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 on, 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, being awarded the Kriegsdenkmünze für die Feldzüge 1870–71 for his efforts. In 1875 he 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, and in the meantime, worked at a private medical practice and was devoted to many social and political concerns. He was involved in the creation of Volksküchen (soup kitchens) and Volkskaffeehallen (people's coffee halls), and along with political economist Johannes Conrad, he opened a popular reading room in Halle. In 1880 he founded a holiday camp at Güntersberge in the Harz Mountains for needy, financially disadvantaged children. In 1892 he was appointed councillor (Gemeinderat) in Halle.
- Messungen der Festigkeit des Schlafes, 1863.
- De corporis pondere per typhvm abdominalem mvtato meditationes : ad veniam docendi, 1866.
- Die Epidemieen der Stadt Halle an der Saale in den Jahren 1852-1871, (with Kurt Weineck, C. E. M. Pfeffer), 1872.
- "Lecture by Professor Kohlschütter on Dr. Louis Weigert's method of treating consumption" ; translation from the stenographic report for the Vienna Internationale Klinische Rundschau. (1889, in English).
-  Pagel: Biographisches Lexikon des hervorragender Ärzte neunzehnten Jahrhunderts. Berlin, Vienna, 1901, Sp. 892nd
- Parts of this article are based on a translation of an equivalent article at the German Wikipedia.
-  Arousal threshold determination in 1862: Kohlschütter’s Measurements on the Firmness of Sleep
- Ernst Kohlschütter at Catalogus Professorum Halensis
- Ernst Otto Heinrich Kohlschütter (1837-1905) BÜRGER.STIFTUNG.HALLE
- Bildung im Vorübergehen: Ernst Kohlschütter - Verdienter Arzt und Kommunalpolitiker
- OCLC WorldCat published works