The Department was one of the foundation departments of the University with Dramatic Arts as a sub-department. The Senate of the University of Nigeria approved a full departmental status for Dramatic Arts in 2004 and at the same time approved for it a change of name to the Department of Theatre Arts. The parent Department also had a change of name that same year to the Department of English and Literary Studies in order to bring out more clearly its scope of coverage. In the accreditation exercise of
2005 the Department came out with full accreditation status, and it has since 2010 been the proud possessor of a fully equipped modern language laboratory donated and furnished by a former student and former member of staff, DrMrsVirgy A. Anohu of FINHOMES Ltd. The department equally retained its full accreditation status in the NUC accreditation exercise of 2016.
The Department has exerted considerable influence in the development of other universities, especially in the Eastern zone as many of the foundation members of their departments of English are alumni of this Department. The Department continues to play an active part in the training and upgrading of manpower for these sister departments.
The programmes developed in this Department have also been influential in the development of the programmes of many sister departments across the country.