Württemberg. In 1811 the Oberamt Rottenburg was created, and both were converted into districts in 1934. In 1938 most of the district Rottenburg as well as a few municipalities from the district Herrenberg and Reutlingen were added to the district Tübingen. In 1974 it was enlarged again when some municipalities from the dissolved district Horb were added.
The coat of arms show the banner (gonfalon) of the Counts of Tübingen. In contrast to the coat of arms of the city Tübingen, it is depicted on a spear. The red-and-white colors are chosen to represent the County Hohenberg, which belonged to Austria.