IACS was founded in Cairo during the First International Congress of Coptology (11-17 December 1976) under the auspices of the Egyptian Organization. It is a nonprofit designed to promote Coptic studies. The IACS publishes a newsletter that provides information about Coptologists and their work.

It sponsors congresses at four-year intervals. There have been eight International Congresses of Coptic Studies: Cairo, 11-17 December 1976; Rome, 22-26 September 1980; Warsaw, 20-25 August 1984; -la-Neuve, 5-9 September 1988; Washington, D.C., 12-15 August 1992; Munster, 21-26 July 1996, Leiden, 27 August-2 September 2000; and Paris, 28 June-3 July 2004. The Ninth International Congress of Coptic Studies will be held in Cairo in September 2008 under the auspices of is Holiness Pope .