The predecessor of the Department of English was the English Teaching and Research Section of the Basic Courses Division of South China Agricultural University. Since the 1970s, the English Teaching and Research Section has been offering preparatory English training courses to teachers from agricultural universities and colleges in China who would pursue further studies abroad. Afterwards, the Department of English was established and began to enroll three-year program students in 1986 and four-year program undergraduate students in 1998. Since 2004, several orientations including English Education, E-commerce, Trade English, English Translation and English Language and Literature were set up one after another, and since 2007, the Department of English began to enroll students in the three orientations of English Translation, Trade English and English Language and Literature. In 2014, the Department of Business English was established and the Department of English began broad category enrollment, in which students divide into the two orientations of English Translation and English Language and Literature in the third year.
The Department of English has a high quality and professional faculty with sound and reasonable structures in academic rank, age and academic degree. There are altogether 33 full-time teachers, including 6 professors, 13 associate professors and 14 lecturers. There are 9 teachers with a Ph. D and 22 teachers with a MA. The average age of the teachers is 43.3 and 61% of them have studied or have been a visiting scholar abroad.