The Department of English was started in 1918 with Prof NG Welingker as its first Head. English was offered as a subject in the Intermediate course. It was introduced in undergraduate courses in 1921. The MA programme was started in 1937 and the MPhil in 1973. The first PhD was conferred in 1965. 


In addition to Arts College, MA English is offered at three constituent colleges— Nizam College; University College for Women, Koti; and Post Graduate College, Secunderabad—and 12 affiliated colleges. 


The department was the first in India to offer American Literature (1956-57), General Linguistics with Spoken English (1972-73), and Commonwealth Literature (1978) in the MA programme. The "Osmania University English Forum” was started in 1960 and it regularly conducts academic discussions. The Osmania Journal of English Studies (OJES), launched in 1962, brings out general as well as special numbers. The department started the “English Language Cell” in 1973 and after the UGC sanctioned the English Language Teaching Centre in 1988, the activities of the Language Cell were taken over by the ELTC.

The department was awarded the UGC Special Assistance Programme (UGC-SAP) in 2009, and after the successful completion of its first phase (DRS-I) in 2014, the second phase (DRS-II) was sanctioned in 2015.

The department has had on its faculty such eminent scholars as Prof Hussain Ali Khan, Prof Syed Abdul Latif, Prof MS Doraiswami, Prof Shiv K Kumar (Padma Bhushan awardee), Prof VK Gokak, Prof Vasanth A Shahane, Prof Isaac Sequeira, Prof M Sivaramakrishna, Prof Satyanarain Singh, Prof RS Sharma, and Prof C Vijayasree.

Prof MS Doraiswami was Vice-Chancellor, Osmania University (1955-57), Prof Shiv K Kumar retired as I/c Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad (1980), Prof Sunaina Singh was the Vice-Chancellor of The English and Foreign Languages University (2012-17) and is currently the Vice-Chancellor of Nalanda University (2017- ), Prof E Suresh Kumar was Registrar of Osmania University (2014-16) and is currently the Vice-Chancellor of The English and Foreign Languages University (2017- ).