The Institute of English Studies has been an integral part of the University of Lodz except between 1951-1957. In the beginning, the Institute was located on 65 Kościuszki Street and it operated as the Department of English Philology. Dr Tadeusz Grzebieniowski (1894-1973), formerly an underground teacher during World War II and an English lector at the Warsaw School of Commerce (Szkoła Główna Handlowa), was appointed professor in 1949, and became the Head of the Department. At that time over one hundred students studied English at the Department of English Philology.
At the beginning of the 1950s all schools of English in Poland, excluding that in Warsaw , were closed by the Communist authorities and their academic staff were redistributed to the capital. Officially, Prof. Grzebieniowski had already moved to Warsaw in 1950. Still, he continued to give lectures to a group of 30 students in Lodz until 1953.

The School of English in Lodz reopened in 1957 with Prof. Grzebieniowski as its Head. When he retired in 1964, Witold Ostrowski, PhD (1914-2006) replaced him. Ostrowski was one of the most prominent Polish specialists in the field of English literature. In 1969 he became professor extraordinarius, and in 1977 professor ordinarius. During his term, the School of English moved to 65 Kościuszki Street and in 1973 it was transformed into the Institute of English Studies. At that time, it had three departments: English Language, English Literature and Methodology of English Teaching.

Prof. Ostrowski was in charge of the Institute until November 1981. He was replaced by docent Irena Janicka-Świderska. Janicka-Świderska, who became professor ordinarius in 1992, was one of the most distinguished people in the field of literary science at the Institute. She was a great supporter of theatrical activity among the students – she lectured on English drama as early as the 1960s. Students of English at Lodz University frequently presented their dramatic skills, for example, in 1991 at the Festiwal Teatrów Anglojęzycznych (English Language Theatre Festival) . What is more, 1st year students used to perform in the Akademicki Ośrodek Inicjatyw Artystycznych (Academic Centre for Artistic Initiatives) as part of their drama curriculum.

The Institute of English Studies in Lodz received recognition for publications by such respected academics as Prof. Jacek Fisiak, a prominent historical linguist and lexicographer, who worked at the UŁ until 1967; Prof. Tomasz Krzeszowski (PhD in 1966, habilitation in 1974); or Prof. Agnieszka Salska, the founder and head of the Department of American Literature at the Institute.

Prof. Salska, co-author of such works as Historia literatury amerykańskiej XX wieku, also served as the chairperson of the Polish Association for American Studies.

The Institute has also played a pioneering role in various areas of linguistics and literary science. Prof. Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk included in her habilitation the first ever analyses of data retrieved from spoken language corpus. The PELCRA research group, founded in 1997, has produced a number of tools and language resources for the general public. The Institute offered its students classes in translation as early as the 1980s and its translation track is still available to this day.

Over the years, a number of prominent guests from abroad have visited the Institute. These include the US ambassador Christopher R. Hill in 2004, visits by Canadian, Irish, Australian, and Indian ambassadors, and regular meetings with British and Irish poets, organised every 10 years.

On the initiative of the Department of English Language, Prof. Ronald Langacker, one of the founders of cognitive linguistics, received the title doctorate honoris causa from the University of Lodz, and gave a lecture in 2003. In 2012, on the initiative of the Department of Pragmatics, a doctorate honoris causa was awarded to Prof. John Searle, one of the most prominent humanists.

In 2012 the Institute consisted of seven departments which focus on specialised tracks. Since academic year 2019/2020 there are nine departments in the Institute. It publishes such journals on linguistics and literary sciences as DeKadentzya, Lodz Papers in Pragmatics, Research in Language and Text Matters. What is more, it supports the organisation of numerous academic conferences.